As 2019 comes to a close, social managers are already strategising for the new year. 2019 was the year of ‘behind the brand’. Authenticity reigned, a response to a general fatigue brought on by the abundance of branded content across our feeds. Behind the scenes content, made instantaneous by stories and live video, became the most popular way of consuming content by influencers, brands and peers. With innovations (depending on how you look at it) occurring across major social channels this year, here’s what we expect to see happening on social in 2020.
Live & Video
The popularity of live content will continue to grow. Stories and Live videos gained predominance in the last year and for good reason. They allow for instantaneous content creation and interaction; an invaluable tool for brands, particularly when planning and hosting events. Consumers crave immersion and with VR on the horizon, video is the closest thing to an immersive content experience, with live adding an air of authenticity. From the ability to see and explore products in greater detail, to networking and more personal interactions, marketers and social influencers will continue their use of both for the foreseeable future.
Brands and social apps will continue their attempt to simplify the consumer path to purchase through in-app purchasing. Instagram rolled this in a big way, with a trial of 20 major retailers including Nike and Uniqlo. Being able to purchase directly, instead of linking to an external vendor within the app, reduced loading times and a clunky user experience. Just as Alexa plans to anticipate and automate major purchases, social apps are capitalizing on their mass user-attention by letting users access goods impulsively as soon as they view the content.
The Year of Big Data
With the unprecedented amount of user data being recorded daily through digital devices, the tailoring of advertising, content and product suggestions will become even more precise. Expect more of those moments where you are sure Facebook is secretly listening in on your conversations. Experts believe this phenomenon may not be a nefarious conspiracy but simply the fact that Facebook knows you so well it knows what conversations you are going to be having. A scary thought, but no surprise when the average consumer is spending over two hours a day on social. This coupled with voice leading searches through home devices, and consumers can expect to see their social feeds tailored to their preferences ad predilections in a much bigger way.
Pay to Play
Just as Facebook reduced their branded content to return to a more peer-oriented platform, Instagram have followed suit and removed likes on posts for mental health. While it would be nice to believe these were genuine motivations, experts believe both were done to increase advertising expenditure. Facebook has seen an increase in ad spend over the past two years and with the like removal on Instagram, social influencer spend by marketers will be replaced by greater ad spend, keeping the money in the platform. Advertisiers can expect to pay much more to have their content seen on popular platforms, so the need for creative, well-planned, effective content and budgeting strategies will become even more essential.
This is just scratching the surface. With AR/VR already gaining prominence, social channels like LinkedIn providing immense value, and emerging apps like TikTok challenging how advertisers plan and coordinate their social efforts, being dynamic and embracing these changes will be conducive to success. Consider these insights above when planning, or give us a call to see how we can help you foolproof your social strategy for the year to come.