What’s the future of social media? Four emerging social media sites to keep an eye on

January 30th, 2019

At the Future Content Sessions on February 6th, our panel of experts will be making predictions as to what the future of social media will be.

They will also be taking a look at some of the new platforms that have emerged in the last couple of years.

Launching a social media platform that gets any traction against the big players is a very difficult task, yet in recent years that hasn’t stopped the likes of Vero, Mastodon and Steemit getting more than a foothold in the social world.

Here are a few others to keep an eye out for.

Twitch

Although it can hardly be referred to as a startup as it has been existence for over half a decade, Twitch is becoming a platform that many marketers are keeping a close eye on. Owned by Amazon it was until fairly recently largely the preserve of gamers sharing their footage with fellow players.

Image result for twitch

There is, however, something of a backlash against YouTube at the moment among members of the creator community who are displeased with its recent moves to limit advertising, as well as its ‘apparent censorship’ of some controversial video bloggers. This has meant that a growing number of video creators have begun experimenting with Twitch. And on their coattails are a number of brands including KFC, which has teamed up with high profile Twitcher DrLupo, and EA which is working with gamer RoryPlays. What level of resources they will plough into the platform is anyone guess for now, but Twitch boasts a growing number of prominent and creative influencers keen to work with brands, and this can give companies a foothold in a potentially important online community.

DTube

Billed as the anti-YouTube, because of its fiercely cherished independence, DTube is an offshoot of the blockchain based social network Steemit. As DTube is built on the blockchain it is decentralised – which basically means that no one has control of what people upload and send. This has captured the imagination of a small, but noisy group of content creators who believe that YouTube’s regulations are limiting what they can post. The slightly concerning part of DTube for brands is that once something is posted it can’t be taken down.

While it seems very unlikely that anyone but the edgiest of brands would use DTube for content marketing, its decentralised approach does provide a few clues as to how video platforms might develop in the future. DTube is unlikely to be the only platform of its kind (decentralised and on the blockchain) for long, and there may be similar sites that are more brand friendly on their way.

Tik TokImage result for tik tok

If you have pre-teens in your life chances are you know a thing or two about Tik Tok. A short form video site (the videos are up to 15 seconds long) which is in some ways the successor to platforms like Vine and Periscope, Tik Tok used to be known as Musical.ly.

Its core USPs are the array of filters and stickers that it offers its young creators, and secondly, well that it isn’t Snapchat or Instagram which appeals to some groups who like to find a platform to call their own. The site is doing well too with around 100 million downloads of its app – many in the US at the end of 2018. It recently worked with Guess on its first bit of branded content harnessing the power of the growing number of influencers that use the platform.

Caffeine

Launched in early 2018 by a team that had previously worked for Apple Caffeine is a heavily venture capital backed platform that aims to deliver a social broadcasting platform and community for live entertainment, creative arts and especially gaming. Users show what they are doing in real time on their feed.

Its developers have billed it as more of a social platform than its rivals. Co-founder Ben Keighran told TechCrunch “Unlike Twitch and YouTube, we have a people-centric model where we’re more like a social network,” says Keighran. On Caffeine, users follow other people, like friends from Facebook or Twitter or other streamers they like, he explains. “This creates a much more personal experience.”

If Caffeine focus on gamers the opportunity could well be huge. Although Twitch is popular it only attracts a small fraction of gamers worldwide. As for the relationship with brands, one opportunity might come through tie-ups with esports competitions. The potential of this has already excited the broadcaster Fox which pumped $100 million into the company in September. It may be early days for Caffeine but it is clearly a platform to watch.

Ashley Norris, Consultant Editor, The CMA

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