Social media continued its rise in 2012, pervading more and more aspects of modern life, from Twitter’s live news reporting to Pinterest’s digital scrapbooks. Despite being labelled a ‘ghost town’, Google+ has become a major player in the sector, beginning to rival Twitter in terms of global active users. For marketers, social media ROI remains rather elusive, but some inroads have been made this year with new analytics tools looking beyond clicks to measure the power of online recommendations. As part of a 2012 review, we look back at the 10 most popular social media news stories and trends of the year.
Pinterest was the social media success story of the year, offering a more visual alternative to Facebook and Twitter that synced neatly with ecommerce and affiliate marketing.
Facebook continued to dominate and Twitter grabbed most of the headlines (although not always for the right reasons).
Twitter clamped down on third party apps to pave way for more ads, LinkedIn added follow tools and bought SlideShare, while Salesforce boosted social CRM for clients buy snapping up BuddyMedia.
Google+ continued to make progress, boasting millions of members (although engagement levels remain low).
China's social networks continued to rival their Western counterparts in terms of size with Sina Weibo, Ren Ren and Tencent catering for huge audiences.
Perhaps the biggest sign of the times came from a BBC report, which declared the age of the ‘lurker’ over, with 60% of the UK online population now 'participating in some way' on the web. Further proof the brands need to engage consumers in conversations, not sales pitches.
View our top 10 biggest social media headlines below.
Watch this space for updates on the top 10 advertising, mobile, search, social, ecommerce, multimedia, gaming and regulation news of the year- all coming this week.
Top 20 social networks in the world in 2012 (infographic)
As Facebook passes the billion users mark, this infographic from Silverpop looks at the top 20 social networks in the world, and charts the growth of the medium of the past decade. Facebook and Twitter are the big hitters with one billion and 500 million users respectivley, They are followed by Google+ and the big networks in China, Weibo and RenRen. The rest of the top 10 is filled by LinkedIn, Badoo, Instagram, Yelp and Tumblr.
Infographic- The (ridiculously complicated) social media landscape
This infographic from Buddy Media illustrates how complicated the social media ecosystem has become, with a myriad of management, analytics, gaming and advertising tools available for advertisers.
Twitter offers ad targeting based on user interests
Twitter has launched interest-based ad targeting for Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts campaigns letting brands target micro-bloggers based on like-minded groups of followers and their friends. Promoted Tweets and Accounts already target “users who share interests with your current followers.” The new service now lets advertisers explicitly identify the interests that they want to reach.
Twitter restricts third party apps to pave way for ads?
Twitter has released its controversial API update which restricts third party developers, opening up the possibility of in-app ads in the process. The move has sparked anger form some developers, who have claimed the move could stifle the development of innovative products. The firm’s hugely popular API platform has spawned a number of widely used social media applications such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite and Twitpic.
Salesforce to boost social media with $800m Buddy Media buy
Salesforce.com has made a $800m bid for Buddy Media, in amove that could create the first enterprise level platform to have a fully integrated social customer relationship management (sCRM) module. The news was first reported by All Things D, which cites unnamed sources as saying the two companies have agreed to terms of the sale, though the purchase is not yet final.
Pinterest debuts tools for businesses- new channel for marketers
Pinterest has taken another step towards monetisation, offering brands a dedicated business profile on its social bookmarking site. The new business site, gives organisations the opportunity to verify their account, add buttons (Pin It, Follow) and widgets (Profile, Board), and receive updates on future products and services.
Twitter’s mobile ad revenue overtakes desktop PCs
Twitter has announced that revenue from promoted tweets on mobiles, which were introduced in February, have now overtaken revenue from PCs. The announcement was made by the firm’s CEO Dick Costolo, who claimed that 60% of the microblogging site’s 140m users now accessing via mobile devices, up from 55% at the beginning of the year.
‘Why I left Google’: Ex-employee blasts firm’s ‘obsession with beating Facebook’
Recently departed Google employee James Whittaker has criticised his former company, claiming the firm has sacrificed its focus on innovation to morph into an “advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus”, and that focus is Google+. He wrote on his blog this week that when he joined Google, it was “a technology company first and foremost; a company that hired smart people and placed a big bet on their ability to innovate”.
How much is a ‘Like’ worth? Google’s new analytics tools measure social ROI
Google Analytics has launched a new tool called Social Reports today, designed to help marketers measure the return on investment for social media activities. E-retailers that have e-commerce tracking enabled on the free version of Google Analytics will be able to generate a “social value” report to see how social media contributes to conversions on their e-retail sites.
Just 1% of Internet users creating web content? Not anymore, says BBC
The age of the ‘lurker’ is over, according to a new BBC report which debunks the widely accepted ‘1% rule’ of the Internet, which asserts that just 1% of users create content and 10% engage with them, while the rest of the world sits back and watches. The broadcaster has carried out extensive research which it says shows this model is outmoded. Participation is now the rule rather than the exception: 77% of the UK online population is now active in some way. 60% of the UK online population now participates in some way on the web, from sharing photos to starting a discussion.
LinkedIn buys SlideShare for £74m
LinkedIn has bought online presentation tool SlideShare for £74m as the business-based social network looks to improve engagement and features on its site. SlideShare lets users upload presentations publicly or privately, which can be embedded on blogs, websites, company intranets and shared across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.