In the past two months I’ve been intensively researching the growth of social networks and have analyzed many researches and I’ve come to the conclusion that the social web is actually like our normal offline world. Just associate the social web like a digital topography of our planet. Just think of Facebook like Rio de Janeiro or New York and Orkut like New Delhi or Bejing. But they just has the potential to be X000% more efficient than it’s real counterpart.
My visions of how the online word will change in the coming 3-5 years (2012-2015)
It’s all about the growth and the productiveness and of the social web. In my opinion the social web will evolve as follows:
- The social web will continue to grow, with more and more Web 2.0 platforms that serve millions of users with specific preferences and niches.
- We will continuously have the urge to discover more social available resources within those different environments.
- Probably programmable web will have more than 10.000 Web API’s registered.
- In the age group until 50, we’ll all have at least 5 Web 2.0 platforms we’ll frequently use.
- There will be solutions to the annoying issue ‘do I really need another account’
- OpenID will not be enough, it’s too limited and will not evolve fast enough to support standardized interfaces to transfer richn datasets that can be found in the different environments.
- Websites will often offer authentication support for multiple popular Web 2.0 frameworks. So instead of AddThis.com we’ll have AuthenticateMe.com as a broker service to multiple Web 2.0 frameworks.
- The online social networks will become a surrounding where we gather everything we need / want, much more like the neighborhoods we live in.
- It’s all about getting more ‘relevant stuff’ in the same amount of time.
- Besides the ´fun´ and ´social´stuff, we will also include professional related tools and applications.
- All social networks understand that they have to facilitate an open application environment, like currently Facebook does. Or else they’ll just see users flocking away to other SNs that offer more convenience and facilities.
- Users between 18 – 40 will be spending on average more than 20 hours weekly on social media. Research shows that currently it’s more than 10 hours weekly.
- Enterprises will understand that SNs offer a every efficient way to push their propositions into the right comfort zone; the right community – the right preferences – the right place – the right time!
- Social Networks are sticky on mobile. This means users will always carry their apps with them and they expect to be served with as relevant stuff as possible!
- No more need to advertise, it’s about getting the specific e-commerce spots in the right apps to serve the right crowd, at the right time.
- Endusers will get better deals, as marketing costs will diminish as offerings are so rightly targeted that the conversionrates will be at least 3-4 times higher than merchants are used to.
Consequences for the giants like Google & Yahoo, Amazon & Ebay & Expedia
The big giants will more and more offer their services through SNs, but that’s where they’ll lose their current leverage. The way people act in social communities can be so much more efficient for ecommerce and ebusiness, that merchants might not need central ‘hubs’ anymore like the current giants.
- Top 5 most visited websites, people are spending more and more time in Social Media.
- Search egines will structurally feel more loss in ad revenues, forcing them to start charging money for their online services.
- But they will redefine themselves and offer specific functions within their API’s that are usefull for social business / commerce and charge money for them. This will of course make them more unattractive – creating a downward spiral: less effective & more costs.
- But the question is – is advanced search really necessary if merchants can connect their e-commerce / e-business webservices directly to the social apps inside the Social Media landscape?
Consequences for online marketing techniques
In contrast to today, social media will make push marketing more attractive. It’s like the art that shopmanagers of leading supermarket chains possess, how do I position the right product in the right comfort zone to stimulate sales? Like in the offline world, we know where to find shops and restaurants, but what determines where we’ll buy our groceries or have our favorite meals?
- Social media marketing will have overuled bannering & SEO marketing
- These marketing campaigns do not generate enough return for their investment
- Online advertising revenue will further drop, opposed to predictions from many researches by many major consulting firms
- Return on social media marketing campaigns will become easier and easier
- Retail marketeers and shop managers will understand better how they should sell online, than the online marketing agencies who can’t see the similarity between the web and offline business.
- Why the big social networks that are fast enough to adopt social business and social commerce models will really start earning big money and will show why they are worth billions, even more than they’re worth today.
Social commerce will have unique potential to benefit it’s members
Social networks will have such great power as they possess most of the spending time of users online. They might of course decide to go the Microsoft path (first everything is ‘free’ and then you start to pay big money), but I think they won’t. The application evironment will stay open, but probably social networks will understand that their power can be enforced if they will also become ‘dealbrokers’ for their members.
- In the offline world we’ve seen this so often, big organizations can always negotiate special discounts / privileges for their members. So why wouldn’t a SN like Facebook do that for a crowd > 500 MLN people?
- Just think … what airlines wouldn’t want to give a special discount to a group of millions of people?
- Social media will have have their own commerce API’s and will restrict apps to offer their commerce only through their APIs.
- With this power SNs can even charge commission over the real sales, instead of pay / clicks.
- Just imagine billions of business done through the commerce API of
- SNs will understand that better deals will even give them more buying power
- Just consider the current iBood concept, quite a succes. Now imagine Facebook doing that for their hundreds of millions of users.
Personally I feel that Facebook can become 10 times the value it is today if they see this role they can play to further benefit their users. I mean, their current ads just suck, don’t they? If they would just start with a special deal for travel arrangements, I bet they can kill the likes of Expedia instantly! I think that’s why Amazon is already making deals with Facebook, but who’s got the leverage? If I was KLM, I would already start to talk with Facebook ;)
And about Google, I think they CxO’s do see that this is a threat and that’s why they’re buying / offering all the tools / features that a social network might need. But I still don’t see Orkut beating Facebook.
My vision is not for visionairs but for normal people – we just need more time
Often when I tell my stories I often hear that my ideas are so ‘far away’. Personally I think it’s just a matter of understanding the power of the different Web 2.0 players. It’s like our education, we all have to learn stuff that we don’t really understand how to apply it in our lives. But the idea is that afterwards we have it in our ‘toolkit’ to allow us to apply it later on when we want to generate value for society.
It’s a matter of time before Enterprise 2.0, Health 2.0, Charity 2.0 etc. will also become more real with better results. Then mashups of Web 2.0 platforms will become more common and our society will exponentially function more efficient! If all the European countries that face the ‘ageing population’ issue would just recognize this and start really stimulating 2.0 projects to solve social issues!
A role for Componence in this bright future
@Componence I’ll lead my team to develop the components that will be used by Enterprises who want to create more valuable mashups with social networks. We’ll make it easier for all SME and Enterprises to reap the benefits of popular social media (Web 2.0 & social networks) with the components in our Chameleonsuite.
We won’t be like Dapper, Yahoo Pipes or Gnip. No, we’ll cover the complete technology stack with a backend that will fit an Enterprise SOA into a frontend that will cross all widgets, gadegts, apps platforms! We’re gonna be so cool ;)