What You Need to Know About Social Media in 2020

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abstract representation of what you need to know about social media in 2020

The end of an era. The end of the cookie. Google Chrome has announced plans to phase out its support of third-party cookies by the year 2022. While the shift has mostly been viewed as an oncoming headache for digital advertisers, getting away from the crutch of cookies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a change that will inevitably give rise to more innovation in the ad tech industry. Moving forward, digital advertisers will have to focus their attention on developing new technologies, and utilizing old ones like customer data platforms (CDPs) and contextual-based ads that play into brand strategy, while also respecting consumer desires for privacy. 

Every day, more than 3.2 billion people worldwide are active on social media–so it’s no surprise that social media plays such an integral role in our everyday lives. Not only is it a place to communicate, be creative and share your point of view, it also influences the products we buy, the food we eat and the way we live our lives. 

With these statistics, it’s clear to see why social media has become the go-to strategy that marketers are using to strengthen brand awareness and build customer relationships. But what new updates will social media bring to the industry this year? Here’s a closer look at some of the top trends happening right now and how they will impact your brand:

Saying Goodbye to Likes

For social media platforms like Instagram, it’s easy for users to become obsessed with the number of likes, comments and followers they have. These metrics have been used to determine the success of many brands and users, ultimately turning the app into a popularity contest rather than a social network. 

In an effort to improve users’ mental health and eliminate the connection between likes and self-worth, Instagram is working to remove the likes feature from the app. As you scroll through your feed, you will no longer be able to see the number of likes each post gets, but you will still be able to view the likes on your own posts privately. 

This may pose a problem for influencers, brands and social media marketers who utilize “like momentum;” a term used to describe the idea that users will like a piece of content if they see their friends have also liked it or if the content already has a large number of likes. People may also be more forthcoming and proactive with the content they post if they aren’t worried about likes. So, what does this mean for brands? Doing away with a popularity contest will force social influencers and brands to rethink their strategies and adapt to these changes. 

Video Content Will Continue to Take Over

By the year 2022, it’s projected that 82 percent of all online traffic will be video content, making it one of the most important trends in social media to capitalize on. Video consumption continues to rise on a yearly basis, increasing by a whopping 100 percent every year. This is key information for brands looking to optimize their marketing strategies. 

On platforms that have previously been dominated by text and images, such as Twitter and Facebook, video content is opening the doors for new opportunities for creativity and engagement. Brands should focus their social efforts on connecting with their audience in a new way, potentially expanding your reach and raising brand awareness. 

Users are Looking for More Private Interactions

In previous years, privacy has been a huge issue for many social media platforms. Many users have felt unsafe sharing their information online and still remain weary today. To take control of their fears, users have turned away from their feed and into private messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. These messaging platforms allow users to create smaller, more intimate groups that people can feel safe communicating in. 

A recent study found that direct messaging outweighs social media posting on every platform. With direct messaging, customer service can be handled quickly, providing a more personal and efficient experience for consumers. For brands looking to closely connect with their social media audience, direct messaging is proving to be the most effective way to do so. 

Augmented Reality Will Be at an All-Time High

Augmented reality has already made an introduction into many social media platforms: Instagram and Snapchat are using it for filters and brands like Sephora are using it for customers to try on products virtually before they buy. 

While this technology isn’t brand new, it will continue to make a splash in social media and have a major influence on future trends. More and more platforms and brands are expected to implement this technology in an effort to create more entertainment and positive user experiences all around.

The end of an era. The end of the cookie. Google Chrome has announced plans to phase out its support of third-party cookies by the year 2022. While the shift has mostly been viewed as an oncoming headache for digital advertisers, getting away from the crutch of cookies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a change that will inevitably give rise to more innovation in the ad tech industry. Moving forward, digital advertisers will have to focus their attention on developing new technologies, and utilizing old ones like customer data platforms (CDPs) and contextual-based ads that play into brand strategy, while also respecting consumer desires for privacy. 

Cookies are used by websites to remember users’ information and track their activity. There are three main types of cookies: session cookies that track users’ movement throughout a site, persistent/first-party cookies that remember users’ online preferences, and third-party cookies, which are those sent by a website other than the one a user was visiting. Tracking users, this type of cookie gives permission to third-parties (like advertisers) to then target them across multiple sites with their ads. 

Chrome doing away with third-party cookies means that digital advertisers will have to find other ways of delivering relevant ads to users without accessing their personal information. In practice, this means turning to alternatives that utilize first-party data gathering systems — information collected directly and voluntarily from users. Thankfully, CDPs and contextual-based advertising may just be the answer. 

CDPs, or customer data platforms, have been used by B2Bs since the dawn of the internet. They consolidate and store first-party data, creating a unified customer database that businesses can then tap into. Who are our customers? How can we retain them? With a CDP, digital advertisers can make sense of who their customers are and develop a personalized strategy for keeping them engaged. Some popular CDP software includes Exponea, Optimove, and Arm Treasure Data. 

Investing in contextual advertising is another option for digital marketers looking to target customers without using third-party cookies. Contextual advertisements show customers ads based on the directly-relevant content they view on a site. For example, if a customer was reading an article about clean energy, digital advertisers could position a contextually-relevant ad for solar panels on the page as well. 

As the world’s most-used browser, Google’s plan to kill the cookie will forever change the way digital advertisers target and track Chrome’s millions of users. It’s an inescapable change — one born out of increasing regulations and the rapidly-changing audience of 2020 that demands privacy, transparency, and control over how their data is used. Yet, it’s not the end of the world. By taking advantage of data-collection alternatives like CDPs and strategically positioning contextual ads, digital advertisers can prepare for a world without cookies. Want to learn more about our digital marketing strategies? Let’s get in touch.