One million new people joined a social network every single day in 2018. Nearly a quarter billion new users came online for the first time in 2018.
As 2020 draws closer, marketers should pay attention not just to those numbers but to the constant evolution of innovative, commerce-focused features that attract users, enrich audience engagement, drive conversions, and ultimately fuel business growth.
The key social media marketing trends marketers should follow in the very short term include:
Social Messaging Apps
Messaging apps offer businesses new ways to communicate with customers as social messaging platforms continue to become highly valuable points of sale that link user profiles with payment accounts.
Mobile messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and WeChat now allow users to now complete business transactions within the app. According to Accenture, “almost two-thirds of consumers plan to use a mobile wallet in 2020,” making in-app payments a logical next step for businesses.
Additionally, social platforms will play a critical role in the financial lives of these mobile-first consumers as banking apps use social messaging to facilitate customer transactions and communications. Services like TransferWise allow users to send money internationally via Facebook Messenger chatbots—the latest in a long line of social integrations.
Roughly 63 percent of messaging app users currently use mobile banking services, according to Global Web Index. These numbers will continue to grow into 2020 as banking marketers and customers continue to rely more heavily on mobile transactions.
Social Media Videos
Video communications consistently rank high in their appeal to audiences and marketers alike. Video content is easily retained by the human brain, relatively self-explanatory, and highly engaging for viewers. Cisco Visual Networking predicts that video content will account for 80 percent of global internet traffic by 2021.
According to Global Web Index’s latest data on social video adoption, audience demand continues to grow.
Because of the versatility of delivering video content via social media, marketers have already begun to utilize live streaming of events, ‘how-to’ videos, product launches, and behind the scenes video content to spread their messages more rapidly and effectively. By 2020, social videos will grow increasingly personal to stimulate brand awareness and drive conversions.
Social media platforms have already started implementing e-commerce channels to provide expedient shopping experiences for customers. These channels allow marketers to supplement their social media ads with a buy button. The addition of a buy button can eliminate the need for a website visit or app download. This trend will optimize the value of a brand’s social media engagement and improve conversion rates.
From micro businesses to major retailers, social media’s role in e-commerce will continue to grow. For example, Instagram enables in-app checkout for its shop-able posts. By streamlining the purchasing process within its mobile app, Instagram has effectively become a personalized digital mall.
If users follow a brand like Zara, they might see a post showcasing a new shirt—part branded content, part advertisement—with a tag that shows the item name and pricing. Instagram has become jam packed with shop-able posts from brands relevant to the individual user’s interests and propensities and with content based on individual browsing behavior.
As the analyst firm Global Web Index predicts, “Shopping via social channels may be an APAC-based phenomenon for now, but a culmination of trends is laying the groundwork for social commerce to gain traction in the West.”
AI and Machine Learning
From chatbots to predictive analytics, AI and machine-learning marketing innovations can increase the value and impact of their social messaging by eliminating tedious tasks, performing predictive analytics, offering personalized recommendations, and engaging your customers more effectively.
Gartner estimates that by 2020, 30 percent of all B2B companies will employ artificial intelligence to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.
Algorithms currently influence almost every aspect of digital life, including the content audiences read, the products they discover, and much more. Marketers will leverage AI along with social media marketing data to offer product recommendations, provide customer support via chatbots, use machine learning algorithms to craft personalized and relevant messages, and identify underlying business issues. AI can also help marketers build smarter SEO and content strategies.
The Omnichannel Solution
In addition to facilitating transactions, social media marketing also serves as a rich and ever-growing source of data. As more users converge on social channels, brands must employ a unified audience data solution to consolidate, manage, and leverage that data to create a holistic flow of customer communications
The right omnichannel marketing automation solution will allow marketers to pull data from different platforms to monitor customer’s usage and preferences, to gather rich insights into their behavior, and to craft seamless customer journeys. Most social media platforms already customize individual user newsfeeds based on likes, clicks, and preferences. This trend will continue into 2020 and omnichannel solutions will enable marketers to serve up content and ads handpicked for an individual when and where they will have the most impact.
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