6 Up and Coming Social Networks to Watch This Year

Posted by IAB Australia On February 02, 2015

While the big social media networks enjoy the lion’s share of consumer attention, a growing cohort of upcoming social networks are steadily picking up members. Many of the social networks with the highest growth rates offer a twist to the mainstream offerings, steadily carving out niches in areas such as location, journalism, audio and dating. The following are our pick of the social media networks to watch in 2015.


Yik Yak is a social media app that allows users to anonymously create and see “Yaks” in their immediate geographical area. Smartphone capabilities of GPS and instant messaging are combined to allow users to participate in a live feed of what people are saying around them. Users are able to join in conversations with people nearby while maintaining privacy. Users are rewarded with “Yakarma” points for posting Yaks that are “upvoted” by fellow community members nearby. I think this network will continue to grow in popularity, however the anonymous nature of the site and early cases of cyber-bullying may mean this app stays confined to small pockets of users.


Rinbw is a video phonebook app that organizes contact information into silent 5 second looping video statuses. The app allows users to create and broadcast non-serious moments from their life to their closest friends. Once a Rinbw video is viewed, a user can respond by calling/messaging the sender, or by having the option to ‘fruit’ the video as a compliment to the sender. With smartphones as a window into our personal lives, I like the novelty and fun twist on what is otherwise a boring list of contacts.

Space Tag

Space Tag is a new social media platform launching soon allowing users to create tags in real-world locations. Utilizing location data from the user’s smartphone, the app provides an opportunity for users to leave digital notes with photos for others to find. Usesr take a photo, add a note to the post and share it on SpaceTag for others to find when they stumble upon the same location. Users can scan the area they’re in with their smartphone and find virtual green dots indicating SpaceTags left in that location. I think SpaceTag seems a promising social network that combines location with multimedia and social interactivity.


Medium is a social publishing platform founded by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. Medium was designed to allow users to publish content longer than the 140 character limit imposed by Twitter. Initially popular with professional writers and thinkers, the platform has grown in mainstream popularity and is now a hub for social journalism. Medium allows users to share and recommend stories to their contacts, allowing a trusted stream of curated content. I think Medium offers an amazing opportunity to uncover talented writers and provide a new medium of exposure.


Bubbly is a voice powered social platform that works across feature phones and smartphones. Users create their own voice blog up to 90 seconds in length with effects and filters to enhance audio recordings. Users can listen to voice recordings from other users and celebrity accounts including popular musicians, singers and comedians. The company is based in Singapore, with 40 million active users mainly across South-East Asia but expanding rapidly in other markets. I expect that as soon as more celebrities in western markets start utilizing the platform, anything can happen.


Coffee Meets Bagel is an online dating app, but I’ll list it here anyway due to the convergence of dating sites and social media. The app utilizes Facebook information to aid in identifying meaningful, interested matches rather than pure volume. Coffee Meets bagel delivers one match ‘Bagel’ each day at noon. In a similar fashion to Tinder, members can Like or Pass their bagel. Once matched, both parties are linked on an anonymous phone line where they can SMS. If they choose to meet in real life, discount offers at local venues are offered. I think this is a great example of a dating service that utilizes the best features of current social apps and smartphone features by integrating imagery, location, friends and real-world locations.

The above list is a subset of a growing number of upcoming social media sites. Although most of the newer networks do not yet offer paid media opportunities, marketers should stand up and pay attention to the continually fragmented media landscape. The increasing popularity of newer properties encroaching on the mainstream sites is evident of a dynamic and evolving digital consumer market. Brands should listen to what matters to consumers and potentially explore ways to engage in relevant conversation beyond the mainstream social networks.

Jeff Tan is Digital Strategy Director at Vizeum.

IAB Australia

IAB Australia is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally and with a rapidly growing membership, the role of the IAB is to support sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising across all platforms in Australia.