What’s New for Social Media Marketing in 2020?

Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts by the OST marketing team on everything you need to know on how to create an effective social media marketing strategy for 2020. Each chapter will cover the various elements of what should make up your strategy; all brought to you by our paid media, accounts, and management teams. Download the ebook for the full 2020 social media marketing strategy checklist. This blog will first introduce you to what’s new in social media for 2020.

2019 was another roller-coaster year for social media. Facebook suffered renewed scrutiny on data privacy. Instagram continued to grow but, under pressure from mental health campaigners, was spurred into hiding likes. LinkedIn continued its drive towards relevance by launching a raft of new features, including live video streaming. And TikTok emerged to compete with Snapchat for the youth market.

2020 looks set for more surprises. User habits are evolving with gaming apps and messaging platforms eating into social networking time. For marketers, rapid developments in influencer marketing, private messaging, use of AI, B2B marketing, video marketing and paid social are creating a wealth of new opportunities.

To help you plan your social media strategy for 2020, we’ve identified some of the leading trends and insights that are likely to shape the sector this year.

What next for the social media backlash?

Two hours 15 minutes. This is the amount of time the average user spent on social media every day in 2018. Although impressive, this number only increased by one minute in 2019. After double-digit growth in 2015 and 2016, social media usage flat-lined in 2018/19.


Graph showing time spent on social media

Source: Scott Guthrie, https://sabguthrie.info/

39% of social media users also claim to have reduced their usage in 2019.  When asked why, they blame “overload” and “addiction”, or simply a “waste of time”. “Lack of trust” and “privacy/data concerns” are also frequently cited, echoing the biggest social media news story of the past year: Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

What was your reasoning for deleting/suspending/reducing your social media usage?

Source: Exposure Ninja, https://exposureninja.com/blog/cutting-back-social-media/

Consumers want to connect with brands they trust

In 2020, consumers are placing a greater focus on trust and accuracy in their engagements with brands. Companies that withhold information or ignore customer questions are seen as lacking transparency, while those that admit mistakes and give honest responses to customer questions are seen as transparent. Polls suggest that perceptions of trust are having a greater impact on consumers’ buying choices.

Topics that demonstrate a Brands Transparency on Social Media


Source: Sprout Social, https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/social-media-transparency/

Social continues to go private

Trust is also impacting on how consumers communicate with each other. Dark Social is the term used to describe 1:1 or group messaging channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, email, SMS, private forums and groups. Although these channels can be open and public, access is usually restricted to groups of known contacts, and most posts are shared privately.

How are consumers sharing information or content?

Source: GlobaWebIndex.com, https://blog.globalwebindex.com/chart-of-the-week/brands-capitalizing-on-the-rise-of-dark-social/

Research conducted back in 2016 suggested that 84% of conversations that mentioned brands were already happening on Dark Social channels. Given that private messaging is now the leading communication channel used by consumers, with 63% of us using it to share content with friends and family, this represents a huge untapped marketing opportunity for those brands. The challenge of how to access these conversations and, if possible, positively impact them is one that all digital marketers should seek to address in 2020.

WhatsApp advertising creates a new opportunity

The launch of WhatsApp advertising, set to happen early in 2020 (initially only in the US), could open the door to inserting brand messaging within the app, though not into specific conversations. WhatsApp ads will reportedly take up the entire screen of a smartphone and allow users to find out more information about the advertiser by swiping up.

The use of messaging groups for marketing is also growing, led by companies in the travel, entertainment, gaming and fashion industries. We expect to see more experimentation from brands and focused advertising offerings within these Dark Social apps during 2020.

The rollout of 5G opens the door to creativity

The continued rollout of 5G mobile internet in the UK is set to enable a raft of new features and marketing opportunities on social media.

5G mobile networks are able to simultaneously support more than one million devices per square kilometre, which is a big jump from the maximum 60,000-odd devices that 4G currently supports… This connectivity will open up a range of new features that could make your social media channels even more engaging, such as immersive video advertising, 4K video quality and alternative reality filters.

TikTok is set to explode

TikTok, the short-form mobile video site, is the new kid on the block for marketing to younger demographics (16-24-year-olds). The platform has massively grown in popularity in 2019, boasting over 500 million users globally, including up to 150 million in China – which is often seen as a ‘hard to reach’ market for Western companies.

To date, advertising opportunities on TikTok have been limited, and the app’s marketing potential remains largely untapped and, consequently, wholly open to creative thinking. The obvious options are to invest in sponsored content or pay/gift influencers to promote your products – but there’s always the option of launching your own goof-ball comedy video channel.

Thank you for reading! If you want to find out more, download our full ebook here – or get in contact with us at hello@ostmarketing.com

Luke Brynley-Jones
Date: 14th January 2020
Category: Blog Social Media Strategy

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