Taking a brief look at the history of social media, we all remember the day in 2006 when Twitter launched its revolutionary social media platform to be welcomed with positive reactions across the board. Users were loving a messaging system that allowed them to inform the world over what they were up to, express their feelings and share literally whatever they wished. The only restriction was to crunch their thoughts in 140 characters. Instagram followed in line in October 2010 by providing a mobile-sharing application enabling its eager, mostly younger generation users the chance to share images with family, friends and other users through a very user-friendly and such a fun to use platform never seen before. With an astonishing method of vanishing photos, Instagram quickly rose in popularity amongst the average millennial, if you will.
However, if we take a look even further back into this history, we run into the one and only Facebook that many of us remain utterly faithful to as our best friend in social media. Launching in February 2004, Facebook began delivering a very easy method to get and remain connected with friends. Despite beginning its activity by only providing this leisure to students of Ivy League universities, in the past 12 years it has exploded into huge potential.
And where are we now? With social media networks expanding across the globe and literally becoming nations of their own. There is one certain fact that simply cannot go denied: social media platforms have utterly revolutionized how marketing is carried out and are profiting in huge amounts. Social media companies in 2015 made an eye-opening $8.3 billion from advertising, alone.
Brandwatch has filed a report providing important statistics on monthly users of social media.
Facebook, with 1.7 billion users, is now a larger country than China, and some saying they should even send their own team to the Olympics. Twitter falls in second but with a distance with 500 million. Instagram, despite being considered a new platform, is being enjoyed by 400 million users. And SnapChat has already attracted 100 million users.
A very good question is who are exactly these social media members, and how are these networks exactly taking advantage of such widespread attention? Here is a general explanation.
In the world we live in today those not having social media accounts are literally in the minority, and it actually seems quite weird not to have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat account. Age is no longer a defining parameter, and there are active 13 year olds and even 75 year olds posting different criteria on social media, day in and day out. Why? Because the variety of social media platforms available out there provide users from across the spectrum exactly what they are craving for, and at times even more than they expected.
Social media platforms are absorbing more competition than anticipated ever before using different creative methods to redefine the very meaning of classic advertising. Marketing has changed its landscape in its entirety. Ads have a completely different nature. Small restaurants are using very effective apps to encourage hungry and anxious customers to their cuisine. Clothing brands are having their brands advertised to more people than ever before and at much cheaper prices. Whatever you are looking for, rest assured it is advertised on social media. Enjoying a huge amount of monthly users, a never-ending list of companies have successfully attracted large numbers of users to actually advertise their brand names on such outlets.
The budget allocated for social marketing by various companies has risen from $17.7 billion in 2014 to a whopping $23.6 billion in 2015, witnessing a 33.5% leap forward. Social media costs will most definitely increase as algorithms continue to enhance user data collection techniques and analyzing methods.
What is the importance? Simple. This is exactly how social media platforms are making their money. Advertising methods have been revolutionized completely and the dozens–and maybe even hundreds–of different social media platforms to choose from. Any company not paying the price of advertising on social media will most definitely fall behind and most probably be eliminated by the competition in the not so distant future.
If social media marketing continues on the path of expanding, we will continue to become more connected with the very products we seek to buy. And the companies delivering such products will continue to profit in the tens of billions annually. People are becoming truly addicted to using social media, and companies providing products and services understand the potential in this phenomenon very well.
12 years into this revolution and we are already witnessing enormous changes in society. People are literally sharing their entire lives and deepest thoughts, while others are using the opportunity to enhance their business advertising campaign. As technology continues to expand at a rate described as exponential, to say the least, where will we find social media in another decade or so? Some people say we can’t imagine where social media will be in the next 12 months, let alone the upcoming 12 years.