Social Media in 2019: A Year in Review — and What We Can Expect in 2020
Every year, every month, and even every day, social media is continuously evolving. Whether it’s a new platform, a new algorithm, or new content, the world of social media thrives on change. The last ten years in this industry transformed the way we use the Internet, and there’s no stopping it now. More than 90% of millennials regularly use at least one social media platform, and more than 85% of Gen Zers learn about new products through social media.
In 2019, we saw a lot: age-modifying Snapchat lenses, cryptocurrency venture failures, a world-famous egg, and much more. We learned that we’ve strayed from authenticity and remembered that staying connected to friends and family is the foundation of social media.
Let’s review some of what happened on social in 2019:
Snapchat has always been ahead of the game when it comes to augmented reality (AR) in social media. With its AR-powered filter and lenses, users in 2019 could bring their face into view and swap genders, grow old, or become a toddler.
RISE OF IGTV
At the end of 2018, it wasn’t clear IGTV was going to take off. But it has been a powerful tool for influencers, businesses, and larger personal accounts when it comes to longer videos. IGTV is powerful because unlike videos posted to the feed (which only allow up to 60 seconds in length), users can share videos up to 10 minutes in length, and 60 minutes in length if you’re a verified user.
TikTok has taken over the world this year. In February 2019 alone, it hit 1 billion downloads globally, and in 2018, it was the most downloaded app in the US in October of 2018. If you don’t know about TikTok, it’s a short video app, formerly known as Musical.ly. It’s used to create short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. One of my favorite subreddits is r/TikTokCringe.
FACEBOOK’S CRYPTOCURRENCY DEBACLE: LIBRA
Libra is a cryptocurrency proposed by Facebook. According to CNET, Facebook and Libra have endured a long few months as “partners bolt from the project, details start to shift, and legislators amp up their criticism of the ambitious plans.” We’ll see where this currency goes in the new decade.
This year saw the roll-out of e-commerce on social sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We saw a rise in the popularity of Facebook Marketplace, which makes purchasing something locally easy. On Instagram and Pinterest, business users can now tag their products in their feeds, which leads to the products’ page on their website.
In addition to these more prominent occurrences, we also witnessed:
- An egg on a mission to be the most-liked image on Instagram. It has currently banked 54 million likes.
- The first black hole photo was shared online, which was discovered by female computer scientist, Katie Bouman.
- Wendy’s brought back their spicy chicken nuggets, but only after they composed a sassy tweet gathering over 2 million likes.
So, what will 2020 have in store for us?
We think we’ll see everything from the removal of vanity metrics to more privacy and legislation of our social data.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, theorizes that by removing “likes” on their social media platform, users will post more content, which will ultimately drive more traffic and revenue to their app. Beyond likes, there may potentially be less visible vanity metrics in the future, in addition to “likes”.
We, along with everyone else, have been saying this for a while: video will be #1. We saw the rise of TikTok and IGTV in 2019, and we predict that it will only skyrocket further in 2020. Instagram and Facebook Stories and Snapchat Snaps will continue to reign supreme when it comes to short content. 64% of respondents to a Hootsuite report said that they have implemented Instagram Stories into their social strategy or plan to in the next 12 months.
Short, concise content is still king. It seems like our attention spans are shrinking in size day-by-day, but we all appreciate bite-sized, easily digestible snippets of information.
Like the Snapchat gender-swapping lenses that took storm, AR/VR will continue to trend and improve for consumers. By 2022, there will be a project 3.5 billion mobile AR users worldwide, with projected revenues near $15 billion by AR ads in social media.
In 2019, we saw social shopping integrated into Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The prediction is that this feature will only improve and become more commonplace in social media. Facebook Marketplace is now used in 70 countries by more than 800 million people, according to Hootsuite.
Nano-influencers were a trend prediction in 2018, as well as this year. It’s no surprise that social media influencers play a massive role when it comes to marketing and advertising on social media. Nano-influencers have smaller, better-defined audiences that we believe can offer a higher level of personalization and engagement.
According to a recent study, 85% of consumers find user-generated content more influential than brand content. Consumers like to view content from other like-minded consumers. It’s more relatable for them and easier and less time-consuming for businesses.
AUTHENTICITY AND TRANSPARENCY
The primary purpose for removal of vanity metrics in social media is to promote and improve authenticity among users. Consumers want to know that the content they’re consuming is authentic and genuine. Consumers crave less polished, perfect marketing and more imperfections and humanization.
PRIMARY SOURCE OF NEWS
It’s no surprise that a lot of us get our news from social media. We’re on multiple platforms a day — Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram — and the consumption of news stories in unavoidable. In the past few years, we saw a lot of “fake news” on social media, and it still floats around today to an extent. Facebook has started implementing a “fake news” label to prevent this.
PRIVACY AND SECURITY
In 2018, a lot of us were a part of the Cambridge Analytica data breach. Eighty-seven million Facebook users were affected by this — our profile data harvested without our permission to build a massive targeted marketing database based on our likes and interests. Today, more than two-thirds of adults are concerned about the privacy and security of Facebook. New legislation regarding digital privacy and security, including GDPR and location data, has been in the works in 2019 and will continue to develop in 2020.
2019 has been a wild year for social media. We saw a lot of continued trends, as well as new ones. Some have died off, and some have been reinvented. 2020 will undoubtedly bring a lot of new trends that will keep social media alive and well.