Social Media Trends 2019: What You Need to Know

finger typing keyboard social media icons
finger typing keyboard social media icons

Social media plays an increasingly important role in Marketing and Sales for companies. But the social platforms do not stop updating. 2018 has been full of updates to our favourite social media platforms. That’s why we researched and explored what the social media trends of 2019 will look like, so your social media strategy can stay up to date and successful in the new year.

With these changes, it's likely they'll impact how we tackle social media marketing in 2019. In this blog, we'll be looking at some of the potential social media trends & predictions for 2019 and how we can consider using them within our strategy!

Social Media – Status Quo 2018

Before we get into the 2019 social media trends & predictions, here's a summary of the 2018 social media updates: 

Instagram:

  • Algorithm change - newer posts shown first
  • Instagram shopping - tag products to purchase in posts
  • IGTV - long video
  • Verification requests - request a blue tick
  • Hashtag following
  • Carousel ads

Instagram stories: 

  • Music stickers - add a soundtrack to stories
  • Poll & question stickers
  • GIF stickers - add gifs to stories

Twitter:

  • New share button
  • Live video prioritisation - live streams shown at top of feed
  • Chronological feed

Facebook: 

  • Algorithm change - prioritising friends & family
  • Breaking news feature
  • Gamification features - polls for live videos

Anyone who has carefully watched the developments on Facebook in the past year and dares to look ahead, realizes that it is seething in the social network: The updates on the platform and the explanations of various decision makers in the company suggest a radical reorientation. So, in the future, it will only be about social interaction and less about information. Now, Facebook, as well as Google, has made the claim to provide users with only the most relevant content. However, Mark Zuckerberg recently announced a strategy change for Facebook, “We’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.”

social media trends 2019 stats Facebook is more about Social interaction and less about information

Fig 1.1: In social vs. Search fight for the attention of the user, Facebook clearly positioned itself in 2019 on the side of social interaction. The platform has already lost its battle against Search [this caption refers to above image]

In the fight for attention, however, this change in course does not seem surprising, as the focus coincides with the original thoughts of the founders. Sean Parker, co-founder of Facebook, explained the initial question with the following words: “How can Facebook develop an addictive factor and retain the user for as long as possible? However, Facebook seems to be stagnating on the general popularity curve: Between Q4 2017 and Q2 2018, the network has experienced the slowest growth of active users to date (Figure 1.1). The supposed reorientation seems like a reaction to stagnation; the user must be bound even stronger.

Facebook's daily active users in the US and Canada

Figure 1.2: Number of active Facebook users between Q4 2017 and Q2 2018; The stagnation makes it clear that Facebook has to change something. [this caption refers to the above image]

In the wake of Russian interference in the US election campaign, Rob Goldman, Facebook Vice President for Ads, said: “The main goal of the Russian propaganda and misinformation effort is to divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us. It has stoked fear and hatred among Americans. “He admits,” It is working incredibly well. We are quite divided as a nation. ”

Goldman describes an external dilemma that stems from the internal goal of user engagement: if the focus is less on content quality, and instead that content experiences a higher visibility that generates more interaction, the objective gaze of the user becomes individual user distorted. Zuckerberg explains: “Pages making posts that people generally can not react to or even see the biggest decreases in distribution. It’s clear: Facebook can not score points with information from the user; the user intent is different and compared to Google it has to be noted that Facebook has lost the battle for attention in Search mode (Figure 1.2 + 1.3).

search vs social Share of visits social media trends

Figure 1.3: The race was short for a long time, but now it’s clear: Most visitors to websites are generated via the search traffic. [this caption refers to the above image]

social media trends facebook vs google last 12 months

Fig. 1.4: The majority of referrals are also created via Google – Facebook is lagging far behind. [this caption refers to the above image]

So, what social media trends will we be seeing in 2019?

Dark social 

Dark social isn't a new social media trend. However, despite the fact that some data suggests more than 80% of social sharing happens via dark social, most brands are still not considering dark social in their strategy. We expect more brands to be focusing on dark social in 2019.

