I’ll save my thoughts on why that whole affair is Dennis Rodman’s fault for another time, but now, as promised, I must publicly take a look that at other, more difficult, predictions -- namely the ones I made a year ago in regard to Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube for 2014. (Part 1, my look back at my 2014 predictions for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Myspace and Pinterest, is here.)
OK -- gulp -- here goes:
Prediction for Snapchat in 2014: “Snapchat will get bought -- and quickly -- by an entity that will relish paying less than it would have otherwise, all while salvaging Snapchat’s reputation.” [I was referring here to a security breach at Snapchat that was big news at the time.] Whatever the case, it’s hard to see this turning into an advertising platform -- in 2014, or any other year -- both because its content almost always goes away, and because when it doesn’t, it’s not a good thing.”
The Unvarnished Truth About Snapchat in 2014: Let’s just say that in my prediction about Snapchat, I doubled down on being wrong. Not only was Snapchat not bought in 2014, it actually became a hot advertising platform, if more in the sense of buzz than actual $$$ bills. In October, Universal Pictures became the platform’s first official advertiser, promoting the horror film, “Ouija,” and during the course of the year, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, the NBA, GrubHub and Audi, among others, all experimented with Snapchat. Time to strip the Social Media Insider of her credentials? Read on and decide!
Prediction for Tumblr in 2014: “Will Tumblr be the new Pinterest, or will Pinterest be the new Tumblr? Complain if you want about me equating the two, but many advertisers will use them for the exact same objective: as galleries for the best visuals that communicate their brand. Will those brands pay the platforms for the privilege? Not always.”
The Unvarnished Truth About Tumblr in 2014: Tumblr disappointed me this year by going lowbrow. Not what I expected. It introduced app-install ads last month. Hooray! … for app-install ads! And then there was that move in June to have Tumblr ads run as sponsored posts within parent property, Yahoo. Hooray! … for Yahoo! And then there was that autoplay video ad rollout in October, all so Tumblr can reach $100 million in ad revenue some time in 2015. Hooray! … for the beleaguered Marissa Mayer?! Synopsis: in 2014, most of Tumblr’s ad model pursuits were literally that -- ad models that simply pursued ad models already established by its competitors. Not exactly inspiring, which is what Tumblr is supposed to be known for.
Prediction for Twitter in 2014: “When it comes to advertising, expect it to strike more deals like the one it signed with ESPN back in May, which let advertisers buy joint sponsorships across TV and Twitter. Another prediction: Twitter will find a way to integrate tweets and TV viewing into a one-screen experience. Just don’t ask me how.”
The Unvarnished Truth About Twitter in 2014: On this prediction, I’d say I was right, but in the wrong direction. Twitter did keep emphasizing TV, over and over again – particularly The World Cup -- but did it sign another deal like the one it had with ESPN? Not that I could find. Instead, the platform’s media deals tended to be more in the TV measurement realm, as it signed partnerships with Kantar, GfK and Nielsen. And as for that one-screen Twitter experience? I guess, just like me, they haven’t figured it out, either.
Prediction for Vine in 2014: “An advertiser somewhere will create a 30-second ad for TV that is actually five consecutive Vines, perhaps as soon as the 2014 Super Bowl. They will mistakenly think this is the greatest idea ever.
The Unvarnished Truth About Vine in 2014: I was off by a few months, but in August, Hewlett-Packard did create a 30-second spot made up entirely of Vines. Need I say more? Thanks, H-P!
Prediction for YouTube in 2014: “YouTube, noticing the success of Netflix with 'House of Cards' and 'Orange Is the New Black' will go into original content -- the difference, of course, being that on YouTube, it’s ad-supported.”
The Unvarnished Truth About YouTube in 2014: YouTube has been talking about beefing up original content since at least last summer. Where the reality differs from my prediction is that the focus, right now, seems to be on funding content from YouTube stars themselves, rather than Hollywood types. That’s OK, because Hollywood is currently too distracted by the Sony hacking scandal -- and whether their nasty emails will surface because of it -- to be worried about lil ol’ YouTube. However -- and it’s a big, beautiful however -- last month YouTube hired Kelly Merryman as vice president of content partnerships. Where did she work before? Netflix!
Phew. Glad I could end this column on a high note after that Snapchat disaster. With that, happy holidays to all!