It is vital to understand the latest social media marketing trends, as well as those in the future. The social media landscape is influenced by the fast-paced in not only the platforms e.g. Facebook) but the underlying technology, tools and customer behaviours.
In this article, I will highlight the top social media trends to watch out for and provide some insights to help you navigate the road ahead.
Headline Social Media Trends
- 80% of social media content is being accessed via mobile device.
- By October 2018, there were 3.397 billion active social media users globally in 2018. Source: Statista.
- For context, as of May 2019, total worldwide population is 7.7 billion
- 80% of millennial Pinterest users say that the platform will help them decide what to buy.
- 50.9% of all Twitter accounts have less than 9 followers.
- Branded content on social media is twice as likely to interest people aged 55 – 64 than those who are 28 and younger.
- 39% of the 500 million users on LinkedIn are paying for premium account privileges. The average user spends 17 minutes on the site per month.
- 81% of millennials are checking Twitter at least once a day. The average amount of search queries Twitter receives a day is two billion.
- Twitter captures 29% of internet users with college degrees. Twitter users are also more likely to make above-average incomes.
The Growth of Video Marketing
Blog posts can still be effective in 2019. Long-form posts can still engage readers, provided that they are appealing and properly formatted to facilitate the reading experiences across all devices.
Content consumption though goes way further than written text, with videos and podcasts seeing great success.
From the rise of Youtube to the introduction of IGTV, social media platforms were always interested in highlighting video content.
Facebook has even adjusted their algorithm to ensure that video posts show up more frequently on our feeds.
Video marketing is becoming more appealing both for brands but also for users who notice the content that stands out.
The majority of marketers (88%) are satisfied with their social media video marketing efforts’ ROI, suggesting that the majority of brands are seeing positive results.
In fact, when asked what type of content gets the best return on investment when it comes to social media, video was the top response. Some 40% ranked it as number one for ROI, with a further 23% putting video in second place.
In addition to this 80% of marketers are happy with the ROI of their video advertisements on social media, showing the success of this form of advertising.
Headline Video Marketing Stats
- 85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on any of their devices (Statista, 2018).
- 75% of Instagram users have taken an action, such as visiting a website, after viewing a brand’s content on the platform.
- Video accounting for around 78% of mobile data traffic.
- One of the biggest emerging trends in video is interactive video, with 23% of marketers saying they have used it, which is up from 20% in 2018.
- 64% of online shoppers say that a video on social media helped them make their decision.
- 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool — up from 63% over the last year. (Hubspot)
- 6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television. (Google)
- Mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year. (Insivia)
- By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017. (Cisco)
- 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. (HubSpot)
- A Facebook executive predicted that their platform will be all video and no text by 2021. (Quartz)
- YouTube is the second most popular website after Google. (Alexa)
- Users view more than 1 billion hours of video each day on YouTube. (YouTube)
- 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. (Wordstream)
- 75% of all video plays are on mobile devices. (eMarketer)
It’s only a matter of time until videos take over the whole social media world. 2019 will be the year that more brands will experiment with different types of video among different channels:
- Short videos with captions are really appealing to mobile users and are also accessible to everyone. They can be found on any social media platform with Facebook favouring them in their algorithm. They can make really effective ads and they’ve already been used quite extensively from ads.
- Vertical videos on Snapchat and Instagram Stories grow really fast in popularity and we already see many ads in a vertical format. It’s a format that will grow even more like a trend due to the improved viewing experience in mobile screens.
- Long videos of powerful storytelling can still keep an audience engaged. Whether it’s Youtube, Facebook, or even IGTV, there is an increasing need for video stories that can be interesting enough to convince the viewers to watch more than a few seconds.
- Live streaming is also another big trend that is now available across many different platforms. Users turn into broadcasters and brands become publishers to come closer to their audience. There are numerous opportunities to benefit from a live streaming strategy. This
Except for videos, podcasts have also seen growing success. Audio content is bringing the radio days back as a great way to catch up with your favourite stories and brands when you’re on the go.
More marketers are experimenting with podcasts, either to build their own personal brand or to promote their business. What makes podcasts special is the fact that they still focus on the content rather than the promotion. People subscribe to a podcast because they are interested in the content, whether it comes from a brand or another person.
Data Privacy vs. Personalisation
While the company shut down as a result of the debacle, Facebook and it’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg received a lot of flack, both by the users as well as legal authorities. This has also led to other social media networks, as well as brands, to focus on establishing transparent and honest communication with their audiences, at a time when they might be battling with a sentiment of privacy concerns. Marketers need to find more authentic and dialogical ways of communicating with their customers, instead of one-sided marketing communications revolving around collecting masses of user data without offering any value proposition to the consumers.
Data privacy, security and surveillance across social media has been a key issue of policy debate throughout 2018. In fact, social media has made it easier to generate, collect, and
store people’s data on a large scale. Earlier this year in March, news broke that a data-mining firm called Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data from around 87 million Facebook profiles, without the users’ consent, to build a system that would use micro-targeting and psychological profiling to target US voters with personalized political advertisements and influence the election results.