Number of monthly active Facebook messenger users from April 2014 to September 2017

Messenger app usage is increasing, and public sharing is decreasing. Emarketer estimates that nearly 2.19 billion consumers will be using messaging apps by the end of 2019. Make sure you're creating mobile-first content, and consider how you can track dark social in 2019.

Source: Statista

Advantages of using:

  • No algorithm
  • Huge number of users
  • Messages on Whatsapp receive a high open-rate (around 70% according to DigitalDefynd)
  • Untapped space
  • Free

Learn how to use Whatsapp & Facebook messenger in your marketing strategy now 

Gamification

Another social media trend we expect to take off in 2019 is gamification. Facebook particularly, has been investing in gamification features. In fact, earlier this year, they created 'gamification for live video' where content creators would be able to add polls & questions to videos.

It's likely other platforms will release similar features over the coming year.

Advantages of using gamification in your 2019 social media strategy:

  • Brand new feature / untapped space
  • Highly engaging
  • Keeps users attention

Read our blog on interactive content on social media

"On the Tools" found a super creative way to gamify Facebook live. They created an interactive game show 'quids in' where viewers could win prizes by participating in various games including quizzes, lotteries and more.

Some potential ways you can use gamification on social media:

  • Interactive quizzes
  • Live video games & quizzes
  • Leaderboards: motivate users to compete against each other. For example, Duolingo and Nike both do this in their apps by ranking users with their friends.
Screenshot Leaderboard

Check out this campaign by Game of Thrones where they utilised gamification on social media to huge success!

HBO #CatchDrogon

Videos and pictures are the only way to win the social game

If you look at the share of visits according to the social network, you discover that the visual media is in the fast lane. Facebook and Twitter have stagnated since 2017, while Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube are growing strongly.

social media trends share of visits by social network table

Fig 3.1: Facebook and Twitter are generating fewer and fewer visitors and are slowly but surely being overtaken by Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube. [this caption refers to the above image]

Also, new and evolving functions, and the way in which the networks are used by the users, change. For example, more and more users are now using the Stories function on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.

social media trends pinterest vs Twitter last 12 months

Figure 3.2: The number of active Story users on Instagram is experiencing big jumps from month to month; The development confirms the trend towards increased visual communication. [this caption refers to the above image]

In addition, the former underdog Pinterest has even overtaken the former industries Primus Twitter.

social media trends Pinterest vs. Twitter last 12 months

Fig. 3.3: Even Pinterest sometimes generates more referrals than Twitter; The exciting head-to-head race makes it clear that the visual formats and the corresponding channels in the content strategy must be given more weight. [this caption refers to the above image]

What do these developments tell us? The general trend in terms of format is: less text, more picture! While not so long ago the democratization of information, so the broad transfer of information on social media was in the foreground, looking for the user today for an experience and less for the information; or the way this information is communicated changes.

2019, the user gets only “snacks”

An internal Suxeedo investigation revealed that visual formats are most frequently posted on Facebook. Posts that offer “thin” but all the more impressive content work well. In each case 50 posts of the top 10 fashion and food brands were evaluated; the result: 66% of the posts were videos, 27% were pictures. Only 6% of posts were to long-form content like articles. A moving-image content with a prominent face is divided on average three times more than long-form content. And Facebook has also recognized the trend and relies fully on videos in the updates: Thus, the user can now create directly on Facebook with its uploaded images video animations, play with filters and add text in the image. It has never been easier for the user to produce videos.

Augmented Reality: From Gambling to Social Marketing Instrument

This social media trend 2019 is based on a more technical basis: social networks are increasingly posting posts that offer an augmented reality benefit via the link with the smartphone camera and thereby promote a (visual) product – for example make-up. The user can “try” the product on himself and through this visual interaction experiences a first binding.

