Disrupting the disruptors: Evolution of the Social media landscape
The social media landscape is undergoing digital evolution as platforms evolve to provide greater value for its users. These changes indicate a strong need for social media analytics to be employed to derive insights. This trend is increasingly being driven by the mobile phone revolution which is being enabled by improvements in bandwidth speeds and technology performance to price ratios. This is what the players of the social media landscape looked like in 2015.
The social media landscape 2015
Despite the numerous contenders, the changing dynamics which govern the social media landscape is driving changes to the core functionality of the platforms. The introduction of Snapchat’s Chat 2.0 functionality is a prime example of this. Snapchat is repositioning itself towards the vision that “users should be able to share everything they want, exactly how they want it” through the new options of audio, video calls and voice messaging in addition to its already extensive arsenal of capabilities such as messaging and face filters. Snapchat further aims to increase engagement by focusing on the convenience factor for users through the feature update of continuous stories as opposed to the traditional approach requiring users to tap to load the next story. Twitter have also updated its capabilities by enabling users to bypass the 149 character limit if text is added to a picture. These shifts represent reactionary movements against other social media networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.
“Facebook is leading the race, and a visionary game changer”
From humble roots, Facebook has grown prolifically to garner its communal empire. A recent post from Zuckerberg himself illustrates the portfolio Facebook has amassed through the various acquisitions made, i.e. Whatsapp, Instagram and Oculus Rift to its own advancements in features such as live video, reactions, and artificial intelligence. Strategically, Facebook is effectively executing a very long-term strategy whereby it aims to grow its user-base ecosystem prior to building and expanding the platform to new avenues.
Facebook community update (Zuckerberg, Facebook)
Even amongst Instagram, a recent update reveals the introduction of a 60-second video feature which indicates the strategic move of shifting the brand towards a video platform while competing with Snapchat. However the most significant dynamic can be seen through the rise in popularity of messaging apps as figures now show total number of messaging app users outrank the total number of users on social media while 60 billion messages are handled per day between WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger; a figure that is triple the quantity of traditional text messages. Facebook further aims to position its messaging apps as a disruptive platform through a directed focus on chat bots and integration with news publishers to deliver personalised and relevant news more conveniently. Due to the rich interactive nature of conversations which occur on messaging apps, there are large opportunities for businesses to integrate and harness the messenger platform for enriched customer engagements. We are currently at a tipping point of a major disruptive revolution whereby social media platforms and messaging apps amalgamate with traditional industries to provide greater opportunities for their users. This can be seen through Messenger’s recent collaboration with KLM, an airline company to provide personalised reminders of flight times and boarding gates through the app. Furthermore, Facebook revealed a news-digest bot for CNN (NiemanLab, 2016) on Facebook messenger, a strong indicator of what is to come within the publishing industry.
“We are one percent finished… One day there will be companies build on messenger, and we are at the beginning of that ecosystem” — Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships
Messaging apps overtake social networks (Business Insider, 2015)
Revealed at Facebook’s F8 conference, Zuckerberg released the latest 10-year road-map which indicates Facebook’s changing shift from a traditional social media website to a disruptive ecosystems platform driven by the latest in upcoming technology.
“Over the long run, we’re building planes and satellites to connect everyone to the internet; artificial intelligence to help us interact with services more easily; and virtual reality to help us experience the world in a totally new way — Zuckerberg”
Facebook’s 10 year roadmap
Within the social media landscape, there are many interesting strategies planned for the future, yet there is still potential to disrupt other industries i.e. Facebook implementing a payments system will have devastating impacts on the global financial services sector and place increasing pressures on banks. Despite the multitude of changes occurring, one thing is certain, social media is here to stay, just not how people will have traditionally thought.
Here is a recap of Facebook’s F8 event for those interested:
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