social media researchAre you looking for the latest marketing trends?

Wondering how the wide choice of devices and platforms are impacting marketers and consumers?

According to the 2013 Infinite Dial Report by Edison Research, media usage is not a zero-sum game.

Consumers want to use all channels simultaneously, and as a marketer, you have to keep up by tracking them down wherever they go.

To do that, you’ll need to understand these 6 emerging trends that will have a significant impact on your marketing strategies.

#1: Media Fragmentation

Consumers are everywhere, all at the same time. According to the Edison report, there are 256 million U.S. users on TV, 243 million on radio, 232 million on the Internet, 182 million connected at home via broadband, 177 million connected at home via wi-fi, and 139 million smartphone users.

multitasking new normal

Media multitasking is the new normal.

In this age of multimedia consumption, consumers are using more devices across a common set of platforms to do more things than ever. That means marketers have to play catch-up and shift away from strategies of the past. Today, the “e” in ecommerce means “everywhere.”

Your goal as a marketer should be to distribute content across as many types of media and platforms as your budget can allow. Make fast, confident decisions that give digital consumers opportunities to buy.

Keep in mind that capturing your customers’ attention will become harder as media multitasking becomes the new normal. Your digital content will need to be smarter, more creative and more visual to connect and engage today’s audiences.

#2: Smartphone Device Adoption Has Reached Half of U.S. Population

With 139 million (53%) of Americans owning smartphones, mobile use has reached critical mass in the United States.

Research by eMarketer shows the amount of time people spend on a mobile device is growing at 14 times the rate of desktop usage. The same research indicates that mobile is becoming a more prominent channel for commercial transactions.

In the second quarter of 2012, mobile sales accounted for 15.1% of total B2C retail ecommerce sales, compared to only 1.9% for social ecommerce sales.

half america own smartphones

Smartphone usage has reached critical mass presenting unparalleled opportunities for digital marketers.

What this means for marketers is that a mobile-first strategy is the new priority.

The significance of location-based marketing, which has been around for a couple of years, will only continue to grow in importance.

Finally, with a growing number of users downloading apps on their smartphones, a focused app strategy will help ensure that your brand remains forceful and relevant.

Post social media content that is easy to consume and interact with on the go; for example, more images, brief posts, easy-to-execute calls to action.

#3: Content Marketing Is Still King

There’s no argument that content is still king. A 2012 survey conducted by Outbrain and research firm eConsultancy showed that 91% of in-house marketers use content marketing to sell their products and services. Additionally, 90% of all digital marketing professionals believe content marketing will become even more important over the next 12 months.

content marketing important

Digital marketers believe content marketing will become more important than ever.

The same research pointed to the top 3 types of content that are working best for marketers: social posts and updates (83%), email newsletters (78%) and news or feature articles (67%).

Focus on content marketing rather than advertising because consumers interact with content first, giving brands ideas or insights about what is important to them. Brands can then use these insights to craft their ads.

#4: Facebook Is Still Dominant

Despite all of the changes that continue to take place on Facebook such as Graph Search and hashtags, the number of users on Facebook is rising, giving marketers opportunities to interact with audiences in innovative ways.

facebook still dominant

Despite constant changes to the platform, Facebook remains top dog among social networks.

Brands that use hashtags in their posts may have slightly higher reach than brands that don’t use them, according to Edgerank Checker. Hashtags will also open up new advertising opportunities for marketers, including the ability to advertise directly to users who have used or clicked on a particular hashtag.

On the other hand, Graph Search is a valuable tool for helping you find people who like your Page. If you’re a local business this means you can create content, ads or free giveaways just for fans in your geographical location, thus encouraging a more vibrant local community.

To stay ahead of the game, marketers must learn and master the Facebook environment in spite of unexpected and often frustrating changes to the platform.

#5: Users Notice More Branded Content on Their News Feed

A majority of Facebook users (62%) noticed more branded content on their news feed. Most users don’t visit a brand’s Facebook Page. They interact with brands on their news feed, which is where opportunities and challenges lie for marketers.

more content on newsfeed

Branded content on users' news feeds presents significant opportunities and challenges for marketers.

On the bright side, users who want to interact with brand content will be more engaged and open to brand messages. The opposite is true for users who just want to hang out with their friends. They’ll simply hide any brand content they don’t want to see (especially if those posts are frequent and intrusive).

We know that photos already make up 50% of news feed stories, and that images will continue to grow in importance. To get consumers to interact with branded content on Facebook, marketers should make posts more visual and provide interesting yet relevant insights about your company.

Invest in eye-catching, high-quality photos that will be pulled into users’ news feeds when they interact with your Page.

#6: Twitter Getting More Popular

Although Facebook is at the top of the social media world, the Edison report shows that Twitter is getting more popular. Notice that only 11% of Americans “Have not heard of Twitter,” which means 89% have!

more mentions of twitter

The hidden potential of Twitter is bigger than most people think.

