What are the social media trends that can make 2019 a success for your company? And which developments should you certainly use as a marketer?
Next year the gap between data, technology and marketing will become smaller. For example, there will be more opportunities for performance-based advertising on social media channels. Instagram and Snapchat are rolling out even more functionalities for e-commerce parties. The influencer marketing market will become more mature. Curious about what else awaits you, and where opportunities lie ahead? Then read on.
Short retrospect: Social Media trends in 2018
2018 was certainly not a boring year for social media marketers. Of course we have seen the (further) development of trends such as live video, influencer marketing and augmented reality. But in my eyes two events were central to the world of social media marketing:
First, the entry of the GDPR. Despite a relatively early announcement, this led to some panic, chaos and last-minute work. Both with advertisers and with the agencies. This new law still raises questions with many online marketers.
Later in the year, Mark Zückerberg was discredited, which may have been the start of the beginning of the end of Facebook. Despite all the media attention, the direct impact so far is not that bad. Fortunately for us as marketers, because Facebook proved to be an effective marketing channel in 2018 as well.
Promising Social Media trends in 2019
As a progressive digital marketer, how can you make steps for your organization with a smart social strategy?
For 2019 I see the following trends and developments as focal points:
- Facebook & Instagram: more and more features
- LinkedIn: mainly follows what the rest already does
- Snapchat: focus on e-commerce advertisers
- Influencer Marketing: go for sustainable relationships
- WhatsApp: those ads are coming, but where?
- Personalization & automation: how much plug & play is required?
Facebook and Instagram: more and more features
Mark Zückerberg seems to realize that the popularity of Facebook is declining, especially among young people. Facebook – and his brother Instagram – have been doing their utmost lately to keep their users within the platform. After all, as a teenager you don’t have to use Snapchat to view or send stories. In a little while, you will no longer need a website as an advertiser.
Facebook is increasingly promoting their “Instant Experience” (formerly “Canvas ads”) and is also expanding the possibilities considerably. An Instant Experience is an advertising form where you can easily build in-app landing pages with images, videos and standard elements. Quite recently, for example, it has also been possible to process lead forms here. I expect that Facebook will continue to work on the Instant Experiences in the coming period.
Shopping is now also great on Facebook and Instagram. Mark is working hard to make Instagram one big shopping mall. Of course it was already possible to “tag” organic posts with products and recently Instagram has also added a shopping option to the explore tab. Shopping and Instagram therefore seem to go well together. So good that Instagram is working on a stand-alone app: IG Shopping. This should be the second separate Instagram app, in addition to the IGTV launched earlier this year. Just like with IGTV, I expect links between Instagram and IG Shopping and therefore also opportunities for advertisers.
With these developments on Instagram in particular, I think that getting followers on these channels is also becoming increasingly important. I think Instagram and its branches will continue to grow in users and activity in the coming period. The extra e-commerce applications within the platform make this really interesting for advertisers.
LinkedIn: mainly follows what the rest is already doing
As an advertising platform, LinkedIn is considerably behind ‘competitor’ Facebook despite its unique targeting options. The recent introduction of new features such as video ads, carousel ads and objective based campaigns really only confirms that.
What can we expect next year? In 2019, LinkedIn will undoubtedly release a number of “new” features that can be compared with features from other advertising platforms that are more mature. Perhaps this year we can use look-a-like audiences or target audiences based on interests. Furthermore, I honestly do not expect anything very exciting from LinkedIn. Of course I like to be surprised.
In the spring of 2018 it was finally possible for advertisers to use their self-service advertising environment. Unfortunately, Snapchat saw a large number of its users switch to Instagram a few months earlier, as a result of their own interface update that didn’t appeal to everyone.
Nevertheless, Snapchat is certainly an interesting platform for advertisers, because it is used by a young target group that cannot always be reached on other platforms. In addition, they are currently the only platform where advertisers have the option of applying augmented reality in advertisements.
Visual Search Shopping
Snapchat will at least compete with Instagram and even give them a cookie of their own copy dough by focusing on e-commerce functionalities, just like Instagram. Although I have to say that the saying “better stolen than bad invented” is not entirely valid here. Snapchat is quite innovative with their e-commerce possibilities. For example, the platform recently started with a link between Snapchat and Amazon. Yes, really, Amazon. Snapchat says with “visual search shopping” to recognize products in real life and to provide a link to this product on Amazon. Super cool of course, especially when the product range on Amazon.com is expanded with more products than just e-books.
In addition to visual search shopping, Snapchat also rolled out new forms of advertising this year: Collection ads and Shoppable AR ads. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Collection ads on Snapchat are immediately displayed as a full-screen advertisement and the highlighted products are displayed in a carousel form at the bottom of the advertisement. Shoppable AR ads are actually the lenses that made Snapchat big, but with a commercial touch. Advertisers can now develop lenses and provide them with a call to action button. I foresee the possibility that Snapchatters can digitally fit their new purchases in the near future.
