Disruption of how you read articles online
Facebook shook the industry by introducing Instant Articles, a platform that aims to revolutionize how we read articles in the web by drastically reducing the load times. This is why they term them as Instant Articles since they load instantaneously while showing the full text and graphics that are contained in the article. Several publishers have signed up to the platform and also to Google’s upcoming Accelerated Mobile Pages platform that is slated to be released this year.
Social media has given people a platform to post their opinions and some of them could be against the government. This has led to some social networks like Facebook and Twitter notifying users against what they term as “state sponsored attacks” so that you can secure your account. These sort of notifications and reports by major social networks might be highlighted this year
Increased ad spending on social networks
Brands have taken a keen interest in placing ads across social networks due to the massive interest by internet users, especially millennials. This is so apparent in that some networks like Instagram and Facebook are projected to make quite a killing from this. Paired with the recent surge by social networks into e-commerce, platforms like Pinterest are bolstering their platforms to get a secure foothold although currently, Facebook is leading the pack. However, the increased ad placement in these social networks has its merits and faults too when you consider how they are integrated into the platform. Generally, people don’t like persistent or ugly ads and a good example of well placed ads is what Instagram is doing with their sponsored posts strategy. Snapchat on the other hand has miniscule revenue when compared to its peers but has an interesting ad strategy and this sort of out of the box thinking can make or break social networks this year.
Look out for expanding capabilities of Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger has grown up to be its own platform, which includes its own app platform that has games and interesting additions like Uber integration. It also has Facebook M, the virtual assistant that is purposely made to be a digital concierge of sorts where users can order goods via Messenger and among other things. Facebook’s head also commented about the development of Messenger where he says that it is only 1% complete so you can be sure a lot of new things will be added into its already burgeoning platform.
Video calling on WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a major chatting platform with 900 million active users, yet it doesn’t have video calling like its sibling Messenger and like the legendary Skype. However, earlier reports indicate that the feature may be on the way. Since voice calling has drawn criticism from telcos around the world, video calling may even spur more action from them as they seek WhatsApp to be regulated by local authorities
Increased use of social media in Kenya
Internet users in Kenya has been on an upward trend where as of now, there are 32 million users which is a substantial increase from last year’s count. 5 million Kenyans use Facebook and over a million each use Twitter and LinkedIn. What is different in this year is that next year will be an election year and this means people will air out their opinions on these platforms. The political class will step up their social media game to convince these online voters for the impending elections and the voters in return will voice their opinions about them and current affairs.
Connecting the unplugged population
The current world population is north of 7.3 billion people of which 3.2 billion use the internet. This means a majority of people out there are not connected to the internet and this has prompted the likes of Facebook and Google to come up with ways to connect them. Facebook has Internet.org program which was later renamed to Free Basics which paired with initiatives to connect the unplugged using satellites and also drones. In the case of Google, they have Project Loon, which uses high altitude balloons to connect people from remote areas to the internet.