The past 20 years we have been witness to ever-increasing advances in web-based technology, design, implementation and marketing, not to mention the explosion of social media.
As we celebrate the past 20 years and our milestones in the Internet and digital space, Northwoods looks ahead to the next 20 years with anticipation and excitement.
According to the World Economic Forum, the long-term health and stability of the Internet will be data. It is estimated the volume of data is growing at a 40% clip per year, and according to several reports, 90% of all data in the world was created in the last two years.
What does this mean? Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Blockchain are emerging rapidly with new strategies and applications every day. The Internet of Things (IoT) is here today with services and applications ramping up quickly in nearly every industry.
As data is at the heart of the next Internet evolution, Northwoods is well positioned to leverage our deep experience with innovative technologies and integration experience to leverage data for our clients and their needs. As a learning organization and thought leader, we will continue to research these technologies and educate our employees and clients on how best and why to use them. And as certified Microsoft, OpenDataSoft and Google Partners, as technologies and applications evolve we will be able to leverage these relationships, and others, to remain on the cutting edge of the Internet and Social revolution for the next 20 years.
The Future of Social Media
All digital marketing initiatives are constantly evolving, but social media may be moving the fastest. In just over ten years, social media has evolved to include thousands of different social channels, filling both mainstream and niche needs for individuals and businesses. While it’s hard to predict exactly how these channels will continue to evolve in the future, several major trends stand out as contenders to withstand the test of time.
One of the largest trends of the past year has been the evolution of social video. Originally contained almost entirely on YouTube, nearly every major social media platform has adapted in recent years to not only allow video, but feature it. You can expect this trend to continue in future years, with Mark Zuckerburg stating he wouldn’t be surprised if most of the content on Facebook contained video within the next five years.
In addition to pre-recorded video, live video has spiked in usage in recent years. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter (in partnership with Periscope), all allow live-streaming on their platforms. Expect more platforms and users to jump on this trend in coming years. With video content being such a successful form on content, and live video providing an even more engaging format of video, it’s safe to say this trend will be sticking around.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Nearly every platform is currently experimenting with, or beginning to implement, augmented and virtual reality features. While Snapchat was the original pioneer, allowing users to use filters and masks to edit their appearance or add fun additions to their images, today, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are all testing variations of this technology. As users come to expect more personalized online experiences in coming years, you can plan on this technology to continue to evolve and find new uses in the social media landscape.
Chat Bots and Automated Processes
Maintaining social media pages takes a lot of effort, and this sometimes turns some deters organizations from fully embracing each platform. Social channels have realized this, and are beginning to implement different methods of automation that businesses can use to lessen this effort. One of the greatest examples of this was Facebook’s release of chat bots in 2016, allowing organizations to set up applications that could answer simple customer service questions, saving representative’s time. As more users and businesses continue to adopt social media platforms, you can expect these channels to continue finding ways to automate simple processes within the platform in coming years.
Highly-Targeted Social Advertising
Social media may be “free” but often it’s impossible for businesses to achieve all of their objectives without investing in some social advertising. Facebook has been the biggest proponent of this, adjusting how businesses appear in the newsfeed and ranking them below personal profiles in their algorithm.
Social media newsfeeds are oversaturated, and to combat this many platforms are adopting highly specific methods of audience targeting in their advertising platforms. This is good for both users and businesses; Users get a more personalized newsfeed and businesses know they are reaching the audience they are interested in. You can expect advertising options across all platforms to become even more targeted as years go on, and for businesses to be encouraged (or forced) to include social media advertising in their strategy to reach an audience and achieve their goals.
Roads? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need…Roads!
Doc Brown from the classic Robert Zemeckis film “Back to the Future” may have been onto something. There may come a time when flying cars render roads obsolete. But until then, fasten your seatbelt. As new technologies and applications emerge and are applied, you may still require a map to navigate all the change we will experience over the next 20 years. Here’s to another 20 years of Northwoods paving the way and helping our clients, business partners and our community with the journey.
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