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vimeo vs youtube

Which Video Site Is Best for Business?

If you’re interested in exposing your business or brand to a potentially huge audience, then you’ll want to have a presence on video-hosting websites like YouTube and Vimeo.

But which of these sites is best for your business? The answer depends on a number of factors, including the type of videos you produce, your target audience, and , your budget.

This article weighs the pros and cons of two of the most respected options to help you decide which video hosting platform is best for your business.

 

YouTube: Pros youtube

With an estimated 450 million unique, monthly visitors worldwide, it’s almost impossible not to consider YouTube for your video-marketing campaign. This type of popularity makes YouTube one of the most visited sites on the web, and certainly the number one video hosting site in terms of traffic. YouTube has the added distinction of being owned by Google, so it probably doesn’t hurt to have video content that’s indexed by the world’s largest search engine. In other words, you’ll likely increase the odds of your video being seen if you host it on YouTube.

You can set up a YouTube account for free, and customize its look and feel to reflect your existing company brand. You can also upload an unlimited number of YouTube videos to your account. These points may be important considerations if you are concerned about budget, flexibility, and ease of use.

YouTube offers a number of advertising opportunities for your business, including display ads, in-video ads, and even promoted videos. You can pay to have your ads or videos appear when people use specific keywords to search for videos. Given the sheer volume of people visiting YouTube on a daily basis, a strategically crafted ad campaign on YouTube can reap excellent results. Check out YouTube’s advertiser’s guide for more information about your advertising options.

YouTube: Cons

Precisely because of its popularity, the subject matter of YouTube videos run the gamut from high-definition masterpieces to low-end filler. Sometimes it can be hard for a viewer to find the diamonds in the rough. Any potential customer trying to find your video on YouTube will be inundated with video distractions — often of a very unprofessional nature.

While you are clearly not responsible for anyone else’s content, your audience may have to steer through a lot of clutter in order to see your message on YouTube.

Advertising may also be considered a negative attribute for YouTube. There’s always the potential for a competitor to advertise its own products and services within your videos or to display its ads when a customer is searching for you. Because advertising appears in every video on YouTube (to support the free application), customers may be distracted by these ads when they’re viewing your business videos.

Although YouTube offers a built-in analytics tool called Insight, some have suggested that the analytics data is too basic, or provides more of an executive summary than actionable data. On the other hand, others have suggested that the interface for Insight is cumbersome and difficult to use. Of course, in order to make a fair judgment, you should compare the analytics capabilities of YouTube with other video-hosting sites.

Vimeo: Pros 

vimeo

 

Vimeo bases its impressive reputation on quality and customization. For example, with a paid, “Pro” account, Vimeo offers what it calls “2-pass encoding.”According to Vimeo, this process makes videos much cleaner, requiring less bandwidth to view.

Priority uploading, also offered with Vimeo Pro, means that you can skip the queue and upload your business videos ahead of other unpaid accounts. This may be important to your business if you have timely videos which need to be uploaded without any delays.

Vimeo also offers “complete customization” of its video player, allowing you to embed your logo and branding into the player itself. This differs significantly from YouTube, where videos always carry the YouTube logo (potentially diluting your brand). In addition, we believe the analytics package offered by the Vimeo Pro account is superior to YouTube’s Insight application.

The Vimeo community is also a marketing aspect that Vimeo uses to promote its service. Paid-account holders can choose to disable in-video advertising in order to focus on the content of the videos they’re watching. Members can create their own channels, start groups, and organize all of their videos into different albums. In general, this makes for a much more engaged audience than on other video-hosting sites.

Vimeo: Cons

At just under 17 million unique, monthly visitors worldwide, Vimeo has significantly less traffic, and is less well known than YouTube. With less overall traffic to the site, your business videos may see fewer views on a platform like Vimeo

Videos with higher views, hosted on sites with higher traffic, tend to be treated more favorably by search engines. It’s possible that videos hosted on Vimeo will appear lower in search engine results when compared with similar videos hosted on a more popular platform.

Some of Vimeo’s best features are available only with a premium, paid account. In fact, Vimeo’s Terms of Service document states that if you intend to host commercial videos promoting your product or service, then you must purchase a Vimeo Pro account.

