Elena Kutsopal, managing director of WeQ Influencers, discusses the key market trends in social media engagement and how new emerging platforms are addressing those trends
While Instagram, YouTube and Facebook are still the most popular social media platforms according to consumers, it’s important for brands to be aware of the next emerging social media platforms in order to decide where to make investments in 2019. Although no one has a crystal ball to see what is going to be the next WhatsApp, Instagram or Snapchat in this highly competitive market for audience’s eyes and ears, there are still some fast-rising platforms worth watching.
The influencer marketing industry is currently worth over $1.5bn, and that number is on the rise. According to a recent study from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), 65 per cent of brands plan to increase spending on influencer marketing in 2019. Clearly, commitment for a brand to invest in an influencer campaign on a new social media platform is not a trivial one. So, how is a marketer to decide?
Social media platform and influencer marketing decisions should align with goals and trends both within your organization and industry wide. Below, we take a look at the key market trends in social media engagement and how new emerging platforms are addressing those trends.
Shifting Your Focus to Generation Z
According to research from Bloomberg, Gen Z is set to surpass Millennials in 2019 as the largest generation, making up about 32 per cent of the total population. They are also making a big impact on purchasing decisions. According to a report from Nielsen, Millennial buying power is an estimated $65bn, while Gen Z has already exceeded that with an estimated $100bn in purchasing power.
Additionally, Gen Z has already made an impact on social media. While they desire more personalized experiences, they are also very protective of their privacy. Gen Z also favors short-lived platforms over highly produced social media (think about the incredible success of Instagram Stories as a format, which counts over 3m daily users), changing the way marketers create and think about content.
Gen Z is often the first to adopt new social media platforms, opting to spend time on the platforms where their parents aren’t as active, like on Facebook. This is driving the fierce competition between social media platforms to stay relevant with younger audiences. The next generation of social media platforms are engaging and testing more advanced features across a wide array of topics (like music with TikTok) to meet the needs of Gen Z.
Following the Rise of Messaging Apps
According to Business Insider, in 2018, the combined total monthly active users of the top four messaging apps grew to 4.1bn (including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat). EMarketer estimates that those users are also spending more time on the apps. The average daily time each user spends on a messaging app is expected to be 12 minutes in 2019.
This very large user base offers a prime market for brands to target influencer campaigns. From driving direct sales to building more one-to-one relationships with customers, messaging apps present several opportunities for brands.
Social Media Platform Meets Messaging with Kik
Kik is a cross-platform mobile app used for instant messaging, similar to Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Users can message individual friends as well as groups, and Kik’s main differentiator is privacy. Unlike other messaging apps, it doesn’t require a phone number to register. Instead, users can maintain anonymity by registering with a username or email.
Kik is already ranked a top ten app with teens in the United States, and the app tracks more than 300m users by IP address and age. This means that targeting influencer campaigns by location and age group is both a possibility, and a key reason for marketers to consider the platform in 2019.
Video Content Continues to Grow
According to a recent study by Cisco, by 2020, an estimated 80 per cent of global internet traffic will be attributed to videos. Both marketers and consumers are tapping into video content: 87 per cent of marketers are using video in their campaigns and 90 per cent of customers say video helps them make buying decisions, via Mobile Monkey.
Figures are staggering: in the past 30 days, more online video content has been uploaded to the web than TV content over the course of 30 years. An increased amount of video content, including live streaming, vlogging and produced video, will lead to increased competition in distributing that content on mainstream social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV.
Short-Form Video Platform TikTok
Formerly known as Musical.ly, TikTok is ‘a destination for short-form mobile videos’. TikTok makes it easy for users to create and share videos with special effects filters, stickers, and more. Content on TikTok has an unpolished, authentic look that makes it highly engaging for a younger audience.
According to Apptopia, TikTok’s international downloads are up 20 per cent in the last three months, with US downloads up 25 per cent. Currently, TikTok holds the number one spot for social media app downloads, beating Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
While TikTok is still relatively new, marketers should seriously consider looking to this emerging platform to create video for younger audiences.
Aligning Your Goals with Industry Trends
While no one knows what the future holds for trends and adoption in social media, these emerging platforms and many more to come are aiming to meet the wants and needs of today’s consumers. Social media platforms will be battling it out with each other for audience market share - testing new functionalities, more refined audience targeting and more to win.
As a marketer, the decision of which platforms to embrace should be based on those industry trends that most align with the goals of their business and brand.