In any case, it is clear that Snapchat is considerably expanding the advertising possibilities for e-commerce advertisers with a number of interesting new features. I am personally very curious how effective these new features will be.
Influencer Marketing: go for sustainable relationships
Influencer Marketing is here to stay. Thanks to social media, the “influencer” stamp is easier to get than ever. The result? Thousands of users who aspire to be a (micro) influencer to earn money and / or receive free items. And all in exchange for a simple post or story. It is not surprising that many young people try to present themselves online as the newest food blogger, fit girl or travel addict.
Influencer Marketing can certainly also be effective, but in my view only if you choose influencers that really match your brand, find your product really cool and see salvation in a long-term collaboration. The latter is perhaps the most important point. Allowing one or more influencers to post a series of posts once will probably result in followers or a temporary boost in traffic or sales, but much more than that will not happen in many cases. However, if you make a selection of influencers that fit your brand and enter into a long-term partnership with this, you can consider them brand ambassadors instead of a temporary billboard. On the one hand this seems more authentic and on the other hand the power of repetition will yield you much more in the longer term.
With Influencer Marketing it is often about the engagement percentage. The higher the number of followers and the percentage of users who click, swipet or respond to your content, the more interesting you are to work with. Unfortunately, the negative consequence of the fact that it is relatively easy for you to earn (a lot of) money as an influencer is that fraud is also committed.
This fraud does not only include the purchase of followers: also likes, comments and even
website traffic is faked! I think that the quality of followers and engagement must and will be looked at more critically in the coming year. Instagram, for example, has recently started removing fake likes and followers itself. I don’t expect this to solve the entire problem, but it’s a start.
WhatsApp: those ads are coming, but where?
WhatsApp has always remained ad-free so far, but it is likely that advertisers will be able to post their ads on this popular chat platform from early 2019. Ads will initially only be shown on the status tab. If you now think “huh, status tab?”, That’s not surprising in my eyes. Like Instagram and Facebook Stories, you can post photos and videos there that last 24 hours, but I don’t know anyone who ever does anything with his WhatsApp status.
I think that WhatsApp Stories will soon be added as a placement when creating a campaign in Facebook ads manager. Well I think the range on WhatsApp will be huge
disappointing for the reasons mentioned above. If Mark really wants to enable advertisers to reach their target audience on WhatsApp, it won’t be long before we see advertisements again between conversations. That is already the case with Facebook Messenger.
If my suspicion is correct, in terms of targeting, advertisers will be able to use the options that are now also available within Facebook. I also see no other possibility, because a form of contextual targeting – in which WhatsApp picks up topics from your conversations – is in principle not possible because of end-to-end encryption: only the sender and the receiver can read the conversations.
Personalization & automation: how much plug & play is required?
Automated budget optimization and dynamic creatives are naturally good examples of automation that make life easier for (social) marketers. I expect this automation trend to continue and that more and more automated aspects will be present when building and managing online campaigns.
Do we just have to embrace all those automations?
It is a fact that the well-known advertising platforms with this kind of functionality are increasingly acquiring a plug & play character, which particularly appeals to small advertisers. Still, I think that as a marketer you should always keep a critical eye on the extent to which new features – in addition to convenience – actually bring about an improvement in performance.
For the time being, the work for digital marketers will therefore not change too much, but in the not too distant future the gap between marketing and digital marketing will fade further. On the one hand because the advanced technology also finds its way to the traditional
media channels. Just look at Digital out of Home. And when will we be able to make full use of programmatic TV? On the other hand, because online advertising platforms are becoming more and more plug & play, and so it increasingly comes to the strategic part of the work.
Key-take-aways: the social media trends for 2019
I hope that with the discussed trends I have provided you with useful tools for estimating the value of social media marketing and using it strategically in 2019. I would like to summarize the core of my story for you with these key-take-aways:
✔ Typed terms such as influencer marketing and personalization remain a “thing”. Personalization is of course always advisable. Furthermore, fraudulent influencers will find it harder to scam advertisers due to increased awareness in this area.
✔ In the social media platform landscape, Instagram seems to be making the biggest changes with its new stand-alone apps. Especially interesting for e-commerce parties! LinkedIn will probably continue to copy advertising opportunities on Facebook, and Snapchat will continue to do its best to develop more innovative (marketing) ideas with a lot of attention for the camera lens of your mobile phone.
✔ Finally, even more functionalities will become available to automate the building and management of social media campaigns.
I expect that 2019 offers good opportunities, but will also become less exciting than 2018. To what extent I am right with my suspicions, we will see in the coming year. With a wide selection of social media platforms and the arrival of new features, you face the challenge of developing a result-oriented strategy for your organization. Understand who your target groups are, where they are online and what their most important needs are: it is your starting point for success. If you are unable to resolve it, we are ready to help you with all your issues.
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By S.van der Tap.Pd.Internet Marketer Founder Of digitalstico.com