Social media trends to look out for in 2020
Marketing, particularly social media marketing, is an ever-changing whirlwind thanks to constant updates and technological advances.
Fortunately for you, we’ve reached out to some of our favorite experts who have their fingers firmly on the pulse of what’s going on in social media marketing. Keep reading to discover what’s going to be big in 2020, and what you need to know for the year ahead.
Special thanks to Matt Navarra, Ian Anderson Gray, Paul Ince, Chris Strub, Lucy Hall, Lilach Bullock, Shelley Grierson, Fi Shailes, and Lenka Koppová, for giving us the inside scoop!
Our experts mentioned the following:
What social media trends do you predict for 2020? Are there any trends from 2019 that you believe will continue into 2020? What do you think is essential for a social media strategy in 2020? Which social channels do you believe are going to dominate 2020 and why? Anything else you’d like to add about social media/marketing in 2020?
Matt Navarra is a social media industry commentator and consultant
“The era of social media regulation begins: Social media was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons for much of 2019.
“Data privacy, online abuse, account security, as well as fake news and disinformation were big topics of discussion in the seemingly endless run of committee and senate hearings around the world.
“2020 will see the first significant steps by governments and regulators around the world to regulate the social media industry. The big questions are, which countries will be strictest, what will regulation look like, and of course, how successful will it be? We will probably have to wait until 2021 and beyond to find out.”
“Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have both failed (again) to become breakout mainstream technologies in 2019.
“However, Facebook revealed a long list of updates and new features for Oculus at its Connect Conference earlier on in the year. One of the big upcoming features is a new immersive social VR world app called ‘Facebook Horizons’, launching in beta in 2020.
“In 2020, we are likely to see significant discussion and development of AR glasses and related hardware. We will also see more apps making use of AR tech like we have seen in 2019 with Google’s launch of Google Maps ‘Live View’ feature. AR will be the stepping stone into VR for many people.
“For social media managers, the challenge will be developing exciting and innovative experiences or campaigns which will leverage these developments – such as Facebook’s AR ads, and no doubt ever more sophisticated Snapchat filters and lenses.”
“In a word, Authenticity. The brands who can consistently demonstrate an engaging yet authentic presence on social media in 2020, will be the most successful.
“Social media is currently tarnished with a bad reputation of being full of abuse and harassment, fake news, and fuelled by disingenuous influencers. To counter this, brands need to double-down on producing authentic social media experiences and relatable content.
“Through use of captivating user-generated content, improved story-telling, and knowing your audience better than ever before, brands will increase their level of success on social platforms in 2020.”
“2020 will be a year for short-form video creators to shine.
“With the on-going hype and interest in TikTok, the launch of ‘Byte’ (from the creators of Vine), and the ever dwindling attention-spans of younger generations, short-form video and apps or social networks optimised for such content, could well have a very good year in 2020.
“The challenge will be finding ways to monetise such short content, and being agile enough to adapt to the pace of change in this space which could disappear as quickly as it started.”
“I think we’re going to see more and more users moving away from Facebook and over to other platforms. More and more entrepreneurs and B2B focused businesses will ditch Facebook, or at least leave a minimal presence there and focus their efforts on LinkedIn.
“Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has innovated the platform greatly over the past year and individuals and businesses are seeing much higher engagement and activity when compared to other networks.
“We’ve heard a lot of talk about Industry 4.0 technologies like VR and AR, but the take-up hasn’t been huge and it’s been quite niche. I think in 2020, we are going to see the big networks such as Facebook and Google make it easier for us to use these technologies and integrate with social media. That could mean immersive direct messaging, 360 live videos and more.
“However, the main barrier is a lack of cheap, affordable and easy to use gear. If more gear like that comes to market next year, then I’m pretty confident in my prediction!”
“For the past 5 or more years, each year has been heralded as ‘The Year of Video’. 2020 will be the same, and video will continue to grow. But, for so many of us marketers and small business owners, video is time-consuming and takes a huge amount of effort.