Pro accounts also come with restrictions. With a Pro account you are limited to a maximum of 50 GB of upload space per year, with a cap of 5 GB per uploaded video. Video views are also capped at 250,000.

If you want to upload additional videos or allow additional views beyond the specified caps, you have to purchase upgrades from the Vimeo “Store.” If budget is a concern for your video marketing campaign, you’ll have to pay close attention to the fine print with Vimeo.

 

Which is Best? Video Marketing

 

Online video has become synonymous with YouTube. Its size and high profile make it an obvious consideration for hosting your business videos — and of course, it’s free. On the other hand, Vimeo has built its reputation on providing a professional platform with advanced features and a more engaged audience.

When choosing the best platform to host your business videos, consider the goal of your campaign (views vs. engagement), your budget, and your brand itself. YouTube may be more suitable if high volume and high exposure are key considerations for your videos. If brand reputation and detailed analytics are more important, then Vimeo may be the better choice. In either case, your business will benefit from being part of the vastly popular, online video movement.

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Article by: www.digitalvideomagazine.com

 

Why-Does-Explainer-Video-Cost-You-a-Month-Advertising-Budget

Every company wants to engage and grab the attention of their viewers, but how can you do that?

 

Almost every site you go on, visiters are bombarded with something. Whether its  fancy text, a ton of text or even graphics everywhere.

 

Keep your site simple, don’t let your visitors lose site as to why they came to your website in the first place. One of the top reasons why bounce rates are so high is because visitors are overwhelmed with the amount of information being placed in front of them.

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A great way to introduce your company and brand to your viewers, upon visiting your site is with an introductory video. According to The Deep End, “a website has ten seconds to capture a visitor’s attention before losing them forever“. A video is just the thing you need to keep them engaged and on your site.

 

Benefits of an Introductory Video

 

Your homepage leaves an impression on your visitors, so what do you want that impression to be? It should be amazing, make them want to keep coming back. Just remember to keep your video between 1-2 minutes, no one is going to want to watch an hour video.

 

Why video is valuable:

 

Improved user engagement

Brand awareness

Search engine optimisation

 

The impact of videos can be seen, especially since your visitors attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. With the right script, you can maintain the attention of your visitors after those 8 seconds.

video-marketing

Informational

 

There is so much information on your site, with an introductory video, it’s an easy and interesting way to provide your target audience and visitors with an understanding of what the company does without them having to read through a bunch of text. Still not sure if you should add a video to your homepage? tmg Custom Media, says that “60% of respondents said they would watch video previous to reading text on the same webpage, and 22% said they generally liked watching video more than browsing text for examining business information”.

 

You can provide information with your homepage video by:

 

Summarising who the company is
Explaining your product or service
Explain your terminology

 

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Engage and Connect with Viewers

 

The main objective of your introductory video is to get your visitors to engage and connect. The best way to do that is by telling them what its like to work with you and the members of your company. And a great way to show people what its like to work with you is through your personality. All that text on your website makes conveying the personality of your company limited. Whereas videos give you an opportunity to show viewers exactly how you look, sound and act. What a great way to project your core values. Visitors and other companies want to know, are you young and fun? Bold and assertive? You can answer their questions about your personality and the culture of your company through your introductory video. Another benefit of using video, is being able to  reach out to your visitors in a more personal manner, really let them get to know you.

 

Now that you’ve told them about your company and they understand your culture, you can further engage and connect with each visitor by showcasing people using your product or service.

 

User engagement is achieved through:

 

Perception
Appraisal of meaning
Evaluation of meaning
Emotional response

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Give them Direction

 

Do your visitors know what to do next after landing on your homepage? Sometimes they have no idea where to even start. With your video you can provide each visitor with some sense of direction. You may have talked about something that interested them. This especially comes in handy when showing people using your product or when mentioning how your service can bring them results. They will want to learn more about that product or service.