You might say, “But only 15% of Americans actually use Twitter!” (See Fig. 4). True. However 44% hear about tweets on other media “Almost Every Day” and 84% have seen or heard of tweets in other media at some point (green, plus blue, plus yellow, plus purple slices = 84%). This means that an overwhelming majority of Americans have been exposed to Twitter via multimedia consumption.

This statistic justifies the conclusion that Twitter is a much bigger platform than most people give it credit for, and marketers should be the first to recognize its hidden potential.

Take advantage of the current Twitter-friendly multimedia environment and promote your brand among non-Twitter audiences. Encourage them to talk about you online using tweets, and in particular, using your brand’s hashtag.

Quick Wrap Up

The biggest takeaway from the Edison and eMarketer research is that audiences are dispersed across multiple channels and platforms. This presents its fair share of challenges for digital marketers as we try to keep up with omni-channel consumers.

If you know how media fragmentation works and how to engage with consumers across multiple channels and devices, you’ll maximize value for your brand.

Your Turn

What do you think? Which of these digital trends have you already experienced? How are you responding to them? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • I really like how you explained that, “consumers interact with content first and that gives brands some ideas or insights about what is important to them.” Then take that information and use it to craft their ads. Great insight!

  • Nice!

    Shocked to see MySpace at number 4 about G+? Clearly Mobile has only just begun.

    Great post and have an awesome day!

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading Mike!

  • predsicker

    Thanks Patrick. Glad you enjoyed the article

  • Insightful post Patricia, agree with all 6. Look forward to the next.

  • EmilyQuestions

    You are spot on when you say, “Today the “e” in ecommerce means everywhere.” And perhaps it should be “ee” for everyone/everywhere!! Thanks, Patricia!

  • There is no way that graph showing MySpace above G+ is even close to accurate. I would be really interested to know where they got that info. I mean, maybe in the late 90’s, but MySpace is not even a player anymore and it is really almost offensive to see a graph where they show it above G+, which in my research shows to be higher usage than Twitter…second to Facebook.

  • Nina Nolan Rouse

    Great article! I appreciated every word of it.

  • predsicker

    Hey David,
    That info is from Edison Research. Download report here
    Also notice that the graph is showing people with personal profiles on these platforms, not necessarily active users.

  • predsicker

    Thanks for the read Emily.

  • Right, but then that is false research. Are they talking personal profiles that still may exist on Facebook since the late 90’s? Because if that is the case, then that is very skewed.

  • Fantastic post, Patricia. It’s always nice to have data to back up strategies and recommendations. Like some other commenters, I am curious about those social networking service numbers, but I’ll check out the research link you provided. Thanks again!

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks for the breakdown!

    As an aspiring speaker and author (children’s, middle grade, self-help, YA, and short stories), I understand that radio and TV interviews are important. I also understand that literary agents and publishers will review an author’s social media networks to see the strength of their platform.

    I’m glad that Twitter is getting more popular because it’s my number one favorite. However, I’m not turning my back on Facebook. I just have to spend more time developing my pages.

    I wonder… could you burn out if you’re everywhere? Is it possible that your audience will become bored or tired of seeing you everywhere? Hmm…

  • Patricia – What a great roundup! It’s amazing to see how much the landscape is changing. Having these visual representations reminds us just how powerful social media, the Internet and emerging platforms really are in our everyday lives. Thank you for putting this together!

  • Love this post Patricia! So informative and great insights! Is Twitter actually growing though – many more people of heard of it but I wonder about the actual growth 🙂

  • Great to see regarding Twitter. This news coming on the same day I saw another study that says the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is 45-54 year olds.

  • Taymika G. Byrd

    Really good read. I could use this to help some of my clients understand the importance of what social media can do for them.

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  • Julia Rozwens

    The question was about having a personal profile – I do have mine on myspace, but haven’t used it for years!

  • Teena

    Good roundup. But agree with a few previous comments above MySpace at #4. Profiles inactive for over a year or two shouldn’t count. With growing users of smartphone and tablets, I hope the content continues to remain the ‘king’.

  • Great read!

    Just one remark though:

    “Your goal as a marketer should be to distribute content across as many types of media and platforms as your budget can allow.”

    Are you saying marketers should focus on quantity? As in spamming your way across the social media landscape?

    What about focussing on your target audience?

    Thanks for your reply and sharing your blog.

  • predsicker

    Hi Elmer,

    Thanks for the read. No, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that marketers should distribute original, quality content across the various platforms. I’m sure you already do that currently with a number of platforms – but hopefully you tailor your content according to the needs of those different audiences. Only now you may have to broaden your publishing to platforms that you hadn’t considered before. Does that answer your question?

  • predsicker

    Thanks for the read Teena. If you like, you can ignore the part you don’t like about MySpace, because the point remains that Facebook is still the dominant platform. That’s what I was trying to get at 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thanks Taymika!

  • predsicker

    Thanks Tyler – Twitter is gold!