“That’s why repurposing video into other types of content is going to continue to be a big trend into 2020. I think we’ll see growth in the number of people creating live video broadcasts and repurposing that into podcasts, blog posts, infographics and social media images.”
“There always needs to be a clear “WHY” explained in the strategy. WHY are you using the specific social networks you are using? And WHAT are you wanting to achieve? WHO are you wanting to reach? And HOW are you going to do that? Working out a clear ROI in the strategy is a tough one – numbers and metrics are important.
“But, if you are using social media for marketing, then you need to be in for the long haul. It’s more about the relationships and not the vanity stats. So, at the centre of the social media strategy you need to demonstrate how you are going to build and grow authentic and strong relationships with your perfect audience that will be long term.”
“LinkedIn and Instagram. Younger generations such as Millenials and Zoomers may not be flocking to LinkedIn, but many of us are seeing significantly higher engagement on LinkedIn when compared to other networks.
“Video on LinkedIn is becoming huge, and as LinkedIn Live comes out of beta and becomes mainstream in 2020, that is likely to explode. Instagram will be the platform of choice not just for younger generations but for more visually-orientated people.
“Facebook has hugely innovated the platform, ‘borrowing’ lots of ideas from their competitors. Unless Facebook does something radical, the main Facebook platform is going to continue to nose-dive, and users will move over to Instagram and LinkedIn.”
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“We will see an explosion in TikTok as it becomes more popular. The average age demographic of this will go up, with lots of people trying to work out how to utilise this platform.
“Some will be trying to work out what their kids are on about, others will try and use it for business, with varying degrees of success. Marketers will be scrabbling around trying to find out how to calculate ROI and articulate this to senior leadership.”
“I see a lot of closed captions being added to Stories and I think we will see that trend continue in 2020. Other than that, things move far too fast for me to make any predictions.”
“It’s time to go right back to basics. Who are you trying to talk to? What do they need? How can what you create actually help them? It’s time to stop adding to the ever-growing noise on social media and craft content with more thought.
“Reducing the volume but increasing the quality of content would be so helpful in improving the return on the ever-increasing time we are spending on social.”
“I can’t see anything other than Instagram continuing to grow and dominate. There are still plenty of people and businesses not using all of the platform, so I think we’ll still see growth here.” Anything else you’d like to add about social media/marketing in 2020? “It’s election year in the US. What happens over there could shape the industry going forward. There are bound to be issues around trust, disinformation and election interference. How the platforms and politicians respond to this will determine the future of social media; how it’s used, and the amount of regulation that is required.__
“Ultimately, I can’t see how it won’t be regulated so, as marketers, we’ll have to learn how to deal with any regulations that are implemented, and the discussion about it before then.”
“As Mark Schaefer has said, the most human brands will win. Personalization will continue to be a priority and smart brands will use video to personalize both customer service and/or surprise and delight in ways that haven’t been seen before.”
“Platforms will likely continue to try and find ways to make it look like they’re not all about vanity metrics and popularity contests. Facebook’s emphasis on ‘meaningful engagement’ and Instagram removing likes are two examples of how eventually, brands will simply realize they need to be as human as possible.”
“Accessibility! Brands that, for generations, have lived by the mantra of ‘the customer is always right’ should use two-way venues like Twitter and Instagram’s polling/quiz tools to not only interact with audiences but give them a legitimate voice in the real-life decision-making processes.
“Now more than ever, people want to know that their feedback is making a difference.”
“In this upcoming American election year, I won’t be surprised to see Twitter position itself as a place where people have access to candidates. Socially savvy politicians will recognize the inherent importance of the Tweets of the current President and use the platform to express sentiments and positions in increasingly vital ways.”
Anything else you’d like to add about social media/marketing in 2020? “Brands that really want to succeed on social media in 2020 need to invest in content that actually inspires people to want to talk. Road trip marketing is just one example of the type of bold, big-picture thinking that brands need to adopt to reach top-of-mind in an increasingly flooded environment.”