 

Something interesting and different that some companies have implemented into their introductory video is lead capture forms. Everyone wants to generate more leads, some companies actually ask you to enter your email to continue watching a video. According to Unbounce.com,  “Approximately 30% of page visitors watch your introductory video and 50% of those viewers watch the video in its entirety“. Another added benefit of adding a video is that sites that actually had an introductory video on their homepage saw a 10% increase in their conversion rates.

 

With your video encourage visitors to:

 

Visit other parts of your site
Share your video through social media
Act on some next steps that were mentioned in the video

 

If you still need some convincing, check out these six brands that created amazing introductory videos that will  grab your attention and reel you in.

 

6 Brands with Amazing Introductory Videos

 

1. Dollar Shave Club

 

2. Color Me Rad

 

3. Tough Mudder

 

4. Shopify

 

5. GoToMeeting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA1tGU5fHlM

 

6.Information Technology Group

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9QCMjwBh18

 

Video-guy-trans

article by:  IMpact Branding & Design

 

Digital video is one of the fastest growing formats for travel industry marketers in 2014.

According to eMarketer’s report “The U.S. Travel Industry 2014: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends,” digital video is expected to account for up to 30 percent of marketers’ total digital budgets by the end of 2014.

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And that’s little surprise when considering that branded video content is the most watched type of travel-related video watched by U.S. travelers today.

Based on a survey of almost 2,500 business and leisure travelers, branded videos were more popular than videos and trip reviews produced by experts, regular travelers, and even friends and family.

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Perhaps due to the rapid growth of the format, digital videos produced by the travel and lodging industry attract more viewers than most other industries today.

Travel and lodging-related videos attracted more than 270 million views in the fourth-quarter of 2013. View volume was beat only by the automotive and electronics industries.

Seeking to capitalize on the impressive growth, digital video publishers are creating new ways to track views and deliver more personalized messages.

One example cited in the eMarketer report explains how travel advertisers are now ending ads with real-time airfare prices based on viewers’ current locations.

 

Travel brands are using video to reach customers and build loyalty.

Released February 2014: Online video is rapidly eclipsing television as the most effective channel for travel marketing, especially for brands targeting younger demographics. What can marketers learn from the success of travel industry leaders?

  • Find out why creative video marketing is more important for airlines
  • Understand best practices for YouTube and alternative video platforms such as Vine
  • Learn how to develop a consistent, cost-effective video strategy from influential marketers

Online video is rapidly enclipsing television as the most effective channel for marketing, especially for marketers targeting younger demographics. For a largely commodified and opaque business, video marketing is more important for the airlines than most travel-related business. As a result, airlines are among the most successful producers of video marketing in the travel industry. Even the once boring in-flight safety video is assering itself as a chance to define and defferentiate the airline brand.

 

brand-awareness

Branded videos have proven effective for a variety of products and services in a variety of markets. The big issue, however, is how to create a branded video that will be effective for your product or service in your market. As you’ve already learned or suspected, there is no single formula that works in all instances. However, if you read through the ten tips below, you’ll learn how to set reasonable goals and expectations, and what it takes to produce and distribute a highly-successful branded video.

Know that Going Viral Isn’t the Only Road to Success

The current high water mark in low-budget high-traffic branded video success is the Dollar Shave Club’s first video from 2012. However, rather than being an ideal that all companies can achieve, the Dollar Shave Club video was the “perfect storm” of branded videos, according to David Murdico, creative director and managing partner at L.A.-based SuperCool Creative. “You have a disposable, consumer product that men use every day, a simple and easily explainable value proposition, a CEO with comedy training, and friends with production experience. Unless your circumstances are very similar, you shouldn’t expect similar results,” he says.

While lofty aspirations are great, it’s best to realistically look at your product or service, target market, and even your CEO, and try to come up with meaningful and achievable goals.

 

Start With a Realistic Goal

DoveWhen formulating your goals, the first decision is whether you want the video to raise brand awareness, like the Dove Real Beauty Sketches, or to sell product (Dollar Shave Club)? Obviously, both approaches can be fabulously effective, you just need to decide up front which direction you’re going.

