For the third consecutive year, Apple tops the list of most innovative companies.
Finding Your Niche
While it's no secret most companies understand the role social media can play in an effective business plan--recent numbers indicate many have moved past just the heavyweights like Facebook and Twitter.
A recent study by the global information company Experian showed Instagram and Pinterest as leaders among the so-called "niche" networks--with year-over-year growth of 17,319 percent and 5124 percent in North America, respectively. In fact, a different report from Seattle-based Simply Measured showed 40 percent of Interbrand 100 companies--an annual ranking by the New York-based brand consultancy group of the top brands in the world--are active on Instagram.
While that may pale in comparison to the number of those same companies on Twitter and Facebook--more than 90 percent--it seems to indicate these networks may be outgrowing their niche label.
James Murray, Experian's digital insights manager, said it is those sites' different, almost alternative feel, that is key to their success.
"Their success can be attributed to the fact that they haven't tried to be 'another Facebook,'" Murray said. "Instead, they have both identified a gap in the market and used the scale of Facebook to reach consumers."
Murray said these types of niche, intimate networks are likely to become more popular in the near future.
"Expect to see a proliferation of niche social networks over the next 12 months offering deeper functionality and greater engagement," he said.
That growth could be good for businesses, as aspiring sites such as NextDoor--which connects neighbors--or Dribble--a community of designers--can offer more opportunities for businesses trying to target more specialized segments of people with a particular interest.