2018 was a year of lasting impacts on the social media industry. The year began with apost from Mark Zuckerbergannouncing the biggest algorithm update Facebook had ever seen. Then, news of theCambridge Analytica scandalbroke and the GDPR went into effect. There were positive changes for marketers as well. With the expansion of shoppable Instagram, huge growth of the Stories format and the launch of IGTV, marketers had more ways than ever to connect and engage with consumers.
Even in an industry marked by fast change, 2018 will go down in history as a big year for social media and all of the marketers who use it to sell their products or services. Now that we’re into the second quarter, 2019 is also shaping up to be a year of change. While we may not have a crystal ball, we can already start to see what the big trends in social media will be. Here are our top 10 trends for 2019.
At the end of 2018,400 million userswere actively using Instagram stories every day. And that number is only growing. Users are responding to the ephemeral and unpolished nature of the platform. According to Instagram, they’ve learned that younger audiences, in particular, are “spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals(Instagram).” This shift in content consumption has led to the social platform investing heavily in Stories and IGTV.
So what’s next for Stories in 2019? While Instagram Stories have been widely adopted by brands, only aroundnine percent of major brandspost to Facebook Stories. As with most features on Facebook, there is typically an advantage to being an early adopter. Facebook is encouraging brands to post to Stories in order to consistently engage with their audience, making it very easy – you can automatically post to Facebook Stories from Instagram – and offering Stories a premium placement in the app.
“When anyone in your audience misses a post, when they log on to Facebook, your story will be visible to them at the top of their newsfeed. It’s a great way to reengage a passive audience and bring updates to your entire audience in a dynamic way.” (Facebook)
Looking for more information on how to make the most of your Stories? Check out these resources:
In 2018, marketers produced more social ads than ever before and increased their budgets by32%. One out of every four Facebook Pages now use paid advertising as part of their social media strategy and Facebook accounts for23% of total U.S. digital ad spending. All of these numbers suggest that not only is social advertising around to stay, but competition will only get more intense.
In 2019 the success with social advertising will mean that making investments beyond advertising budgets. In an interview withAdWeek, Hootsuite CMO Penny Wilson stated,“Progressive brands are recognizing the importance of pairing ad money with an equivalent investment of time, creativity and targeting savvy.”
Need ideas to supercharge your ads strategy? Read our9 tips to maximize the impact of your social ads.
According to a recent report fromStatista, more than 50% of digital videos are now viewed on mobile in vertical format. This is a trend that has been moving in a consistently upward direction since 2013.
It’s this trend that influenced the launch of Facebook Watch in 2017 andIGTVin 2018. And it’s this same trend that will make 2019 the year of social TV. By 2021, Instagram reports that mobile video will account for78% of total mobile data traffic.
IGTV offers marketers a place to share mobile first, long-form video within the Instagram platform. While it’s still early days for this feature, brands should consider adding it to their 2019 strategy to feel the benefits of being an early adopter.
Groups took off in 2018 as a way for brands to connect directly with fans without the algorithm affecting their posts. They’ve been used not only as aquick feedbacktool but also as to support engagement and build authentic conversations.
As of 2018, Facebook reported that200 million peopleare members of ‘meaningful’ Facebook Groups. (Meaningful is defined as a group that significantly improves their experience on the social platform.)
After a year of scandal, trust in social media companies has never been lower.Users have grown distrustfulof influencers andfake followers, relying instead on immediate friends, family, and acquaintances on social media, as well as traditional journalism outlets.
For brands, efforts should shift from maximizing reach on social media to nurturing trust. It will be important to invest in transparency, community building and creating personalized interactions.Four in 10 consumerssay they are unlikely to become emotionally attached to a brand unless they are interacting via social media, but in 2019 consumers are looking for those interactions to be authentic and personalized.
Speaking of personalization, audience segmentation will be a big trend in 2019. Segmentation isn’t a new buzz word, but as marketers we’re conditioned to think of it primarily as an email marketing tactic. This year, the savviest marketers will also incorporate segmentation into their social media strategies.
Through traditional engagement, messaging apps and Facebook groups brands have plenty of tools to create more intimate conversations with customers. Additionally, Instagram’s newClose Friendsfeature allows brands to share exclusive content to a specific customer list, for example, loyal fans or top buyers.
As we mentioned above, both consumers and brands are becoming increasingly wary of fake influencers and followers. As a response, more brands are looking to their employees to help build awareness. Employee advocates are also effective at increasing reach by tapping into their networks of friends and family, creating authentic connections and humanizing brands. There’s strong data to support these claims: employee-created content receives8 times more engagementthan content shared from the company itself and61% of consumersare more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend or family member compared to a celebrity endorsement.
Is your brand looking to create an employee advocacy program? Products likeBambuhelp encourage amplification by allowing companies to internally distribute shareable content.
Messaging services continue to grow – the top messaging apps nowcombine for nearly 5 billion monthly active users. That’s more users than traditional social networks have worldwide.
And consumers are embracing the platforms as a means of getting in touch with customer service. In a2018 survey of 8,000 peopleconducted by Facebook, 69% of respondents said that directly messaging with a company helps them feel more confident about the brand. This shift can be very beneficial for brands, as it offers a private means for addressing and resolving customer service issues.
It’s no secret that social media is the primary way that individuals consume media, interact with brands, seek recommendations and ask for help. Increasingly, it’s also where consumers are making buying decisions. While the buyer’s journey is complex, bigger pieces of it are playing out on social media. A recent study by Curalate found that76% of US consumershave bought an item they saw in a brand’s social post and 40% are actively deciding what to buy based on what they have seen on social media platforms, including reviews and recommendations.
With the launch ofInstagram Checkoutthis past March on Instagram, shopping will become more seamless and integrated into the social experience. The beta feature will allow users to find a product they love, purchase it and receive order notifications all within the Instagram app. There is still progress to be made on the social commerce front (currently only 4% of those surveyed make a purchase immediately after seeing it), but 2019 is set up to be a good year for brands hoping to sell items within the social environment.
In an industry that changes at lightning speed, it’s important to take stock of both where we’ve been and where we are heading. As we move into the second quarter of 2019, the trends all seem to point to marketing that is personalized, trustworthy and creative. What trends are your brand embracing this year? Are there any that you would add to this list?
Looking for more?! Check out all of our latest insights into Social Media and be sure to register soon for one of our upcoming in-person or virtual social media marketing conferences!