The social landscape will become "radically" different within two years as a result of consolidation and new entrants in the market, according to a report released Monday.
In the report "The Four Social Marketing Tools You Need" Forrester analyst Nate Elliott describes how acquisitions will help companies like Adobe, Lithium Technologies and Salesforce acquire the missing pieces that link the social value chain. "Companies not innovating will become swallowed or trampled by larger players from outside the social space," he predicts.
U.S. advertisers will spend $4.1 billion on paid social media ads this year, rising to $5.04 billion in 2014, according to eMarketer. While brands will spend billions, many are still struggling to find technology support.
In the next 24 months, he believes the social listening category will die, companies focusing on social services will face increasing competition from outside the space, and measurement will emerge in its own category.
The increase in outside competition points to the biggest 2013 buzzword -- multichannel marketing -- for brands like Datapop, Covario, IgnitionOne, Kenshoo, Marin Software and The Search Agency, some of the biggest independent search agencies and platform providers.
Search marketers are also thinking about how to integrate social and mobile. IgnitionOne released a report Monday -- The Integrated Marketing Playbook" -- which outlines cross-channel optimization. Social and search marketing flow natural together because brand marketers believe their companies are "social by design," it contends.
Social dialogue increasingly makes consumers part of building the brand, and brands are taking that conversation to TV. Earlier this month, Twitter acquired social TV analytics firm Bluefin Labs. It followed a deal with Nielsen in December to create the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating using the SocialGuide platform.