How The Recession Will Impact Social Apps -- And The Kardashians

With big social apps like Twitter and Snapchat reporting much-weaker-than-expected ad revenues, and with the macroeconomic picture -- how shall I say this, lacking in visibility -- I decided to ask an expert on the economics of media what the gray clouds portend for both established apps, as well as new and emerging ones.

"Social media apps may feel the burn, but traditional media will feel disintegrated," predicts Dustin York, an assistant professor of communication at Maryville University who follows the economics of media.

"I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the final string holding together some linear cable television," he added, noting that while traditional media may have the most exposure, digital media -- especially social apps -- will definitely see some belt-tightening too, mainly because almost all of their revenue comes from advertising, too.

Another big casualty, he predicts, will be a decline in sponsored ads for big-name Kardashian-level influencers, with increasing focus on "micro-influencers, trend-jacking, and the reemergence of user-generated content strategies."

In terms of new and emerging app developers, York sees some mixed signals, noting, "Some of the most innovative companies we still have today were created or excelled during an economic downtown."

Among his biggest bets, he says, will be changes in social app algorithms, especially a shift toward results based on "entertainment rather than engagement."

He says the recession will also accelerate more private group social-sharing, and will continue to boost streaming, as well as esports.

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