Even though organic social media marketing remains largely unaffected by GDPR, paid social media marketing methods have and will continue to become more transparent. If you want to gather your customer’s behavioural data online, you will have to obtain an explicit opt-in consent from your customers.
To see a full breakdown of engagement rates by platform go to this link.
Facebook has announced early in 2018 the focus on meaningful interactions as part of their updated algorithm.
This meant that their algorithm started favouring content that sparks a genuine conversation, which inspired many Page Managers to create more engaging content.
As organic reach becomes harder, the only way to survive is to aim for content that is:
Algorithms are becoming smarter so there’s no short route to genuine engagement. It’s not enough anymore to encourage people to like, comment, share on your post. Social platforms are trying to cut down on engagement bait techniques so you may risk losing your existing reach in the longer term with such techniques.
Thus, it’s time to stop ‘cheating’ to win engagement and start thinking of an improved engagement strategy for every channel to continue reaching your followers.
Marketers often have a knee-jerk reaction to trends by flooding platforms with mediocre and uninspired content in hopes of riding the trend wave. Would-be customers react by tuning out and quickly dismissing subpar messaging. The threshold for gaining customer attention and trust has grown exponentially. Marketers who hope to gain consumer consideration must be willing to go the extra mile in creating engaging content.
The bottom line is, to have an impact, brands must be purposeful and creative. Less content, if it’s created thoughtfully and is well-positioned, will have greater impact than an abundance of content that is uninspired, heavy-handed or seen as shallow or dull.
Social media’s popularity is rooted in the fact that it allows us to share our life experiences with friends and families. We get to tell our stories through our posts, and we get to see a snapshot of everyone else’s lives through our news feeds. At first, that was through written posts and photos, but video content is increasingly popular.
Social media is adapting, embracing new ways to allow people to tell their stories and share their narrative with the world. Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are embracing this trend, and it’s changing the way we consume social media content.
This opens the door for brands to share more human stories of their own, which will inspire audiences to try out their product. Storytelling feels real, immediate and personal, but it also demands a mix of more time-intensive video, images and graphics, and requires brands to be more creative and thoughtful in the intent.
Along with honing their human stories, businesses are going to need to build a strategic narrative behind their brand. Narratives capture moments and experiences shared between a user and a product; they’re the conversations that are occurring, and they’re often about trying to create a broader, more positive change.
These narratives can be distributed through social media and digital media, and they reflect what a brand’s community is saying about them. If a brand can build a larger story, it will have a better chance of success.
Brand narratives need to be compelling and lead audiences to action. Evaluate your brand story, and ensure it is inspiring and stands out against the messiness of other social media content.
This year will see a big growth in influencers creating successful campaigns, along with a rise in nano influencers (ordinary digital citizens with 1,000 to 5,000 followers). Brands and businesses will need to develop robust influencer marketing strategies and learn to experiment with content and audience. Fundamentally, they will need to engage with the right Influencer Tools to find relevant influencers, track campaigns and measure ROI.
Tools like Mavrck, Neoreach, and Traackr help big brands find and develop relationships with key micro-influencers at a scale and efficiency which no human could match,” Proehl said.
Engaging with ‘influencers’ remains a priority for brands and businesses alike. Knowing who to speak to when, how to speak to them, and knowing when to listen are all core skills for social marketers.
Continue to use social as a promotional channel, particularly for your content. However, the highest return on time spent in using social is with influencers. Marketers need to craft joint projects, develop referrals, share content ventures, sharing of data for studies, and build long term relationships.
Chatbots (Conversational Marketing)
As chatbots go beyond simple prompts and adopt customer interactions in a more natural way, they present new opportunities to engage and convert traffic. Moreover, they enhance customer service and increasing are automated with sophisticated decisions tree based on AI analysis of conversations. The net result is responding to customers in real-time.
From chatbots to social media ad optimization, platforms such as Google, Amazon and Facebook have been quick to adopt artificial intelligence to enhance customer interaction, especially in the form of online customer service. In 2018, the growth in AI-driven communication has been undeniable and Hootsuite has predicted that by 2020, more than 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI bots.
Millennials seem to be the quickest adaptors of chatbot-based customer experiences. According to the Huffington Post, 60% of the millennial population already uses chatbots and 71% have implied that they would like to try using one. In 2019, more and more brands will strengthen their online customer service practices and even move to new platforms that may potentially offer more effective technology for customer service to thrive online, such as WhatsApp.
So whether you’re getting a new chatbot set up for your brand or expanding a current one’s capabilities, jump in on personalized commerce the old-fashioned way: remembering your customers’ preferences and history. The conversational commerce trend means that consumers want that personalized interaction with brands. Take the time to interact with them without the selling propositions.
On Twitter or Facebook Messenger, this could mean something as little as remembering that they’ve purchased a shower curtain from you before and you following up on the purchase. These notes can be easily maintained in Sprout.