Back in 2015, the world went crazy for Snapchat's AR filters. However, even if Snapchat is dead, AR certainly isn't. Facebook has partnered with more than 700 brands to expand their AR capabilities. It's likely in 2019, we'll see more AR features being released across our favourite social media platforms.

social media trends facebook updates and augmented reality ads

Fig. 4.1: The user can try out more and more visually through augmented reality and increasingly expects interaction possibilities based on visual incentives. [this caption refers to the above image]

At Facebook's developer conference, they announced AR will soon be available to brands to show off products within the messenger app & newsfeed.  For example, viewers will be able to 'try on' products advertised.

Estee Lauder, for example, lets users try different lipstick shades on within Facebook messenger. This is an example of one of the ways we're likely to see brands using Facebook's AR features over the coming year.

Screenshot Chatbot

Fig. 4.1: The user can try out more and more visually through augmented reality and increasingly expects interaction possibilities based on visual incentives. [this caption refers to the above image]

Advantages of using AR in your 2019 social media strategy 

  • Personalised user experience
  • Allows users to experience your product
  • Encourages sharing & user-generated content

From 2019, it’s all about stories – everywhere

What is even more snackable than a video? A story!

Mark Zuckerberg has made another important statement that everyone should know who wants to understand the current developments: “Another important shift we’re seeing across the industry is the growth of stories. We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in feeds as the most common way people share across all social apps. That’s because Stories is a better format for sharing multiple video clips throughout your day. The growth of Stories will have two interesting aspects: Stories will replace the “classic” content formats in social media and the way in which how we share information, change significantly.

In addition, stories are considered cross-platform: they become a constant dominant in cross-media communication. Zuckerberg responds to a general development among the target groups: While the Millennials are still 48% on Facebook, 59% on Instagram and 52% on Snapchat, Generation Z actively uses 34% Facebook, 70% Instagram and 72% Snapchat, Zuckerberg tries to counter this and, with the help of the story function, drives a fusion process of the Facebook Universe: In the meantime, Facebook has integrated its own story application, with the Instagram Stories automatically shared on Facebook. And on WhatsApp, a status feature has been introduced, in which users can post their everyday life, news or experiences in a story.

The developments point to an increasingly interlocked cross-posting logic. Thus, the next step would have to be a cross-ad feature to allow monetization of the cross-media reach. Finally, Facebook Ads can be automatically played on Instagram – soon as a story format?

Even with Whatsapp ,it would be better to distribute via the status story ads of companies.

Instagram stories has boomed this year. 400 million Instagram accounts now use stories each day! Since Instagram stories are jam-packed with features, you'd be silly not to include it in your 2019 social media strategy. As mentioned above, gamification is likely to be a social media trend in 2019, so why not combine stories + gamification? For example, use Instagrams poll feature to gamify your posts!

Instagram Story Screenshot

As well as more brands utilising stories in 2019, we'll probably see more advertising through stories.

Advantages of using stories: 

  • Authentic communication
  • Interactive
  • Less polished
  • Can have a higher reach than actual posts

WhatsApp will establish itself as a business communication tool

What may sound adventurous to some is already applied practice in large companies; Whether BASF, Telekom or Lufthansa: If you want, you can regularly receive press releases, project information or employer content via WhatsApp messages. For example, BASF offers the WhatsApp service “BASF News”. For this purpose, a number on the homepage is specified, which can save each interested party in his contacts. By sending a message, usually “Start”, the order is sent to the company to regularly send news to the user’s WhatsApp profile. If you no longer want to receive the news from the company, simply end the order with a “Stop”. The company confirms the orders or the cancellation and, if necessary, sends short instructions how the WhatsApp user can communicate with the company through chat – for example, to select a different language. According to the companies, the WhatsApp messages achieve higher opening and click rates than conventional newsletters.

