Happy New Year, and welcome to our first blog post of 2019!
In 2018, we saw continued fallout over privacy concerns, fake news, and security breaches. The Cambridge Analytica scandal rocked Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress, and Twitter purged millions of fake accounts. In fact, a 2018 study by Edelman showed people’s trust in social media at only 41% globally. That doesn’t seem to be slowing down their use of the platforms or brands leveraging them to connect and create communities though.
So, can the major social media players regain the public’s trust this year? What technology will emerge and disrupt our daily lives? I asked the Sociality Squared team to look into their magic ball and share their 2019 social media predictions.
The whole team thinks Stories aren’t going away anytime soon and will continue to dominate our time spent on our mobile devices.
- I believe more features will roll out. Think more AR, more stickers, etc. I think brands will take advantage by creating their own filters and stickers to increase awareness and engagement.
- Due to the rise of Stories, Helen Todd, our CEO, predicts that 2019 is the year of vertical and more content will reflect this trend.
- From face masks to 3D photos, Helen also sees that people will have more ways than ever to express themselves and images will come to life in more interesting ways.
- Kate Schaefer, Creative Director, says that the past couple of years has been dedicated to churning out crazy amounts of content. She sees 2019 being the year of quality over quantity.
While video is a part of content creation, it deserves its own category because video is such a big, important component of social media.
- YouTube will continue to be an enormous destination for video that all other media forms will try to erode into their market share.
- TikTok will continue to be a newcomer video player until Facebook either acquires them or destroys them like Snapchat.
- Tom Brink, our Graphic Designer, says Instagram (or its users) will figure out IGTV’s purpose. Kate takes this a step further and says video will dominate in general on Instagram as users are moving further away from the grid.
- Helen adds that we’re on the cusp of constant streaming video and will see interesting use-cases for it in 2019.
Platform Updates and Evolution
Social media platforms are always evolving, adding new features, changing the algorithm, and disappearing (RIP Google+). We expect no less in 2019.
- Along with Google+’s planned demise, Helen thinks Snapchat will continue to fade from our social existence.
- Megan Botti, Community Manager extraordinaire, is hoping for more in-depth native Twitter Analytics! She also wants to see improved scheduling on the platform itself.
- Speaking of Twitter, Tom thinks they will beef up “Moments” and/or develop new features for better news delivery and political discussion in preparation for the next big US election.
- E-commerce on social media will grow. Blogs like Design*Sponge and Rookie are shuttering and this leaves the door open for social media platforms to take over e-commerce in new and innovative ways. Specifically, we’ll see more shoppable pins on Instagram. Facebook Market is also something to watch.
- Facebook will continue to make features of the site into separate apps/services (like they did with Messenger). They’ll continue a big push for “Watch” and potentially gain a tv subscription service (like YouTubeTV/PSVue/Hulu/Sling) and integrate their own programming.
Technology has become so engrained in our lives, it’s hard to imagine a time without Alexa, Uber, and iPhones. The rapid pace of technology growth will only gain speed and transform the way we live our day to days lives.
- Personally, I don’t see big tech (think Google and Facebook) getting regulated anytime soon and it will continue to grow. Along that line, Tom doesn’t see any major Facebook policy shifts.
- There will be more advancements to hardware itself. Google, Apple, and Amazon are already in our homes and Facebook is trying to join the party with Portal. VR equipment is becoming more affordable. We’ll see the beginning of how these new tools can be used for connecting with social services and each other in the future.
- Tom hopes that the UI experience is improved. He says, “a lot of services added features over the last couple years. Now things are a bit messy and could look better.”
- People will continue to complain about security issues, but will they actually do anything about it like logging off or changing their security settings? The public at large will need to make changes they want to see in order for the technology companies to follow suit.
- Helen shares that deepfakes, AI-created faked videos, will continue to blur the line between real and fake, especially when it comes to “fake news” in 2019.
- Technology companies are going to need become more transparent in general. In order to re-grain the public’s trust, they are going to have to be upfront and honest about their policies.
Brands as a Platform
We understand at Sociality Squared that brands themselves are platforms. We take that serious when we’re creating content and thinking about inclusivity. In 2019, brands will embrace this responsibility even more.
- More brands will bridge on- and offline with experiential marketing. There’s something special about connecting online and then coming together in-person. As Freakonomics points out, we’re actually happier when we connect with people who are different than us. As brands are spokes and hubs for community events, they have an opportunity to create activations with intention.
- Companies will also go beyond checking off a box for diversity, and embrace a cultural shift of inclusivity. We’ve already started to see this a bit with Instagram allowing alt text for images for the visually impaired who interact with the web through screen readers.
- Brands will use their voice to bring attention to social justice issues even more. Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” ad is taking the internet by storm and talking about toxic masculinity. Nike has really led the way with its support of Colin Kaepernick. Burt’s Bees is supporting the National Parks during the government shutdown. Heck, even Domino’s is out paving roads, a service traditionally done by local government. Brands have a unique ability to directly talk with their communities due to social media and will take advantage of that. It’s a great responsibility and I hope one taken seriously.
Do you agree or disagree with our predictions? Let us know and be sure to share your own as a comment!