And 2019 is no exception to the “only constant is change” pattern. Below is a list of trends we expect across social media channels next year. Some of them will be an extension of what is visible today, while others will offer completely new experiences or a mix of the best of what already existing solutions have to offer.
1. Video is here to stay
Video has been a trending content format for a few years now, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Facebook estimates that Stories will overtake regular pictures as the dominant type of Instagram content during 2019. New forms of video and tools for video advertising are introduced constantly. Facebook’s Video creation kit, Instagram television (IGTV), Facebook Watch, Facebook Stories, product tagging on Stories and LinkedIn native videos are just some examples.
In 2019, advertisers might finally ramp up use of 360 video content and shoppable video ads. Department store John Lewis utilized shoppable 360 video ads brilliantly by showing what their interior products and furniture will look like in a real home. Travel agencies are also using 360 videos to showcase destinations. However, there are great opportunities for other industries too.
2. Messaging apps
People increasingly want to interact in private with smaller audiences. Each month, 78% of smartphone users who have messaging apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber communicate through them at least once. Moreover, messaging apps have surpassed social networks in terms of monthly active users. Facebook Messenger now has a higher daily message volume than SMS had globally at its peak of popularity!
Utilizing messaging apps for ad placements, and especially as ad destinations, will trend in 2019. People can be directed to Messenger – for example to have a conversation with your business, claim an offer or be reminded about an abandoned shopping cart.
As messaging apps continue to gain popularity, businesses also need to rethink their customer service channels. An interesting new opportunity lies in the soon-to-be launched WhatsApp business API. Besides answering customers’ questions, simple customer care messages, receipts, shipping information and welcome messages can all be sent through messaging apps, instead of email.
3. Shopping in feeds
There will be even more seamless shopping experiences and broader possibilities to buy directly from social media feeds, with as few steps as possible. This opens up particularly great opportunities for Instagram, which is often used to seek inspiration and find new brands and products.
Platforms have previously been a better option for brand awareness campaigns, since it has been challenging to guide traffic off of their apps. Improvements such as product tagging in Stories and in feeds, collection ads and new instant experience templates will reduce the number of steps users need to take between seeing an ad and converting. This, in turn will boost conversions gained from social media.
4. Augmented reality in ads
Finally, 2019 will be the year of augmented reality (or AR) in ads. Facebook has announced the launch of its “try on” feature, which lets ads utilize AR to allow users to try products on, for example sunglasses or different lipstick shades. Combining an improved shopping experience and utilizing AR in ads makes social media channels even better for conversion campaigns.
Another buzzword linked with AR is VR. Although Facebook is investing heavily in VR right now, it’s still far from becoming mainstream. A transition from feeds to full VR social environments will require taking many steps, and individual AR features, like recently launched 3D photos, seem like tiny ones on that road.