There is no denying that 2019 was a huge year for social media. Facebook introduced a series of changes to regulate ads; Instagram removed Likes; Twitter banned political advertisements and TikTok grew at an exponential rate. One year on, the social media landscape is vastly different now from what it was at the beginning of 2019.
Social media refuses to slow down and it looks like huge changes are on the horizon in 2020. With the first two months of 2020 finished, we wanted to give our predictions on the trends and changes coming to social media.
Ephemeral content, aka Instagram and Snapchat Stories, will continue gaining popularity. Back in 2018, Chris Cox – Facebook’s chief product officer claimed that “the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.”
It would appear that this prediction has now become a reality with a recent report claiming that social users in 2020 are 62% more likely to interact with a brand if they saw that brand in a story over a feed post. With these figures in mind, it’s clear that brands need to be using Stories as an essential part of their content marketing. We would even go so far as to say that Stories now need to be the focus for brands on their social channels.
We might also witness a slowing in the growth of the traditional forms of social (E.g. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), as sign ups to new completely ephemeral alternatives increase. Namely, TikTok. The platform now has 500 million users worldwide and is currently the most downloaded app on the Apple app store. Another statistic that indicates the impending rise of TikTok is that in the last 18 months, the number of users has grown 5.5 times. This is one of the sharpest increases in a user base in social media history and indicates that this platform is the future. Whether it is used in tandem with more traditional forms of social media or completely takes over, only time will tell. What we do know is that TikTok is here to stay and must be considered by brands in their 2020 strategies.
With evidence suggesting that attention spans are set to become shorter in 2020, it will be essential for brands to personalise their messaging across social channels. In 2020, grabbing the audiences’ attention through personalisation is the key to starting a relationship and then maintaining it online. Trust is everything as target demographics become increasingly digital. It is the tailoring of a brand’s content that will create and solidify this trust.
We predict advanced technology playing a greater role in this personalisation. Brands are set to invest more in AI tools and algorithms that allow them to personalise their content on social. The key messaging and storytelling around brand purpose and values will, however, remain in the hands of human marketeers.
This kind of personalisation will also need to extend to how brands utilise influencers on each of their platforms. Instagram users have wisened up to the tropes of influencer marketing. Despite this, influencer marketing continues to be a popular method of brand communications and it isn’t going anywhere. The difference in 2020 will see brands leaning more heavily on micro-influencers, who have a more authentic, engaged audience.
It’s the nature of social media to evolve and we foresee it evolving exponentially. What we have seen over the past year is the reduction in people’s attention spans. This is the biggest causal factor for change in 2020, impacting on the types of social media individuals use. It will impact the type of personalisation they expect from brands and the influencers they interact with as well.
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