“I predict less emphasis on likes as an engagement measure. With instagram removing likes, marketers will have to become more creative / change tactics to encourage public engagement.
“They’ll also have to be more focused on creating a meaningful connection with the audience that allows people to enter into conversation. Could removing likes be a trend that spills over into Facebook and other platforms?
“I predict the rise and rise of real and meaningful communities. Many brands and social media influencers have large followings but low engagement figures. By building real and meaningful communities for both the good and the wellbeing of customers means that they are able to get closer to consumers in a safe space, as well as increase engagement through meaningful conversations.
“It’s no secret that Facebook changed its mission statement in 2017 to reflect its investment in community and they’ve launched social media tools, events, support and resources for community leaders over the past year. Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
“Communities have been around forever but I think we’ll see a shift in the way that brands start to build and grow them by doing so in a more meaningful way that is beyond the sales funnel. Reach and external sharing will mean less and tight-knit conversations will mean more.
“TikTok has continued to grow very quickly and has beaten Facebook app downloads in 2019. But could Facebook’s own platform Lasso crush TikTok in the same way it did to Snap with Instagram Stories? They certainly have the user-base. The trend, especially among the younger kids, is steering towards short, fun, engaging creative video.
“AI in marketing will start to become more sophisticated and intelligent tools will start to become more affordable for marketers. I think marketers will start to see more and more monotonous tasks become automated including perhaps more public-facing community management/customer service by using listening and image/keyword or sentence signals. It’s not something to worry about because technology will free-up marketers to be more creative.
“In the B2B space, LinkedIn users have been enjoying excellent organic reach. I think later next year we will see the end of this as we start to see more advertisers competing for user attention in the news feed.”
“Bots were talked about a lot in many prediction articles last year and this year they have definitely become more and more sophisticated with new technologies and AI capabilities being developed all the time.
“With the rollout of 5G and firms like Huawei funding AI developer projects, tech like this is only going to improve and become smarter. It’s a really exciting time!
“Privacy and data were talked about a lot last year due to various privacy scandals with Facebook being at the forefront of allegations. People still say they have security concerns but it’s not reflected in their use of the platform. It’ll be interesting to see if this continues or changes.”
What do you think is essential for a social media strategy in 2020? “Build a meaningful community that is centered around the community itself and their interests or challenges rather than around a brand. Audience and community are two different things. Communities are more engaged and more willing to open up and have important conversations which can provide brilliant insights and yet the purpose of the community has to be for the good of the community and should be seen as a long term investment.
“As always with social media marketing, having a plan is imperative but being ready to test new platforms and tools is really important for finding new and cheaper ways to find new customers and get their attention.
“Social media is just part of the digital marketing mix. Specialists have to start better understanding the impact of social media beyond the content and beyond the like, being able to look at factors outside of social media that affect sales and use insights to pull together a coherent report that clearly shows social media’s impact on all areas of the business.”
“TikTok has seen huge growth with over 1 billion downloads. Although growth has started to slow, we will continue to hear about TikTok. Will be interesting to see if Facebook’s competitor platform emerges this year.
“Facebook including WhatsApp and Instagram isn’t going anywhere. They have more users and data across the platforms and apps than any other network.”
Lilach Bullock is a speaker, lead conversion expert, and content marketing and social media specialist
I think the trend I expect to have the biggest impact in 2020 is digital detoxing. It’s clear that people are starting to be overwhelmed with social media and the amount of time they spend on these apps, as well as the issues with their data. That’s not to say that people will stop using social media – but I think the behaviour will change.
“I also expect to see some more new social networks exploding in 2020, like TikTok did in 2019 – people are getting tired of the same old stuff and are excited to try new platforms.”
“Video has been huge in 2019 and that is certainly not going to stop in 2020. In fact, the trend might keep growing, even if it currently feels like all the content we see is video.
“Another trend that I think will continue into 2020 is ephemeral content – Stories are huge across platforms and that will certainly be the case next year too.”
