The last 12 months have seen multiple updates and changes to the major social media platforms and how we use them.
Unsurprisingly, 2019 is also shaping up to be a busy year in the social media world.
Here are some key social media trends to keep an eye out for over the next year.
Instagram Growth & Twitter Challenges
Instagram’s popularity grew throughout 2018, recently surpassing a billion users.
Experts expect it to go from strength to strength in 2019 with video, stories and shoppable posts providing great marketing opportunities, particularly for micro-brands.
Twitter, on the other hand, is expected to face its challenges in 2019 in the wake of the release of more than 10 million tweets relating to political propaganda farms and fake accounts potentially involved in political interference.
While it cleared out millions of fake accounts earlier this year, the platform could find itself under more scrutiny from regulators and politicians in 2019.
That being said, Twitter does have a devoted user-base and many brands are using the platform effectively, so watch this space in 2019.
Increased Use of Stories and Video
Instagram’s Stories have grown in leaps and bounds over the past year. You can expect more of the same during 2019.
Popular on Snapchat and Instagram, stories have recently been adopted by WhatsApp, with reports that other social media platforms will follow.
Videos have become one of the most used marketing tools in 2018, and for good reason.
69% of all traffic on the Internet in 2017 was Internet video traffic.
It is predicted that by 2019, 80% of Internet traffic will be video traffic.
As the Internet spreads further into emerging markets, video could become an important touchpoint for organisations with audiences who have a preference for researching products and connecting with brands via video.
Streaming video has become very popular with brands taking advantage of live streaming functionality on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Brands in 2019 are expected to continue leveraging the benefits of creating compelling and real-time video content, with the analysis capabilities of social media.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality were a big social media trend in 2018 and you can expect them to keep growing in popularity in 2019.
Snapchat and Messenger already have platforms where you can make use of augmented reality (AR), and Facebook has been testing AR videos as well.
Brands can expect to see augmented reality change the way consumers shop by allowing them to virtually try things before they buy.
Artificial Intelligence, Voice Recognition, and Visual Search
Voice artificial intelligence (AI) will become a major search tool during 2019.
Over 5 million people were actively using Siri by the beginning of 2018. Alexa has also joined the fold.
Marketers should be ready to test out new social media voice features as they appear.
Voice marketing will be key to working with how people are living and expect to be able to find the information, products or services they need, how and when they need it.
Voice recognition is already seen as a growth point for emerging markets.
AI has the power to help advertisers to better understand their customers, their advertising and their brand performance throughout the buying journey.
It will allow brands in 2019 to finely target audiences with customized content.
During 2019 AI will also become an important analysis tool for marketers.
Visual search will continue to grow. Pinterest and Google Lens are already at the forefront of the visual search revolution, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming year.
Social Media Commerce
Social media commerce is expected to grow as more people purchase goods through storefronts on social media platforms.
Snapchat recently announced its partnership with Amazon. The combined offering will allow users to purchase items that they see on the platform without leaving Snapchat.
It also offers visual search capabilities making use of image recognition technology.
The technology lets users take pictures of items and load them onto the site.
If there is such an item in stock somewhere, the user will be taken to the relevant page to purchase.
Chatbots will become more prevalent helping users find what they are looking for, pay for the goods and update them on the status of their delivery.
IBM has predicted that by 2020 85% of all customer interactions will be handled by chatbots.
The Growth of Messaging
Messaging apps have become one of the primary ways in which businesses and their customers are interacting.
A recent Facebook survey showed that 69% of users had more confidence in brands that they could message directly.
This being the case, organizations must adapt to answer consumer questions directly via messenger.
In 2019 businesses attentive to the needs of their customers will be on top of the messages that they receive and send.
Socially Attuned CEOs
CEO will be expected to become more aware of the power social media and its ability to damage or boost a brand’s reputation.
Social media platforms will become an essential communication tool for many stakeholders in the organization including employees and customers.
As social purpose becomes more important to consumers, they will increasingly expect the organizations to take a stance on environmental and other issues.
This trend is expected to continue into the future.
Social listening could help organizations to unveil the causes that are important to the audience so that they can proactively position themselves in support of the same issues.
Generation Z is fast entering the consumer space.
They have grown up surrounded by digital technology.
Many of them aren’t using it for the primary purpose of keeping in touch with family and friends.
They tend to use it for entertainment, so advertisers hoping to attract their attention will have to deliver entertaining content to this audience.
Most of Generation Z’ers also use social media to find out about products and brands.
Social Media Will Continue its Grow Trajectory
The use of social media will continue to grow especially as Internet usage becomes more readily available in emerging markets.
In 2017, almost a quarter of a billion people started to use the Internet for the first time.
More than 3 billion people worldwide will gain access to smartphones in the next two years.
The audience experience continues to drive brands to make more innovative marketing and social media communication, creating memorable experiences that stick in the consumer’s mind for all the right reasons. 2019 will be no different.