  • predsicker

    Yes. Their research focused on accounts opened, not necessarily active. I know this doesn’t go down well with G+ fans, but I’m just the messenger 🙂 Again focus on the point that Facebook is dominant, not the other stuff.

  • predsicker

    Thanks Andrea. When people hear about Twitter everyday, whether on TV, radio newspapers etc., that kind of platform exposure is something marketers should pay attention to. My point was not ‘actual growth’ but rather ‘potential growth’. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what actually happens in terms of adaption rates 🙂

  • People, get on the new MySpace. Coolest website I’ve seen.

  • predsicker

    Hi Barry. Just read your article on CMI – awesome stuff!

  • predsicker

    Thanks Erik 🙂

  • predsicker

    Hi Amanda,

    Yes, I think burnout is a possibility 🙂

    But I don’t think people will get tired of seeing you everywhere unless you blast the same exact content everywhere! Try publishing unique content on each platform, or at least a different angle. The idea I believe, is to stay top-of-mind with your audience. If they don’t like it, they can unsubscribe/unfollow/unlike etc. But I wouldn’t worry about it, if I’m giving people helpful content all the time.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    I agree that you must publish unique, value-added content. This is why I keep a list of ideas handy. I also carry pens and paper (old school) with me so I can jot down ideas.

  • Sarahelizabeth Mason

    I have to agree, I too am skeptical on this. I have a myspace
    account, that I can’t even access anymore so it just sits there, not canceled. That’s the case with everybody I know who had a myspace account. So are we all counted in that graph? The music industry still has a strong presence on myspace, but not sure how much that accounts for in terms of overall active users. This piece Rolling Stone did on the relaunch has some interesting info –

  • Mark Z

    fool, FB wasn’t even publicly accessible until Sept 2006. ….90s, HA! Face it … G+ just isn’t getting adopted. Don’t cry.

  • Callie Summers

    Love this! One question – maybe too big to cover here, but do you @predsicker:disqus think that content marketing is going away anytime soon? I just can’t begin to imagine what would replace it… our world is evolving everyday but nothing currently humanizes and relates consumers/audience to their brand and vice versa more than content. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  • predsicker

    Hey Callie,

    Content Marketing go away? Where would it go? 🙂
    No, this is the brave new world we live in & content is right smack in the center. Somehow the more ideas, experiences & thoughts we share (as companies or as individuals) the more likeable and trustworthy we become. Isn’t that great? That’s the heart of content marketing and I’m glad that it’s here to stay!

  • Spicy Business Talk

    Great Insight, especially that content is still king and e means everywhere. Our Social Media world is changing each second. We have to pay close attention and stay focused on creating exceptional customer experiences

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  • Chetan Lakhalni

    Thanks Patricia for the futuristic insight of Marketing. Definitely the same rules are applicable for emerging Indian Urban Market, My concern is rural market where smart phone users are increasing compare to internet consumer. A mix strategy with orthodox activities and advancement may work for Indian Market.
    Anyway just sharing my thoughts, Thanks again

  • Trudy Michels

    Thanks Patricia for these insights. I wonder how/if the figures for Europe will differ. It will be the challenge how to use social media fitting to a company’s goal and audiences. Get people talk about your stuff. Keeping in mind that there are 1001 creative ways to reach Rome both on- and offline. Best regards from Trudy

  • Anna Molin

    Great post! Content continues to be king.

  • David Chan

    Content is King. If you are writing content on a broad range of topics this can be
    challenging because you have to write about things you don’t really care

  • Hi Patricia,

    Thanks for clarifying your point. I agree with you: it’s always a goog thing to be on the lookout for ohter platforms where you can engage with your target audience.The online world is developing so fast, companies will be lagging behind if they keep doing the same thing.

    Kind regards,


  • This is funny.

  • Robert Whalen

    Great article and summary of multimedia traffic patterns. Can you display the results demographically? My perception is that consumers HAVE TO look at all of the channels BECAUSE each has its specific reach (& limits) and remain UNABLE to start with one channel AND have all of their needs met.

    The biggest challenge therefore is NOT more multiple channel coverage
    (although that’s important)…it’s more customer RELEVANT communications …and increase ease of using digits to move atoms.

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  • Totally agree with all the 6 trends you have mentioned in the post. Thanks for sharing the post with us Patricia!! Looking forward to see some more insightful posts from your end.

  • Nancy Ceresia

    Very well-written article that I plan to reference during my social media training sessions. I particularly liked the information regarding Facebook and news feeds vs. pages. I’m a huge advocate of making the most of every opportunity to interact with potential customers in a way that offers value, hence the “Content is still king”. Very valuable. Thanks!

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  • Doug Jacke

    The great thing about social media is you can experiment with platforms and find out for yourself where your customers hang out. Agree with most that Google+ is still coming into it’s own but more and more we see it as the Facebook for business. There is no doubt that Google rewards Google+ users so smart marketers find a good excuse to particiapte there

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  • Worthy post for sure..!