“Knowledge, data and lots of creativity. You need to know your audience, who they are and what they want – this is how you know what type of strategy you need and what type of content you need to create in order to connect with your target audience.
“What’s more, you need creativity and to think outside the box – there is simply too much content out there for you to stand out if you’re not bringing something special or unique to the table.”
“It’s very difficult to say which social channels will dominate in 2020 – as long as Facebook is still around, it can’t help but dominate the entire social media space simply because it has that many users. But, I’m also expecting to see some new social networks making a stir in 2020 – and very excited to see what it will be that makes it!
“That’s because even though Facebook is so huge, people are tired of it, especially younger people.”
Anything else you’d like to add about social media/marketing in 2020? “As part of the entire digital detoxing trend, I think that one of the things we can expect (and there’s been plenty of evidence to this effect) is that we will be seeing some big changes in this direction.
“For example, removing likes (or like counts) to combat this ‘like-culture’ we live in, controlling the amount of time we spend on social media every day and so on. And this, of course, will have a considerable effect on marketing strategies – especially if the like button stops being a thing.”
“I think we can expect huge developments in how we use and apply voice search and voice technology. We are going to see an evolution from the single search result tools, to more multi-modal assistants.
“We are going to see much greater transparency in how influencer marketing is used and applied on social media, and how audiences respond to it. Celebrities as a general category are going to be less relevant, in favour of niche ambassadors that truly reflect brand values.”
“Video content is still going strong, even though there have been evolutions in how we produce it and maximise on digital real estate for specific platforms and devices. The evolution will continue, I’m sure we will begin to see more immersive video in certain industries going forward but video will still be going strong as a preferred rich media.
“I also think we will see more uptake by businesses in adopting gamification as part of their marketing strategies, for the likes of lead capture, engagement, and even retention.”
What do you think is essential for a social media strategy in 2020? “It’s vital for businesses to get real, to get back to the essence of who and what they represent on social media. Of course, it is possible to have an approachable tone of voice on your social media and remain professional at the same time, but many businesses still struggle with knowing where to draw the line here.
“Social media is just that – social. So it is incredibly important to be part of the conversation and part of the community, and not just stand on a soapbox, broadcasting. We are even seeing the shift in luxury, high-end brands – they are loosening their strict tones on their social channels now too.
“Another vital consideration is accessibility. This is for two reasons – 1) audience inclusion and 2) campaign effectiveness. Checking your campaign creative / media using a colour-blindness filter, for example, ensures key campaign information and CTA’s are visible even for different colour-blindness combinations.
“Similarly, including closed captions and voice over in your video content is inclusive for both the hearing and visually impaired. If social media is the heart of online community, it should be inclusive and accessible to all.”
“I think we will see TikTok continue to grow and become more of a dominant channel than it is now. The lines are also blurring now between ‘social’ and ‘professional’ channels, so I think how we use and interact on the likes of Facebook and Linkedin for example, will start to merge more. I’m sure new platforms will continue to pop up and test our loyalties!”
“Ephemeral content is gaining in popularity because of the results it achieves, and its rawness and immediacy, so I think this will continue in 2020. Some social channels are toying with removing ‘likes’, (Instagram for example), which will be interesting to observe.
“The aim is to alleviate social pressures and become more aware of mental health impacts caused by the negative effects of social media. All in all, social media channels are becoming more aware of their social responsibilities.
“Finally, I’m also excited to see how XR begins to be more widely accessible and adopted on social in the next 12 months!”
“I think we’ll be seeing more pressure on ‘influencers’ to make the fact they’re being paid to push a product much clearer. I think things might step up in 2020 on this as I haven’t personally noticed much difference in posts of this kind over the course of 2019!”
“I think we’re looking at the continual shift – from Facebook mainly – in making their paid ads / boosted content proposition more unavoidable for businesses and organisations who want their content to be seen.
“The field of community management will continue to grow, in line with the enduring race by commercial businesses to keep their customers happy.”