Beyond this, the next consideration should be the value you hope the video will deliver to the customer. “Value can include information, or making viewers laugh or feeling a strong emotion, “ says Ken Gumbs, from Chicago-based production house Fresh Giants. “Just remember that once you try to create entertainment, you’re competing with movies and TV shows for the same eyeballs. The creative and production quality bars are definitely a lot higher.”

Know What You Want, But Be Flexible

Whether you produce your own video, or rely on an outside production company, you should

EpicSplit have a pretty strong idea of what you want before you get started. For example, when they walk in the door, most of Murdico’s customers have three or four existing videos that they want their video to emulate in some form or fashion. This simplifies the creative process by providing concrete examples of what customers want or don’t want.

That said, don’t be married to your initial concept. The role of the creative agency is to come up with fresh takes on how to achieve the customer’s goal. “After hearing what the customer is trying to accomplish we create three to five concepts supported by a mood board, or rough storyboard, to explain what we’re thinking,” Murdico explains. “Most brand professionals stay true to their initial concepts, which makes sense, because they’re experienced and know what they’re trying to accomplish. Clients without that brand or production experience are usually better off choosing one of our concepts.”

 

Know that B2B is Different From B2C

In Mashable’s Most-Shared Ads of 2013, 19 of the 20 ads are B2C (business to consumer), with the sole exception of the Jean-Claude Van Damme Epic Split Volvo ad, which targets buyers of tractor trailers. There’s a clear reason for this.

“The web is great for wide targeting, but B2B [business to business] companies typically have far fewer prospects than B2C companies, and usually you can reach them more effectively using other mediums,” says Josh Warner, president of video seeding company Feed Company. This isn’t to say that you can’t produce humorous or otherwise compelling B2B branded videos (for example, this IBM video Murdico created). However, when producing B2B branded videos, your expectations regarding potential viewer count and the ability to go viral just need to be adjusted downwards.

Find Viewers, Then Produce the Video

If you want to produce a video that resonates with target viewers, Gumbs recommends finding a problem they’re experiencing, or a particular area of active interest, and then producing a video that addresses it. For example, visit blogs frequented by your target viewers and find the content they’re engaged with, whether via comments, views, tweets, likes, or other social engagement. Then create a video that will address those problems, concerns, or interests.

Don’t Sweat It — There Are Few Universal Rules

 

PoopouriSome pundits say you should always minimize mentions of your brand, but the Dollar Shave Club and PooPouri brand videos do that early and often. Some experts recommend keeping videos under a minute long, but the Grand Theft Auto V: Official Gameplay Video (over 30 million views) is 4 minutes and 50 seconds, while the Dove Sketches ad (over 62 million views) is 3 minutes 1 second. The average length of Mashable’s Top 20 branded video ads for 2013 was 2:24.

Regarding branding, Murdico notes that “Audiences have gotten really smart; you don’t want to trick them, you don’t want to take them for a ride, and you don’t want them to feel like your video is an ad, unless of course, it is, like the Dollar Shave Club.” Regarding time, “As a rule, shorter is better, and 1 to 2 minutes is optimal, but if the story is really effective, you can go as long as it takes to tell the story.” Gumb recommends keeping branded videos used as pre-rolls to under 15 seconds, but feels that they can go as long as they keep providing value to the viewer.

While it’s simple to identify rules that apply to some types of videos — for example, heavy branding early on would likely have diminished the strong impact of the Dove Sketches video — there are few, if any, universal rules that apply to all videos. Have a strong vision of what you’re hoping to accomplish, and to stay true to that. If you don’t have the experience to trust your creative vision, get help.

Remember, It’s About the Customer

Humorous advertisements aside, like those for PooPourri and Dollar Shave Club, most branded videos focus on the customer and don’t trumpet product features. One great example is the series of customer-focused advertisements that IBM produced for The 2014 Masters. According to Jesse Dylan, who produced many of the advertisements, “Normally, when you do a commercial, there’s a very set structure to how they are made. Here we really had to listen to the clients to get an intrinsic understanding of where the client of IBM was coming from. And then we had to make interesting, compelling commercials that came out of those underlying interviews.” In other words, it wasn’t about producing a video that IBM wanted, it was telling the true story of how IBM helped the customer.

