With the way our current social media is diluted with various websites that are geared towards making friends and meeting up with old ones, it is hard to say if Facebook will really end up being the champion in the end. Not since the Google explosion has the there been an Internet trend that is so widespread in its popularity. The comparison with the Google growth is in fact one that is made by many industry observers, and while there are a number of clear similarities, there are also some important differences that can easily be seen through this mess of internet growth.
It is expected that by early 2014, all the various social media sites will have more than 1 billion members. That number is predicted to grow until somthing new comes out with a leveling off on the number of new members expected by 2015. The combined revenue from these sites, which in 2011 reached almost $2.5 billion, is estimated to balloon to a whopping $10 billion by the end of 2012.
The overall membership numbers in social media sites varies greatly from area to area. The country of Asia accounts for the lion’s share of users, with 35% of the total users expected by the end of 2012. EMEA accounts for about 28% of all users, North America follows closely with 25% percent, and the Caribbean and Latin America trails behind with 12% of all users. With the inevitable crowding of the social media site industry, many observers feel that consolidation of the market is a sure thing. This has given rise to some predictions that the smaller individual social media sites will be swallowed up by the bigger players in the field. Some experts feel however that this is not necessarily the case. In particular, social media sites with a focus on special interests are expected to survive the trend towards consolidation.
All of this massive hype and wonder perhaps is what inspires the comparison to the Google boom, but in the midst of all the buzz, there is a certain degree of trepidation felt by many as well. While many investors are naturally excited about the potential of social media sites, the fact that these types of web sites have not been proven for the long term is causing some hesitation. The promise of riding on the wave of the next big Internet phenomenon is a tempting prospect, but it is tempered by the uncertainty of social media sites as a long term sustainable industry. The most cautious industry observers have even gone so far as to suggest that most social media sites would do well to hold off on an IPO for the time being and see what shares start off the bidding should Facebook or even Twitter go the IPO route.
Have no fear, future start-up dreamer: the future of social media is just as bright as ever and at this relatively early stage of the game, considering that many social media sites seem to be going up and offering interesting features, such as Pinterest. What companies and investors should do however is to adapt their approach to be prepared for the changes that will inevitably come in the future and even involve daily business within the mix of social media.
About The Author
Greg Henderson, a California-based businessman with over 11 years in SEO/SEM, provided this piece based on personal endeavors and education in search engine optimization with a concentration on content optimization for the social media future. His current projects include a Public Records site PublicRecordSources.com, and a background check site SnoopStation.com.