By Steve Goldner | @SocialSteve | Senior Director, Social Media Marketing
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt of an op-ed that was originally published in Advertising Age.
In 1995, Gartner introduced its renowned hype cycle to show different stages of introduction of new technologies. Gartner’s hype cycle provides a research-backed antidote to what is often a searing level of hype surrounding many new technology and media products. The value for marketers is even clearer: The hype cycles serve as an objective guidebook for measuring the success (and inevitable downfall) of new-product launches.
One market that has yet to receive the hype cycle treatment is social media. What might that hype cycle look like if it examined one of the fastest growing marketing sectors in history?
It’s time to examine what I call the “Social Media Hype Cycle.” Doing so will help brands and marketers better understand the seesaw pattern of how social networks and platforms rise and fall in popularity and usage and how that affects companies’ advertising spend and online engagement strategies.
The Gartner Hype Cycle: Cliff Notes Version
Gartner has applied its unique hype-cycle research model to in more than 100 industries, technologies and services, including advertising, social software and what it calls “Web and User Interaction Technologies.”
The Gartner Hype Cycle examines five stages of a technology, starting with a “technology trigger” through to “peak of inflated expectations,” “trough of disillusionment,” “slope of enlightenment” and “plateau of productivity.” The degree of visibility and interest follow a curve as shown below.
According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle theory, every new technology experiences a period of continuous hype growth, followed immediately by a strong downward trend in the expectation and viability of that particular technology sector. Finally, there is a gradual increase toward productivity.