Particularly in a B2B setting, if you want viewers to share your video, you’re almost always better off showing how your product helped a customer than trumpeting its features and benefits. But even for B2C branded videos, most succeed because they focus on the customer, not the product itself.

Have Experience On-Hand

A successful video needs to be well-produced. This means you have to respect the process and the skills of the personnel involved. Before producing a video, Murdico follows a set process that includes creating the mood boards discussed above, finalizing a script, often (but not always) creating a storyboard, then going through a casting call and location scouting to identify the ideal actors and locations. His shoots always involve an experienced DP (director of photography) along with lighting and sound personnel, with him as director.

The less experience you have, the more you need to bring in professional resources to ensure the production quality you’ll need for your video to succeed.

Price Out the Pros

Working in L.A., most of Murdico’s large-brand productions range in price from $25,000 to $150,000, although for startups and smaller businesses that require less polish he can produce a branded video for as low as $10,000. In Chicago, Gumb’s price for simple, short productions can often be $5,000 or less. Even if you decide to produce in-house, price the cost of professional services. They may be cheaper than you think.

Buy Some Eyeballs to Go Viral

When production and editing is complete, marketing has just begun. Few super-successful brand videos have completely organic views, says the Feed Company’s Warner. Most used a video seeding company, such as the Feed Company, to prime the pump. Warner likens it to the promotional money spent launching a movie. “Even if you have the best movie ever made, if you don’t have a marketing budget to create a buzz, it’s never going to realize its full potential.”

There are two levels of paid views: pure numbers and actual qualified prospects. Both are important, says Murdico, whose company also offers blog and publication outreach and social media strategy and management. The pure numbers are simply window dressing necessary to make the video feel interesting; “Few people want to eat in an empty restaurant, and potential viewers are more likely to watch a video if it has a few thousand views.” For these types of views, companies like Virool can provide viewers with plans starting at $10.

The second level of seeding reaches well-qualified prospects who can meaningfully share the video with other well-qualified prospects, or actually buy the product being advertised. While services like Virool can help you reach these viewers, as well, expect to spend more for this level of targeting.

Beyond this, video seeding companies rely on paid placements, as well as earned media strategies such as pitching bloggers, outreaching to key influencers, leveraging potential celebrity tie-ins, and other creative marketing and social engagement strategies.

“There are thousands of videos uploaded each day,” Warner says. “To get the video seen, you need a strategic seeding plan that includes both paid views and a range of other creative marketing outreach.”

 

