5 ‘NON PREDICTIONS’ FOR SOCIAL IN 2019

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By Andrew Roberts - Managing Partner

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Like a White House tweet nothing about 2018 in social was predictable (as we showed in our 2018 review), so this year we thought we would dispense with the mirror ball predictions, avoid preaching and patronising ‘must do’s’ and instead give you a list of 5 things that we think you should consider when you plan your social media strategy and approach for 2019.

1)   LIVING IN THE MOMENT.

20 years ago Prince wrote “life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.” – much can be said of social in 2019 – the rise of ephemeral content is not going to stop and this march is being led by video.

The much quoted prediction that 80% of all online consumption would be video by 2019 looks like a conservative estimate as we increasingly lead mobile led lives with shorter and shorter attention spans driving the need to be involved, interact, react and co-create.

As organic cut through decreases with every algorithm change, brands needs to think about ways to reach their audience and ephermeral content offers a good solution most especially in the format of live streaming and stories, indeed Instagram Stories had 400m daily user in 2018.

The challenge for brands is that this shouldn’ be a one off event, they need to constantly active to give this approach any credibility – communications need to be personal and authentic, and of a high enough quality that they will be taken seriously and this means well planned, generously invested and brilliantly executed.

2)   INTEGRITY BUILDS TRUST

Every year this subject raises its head but at no time has it been more important. 2018 saw the Cambridge Analytica scandal, numerous data breaches from the likes of BA, Marriott and even Facebook itself – and this looks like just the start as every company is game to the hackers.

The challenge for brands is this is directly at odds with the consumers desire to receive personalised, customised content with a seamless and curated experience.

So the paradox for 2019 is to be as transparent and honest as possible to rebuild the trust that the past few years of merry data gathering has destroyed and this means being clear about opt in consents and use of data and then respectfully reflecting it in the communications sent to consumers.

3)    FROM MEGA TO NANO INFLUENCERS

Keith Weed announced in June of 2018 that Unilever would be making a conscious effort to improve the integrity of their influencer marketing it marked an important milestone in the  inexorable rise in the use influencers. The step however will defiantly be more of a side shuffle– a step towards more authenticity and transparency.

As organic reach slowly disappears brands will look to reach their audience in different ways – if 2018 was about micro influencers, 2019 will be about ‘Nano’ influencers as the lifestyles of the highly paid and worshipped Instagram stars becomes less and less realistic the focus will be on the honesty and transparency offered by those who talk more as friends and less as sales machines.  .

Closely linked to this is the increasingly accurate results and ROI tracking that will call out these apparent ‘influencers’ for the scam artists that some of them are. This means brands will need to spend time and money finding, engaging and building relationships with real influencers who can engage and interact meaningfully with their audiences.

4)   ‘RIGHT’ EVERYTHING FOR SOCIAL ADVERTISING

A recent CMO survey showed that social advertising spend was up 32% in 2018 driven both by the decreasing reach of organic content and the huge increase in results from social ads with one survey reporting a 61% increase in CTR on Facebook ads alone. This has inevitably driven up prices with more than a doubling CPM impressions, so how do brands use social advertising effectively in 2019?

The perennial principles of right content, right format at the right time to the right audience still apply but never have they been more critical. Breaking this down this means spending time and money considering and creating the right type of interesting, engaging content relevant to the audience. Formats are ever changing so keeping pace with changes across all key channels is a must as is thinking ‘format first’ when creating content.

Timing and targeting requires a considered strategy, plan and ongoing focus as it should constantly evolve with more results and information., brand that adopt this step by step considered approach will be able to balance organic and paid activity to great effect in 2019.

5)   TIME TO DOUBLE TAP S-COMMERCE

We all know social isn’t just about engaging and entertaining it is also about delivering accountable return – something that the social channels are very focused on right now to not only justify the adspend but also gain their place at the top table as fully accountable sales channels in turn warranting increased focus and investment.

China is leading the way in this respect with over 70% of ‘Gen Z’ now preferring to buy in social channels than more traditional outlets. US and Europe are lagging behind but this will change in 2019 driven by the many different in stream payment tools, shoppable tabs and video plugins that are available to brands.

There is a watch out – brands need to remember that people don’t necessarily visit social channels with the intention of shopping, but by interacting with posts that catch their eye, they are motivated to explore further – driven by inspiration rather than purpose. So like any salesman brands need to inspire, tell a story, be relevant and create and keep a relationship going whilst also creating relevant and streamlined shopping experiences. Oh and don’t forget most of them are doing it on their mobiles…

So, there you have it, 5 areas to consider for 2019 we would love to hear what you think, if you disagree or think we have missed anything let us know here or on @gravitythinking

Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing what 2019 brings…

 

If you haven’t seen our social round up of 2019, catch it below.

 

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