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Social Media Marketing Trends 2020


14th January 2020


From our Senior Social Media and Influencer Marketing Specialist, Charlotte;

Nothing gets me up more in the morning than seeing what latest features Instagram has added to its platform, what viral trends have suddenly taken the world by storm or what are the latest tricks influencers are finding to showcase their collaborations with their followers. Social Media is getting more and more exciting by the minute – (clearly I’m in the right role). So I am excited to share my predictions and thoughts on the key social media marketing and influencer marketing trends of 2020. 

More authentic and longer-term partnerships between brands and influencers.

Influencer marketing has exploded in 2019, however, hasn’t come without its flaws. Influencer fraud brings to question the authenticity of influencers.  I’ve experienced first hand the effectiveness of influencers having worked both sides as an influencer and a marketer. Influencers can provide great value with high audience reach, ability to drive engagement and great quality content. I’ve been able to grow brand accounts much better with the support from influencers.  This year, I think there will be a shift from short “one-off” partnerships to more longer-term partnerships. These will be more authentic and will offer much more value to brands. I think we will also see a shift from brand awareness campaigns to influencer campaigns with specific conversion metrics. Instagram as a platform is making it better for brand partnerships with the likes of shoppable tags making influencer product placements more effective.  

The no-edit edit & rise of Social Media Wellness

In 2019 there was a trend largely amongst teens with minimal edit photos. People aren’t afraid to show their modest surroundings and influencers are starting to show more their unfiltered photos and show their more real side. There is still a long way to go here with so many filter apps available which influencers are using for their content. For brands to really cut through and be memorable, brands need to do the same. Social media is not the place for polished, unreal, filtered photos. In 2020, we will see brands show their more real side. User-generate content will be really key here and leveraging this to appear as real and genuine as possible. 

Conversations around social media wellness have massively increased in the last year. Already #digitaldetox movement is invigorating the balance between social media and mental wellness. Brands need to be socially conscious and carefully select what issues to get involved in and which conversations to join online. The new generation of consumers are shifting their approach and values. One of the most dramatic brand moves in 2019 was when Lush decided to remove all their brand accounts and move towards joining the conversation within a community with their brand ambassadors, allowing all voices to be heard.

Data Privacy

Social media has suffered a trust issue over the last few years which has lead to a savvier online consumer. There need to be clearly defined lines in place between personalisation and data privacy. Brand trust could be destroyed if a brand gets linked to anything putting customer data at risk. I hope 2020 will be the year that governments and regulators take more action in updating the rules of the internet to protect users and protect data privacy

The rise of Dark Social

In 2019, we saw a strong trend towards fewer public interactions and more private interactions on the likes of Messenger, WhatsApp & Instagram DMs. Currently dark social is the largest referral platform, surpassing Facebook in 2019 as a platform consumers use to share content. I believe the rise in dark social is due to the ease of communication with these apps and people wanting to share less. FACEBOOK launched the app Threads in 2019, basically stories but just for close friends. Whatsapp ads will soon be a thing. For me, this is how FACEBOOK is embracing dark social. I think we’re going to see more movement this way in 2020.


Tik Tok Takeover

Tik Tok is a short-form video app which has revolutionised the social media space in the last year. With 500 million active users and the 3rd most downloaded app in 2019. Tik Tok has a similar usage as Instagram stories. Tik Tok attracts a younger audience with 66% of Tik Tokers under 30. TikTok content is incredibly real, unfiltered, and focused on the content instead of the aesthetic. Many videos are shot in the basements of parents’ homes, instead of in well-lit Instagrammable living rooms. Tik Tok also sparked the rise in viral social media challenges including the 6-second blink challenge, the face tracking trend, the Haribo challenge…etc. Even certain songs like Dance Monkey, Old Town Road made their initial breakthrough on Tik Tok.

Removing Likes = More Feed content

As a reaction to the unhealthy impact social media has on mental wellbeing. Instagram has rolled out hiding like numbers on feed posts. I believe this is due to the sharp increase in the popularity of stories over the last 2 years. Stories don’t have visible engagement numbers. Although this might be unsettling for a lot of marketers, it is going to make Instagram a more friendly place and we will see new ways for consumers to express their appreciation for brands. More comments and direct messages potentially?

It is also thought that Instagram is hiding likes to encourage more feed content so they can sell more advertising space (see our full article on the hiding of likes). I believe the hiding of likes will mean brands can start posting less but better quality content. Brands need to go back to the why and less about the social game of algorithms. Consumers are moving towards a better balance with their social media usage. Brands will have fewer opportunities for them to bite so brands need to give them something worthwhile every time. I recommend posting at least 2 times a week in 2020. 

The next generation of technology

AR & VR are still very much new and next with marketers still getting their head around the technology and how to utilise it best with a marketing focus. Having been integrated with apps and social media, we expect this to increase in 2020 especially with the growth of 5GCoca-cola have been integrating AR into all aspects of their digital transformation. AR is best for in-venue experiences while VR will be essential for boosting online. Thanks to Instagram AR creators, there are new filters and effects on Instagram Stories which are seriously trending on Instagram. The “Which Disney Character/Harry Potter Character/Pokemon Are You?” filters exploded over the Christmas break. This is just the start of AR filters and what they are capable of achieving. Instagram also recently rolled out a closed beta of AR Shopping too, allowing brands to create filters to “try on” products before purchasing them. So we could see an increase in using AR for e-commerce in 2020, too.

AI will be key for maximising results to speed up marketing efforts. Chatbots use AI for 24/7 customer support and managing incoming consumer data. Google Lens, an image recognition software designed to bring up relevant information about objects, will be a major disruption in 2020 with visual search. 

As you can see, we have a busy year ahead in the world of social media marketing. If you want to talk more about the 2020 trends in social media marketing and influencer marketing, get in touch with our specialist

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