Social media predictions 2020: Private communication, TikTok and attribution

By Paige Murphy | 12 December 2019
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The rise of private messaging apps, purpose-led marketing, TikTok's growing influence and changes to performance marketing have been listed as key trends to impact social marketing in 2020.

Social media management platform Hootsuite surveyed of 3,110 marketers, interviewed industry analysts and conducted extensive research to predict the five trends that will be prevalent in the new year.

Brands strike a balance between public and private engagement
The rise of private behaviors like messaging has not diminished the importance of public social media feeds, which remain a critical space for brand discovery and customer acquisition.

According to Hootsuite's analysis, 52% of brand discovery online still happens in public social feeds.

It predicts in 2020 the most successful brands will be those that strike a purposeful balance between driving awareness on public feeds and delivering meaningful one-to-one engagement on private channels.

The key will be creating a seamless experience across both worlds.

Brands who use a blend of automation and human connection to build deep relationships on private channels will be able to do so at scale.

Employers take centre stage in a divided world
As our world becomes increasingly divided, employees are looking to their organizations to make things right.

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 75% of people say they trust their employers to do what is right—more than government, media, or business in general.

This trust is conditional on making things better, not just making better things—and it’s especially important for younger generations in the workforce.

There is a strong correlation between millennials who plan to stay in their current jobs and those who say their companies deliver best on community impact, talent development, and diversity and inclusion.

However, Hootsuite's report shows people are also wary of brands "woke-washing" and using societal issues as a marketing ploy so it is important to have true purpose.

Progressive organisations will take advantage of this new role, building strong internal cultures, amplifying their company purpose with employee and customer advocacy, and putting to work the inextricable link between employee and customer experience.

TikTok shakes up the status quo
TikTok continued its popularity in 2019, but only time will tell if the hype will last.

It was the most installed app in Q1 of 2019, and now has more than 800 million monthly active users who are spending an average of 46 minutes per day consuming videos that are typically only 15 seconds long.

The platform's popularity brings valuable insight into the future of social culture, content, and collaboration with the ability for brands to connect to Generation Z.

According to the report, 69% of users are aged 16 to 24 and 60% are based in China.

Social marketers should keep an eye on TikTok, while using these insights to adapt their strategies on established networks for the next generation on social.

Social marketing and performance marketing collide
The report found that social marketers are facing increasing pressure to expand the scope of their skill sets.

Well-established champions of brand awareness and community building must also become fluent in performance marketing.

In its survey, 44% of senior marketers cited “driving conversions” as a top outcome for social media, right behind brand awareness.

Performance marketing on social media has typically been handled by specialists, such as paid media teams or outside agencies, but third-party social advertising tools are lowering the barriers to entry, making it more accessible for anyone to create and optimize ads.

The challenge will be finding balance, building out holistic skill sets that can drive both short-term conversions and long-term strategies to build brand equity, customer happiness, and differentiation.

The social proof gap closes
ROI and measurement continue to be persistent challenges.

According to its survey, Hootsuite found 70% of respondents aren’t using an attribution model at all, which makes it hard to prove the value of social compared to data-rich channels like paid media.

Hootsuite has named three best practices that high-performing organizations should follow to advance their understanding of social attribution and gather the data CMOs need to elevate the strategic priority of social in their go-to-market strategies:

  • Unite social data with other data for a holistic view.
  • Focus on omnichannel integration.
  • Borrow established attribution models from other channels.

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