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  1. Every business is a multi-channel publisher now                      Whether they want to be or not, every business is in the content business now and the need for content is constant and growing. You may have thought you worked in a trucking business or a drug company, but you have additional responsibilities now that define the business in substantial ways. A whole new industry has grown up to feed the content monster in all its forms – emails, site content, interactive tools, games, video, and apps – the list is endless and it needs to be refreshed constantly with quality content. That’s a huge problem for many businesses, as evidenced by all the dumb or outdated content on the web. Marketers are charged with identifying those content needs, assessing the appropriate format, scope, and tone, supplying the content on a regular basis, measuring the impact of that content, looking for syndication partners and links, etc. The need for content adds a whole new layer of responsibility to the marketing role, and the resulting content assets are often referred to as “owned assets.”
  2. User-generated content (UGC).                                                                                  Advice and reviews, even rants, from both strangers and friends, often has more credibility and power than the message that the brand carefully crafts and places. Eliciting, tracking, and responding appropriately to that UGC may be a task shared by other departments within the organization (e.g., customer service), but it has deep marketing impact. It’s another take on the content challenge with the additional twist that the marketers don’t control the message. They can hope to “earn” good mentions by providing opportunity for dialogue, and listening and responding appropriately. That direct connection to the end user and the power shift to the consumer creates an entirely new set of challenges for marketers.
  3. Brand accountability is heightened.                                                             The consumer’s experience is defined by other consumers as well as the brand or company, and that consumer has a megaphone through social media. In fact, just one user’s experience can immediately and directly impact businesses that might have thought they were insulated. Today’s marketers have to be ever-vigilant on all fronts and switch their focus away from pushing out brand messaging. The new marketing role is about understanding the consumers’ needs, creating a good customer experience, enabling conversations and dialogue to further cement brand bonds, and learning useful tidbits that help companies meet those needs even better as they continue to evolve. Marketers have to cope with the idea that they are not in charge – not in charge of their brand message, not in charge of the conversations, not even, in some cases, in charge of their pricing models.
  4. Redefined competitive sets.                                                                      Information is freely available for research or comparison shopping and geography has less control over where you buy. This move to a less friction-prone environment redefines the competitive set for many marketers. In a very real sense, marketers now compete with businesses around the globe, that sell to different groups, or provide different services or products sometimes simply because they share some common language for consumer queries on search engines.
  5. Paid media opportunities are much more finely segmented and targeted.                                                                                                               Marketers now can personalize ads, offers, and site experiences based on all kinds of targeting parameters or captured information that qualifies prospects. That degree of precision increases relevancy and optimizes the efficiency of media spend. New technology platforms like ad exchanges and DSPs have brought down the cost of those buys as the universe of publishers offering ad space and users performing search queries has increased to provide an even richer potential field of advertising opportunities online. These media buys are also more fluid, providing better budget management as optimization pushes dollars to the most effective placements and lenient out-clauses remove a huge sunk cost from the picture.
  6. It’s all about the metrics.                                                                                 Digital marketing is very data-driven and most of the activity is highly traceable. It’s one of the reasons that budgets have swarmed to online marketing, because there is far less guessing about what is working. Even the softer measures of earned/social media get translated into KPIs and optimized mostly because we can, but also because those metrics can provide illumination and insight when used correctly. Direct marketing pros in all eras have always applied analytics to their marketing. Successful marketers in this environment should be well-prepared to collect, manipulate, analyze, and translate data as an everyday part of their world, regardless of their marketing specialty or industry.
  7. Businesses that will thrive are nimble.  They are forced to respond quickly with rapid iteration of everything from their business model or offerings to audience segments, targeting technology, new channels, and much more. Google is the classic example. Large, ponderous organizations face a tremendous challenge in adapting to this new environment that hits them in all kinds of ways from budgeting to hiring to planning on a completely new time horizon and with a pace many executives are not used to. It’s very difficult to balance that need to be nimble and iterate quickly with the need to plan. Because the opportunities are so vast now – critical and analytical thinking that leads to a sound strategy is crucially important for marketers and throughout the organization.
  8. Powerful devices and always-on access Wireless broadband access all over the world combined with powerful devices – smartphones and tablets have enabled locally relevant content as well as targeting and new “lean back” entertainment and browsing experiences, which in turn have spawned new businesses and tools to support those behaviors. Again, more work for marketers to translate and tailor content for all those experiences and to create new ways to communicate and segment across more channels, at more times, and in more modes. The always-on expectation has changed consumer attitudes regarding frequent touchpoints and given them tools to help define and control how they choose to be contacted.
  9. Marketing is bleeding into other functional areas.                                The marketing lines have blurred with other functional areas as more operational job titles interact directly with consumers through the Internet or social media. Twitter responses may be handled by customer service: some Internet channels are worked as a means to eliminate traditional costs; employees of all experience levels and from different departments may be blogging. Each touchpoint can have a marketing impact.
  10. Privacy issues Government intrusion and lobbyist efforts reflect and pour accelerant on consumer concerns about identity privacy and security attached to behaviorally-targeted and other ads including those that connect to third-party data. People who likely understand very little of the technology or the potential impact of the proposals they push may determine the future course of online advertising. Marketers now need to understand the technologies they use at a deep level in order to make good decisions about the level of targeting that is appropriate and safe, and to be a vocal advocate for the technologies that they use.

 

 

Article by Clixkz

Social media continues to move forward toward business integration, a trend that I identified last year.

In a joint study  from Booz Allen and social platform developer Buddy Media, 57 percent of businesses surveyed plan to increase social media spending, while 38 percent of CEO’s label social as a high priority.

