2019 made huge strides in high-tech social media, but the digital space is only getting started when it comes to exciting new trends. Social media groups have taken over the net, the growth of video and augmented reality have made social media more immersive than ever, and video is rocketing ahead in engagement. Makes us wonder: what the heck is next?
Looking ahead at the digital marketing trend forecasts for 2020? So are we.
Though we can’t predict the future, we can make a few educated guesses as to which trends are going to influence social media in the New Year.
Let’s get into it.
The Rise of Smart Speakers
This one may be strange to see on a digital marketing trends list, but hear (pun intended) us out. Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod have made waves in the consumer technology market over the past couple of years. And consumers love them: 65% of smart speaker owners say they wouldn’t want to go back to life without their voice-controlled assistant.
So how does this tie in with digital marketing? We will likely see more and more online publications embrace voice and publish audio content to these devices. They'll do this in hopes of landing a sport on listener’s “Flash Briefing”, encouraging their followers to follow daily.
Furthermore, we expect to see more ads on these platforms—after all, publications need to monetize content. Amazon, Google, and Apple may very well launch their own advertising platforms for this, making it easier for companies to buy and sell ad space. Think Adwords but for your Google Home.
Stories and Full Screen Content Will Take Center Stage
2019 saw the continued growth of things like Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat stories.
These full screen pieces of immersive content are ephemeral, casual, and fun, and their mobile-first design make them perfect pieces of social media for the modern digital nomad. Plus, the casual style and fun designs give them an authentic feel and make them immune to getting buried deep in a feed by a fickle algorithm. If you weren’t convinced, TechCrunch reported that Stories are growing a whopping 15 times faster than feeds!
Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Continue to Grow
In September of 2019, Facebook launched Horizon, a social hub for its Oculus virtual reality headset users. This is surprising to exactly nobody, since Facebook has been increasing their efforts in the virtual reality space since they acquired Oculus VR in 2014.
We predict that the rise of VR spaces will create new, immersive advertising environments for businesses that can’t be simply skimmed over. Social media in VR is quite literally larger than life, and we think that practical applications of virtual and augmented reality are only going to increase in 2020.
For a more bite-sized version of this, look at the popularity of those AR Snapchat filters that placed dancing figures wherever you pointed your camera, putting a brand figure or logo in a space that’s personal to each user. It’s a fun and emerging tech that will give brands brave enough to work with it a major edge.
“Hidden Likes” Will Promote Community-First Content
Instagram has been experimenting with not showing likes to users, but rather hiding them to everyone but the poster. The idea is to reduce the “peer pressure” effect and creating more of a meritocracy for content makers, which in turn helps nurture community and smaller creators.
First rolled out in Canada in May of 2019, the feature has been expanded to Australia, Brazil, Italy and more. We think that this move reflects a trend towards focusing on community over status chasing. As platforms focus on developing quality, ad-friendly content that can be monetized for both users and platforms, there’s a move towards promoting community and connection. It’s an encouraging and surprisingly wholesome trend we’ll be keeping our eye on in 2020.
Social Media Will Be More Deeply Integrated Into Other Services
Social media companies will continue to integrate their services into third-party applications. For example, like how Facebook and LinkedIn allow users to sign up for third-party services with their accounts and share data with third-party services
We expect this trend to continue and for social platforms to become even more integrated with other services. Social media apps may start to share more user data with their audiences and create a more seamless experience across third-party apps. This helps social media companies retain their dominance, gain more info about users, and provide better services for smaller websites and apps.
Live Video Will Keep Growing
It’s no secret that YouTube, Facebook and Instagram’s live video services made waves in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. In fact, in 2016 more than 80% of internet users watched more live video than the year prior—likely due to the rise of more modern streaming services.
Don’t let your brand be late to the live video bandwagon. 67% of live viewers say they are more likely to purchase a concert ticket to see a band or attend an event if they’ve seen a live stream of a similar event online.
Furthermore, 45% of live audiences would pay to see a favorite athlete, team, or performer on an online stream. Check out Facebook’s recent Facebook Live infographic for more information on live video’s growth.
Internet Video is on the Rise
The prediction is that by 2020, up to 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be video, so it seems impossible that advertisers won’t continue to move away from television ads toward digital video.
In fact, Youtube is the 3rd largest search engine after Google and Google Images.
Emarketer predicted that consumers will spend an average of 92 minutes a day watching video content in 2020.
Let that one sink in.
Marketers should consider adding video for their 2020 social media strategy. Some ways of doing this are by running video ads on YouTube and Instagram, creating video content in-house, or partnering with an influencer for paid product placement or endorsement in their videos.
Chatbots Will Become A Normal Thing
We expect chatbots to continue growing in 2020—and they'll likely see become more “normal” in the eyes of consumers. In other words: the novelty will fade but we will see them become more widespread and usable.
By 2020 we expect chatbots to be the first place someone goes to order a pizza, choose a mobile plan, or even book a hotel room. Chatbots enable your users to do all of this without the hassle of downloading a native app.
Data says chatbots will dominate too. According to a study out of LivePerson, only 19% of the 5,000 people surveyed had a negative perception of chatbots. Further, 33% had a positive view and 48% were indifferent so long as their problems were resolved.
Stay ahead of the curve and develop a chatbot for your brand. They’re relatively easy to develop and may make the difference between closing a quick sale or losing a customer to a service with an easy-to-use chatbot—especially for food delivery.
Need inspiration for your brand’s chatbot? Check out this infographic.
The Rise of The Social CEO
In an era of fake news, it’s important for CEOs and other top executives to be social. This boosts your company’s reputation, helps build trust with your users, and even makes your company more appealing to job applicants.
According to data from OkToPost, in 2016 only 40% of CEOs were active on social media. Of those users, 70% only used LinkedIn. However, we expect this number to grow as distrust in the media continues, making people want to hear news right from the source.
There are a number of ways that CEOs can have their voice heard. A few of the best ways are by posting to the company blog, writing on Medium, Tweeting from a personal account, or writing blog posts on LinkedIn.
Future Proof Yourself!
Are you ready to see these trends play out in 2020? We can’t wait to see what the year has in store. Whatever happens in 2020, you can bet we’ll be here to talk about how your business can use these exciting new tools in the new year to have your best social media year yet.
What trends do you think will dominate 2020? Tweet them to us, and we'll Retweet the best.