Celebrity and inspiration content are in the foreground

As already indicated, the evaluation of the 50 posts from Top 10 fashion and food brands showed that celebrities unfold a leverage effect on the recipient. However, inspirational creatives, using the storytelling method, generate the biggest impact: a three times higher share rate than posts with just a celebrity giving their faces. But the biggest effects are made possible by the combination of celebrity and inspiration: a post by Nike, in which Michael Jordan tells of his rise and fighting spirit, scored 34,000 likes and 5,808 shares – a top ranking post, even among the top brands industry.

social media trends Instagram stats

Fig 5.1: Inspire stories; In conjunction with a familiar face, an already existing identification personality, stories develop even greater multiplier effects. The message arrives even faster and more impressively with less text content. [this caption refers to the above image]

2019 is the year of the Nano Influencers

If you work in an industry that does not have strong influencers – let alone those that are affordable as a testimonial – you should focus on the nano influencers. These are becoming increasingly relevant and are starting to make their breakthrough in the marketing industry in 2019. It does not matter if they are B2C or B2B companies, each industry has its target audience and authorities in its field, with a strong voice and great appeal to the target audience. In fact, the exposure effects are greater with a specialist audience when a nano-influencer is involved than with a celebrity influencer. While the celebrity engagement averaged only 1.7%, the nano-influencer engagement achieved 8.7%.

At LinkedIn, the trend is clearly towards personality

People are more likely to follow personalities than companies. This also applies to LinkedIn. Example “Ryte”: The company’s account counts 960 followers on the platform, while the co-founder and managing director of Ryte, Marcus Tandler, has 7,480 followers. This relationship is reflected in the offline area: those who make contacts at conferences and other networking events do so with employees and representatives of companies. As a result, LinkedIn will become increasingly important to employees as well. Employees have the potential to act as a Nano Influencer for a company and the Employer Brand. Through various measures, these potentials can be exploited – for example through an internal competition in which employees are called upon to To gain as many followers as possible. The trend for 2019 will eventually be that the digitization of networking on LinkedIn is progressing; The classic business card is increasingly displaced by the LinkedIn profile. Rules, social media training, and employee content strategies define how they can function as a nano influencer for the business. Of course, this initiative must be voluntary.

Live video (again)

Ok, so this has probably been on every social media trends list for the last few years! However, based on the huge number of video-based social media features released this year, we anticipate live video to be a trend that won't disappear anytime soon.

In a recent study from Livestream, they reported that 80% of audiences would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog. Additionally, Cisco estimates that video will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019.

If you're yet to utilise live video, get it in your strategy for 2019!

Advantages of using: 

  • Prioritised by Facebook's social media algorithm
  • Inexpensive
  • Creates high engagement

8 ways to run a successful live stream

Vertical content

Our next social media trend is vertical content.

Did you know that 70% of all social media time is spent on a mobile device? (MarketingLand) Furthermore, vertical videos have nine times higher completion rates. (MOVR Mobile Overview Report)

With the launch of IGTV, Instagram's vertical video playback platform, 2019 is going to feature much more mobile-first vertical content. Start creating mobile-first, vertical content rather than repurposing other forms of content. Converting horizontal to vertical doesn't tend to work too well!

Advantages of creating vertical content:

  • Perceived as less polished / more authentic
  • Convenient (Snap on your mobile & post)
  • Immersive
  1. Don't ignore dark social
  2. Use gamification
  3. Videos and pictures are crucial
  4. Use live video
  5. Use stories
  6. Create vertical content
  7. Keep up-to-date about the latest AR features

Finally, for all channels and for all topics, the content should be aligned with the user behaviour. If you want to generate content conversions with the content, you must understand the user intent at the respective location and adjust the communication accordingly. Optimization of the content strategy on social media means more than ever in 2019 to align contents precisely to the user signals.

User signals will also be the dominating key figures in social media; Zuckerberg’s stated reorientation towards content that achieves high interaction rates confirms this approach. Therefore, the social media marketing strategy must be designed and implemented right from the start from the point of view of user intents.

Do you want to know how Meltwater can help you implement and develop your social media strategy 2019 with Media Intelligence? We'll be keeping you up-to-date with all of the latest social media trends & predictions in 2019, so remember to subscribe to our blog! If you'd like to learn more about capitalising on the trends discussed for your own brand, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch!