Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
We come to the end of another jam-packed year in social media. It’s time to once again reach for my crystal ball and begin to predict what 2019 will bring.
The social media industry is still incredibly fast-paced, with new announcements and features launching on a weekly basis. Here are the biggest trends we’re seeing at Avocado Social and a few we’re likely to see in the next year;
1. More Platforms Adopt Stories:
The Stories format is the biggest social media trend since the introduction of the Like button on Facebook in 2009. As we saw with the Like button; pretty much every single platform will follow suit and adopt Stories next year.
Facebook was not the original creator of Stories, though. This was Snapchat, who this year saw a huge loss of two million daily active users and received negative press after a huge platform redesign.
In 2019 we’re set to see the Stories format grow in popularity across all other platforms. Facebook-owned WhatsApp Status and Facebook Stories are hugely popular in Asia already. YouTube recently rolled out Stories to creators on the video platform with over 10K subscribers.
Even the professional network LinkedIn is rumoured to be launching Stories next year, having tested a version just for university students in the U.S called “Student Voices”.
How do you plan to use Stories in 2019?
2. Instagram Stories Integrations:
Instagram has been quietly adding more functionality to its platform, with the launch of Action Buttons earlier in 2018.
The new button allows customers to interact with your business directly from your profile without having to use the “#linkinbio” to find their desired activity. Action Buttons allow for integrations with online services including Eventbrite, OpenTable, Yelp, GrubHub, Bookatable and more.
Could this integration list be about to grow? Rumour has it services such as Uber, Deliveroo and StubHub could appear in 2019. As we saw with the launch of Instagram Shopping Stickers, these Action Buttons all have the ability to become a featured integration with Stories. Imagine ordering a pizza, booking a yoga class or a taxi all through the tap of your finger on an Instagram Story – genius!
3. Vertical Video Formats:
2019 will continue to see vertical video formats sour in popularity as consumers continue to engage with content on their smartphones over desktop. In fact, according to research, 94% of users hold their phone vertically when watching a video even if they were intended to be watched horizontally.
We recently wrote a blog post which offers a number of tips on creating video content, including tips on what ratio to film in for Instagram.
Here’s 5 examples of top brands using vertical video successfully, including Spotify, Netflix and Mercedes, from Econsultancy.
How are you planning to integrate vertical video into your 2019 campaigns?
3. Wider Employee Advocacy:
Employee advocacy is when people promote the business they work for. For years, many organisations have completely avoided recruiting their employees to assist with advocating their brand.
However, with huge improvements to the LinkedIn platform and more successful employee engagement case studies – 2019 is set to be the year that businesses relax their rules and encourage employees to become champions of their brand.
We’ve already seen an influx of employee engagement training requests and wrote a blog post about how you can get started and to see some great examples from Starbucks and John Lewis & Partners.
4. More Control for Influencers:
There’s been a lot of talk this year about influencers “getting real” and beginning to share more authentic, believable content. Consumers have wisened up to when they are being sold to in social media, and which posts are genuine recommendations from bloggers rather than “pay-for-a-post” tactics. We all saw Scarlett London’s Instagram post earlier this year…
We’re hearing about longer-term partnerships being struck with influencers. Brands are looking for influencers to become genuine advocates of their brand through longer-term partnerships.
With the rise of influencer dashboards such as Whalar, where you can choose the best influencers for your campaign based on the content which they create, we’re set to see more creative control from influencers rather than brands.
The other key change happening next year is the introduction of Creator Accounts from Instagram – which is a hybrid between a Personal and Business Profile. The accounts are being tested in the US at the moment. They will give influencers and celebrities more control and insights on their activity.
Are you choosing your influencers for 2019 carefully?
5. Even More Advertising Options:
We’re pretty convinced that next year we’re going to see more targeting and placement options from Facebook. At the moment there is no option to target a Custom Audience of those who engage with or watch a Story (on Instagram or Facebook, or WhatsApp!). This is likely to be a new option, especially as this is where the eyeballs of 2019 are set to be.
The other key area we are set to see advertising are within WhatsApp Status.
“Who even uses this?” you might be thinking. Well, 450M daily active users are engaging with WhatsApp status mainly in Asia. Look out for ads in 2019!
Well, that a wrap on the trends for 2019 for now – plenty to think about.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s coming in social media for 2019 in our Facebook Group, the Avocado Social Media Hub.
To come and hear us discuss a few more 2019 trends live, join our free evening event at General Assembly in March. Book here.