Life is a funny old thing especially when focusing on social behaviour.
While the ‘how’ of communication will always change alongside technological and social advancement, the basic needs will most likely remain the same.
Identifying early adopter shifts within the online social landscape can potentially lead to some interesting opportunities that may let you reach those elusive smaller niche audiences before your competitors.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion (bear with me!) states that “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” and funnily enough it’s sort of true across our online social lives (sort of!).
History and literature shows us time and time again that where there is mass consensus we will find a sizable reactionary element rejecting the norm and opposing the status quo. Would anyone have gone to see Star Wars without the rebel alliance making regular sorties against the all-powerful Empire? Why do we continue to support our local football team when they will always languish in the lower divisions? I suppose it’s just human nature.
Logic and economics therefore dictates if the mass market is already covered via social networks such as Facebook, untapped potential demand must lay in elements directly opposite to these large social behemoths.
WhatsApp is a great example for consideration, happily building a large user base of private messaging networks outside of advertisements and locational tracking... until being bought by Facebook for $19bn.
While the majority of users will remain for now, the impending monetisation will no doubt drive many to seek alternatives, and the more savvy rejecters have already left for more data secure alternatives.
BlackBerry’s recent investment in developing BBM messenger across multiple platforms is suddenly starting to make sense. Original core brand values of sending secure instant messages are finding resurgence with 40 million users - and counting across iPhone and Android apps.
Taking this concept to the extreme, the ‘marketing grail’ would be a totally anonymous network with no advertising, location tracking and monetisation of any kind! Sounds great but unfortunately I would imagine far from economically viable in the medium to long term.
Instead, evolution as opposed to revolution offers a more successful formula. By focusing on a single element and re-working to provide something unique, desirable and more importantly, different.
‘Snapchat’ for example keeps the element of location but plays on the subject of anonymity.
Another more recent entrant into the anti-social online space, ‘Cloak’ takes locational information and turns it on its head tracking your “friends” locational data via other social networks and posting to your map so you can avoid them!
2014 will no doubt see a continuing growth in this ‘Anti-Social’ sector as innovators strive to reach new potential markets outside of the mainstream, offering some potentially interesting opportunities to reach new audiences.
Undoubtedly however the big money machines will eventually roll in as user bases grow to higher volumes, driving innovation and opportunities elsewhere and continuing the social merry-go-round (after all it is what makes life interesting!).
If you are interested in learning more about reaching specific or niche audiences why not contact our media team for more information.