It is that time of year again, when we look towards 2018 in retrospect and try to analyse what has happened in the world of social media so that we can look to identify what just might happen in 2019!
2018 has been a really exciting year and we’ve seen a huge shift from platforms that are text-first to platforms that are increasingly becoming video first. Sites are no longer designed for desktop, but for mobile users living in the moment and sharing content constantly. We’ve identified the four main trends of 2018 for you to take into consideration when putting together your 2019 plan.
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The power of storytelling:
Without stating the obvious, 2018 has definitely been the year of the “story”. With 400 million users of Instagram stories, half of which are active every day, it makes sense that the story feature use is growing 15% faster than regular feed use. Stories are popular due the our ever-decreasing attention spans and for our need for brand authenticity. In fact, low quality posts perform much better than high quality productions as they are deemed more “real” than traditional advertising. Verified accounts are able to include links in a swipe-up feature which can be tracked if you use a Google tracked link (UTM link) but we’re still waiting on Facebook to release the Instagram API to be able to effectively track ROI.
Another trend for 2018 is the declining trust users have in the platforms that they visit every day. An iconic image of the year is Mark Zuckerberg brought before Congress in the US to answer questions regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which users’ data was utilised to influence voting in the 2016 US presidential election. Due to this and issues with other platforms, such as Twitter cracking down on fake accounts and bots, users are less likely to give up their data as readily as before, meaning brands have to work harder and smarter to be able to accurately target the right audiences.
According to the Huffington Post, 60% of millennials use chatbots and AI on a regular basis. It can be seen that brands are following their audiences from the traditional feeds of social media platforms to the inboxes of their messaging apps as users try to avoid ads and spam. The utilisation by brands of messaging apps for customer service and high value conversations is increasing. AI and Chatbots can be used to answer more transactional and day to day queries, freeing up your human team members to be able to deal with the more profitable conversations.
Our final big trend in social in 2018 is the rise of live broadcasting, especially on Facebook. This is massive for commerce via social media, with figures published by Chinese e-commerce giant Ali Baba showing that sales through the platform generated by live streaming is up 700%. Mainly used for demonstrations or reviews of products, the live feature across channels such as Facebook and Instagram has seen massive growth over the last year. This is due in part to millennials and Gen-Z’ers again requiring that authenticity and “realness” from brands, in which “going live” can easily create. This trend is forecast to continue to grow exponentially as more and more brands harness the power of live streaming to sell products and services.
To summarise, 2018 has been another big year in the world of social. As new technologies, platforms and features continue to be developed, we would urge brands to keep up as much as possible to avoid being left behind by the competition. Although not features in the biggest trends this year, we predict that virtual and augmented reality will be the next big hit in the social media sphere and one to watch for 2019.
At KC Communications, we make sure that we keep up with the latest trends and implement them into our client’s social media strategy where appropriate. We’ve got loads of new ideas for clients in 2019 too and we’re looking forward to implementing them.