Social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk dishes on what he sees in his crystal ball:
1. “I definitely predict that there will be a new photo/social network that we literally don’t even know right now that by this time next year will have 100 million users,” Gary Vaynerchuk says, thanks to the speed at which apps can grow, the infrastructure of the app store and the mobile world we now live in. Consider this precedent: Vine—Twitter’s mobile app that lets users create and post six-second looping video clips—didn’t exist on New Year’s Day 2013, but by October counted 40 million users.
2. “I’m very hot on Vine,” says Vaynerchuk, who co-founded the Grape Story talent agency, representing stars who appear in Vine videos. Vine one day could deliver marketers more value than YouTube, as it provides companies a low-cost way to flirt with customers, suggests a Harvard Business Review blog post by Ron Faris, head of a new Virgin startup company focused on social commerce. Sponsoring a Vine video can cost a few thousand dollars, yet it can attract “likes” from tens of thousands of people, particularly fickle millennials. Example in action: Virgin Mobile held a contest for Vine to see who could make a funny six-second phone ad. Winning clips were turned into a TV ad that appeared on Comedy Central.
3. Expect a big year for wearable devices. Google Glass won’t be on everyone’s head yet, and smartwatches won’t be on everyone’s wrists, but “we’re going to continue to go in that direction,” Vaynerchuk predicts.
4. Expect continued disruption in real world/tech world integration. Examples: Uber, the phone app that connects users with a limo or taxi, and Airbnb, the website that lets travelers rent rooms in the homes of average people. “I think we’ll see HUGE growth” in real-world uses for technology, Vaynerchuk says.
5. Retail will continue to get disrupted by marketplace innovation. Things like DogVacay.com, likened to Airbnb for dogs, and Kitchensurfing, which lets users easily hire a chef to cook a meal in their homes, will be joined by more novel concepts. It’s “the eBayification of our society” with niches, Vaynerchuk says.