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Social media trends for 2020

Talkwalker, the online and social data analytics company, has recently conducted a survey of 50 social media experts in order to predict what is likely to be the key social media trends for 2020.  The experts were comprised of not only social media gurus, but PR professionals and industry experts worldwide. Talkwalker are confident that the trends they have identified, from the rise of TikTok to the growth of video, for example, will be what every marketer will be discussing in the year to come.  Here we take a look at some of the key predictions from the study:

TikTok:  The largest short-form mobile video platform, TikTok needs to be part of your social strategy for 2020.  The platform is relatively new but is already catching up to Instagram with 750 million active users (Instagram having 1 billion).

Social Media Wellness:  A big trend will be platforms addressing the impact of social media on mental health.  This has begun already with the likes of Instagram removing the number of visible likes from posts.  

Data Privacy: Your brand trust could be destroyed if you’re linked to anything that puts customer data at risk.  In 2020 social media platforms will make big efforts to rebuild their brand trust after suffering from data privacy and disinformation issues in the last few years.  

Fake news:  This is an issue that still remains despite improvements being made, and will be a trend that brands and social media platforms will look to address in 2020.

Acceptance of AI:  The rise of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has already been documented in 2019, by the fact that social media conversations about these topics had 13.2 million engagements in the first half of 2019, up 0.5% from H2 2018.  This will be a trend that continues to rise in 2020.

Taking a look in more detail at the last trend, we can see from the study how brands like Coca-Cola are integrating augmented reality into all aspects of their digital strategy.  They are looking to target predominantly the generation who do not distinguish between online and offline or see a difference between reality vs augmented reality. Research suggests that AR will improve the user experience in-store, while VR will boost it online.

An example is given of Japan Airlines, who are allowing customers to pre-experience trips with their JAL xR Traveler, or Lowe’s Holoroom which allows anyone timid around power tools to put on a VR headset to learn how to use the tools in a safe virtual space.

We need to also look at the rise of voice marketing in 2020.  A recent study in the UK found that 60% of smart speaker owners have used them to make a purchase in the past year.  50% of searches for podcasts are being done via voice search. Cheryl King, MD of marketers believes this is down to the rise of the Spotify generation and the ramifications of the Netflix effect.

At the moment though, despite the growth of new social media trends, many believe that traditional media advertising is still King.  Dave Chaffey, Digital Strategist and Co-founder of Digital Marketing Learning Platform Smart Insights gave the example of a radio ad run in Thailand that did 4 times better than search marketing.

Christina Garnett,  a strategist at ICUC, believes that we are finally about to “determine the real ROI of social media.” now that influencer marketing continues to gain traction, and Instagram and Facebook looking at removing likes.  Brands need to look for:

More trackable options and referral programs for influencer marketing.

Facebook’s ads - If likes are removed, people will realise they need to look to ads manager and create more strategic ads. Friends don’t let friends boost content.

Digital opportunities created by more and more ad spend.  You need to continue to test and optimise what works for your business.

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