We now spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social media. We check Instagram while waiting in line at the supermarket, watch YouTube as we’re cooking dinner and open up Facebook throughout the day to see what is trending.
There is no doubt that social media will continue to play a growing role in our lives for the foreseeable future. So, how should businesses, brands and even the average user anticipate the future for social platforms? Here’s a breakdown of the top social media trends that you need to be aware of for 2020 and the years to come.
Social media trends to watch in 2020
As attention spans get shorter, content gets even shorter
Do you ever feel like our attention spans are getting shorter? It’s not just your imagination; research has revealed that people’s average attention spans are shorter than that of a goldfish – eights seconds vs. nine seconds respectively. This is why TikTok, a short-form video app, has become one of the most popular social platforms amongst Generation Z.
TikTok primarily shows video content that is 15 seconds in length. These little bite-sized pieces of content are short, engaging and addictive. Due to the ephemeral format, neither the video-creation nor the viewing process consumes much effort. The allure of TikTok is it offers micro-entertainment, it provides instant gratification and it appeals to the overwhelming preference for visually-oriented content.
Some brands have taken notice of this social media trend and will begin leveraging short content to connect with their audience.
The potential is endless with augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) is already impacting social media and has done for some years now. The reason being it can drastically improve the engagement experience on social media. AR takes the real world and projects virtual, computer-generated augmentations to it. Instagram, for example, uses AR for its numerous photo filters which allow you to take a picture of yourself with virtual bunny ears to share with your friends and followers.
AR could very well be the future of social media. This is because AR will not only be just fancy camera filters anymore- the potential is endless with this technology. No-one will celebrate this more than marketers who will have engaging and unique new ways to promote themselves and their products.
Social media communities are changing
2019 challenged our view of vanity metrics and social media drastically, with Instagram shocking the world by privatising like counts on the popular app. While likes and follows will always be a signal of popularity, they are no longer the only identifier for success in influence-culture online.
A new kind of community structure is gaining popularity, one that is more influential and more exclusive than ever. Zuckerberg’s desire to “re-emphasize private interactions [on Facebook] and help build the smaller communities we all need in our lives” is finally coming to fruition, with ‘private community groups’ on the platform blowing up in late 2019 and early 2020.
In just one year, private Facebook groups such as the ‘Shameless Podcast Community’ and ‘Women Who Travel the World’ have grown by 300%; with the groups acquiring upwards of 20,000 and 100,000 new members in 2019 alone.
Such groups are redefining organic brand engagement; with users actively recommending products, brands and services to their peers. Returning to true word-of-mouth fashion, these users are solidifying certain brands and movements as ‘cult favourites’ for their community.
However, accessing these communities is not as simple as pressing ‘join’. To be added, you need to first be approved by admins – a process that often involves answering questions specific to the groups interests. Only after proving your worth in the eyes of the community are you allowed to engage with members, and even then everything posted is moderated by the page owners.
Brands will need to be creative when considering engaging with these communities in 2020; as a lack of authenticity will immediately stand-out amongst a sea of genuine interactions within established groups.
Social shopping will expand
For many of us, we’re just as likely to buy a product online as we are in a physical shop. This trend will continue to expand in 2020 as social media platforms have enabled consumers to instantly purchase what they are looking at. The number shopping on social media is now five times what it was two years ago.
For businesses, social shopping has streamlined the buying process while simultaneously amplifying the effectiveness of social advertising. For users, shoppable posts allow the buyer to navigate from product inspiration to product details to product purchase in a way that is organic to the Instagram experience.
As voiced by PayPal Australia Managing Director Libby Roy, “In a highly competitive retail market, where retail is relatively flat, it’s imperative that retailers keep up with the change.” Get ready for an increasing number of shoppable posts, stories and links across all social media channels.