“Covering off how you’re speaking to your audience and really thinking that through properly is going to continue being really important. So I’m talking tone of voice, how the brand is represented, general protocol; making sure your social media admins are synced up with this is key – community manager or not.
“In general, organisations who are heavily reliant on their content being seen should definitely prepare themselves for spending some cold hard cash in 2020 in order to get their ads/content to the right people, at the right time. It should be part of their strategy, and not an afterthought when spring hits!”
“I think we’re still looking at Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Despite other players coming into the marketplace (TikTok for example), I think these four still have a tight grip on things with their continuously developing functionality and long-established user-bases and networks.
“Some of the challenger platforms may disappear by the end of next year because they can’t really compete with the scale of those platforms. They don’t have the investment/revenue to grow and/or they’re a ‘flash in the pan’ type platform anyway where the novelty/user enjoyment will start to drop off sooner or later.”
Anything else you’d like to add about social media/marketing in 2020? “I think public pressure will continue to mount on social media platforms regarding all things privacy, as well as how they’re storing, sharing and using customer data. It’s become a matter of public concern, and I think this will only become more intense in 2020.”
“I’m expecting a lot of 2019 trends to continue to be dominant in 2020 as well. 2020 has often been referenced as ‘the year when 80% of all consumed content will be video’. It seems that it’s been ‘the year of video marketing’ since 2016 or so and video is definitely not going anywhere in 2020.
“We might see an evolution of video in terms of what types of videos we’ll see more off. Live video, stories and captions are just a few that come to mind. Great storytelling is a must too as people’s attention to crap content is very low!”
Are there any trends from 2019 that you believe will continue into 2020? “Video, influencer marketing (with a focus on working with micro and nano influencers), stories, personalisation and community focus are just a few trends that are sure to continue into 2020.
“The trend of the past few years has been moving towards more human, authentic, personalised content, with a focus on building communities and helping people online to connect and be a part of something bigger. Quality over quantity approach will still be way forward in 2020.”
“There are still many businesses who don’t have a social media strategy. With the competition getting tougher and volume of content increasing each day, it’s crucial to have a strategy in place to be able to create and share high-quality, relevant, helpful content on a regular basis.
“Having a content plan in place as well as a repurposing strategy will be essential for success in 2020. At the same time, it will be important to have some time aside for online networking, joining conversations and being present in the moment!”
“LinkedIn for B2B and Instagram for B2C. We’ll also see a growth in specialised platforms like Pinterest, Twitch as well as new platforms like TikTok.”
Anything else you’d like to add about social media/marketing in 2020? “Businesses should focus on quality over quantity. Provide outstanding customer service on social media and find ways to connect with their online communities on a deeper level.
“People are expecting a personalised service that adds value and showcases respect. More and more people will consciously spend less time on social media, so it’s important to share only high-quality and relevant content that adds value to them.
“As more and more people will try to disconnect and take more time being ‘unplugged’, the online competition for their limited attention will get even tougher. Go offline, choose unscalable methods, go personal and go deep! Invest your limited resources into connecting with fewer people on a deeper, more personal level.”
If you're looking to leverage Instagram for business in 2020, check out this article from Mobile Monkey
- TikTok to keep growing as businesses get on board
- Brands to become more personal with a greater focus on customer service
- Less of an emphasis on likes
- Arise in meaningful communities
- More sophisticated AI in marketing
- B2B businesses to leave Facebook in favor of LinkedIn
- Significant steps to regulate social media
- Digital detoxing
- Developments in voice search/voice technology
- More transparency in influencer marketing
- Closed captions
- Social media to become less about vanity metrics
- The use of bots and AI
- The development of AR glasses and related hardware
- Ephemeral content
- The growth of community management
- More authenticity
- More thoughtful, higher quality content
- Accessibility! Give your audience a voice
- Build a meaningful community
- Keep the growth of authentic and strong relationships with your perfect
- audience at the center of your strategy
- Knowledge, data, and creativity
- Accessibility for hearing and visually impaired
Keen to see what 2020 holds? Keep your eyes on the our blog for the latest developments in the social media industry
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