Over 1 million new users join social networks each day, and so it will be in 2020. To see what 2020 social media marketing will be like, we have to consider emerging platforms, secured patents, new tactics, and demographic shifts.

According to Andrew Ng, the chief scientist at Baidu, 50% of searches by 2020 will be made through voice recognition systems or graphics. Social media users are getting familiar with the rise of visual content getting used to talking to Google Home, Alexa devices every morning; while website layouts have been optimized in ways that allow image searching for just seconds.

More visuals:

With the rising of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, visual-based content is massively increased in usage since smartphones now have access to cameras, photos, and videos. 56% of users are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat to watch and engage with brands videos each month, and this is not changing any time soon.

What about Netflix Movies?
Video has become a major trend and type of content people prefer to consume. It is what makes YouTube the second largest search engine in the world. Videos are a versatile and engaging content format that not only gives us a real-life picture of what is going on, and are also easy to share across multiple platforms. They are also the much-loved type of content for marketers because they can potentially give a huge return of investments (ROI). A study by Cisco stated that by 2020, 75% of the mobile traffic will be video.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) technology will be changing not only gaming but even live video conference. We have seen churches in Uganda incorporate this already. Snapchat’s Geofilters is one good example where one can see and view location-specific videos.  Also, if you happen to stumble across shopping sites that help customers try on virtual clothing version before buying, then welcome to the AR world. Amazon, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Bitmoji, WeChat are exploring ways to implement AR in marketing strategies. Some potential features of AR in the social media future are AR live events, AR videos; all aimed to create more brand awareness and enhance the buying experience of customers.

Social Platforms Changes and Expansion

There is great and better improvement of the Facebook Beta application come 2020. While they are making the Facebook Application interface improvements, Instagram might officially remove likes. Instagram has tested the removal of likes in several countries. Most headlines you’ll read will state that the social network is doing this in the spirit of mental health. Think about it. Instagram can’t be happy when influencers like Kylie Jenner gets paid a million dollars per paid post or even when micro-influencers who get paid $100 per post. Hiding likes shifts the power back to Instagram. Advertisers who want to measure the impact of a campaign will be left with a couple of choices: run Instagram ads and/or pay an influencer.

When it comes to Google who has failed to enter and stay in the social space, there is hope if they openly incorporate existing social networks into their search algorithm. For 10 years Google has gone back and forth on whether social signals influence search. Experts have speculated on how SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media marketing services work together. In 2020, there is hope of seeing “social index” start to personalize search engine result pages.
This is supported by the Google granted patent 9632972, which outlines a process for identifying an influential user in a social community. The patent describes how an influencer score would be determined for a particular topic and their reach. By incorporating social into search, 2020 will be the year that search engine result pages become even stronger.

There is also talk of Google offering a free social media scheduling tool with built-in artificial intelligence. It will make a marketer’s job easier by recommending specific platforms and groups for sharing content. They would get the thing they covet: more social media data and sharing activity. If they offer a free scheduling tool, and if other social media platforms improve their scheduling tools, then existing scheduling tools will need to become more valuable to justify their expense.

No more likes but share and comments

Engagement on social platforms will become more important like never before. This is because social media algorithms will now be heavily focused on engagement, mainly comments, shares, and live features; and no more on likes and follows, as these two features fake likes and followers. We started seeing this in the past few years on Instagram, Facebook and even on LinkedIn.

The market of ChatBots and automation has grown over the past few years, and now it will become more on Social Media platforms which will be more human-like. These features are being implemented and developed as of now. In 2020 it will be possible that the bots can close a deal or sell your products while you are asleep.

Not to forget personalization, which is everything online and is not going to die out anytime soon. This has been witnessed already seen from personalized Facebook feed, Amazon products suggestions to Google’s personalized search, it’s everywhere and it is coming to household appliances.

Privacy has always been the main concern on social media and the internet as a whole. This is because, on many platforms like Facebook or Google, we have our information exposed to the platform when we join. Standing up for privacy and reducing the sharing of information with third parties that resell data will be a major continued concern in 2020. 

Content

User-generated content in searches will be a trend as social sites like Reddit, Quora, Stack Exchange, and Twitter will be appearing in Google search results. Appearing in search results gives brands, marketers, and users incentive to participate more in these niche sites because of greater visibility. It is already known that people barely read personal updates nowadays. Even though we care about our friends and wish them all the best, cute animal videos are still one of the most engaging types of content on social media. Social media users, in general, are sharing less personal information and are more interested in interesting videos or funny memes to tag friends into. The Meme economy is not dying out anytime soon, it will be growing in 2020 like never before

When it comes to video content, it will become versatile and engaging in format, giving people a real-life picture of what is going on. Major platforms like Facebook and Instagram are pushing this kind of content. Instagram’s recent algorithm gives more preferences to videos when they are ranking for the content. Short-type information such as stories, IGTV or any kind of short duration, entertaining social media information will be preferred more in 2020.

The continued rise of influencers

The number of influencers will continue to rise because their content skills will be sought for by brands; every day, small and medium brands are fighting to rise to the top spots. Marketers are always looking for creative innovative and effective way to promote their presence, and that’s where influencers come into play. In 2019, 80% of social media marketers found influencer marketing effective. It is safe to predict that in 2020 and beyond, more and more social media influencers will rise and play an important role in creating brand awareness.

Others

Data segmentation and the use of AI has become the future of a human generation. This is because it can help reduce the workload of human beings, as well as mimic human intelligence, and are the next big thing. With this advantage, social media platforms have implemented AI into their algorithms in recent years. The algorithm is mostly responsible for ranking social posts, deciding which contents to display to which type of users, groping of data and much more. In 2020 and the near future, AI will do better and better in segmenting data, and make sure that the algorithms provide the best content possible.

Social media adverts will play an important role. With social media becoming more and more popular, opportunities there have been tremendously increased. Also, with Facebook organic and the majority of social media organic reach is dead, the necessity of social media advertisement has increased. The decline of organic reach and increase in advert usage should not come as a surprise as adverts are the primary way these platforms make money. So in 2020, be prepared to spend money if you want maximum brand outreach and engagement.

This article first appeared in the New Vision print paper’s Uganda in 2020 pullout magazine of 30th December 2019. The magazine is an essential guide to the year 2020.

Patricia Kahill

is a Social Media, Content Creator and Marketer at Kahill Insights. A Development Practitioner who has no self talent but is driven by curiosity and passion; in a nutshell she is a Multipotentialite. She believes in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit which makes her a Christian.

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