2019 has been a year of great change and debate. The world of social media has been no different. Here are the four insights that we feel will impact brands in 2020:

 1. Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content is the stuff that disappears. Think Snapchat or Instagram Stories. We all share an Instagram Story now and then, or see a Snapchat we wish we hadn’t…

This content is on the rise with an ever-growing appetite for it, based on the changing perception that this type of content is more ‘authentic’. Selfie videos that show off amateur camera skills do tend to feel more real than the glossy Instagram feed posts that we, as consumers, are beginning to tire of. Influencers have also started to adopt this method of sharing, and we have seen an increase in the preference for this when working with brands. But, as this content increases in popularity, and is employed more by brands wishing to tap into this ‘authentic’ space, how will clients feel about paying for content that disappears?

The answer seems to be in better metrics and measurement for this type of content, but both Instagram and Snapchat are reluctant to properly equip their platforms with this level of analytics at this stage. Certainly, a space to watch in 2020 if brands start putting more pressure on the platforms to answer this question.

Another ephemeral content platform that is enjoying increased popularity is TikTok, a social video app that allows users to share short videos, similar to much loved Vine, but with additional functionality including filters, augmented reality, lip-sync soundbites & much more. Previously, the audience was predominantly from China, but this app is on the up globally. It should definitely be considered for 2020 when it comes to partnering with content creators or for brands looking to go the extra mile on social, after becoming the 4th most downloaded app at the start of this year, beating both Snapchat & Instagram.

2. Will Instagram Remove Likes?

Instagram is threatening to remove the ‘Like’ feature from the platform & is already testing across many accounts.  Why? The brief answer is that Instagram believes there is a perception among consumers that ‘Likes’ have started to determine a person’s social value, and waiting or hoping for such validation is detrimental to our mental health. A noble change perhaps.

However, is this a ploy to get brands to spend more on Instagram advertising? Instagram may be hoping that if brands invest their cash with Influencers, but can no longer measure their effectiveness because Likes disappear, it may be more likely that that money is invested into Instagram ads instead, where the platform provides ROI instantly.Whilst this will change how Instagram looks, it’s important to note that using our Influencer tools, we’ll still have access to the data. It just won’t be public anymore.

If Likes disappear, it’s not an overstatement to say that it could change the face of Influencer Marketing completely…

3. The Rise of Video (again)

2020 will be the year that the UK finally has blanket 5G coverage, bringing with it, an end to those long waits for buffering in all its forms.

Video will finally be king (again).

All the social platforms already prioritise video over other content in their newsfeed algorithms. But, with 5G here, the playing field is now well and truly level. Consumers will seek even richer storytelling experiences, with video loading in a fraction of the time it currently takes. This even leads towards an upcoming trend towards longer form content vs. the current preferred 10 seconds!

It won’t be good enough for brands to just shoot video anymore, the storytelling will need to improve to ensure branded content doesn’t get lost in the maelstrom of mp4s that will be flying around…

This challenge in turn will be passed onto us, the marketers to create ever more compelling & engaging content. Challenge accepted!

4. Regulatory Scrutiny of Social Advertising

We have never been more aware of our data privacy and online security, than after the full extent of the Cambridge Analytica scandal became known. The public pressure has been non-stop since then, and the social media giants are slowly realizing the calls for change aren’t going away. Social networks and regulatory bodies are tightening their practices to ensure that people feel safer when using social media.

In turn, our growing awareness and understanding of fake news is finally being mirrored with platform change. Twitter recently banned all political advertising on its ad platforms in an attempt to purge Twitter of false information. It’s just the beginning of a wider swing towards more regulation and restriction on all social platforms.

This will have knock-on effects for advertisers and brands using social platforms to promote their products and services. The process for approval will get more technical, with longer lead times for ads to be approved as they are checked more thoroughly. It’s also likely that the platforms themselves will pass more accountability onto the person/business who sets up the ads, in order to pass more responsibility to the user, instead of the platform.