I was also partially accurate in predicting that Google would “strike back” in 2011. They did, with Google Plus, a formidable initiative that acts as Google’s “social layer” to the Web. Part social network and part social search, Google Plus has industry observers scratching their heads, wondering if Facebook will be given a run for their money or if the service evolves into something complimentary in a highly social Web.

I had one big swing-and-miss on Facebook’s intrusion in the location-based services war. While Facebook still supports location tracking in a number of ways, it has not put Foursquare out of business. Foursquare still enjoys a niche audience of highly active participants who enjoy telling the world where they are and post pictures to prove it. It is however worth noting that Facebook recently acquired location based network Gowalla, so continue to watch this space.

So what can we expect in 2012 in a world that seems to grow ever connected by the hour? Here are six predictions to ponder, in no particular order:

Convergence Emergence. For a glimpse into how social will further integrate with “real life,” we can look at what Coca Cola experimented with all the way back in 2010. Coke created an amusement park where participants could “swipe” their RFID-equipped wristbands at kiosks, which posted to their Facebook account what they were doing and where. Also, as part of a marketing campaign, Domino’s Pizza posted feedback — unfiltered feedback — on a large billboard in Times Square, bringing together real opinions from real people pulled from a digital source and displayed in the real world. These types of “trans-media” experiences are likely to define “social” in the year to come.

The Cult of Influence.

In much the same way that Google has defined a system that rewards those who produce findable content, there is a race on to develop a system that will reward those who wield the most social influence. One particular player has emerged, Klout, determined to establish their platform as the authority of digital influence. Klout’s attempt to convert digital influence into business value underscores a much bigger movement which we’ll continue to see play out in the next year. To some degree everyone now has some digital influence (not just celebrities, academics, policy makers or those who sway public opinion). But for the next year, the cult of influence becomes less about consumer plays like Klout and more about the tools and techniques professionals use to “score” digital influence and actually harness, scale and measure the results of it.

Gamification Nation.

No we’re not taking about video games. Rather, game-like qualities are emerging within a number of social apps in your browser or mobile device. From levels, to leaderboards, to badges or points, rewards for participation abound. It’s likely that the trend will have to evolve given how competition for our time and attention this gaming creates. Primarily, gamification has been used in consumer settings, but look for it in other areas from HR, to government, healthcare and even business management. Perhaps negotiating your next raise will be tied to your position on the company’s digital leaderboard.

Social Sharing.

Ideas, opinions, media, status updates are all part of what makes social media a powerful and often disruptive force. The media industry was one of the first to understand this, adding sharing options to content, which led to more page views and better status in search results. What comes next in social sharing is more closely aligned with e-commerce or web transactions. For example, Sears allows a user to share a product or review with their networks directly from the site. Sharing that vacation you just booked, or recommending a product, or service from any site to a social network is where sharing goes next. We probably don’t know what we are willing to share until we see the option to do it.

Social Television.

For many of us, watching television is already a social act, whether it’s talking to the person next to you, or texting, tweeting, and calling friends about what you’re watching. But television is about to become a social experience in a bigger and broader sense. The X Factor nowallows voting via Twitter and highlights other social promotions, which encourages viewers to tap social networks while they watch. Another way media consumption is becoming social comes from a network called Get Glue which acts as something of a Foursquare for media. Participants can “check-in” to their favorite shows (or other forms of media) and collect stickers to tell the world what programs they love. Watch for more of this this year as ratings rise for socially integrated shows.

The Micro Economy.

Lastly as we roll into 2012, watch for a more social approach to solving business problems through a sort of micro-economy. Kickstarter gives anyone with a project, the opportunity to get that initiative funded by those who choose to (and patrons receive something in return). A crowdsourcing platform for would be inventors called Quirky lets the best product ideas rise to the top and then helps them get produced and sold while the “inventor” takes a cut. Air BnB turns homes into hotels and travelers into guests, providing both parties with an opportunity to make and save money. These examples may point to a new future reality where economic value is directly negotiated and exchanged between individuals over institutions.

Article by:

David Armano

DAVID ARMANO

David Armano is EVP, Global Innovation & Integration, at Edelman Digital, the interactive arm of global communications firm Edelman. You can follow him on Twitter at @armano.