Posted on: 19.12.2019

Social media trends for 2020.

More cost. More content.

What goes around comes around. Eventually, at least.

You only have to look at this year’s biggest trends to see how harking back to history is the new ‘in-thing’. For example, the corduroy of the seventies era now lines mannequins up and down the high street. The Furbies of the nineties are probably wrapped up beneath many a Christmas tree this year. And don’t even get me started on ‘mom jeans’!

You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with social media.

Well, I’m about to tell you.

Social media in 2020 is going in a different direction, but it’s not all new. Many of the strategies we waved goodbye to at the end of 2018 are rearing their heads again. Some have come full circle. Some have evolved beyond their old selves. And some have barely had time to become old-fashioned before they got called back to the fight. .

Take a look at what I, PR Account Manager Shauna Madden, think social media marketing will look like in 2020.

Ads are going to get more expensive.

There’s no doubt about it.

Until now, businesses and brands have been able to make the most of low prices across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn., and so they’ve flocked to these platforms in their droves.

Measurable metrics, coupled with the low cost and the speedy usability of the channels, made for an attractive proposition.

But those low costs just aren’t that low anymore.

It’s a change driven largely by Facebook’s growing revenue model, and its desire to appease shareholders. Users will start seeing even more adverts on their feed, and as a result the competition across all adverts will become higher. That means larger bids to get adverts showing.

This issue isn’t just restricted to Facebook. We all saw the significant cost increase when LinkedIn announced objective based advertising in March 2019. Then we watched as those costs continued to rise and rise.

On LinkedIn, we now exclusively recommend cost-per-click advertising. It’s the only way to make the most out of the platform. And if we could, we’d ban expanded audience targeting. It’s a surefire way to skyrocketing costs.

In 2020, as with every other aspect of life, social advertising will need to be mindful of waste.

The biggest impact of this change in cost will be for companies with smaller budgets, or with low average order values, who run the risk of being priced out of the platforms again. Those with the largest budgets will rise to the top, as cash on the table becomes the only way to win.

That doesn’t mean that everyone has to just give up and go home, though. Because next year’s advertising space will be less about trial and error, and more about precision.

Advertisers will need to double down on their creative, bid strategies and audience targeting in order to achieve the best possible value on their advertising spend.

Basically, split testing will be your best friend.

The organic and paid cycle continues to shift.

We’re always chasing our tails, trying to catch that one bit of the algorithm that will make everything work.

It feels like just as we’ve got a bite of the shift from organic to paid, the whole thing resets, and we’re back where we started.

As the costs start to rise, organic content will start to play a role once again. Particularly video content. Which means that last year’s ‘better and boosted’ strategy may no longer be gospel.

We’re predicting brands and businesses will dust off the old content marketing playbook, and start to invest in high quality video content again.Especially in pieces which can stand the test of time.

That also means the return of engagement metrics – people engaging with, watching and sharing video content – heading up our KPI lists.

Maybe we’re about to go back to social as a brand advocacy and reputational channel, rather than a sales stream. Or maybe not. It’s probably too early to tell. But there will definitely be more balance between the two moving forwards.

Stories are there to be told.

It’s an old adage of marketing, told time and time again… but this time there’s a social-specific twist.

Platforms have really been pushing their various ‘stories features’. Something brands and businesses will use more and more in 2020.

The ever-savvy team at Facebook have realised how much easier content is to consume in story format, and how seamlessly adverts fit into this style.So brands will have to follow suit, and invest in story based content if they want to keep up.

We’re expecting to see a blended format of the newsfeed and stories, and to see row upon row of story icons amongst the standard content on the feeds. Perhaps we’re even going to start seeing combined stories across the platforms, too, with one story spanning them all.

That means that content creators can focus on posting little and often again. It’s a return to the strategy of old, but using stories instead.Now they can post without the fear of clogging up newsfeeds.

Streamlining those strategies.

So we’ve got rising costs, and a renewed focus on content. Plus, we’ll all be flicking through stories to find it.

But what’s the impact of all this going to be?

We reckon people will seriously streamline their social platforms. Brands who pose as a digital jack of all trades, with a channel for anyone and everyone, will become a master of one. Or a focussed few.

Rather than listing five or six active platforms, brands will need to review their audience demographics and historic results. Then find the two or three that fit best.. Then run them as well as they possibly can. Easy.

In 2020, the aim isn’t to be everywhere and reach everyone.

It’s to reach the right people with the right content.

Instead of focusing on quantity of engagements, it’ll have to be about quality instead.

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