What will be the biggest social media trends in 2019? Hook investigates the innovations that are set to take over social media platforms in the coming year.
2018 has been a transformative year for social media. With mass security breaches, data scandals and world leaders airing their disputes for all to see, online platforms have now evolved into centres for debates concerning diplomacy, security and individual privacy.
So as the year draws to a close, we at Hook want to reflect on recent developments in the social media sphere and look forward to possible social media trends in 2019.
Hootsuite recently unveiled its annual report predicting the largest social media trends in 2019. These trend predictions span various aspects of the online sphere, from attitudes towards social media platforms to new technologies that will be implemented in the near future.
Below we look into some of these trends and analyse their potential impact on social media channels.
Trust & transparency
Data scandals have been at the forefront of conversations regarding social media over the past year. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal has fundamentally changed the way users perceive social media networks.
After the news broke that the data of 50 million Facebook users had been harvested to influence global events including the 2016 US election, trust in Facebook and other platforms dropped sharply. And following this, a survey revealed that 81% of people have ‘little to no confidence’ Facebook will protect their privacy and data.
In response to the dramatic events of 2018, brands are predicted to place a larger emphasis on increasing transparency and building trust in 2019. Twitter has already purged millions of accounts this year and Google has announced that it will be shutting down its Google+ platform next year after a mass data leak.
As a result of these developments, brands are also now looking towards micro and nano influencers on social platforms to build personal relationships and trust with consumers. (You can have a read of our insights into Social Media Influencers for more).
And this trend is set to continue well into 2019.
A slightly less ominous upcoming social media trend is ‘social commerce’. Social commerce refers to the increasing amount of shoppable features on online platforms, namely Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
The integration of social media and online shopping has yet to make waves on major social platforms despite the introduction of these new shoppable features.
But many brands are gearing up to implement social commerce soon. According to Hootsuite’s Social Trends survey, 28% of respondents had either already implemented social commerce or plan to do so in the next 12 months.
This is evidence of a broader trend of brands expanding their horizons beyond traditional forms of commerce. Amazon is a great example of this – take a look at our insights into the company’s recently announced shoppable reality TV competition that will allow viewers to purchase items they see on the show directly.
It’s clear that 2019 will see a continued drive to encourage adoption of these new shoppable features among online users.
Using social media to examine brand perceptions and target specific consumers has become a massively important marketing tool for brands. And as more brands come to realise the effectiveness of this tool, 2019 will likely see the further expansion of this Social Listening.
In recent years a large number of tools have been developed to shed light on consumer behaviour. And uptake is set to increase further as more brands use social media for lead generation and social selling.
At Hook, we have had great success using bespoke natural language classifiers (NLCs) to search public data sets and find the things that matter to consumers in relation to a given topic or topics. Machine learning allows us to search billions of data points and can classify millions of results in a few hours. We then use AI to assess the emotional context of every post or search and work out what topics or brands are exciting to consumers. This gives us a sense of ‘quality’ for brand awareness and engagement alongside the quantity of coverage previously assessed.
This method lets us work at a brand level (we recently conducted a nuanced market mapping of parents and their relation to kids’ channel brands this year for an international media owner); and at a programme/ strand level – this method has successfully delivered insights for some of the biggest programmes in the UK (most recently being used to shed light on EastEnders and conversations going on around the show).
As a greater variety of branded content is integrated into social media channels, these consumer insight tools will become increasingly useful and important within the media sphere.
The Impact of Social Media Trends in 2019
All of these trends will help to shape the future of social media as new technologies and features become integrated with major platforms. Social media platforms are still growing rapidly with Instagram surpassing 1 billion monthly active users this summer and Facebook on over 2 billion users, demonstrating the power of these channels to reach audiences.
So with a large proportion of the world’s population now active on social media, these trends will be more impactful than ever in shaping global media consumption.
But which of these trends will cut through with consumers in 2019, if any? With an ever more complex and unpredictable media landscape, the coming year will be instrumental in the future of major social platforms.