It’s never too early to start looking ahead when it comes to social media. With how quickly trends explode onto the scene and revolutionize everything, it’s surprisingly easy to fall behind if you’re not prepared. Now is the time to take note of the direction that it’s heading.
Here are 10 trends that will dominate social media in 2019:
1. Snackable advertising.
Some people believe that attention spans are getting shorter. This is often attributed to the influence of social media and technology. Others argue that this is a fallacy based on overly skewed and vague research, and that people are simply more selective and efficient about how they spend their time.
Regardless of which side is right, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there’s little patience for long advertisements anymore.
Many marketers are drastically shortening the length of their ads in response to this trend. Traditional 15-30 second pre-roll ads, for instance, are being ditched in favor of ads that last only 6-seconds. It’s been predicted that this length will eventually become the standard.
Within the last few years, video content has emerged as the most effective form of media on social media. Websites with videos tend to retain viewers for 88% longer than those without. Furthermore, according to 71% of marketers surveyed, it’s been found to have superior conversion rates compared to any other type of media.
So anticipate video becoming more and more prevalent going into 2019. It will soon take over feeds as more networks make room for it.
For example, some Instagram accounts have been finding success by sticking to video posts rather than pictures. This is a considerable change for a platform that was primarily based around image content, and only a couple years ago started allowing users to upload videos longer than 15 seconds. There’s even been talk lately about Instagram removing their current minute-long limitation and allowing hour-long videos.
3. Live streaming.
Live streaming video almost feels like an entirely different medium than recorded video. The main distinction that sets it apart is that there isn’t any editing involved. It provides the viewer an unfiltered window into an event in progress, with the potential for any number of unexpected things to happen.
There are also a few more elements to the live streaming video that add to the experience. Many streaming platforms include viewer chat windows for the streamer to read and respond to. Sometimes there’s even the option for viewers to send tips to their favorite streamers, such as Bits on Twitch or the Super Hearts on Periscope.
Most social networks that haven’t already adopted live streaming capabilities are rushing to add them right now. This means that 2019 is certain to see an even greater swell in its popularity and proliferation.
4. Sociable CEOs.
Social media has been slowly chipping away at the notion of privacy that previous generations have held. Its invasive openness has even scared some users enough to abandon their accounts. For the rest, it’s become an accepted part of its inherent nature.
One group of people this has affected is CEOs. People just don’t trust faceless corporations any more; instead, they want a more engaging human personality to interact with. Yet, still many are holding out and avoiding the issue, as only 39% of CEOs are active on social media.
2019 might be the year that changes the tide, though. Some CEOs are finding that maintaining a social media presence has earned them a sizable following and greater brand loyalty overall. Expect many others to follow suit if this trend persists.
Blockchain technology is something that either provokes excitement or confusion in people that hear about it. It’s usually tends to be the latter. That’s because the concept has been poorly explained to the public so far.
Like its name suggests, a blockchain is a chain of connected blocks of recorded data. This data is protected by cryptography, which encrypts the blocks with coding that ensures they can’t be rewritten or changed. Blockchains are open for anybody to check their validity.
The security and usefulness of blockchains has set the social media industry abuzz with possibilities. Networks such as Facebook have already begun assembling dedicated teams to figure out how they could utilize them to improve their data collection systems.
Blockchains have also begun to impact marketing, as they’ve led to the creation of Basic Attention Tokens (BATs). This digital currency has been used as a way to reward viewers for sitting through advertisements.
6. Brand transparency.
Skepticism towards brands is at an all-time high these days. Most of their marketing attempts on social media tend to be scrutinized and ridiculed. It’s commonly assumed that brands are insincere and will stretch the truth in order to increase sales.
As a result, brands are starting to shift their approach in order to regain trust, as they’ve turned towards displaying a greater level of transparency. This includes admitting mistakes, acknowledging flaws in products, and seeking suggestions for improvement.
Honesty has again proved to be the best policy. In a study by Label Insight, it was found that 94% of consumers would show more loyalty to brands if they were completely transparent.
Influencers definitely aren’t going to be a new development in 2019. They’ve already established their influence on trends and advertising. However, their role on social media will certainly continue to grow and evolve in the coming year.
For one thing, they will need to contend with an increasing pressure to disclose their partnerships with any brands. Influencers who fail to do so risk being investigated by the FTC and losing the faith of their followers over their exposed deception.
8. Ephemeral content.
Snapchat was ahead of the curve when it arrived in 2011. It’s idea of content that disappears within 24 hours set it apart from every other network out there. Only Instagram Stories has been successful in copying and improving their formula.
Given that Stories now has over twice the user base as Snapchat, you can bet that others will jump on the bandwagon soon. YouTube is already set to launch a beta of their own take on the ephemeral format, which they’ve named Reels, sometime later this year.
It’s estimated that 85% of all customer service communications will be handled by chatbots by 2020. It doesn’t stop there either. There has even been speculation that humans will start to hold more conversations with chatbots than other people in general.
The reason for this trend is purely practical. Chatbots are faster at responding than humans, efficient at solving problems, and consistently polite while giving assistance. Also, millennials are much more receptive towards talking to chatbots than their parents.
10. Virtual reality and augmented reality.
Earlier this year, Facebook launched the Oculus Go. It’s one of the first mainstream virtual reality headsets that doesn’t require a computer or a phone to work. At the same time Facebook also managed to implement augmented reality filters in their News Feed, Messenger, and on Instagram.
Facebook’s investment in these technologies not only demonstrated they were ready for widespread use, but are wholly expected to become crucial parts of social media’s future. It’s exhilarating to imagine what advances in both VR and AR we might see in 2019.