For the ninth year running, Amaury Treguer, co-founder at Bread Agency, is back to predict what’s in store for social media in the coming year. Check out his previous predictions here: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Merriam-Webster has announced that its 2023 Word of the Year is ‘Authentic’, which it defines as “not false or copied; genuine; real”. The word skyrocketed in search this year, a nod to the rapidly evolving role of AI in society.
People are craving for authentic content, therefore overly filtered content that was once used to populate our feeds is not getting as much attention as before.
Social media influencers and creators are increasingly using the authenticity angle to their advantage. A product like Instagram’s new Broadcast (similar to subscription-based services like Sunroom or Patreon) is becoming more popular, offering a new space for creators to embrace their vulnerability and transparency and foster a sense of familiarity with their audience (and monetise big-time).
This year, we witnessed the birth of hundreds of new Generative AI tools. The initial fear of job security has collectively dropped its guard, and creatives are embracing tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney for fresh perspectives that allow them to spend more time on meaningful creative endeavours. Tools like these will be around forever, so we best get comfortable using them to our advantage.
Social commerce has reached new heights, and social media platforms and channels turned into lucrative revenue streams for businesses. Brands are finding new ways to reach customers, like livestream shopping which is said to increase conversion rates reaching up to 10 times higher than conventional ecommerce. We’re yet to see this take off in Australia but with innovative success possible for both the streamer and companies, we’re bound to see it hit shores soon.
So, what’s coming for us in 2024? Let’s peer into my crystal ball.
1. The rise of CGI and FOOH on social media
The lines between digital and social advertising and OOH advertising continue to blur with the wave of eye-catching digital activations, known as fake out-of-home (FOOH). Whilst it’s already been the case in parts of the world such as Europe, FOOH will become more mainstream in Australia, with some local showcases already popping up.
Renowned artist Origiful, Ian Padgham, has been at the forefront of this digital revolution, creating FOOH moments for major brands such as Apple, Jacquemus, Maybelline, and Hyundai.
Ask any marketer what the biggest moments in marketing were in 2023, and Barbie would be at the top of the list. Around the launch of the movie, a virtual Barbie sized up next to the Burj Khalifa, raking in 30 million views to date. These striking activations help businesses transcend the limited ROI of their traditional out-of-home activities. When done well, most of these FOOH get millions of views for a fraction of what a real-life billboard would have cost them.
However, despite the initial ‘wow’ factor, FOOH moments are receiving mixed reviews online, with some people expressing boredom and fatigue already. While FOOH continues to be visually and virally impactful, maintaining its appeal might require brands to complement it with other channels.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether brands lean towards CGI solutions as shortcuts to cutting budgets. However, we do live in the real world, and that’s where you want to be seen. The challenge for businesses is to adopt this trend where it fits, but support it with campaigns where audience engagement lasts beyond the initial wow factor.
2. A new type of influencer in the ‘LinkedInfluencer’
LinkedIn turned 20 this year, making it older than Facebook and Instagram, and a notable evolution is taking place on the platform. The influencers have arrived.
The influx of business-to-business (B2B) influencers leveraging the algorithm for more organic visibility has caught the eyes of companies like HootSuite. Untapped marketing avenues and the algorithm’s potential to offer massive organic reach now outshine more saturated platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
This year, Hootsuite onboarded social media managers that use LinkedIn as a lead-generation and thought-leadership tool to create sponsored posts that advertise its ‘2023 Social Media Career Report’. This campaign earned HootSuite more than 1.2 million impressions and over 6000 link clicks. Campaigns like this are a particularly exciting development for B2B marketing, which is known to be a hard nut to crack.
The emergence of B2B influencers brings a unique shoe horn for brands and companies to target high-intent audiences of professionals in niche markets. ‘LinkedInfluencers’ are also found within their own companies and LinkedIn is trying to capitalise on this trend too. LinkedIn recently launched the thought leader ads format, allowing businesses to promote the posts of their executive teams or staff to specific audiences, which in turn build credibility and humanise the brand further.
80 percent of LinkedIn’s 900 million members drive business decisions, which makes it the go-to social platform for B2B communications and lead generation. However, we’re starting to see more brands think about LinkedIn influencers for their business-to-consumers (B2C) programs. And it makes perfect sense for brands wanting to reach certain audiences. So as we move into 2024, marketers should stop treating B2B and B2C marketing strategies so differently and instead think about operating as a brand for humans.
3. The partnership economy and co-marketing
With the surge in paid media and acquisition costs, coupled with growing concerns about data privacy and new regulations, corporations have to get savvy to generate more visibility and sales. In the quest for fresh strategies, the partnership economy is emerging as a game-changer for the ad world.
Companies are adapting to the post-cookie era by teaming up with aligned businesses to achieve mutually beneficial marketing goals. Enter co-marketing (or partner marketing), which Partnerize defines as a partnership between two or more companies to work together to cross-promote products or services to each other’s audiences. It’s a pretty cost-effective model to attract new customers, and market for a fraction of what digital advertising costs.
We now have giants like Woolworths flexing their partnership muscles with their Everyday Rewards program cross-promoting benefits with Qantas, BIG W, Bupa, Ampol, and Origin. Symbiotic relationships like these add value to existing customers, acquire new ones, save costs and help increase revenue to all businesses involved. It also allows partners to share valuable customer information, creating a win-win loyalty loop.
There’s existing technology to support these models, with platforms like Impact.com acting as a partnership marketplace that bridges the gap between brands, creators and affiliates who are looking to ride the wave of collaborative success.
Partnerships are a beacon of opportunity, offering ‘you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours’ chances to counter the disruptions to the traditional digital ad model, and finally losing cookies to the void.
This ecosystem is becoming increasingly vital as the marketing landscape grapples with shifting consumer behaviours, industry regulations, and the constant need for fresh, innovative strategies. Expect this to really flourish in 2024.
4. Putting the social back in social media
The internet gods initially gave us social media to strengthen bonds with family and friends. Fast forward to today, the platforms are a sprawling content universe, which reward short-form videos and paid advertising. We’ve adapted well, but the truth is, social media has become less social.
The primary objective of every social media site is to hold the user there for as long as possible, the average person scrolls approximately 91 metres on their phone everyday, and the most effective way to keep people engaged is through video content. According to a study by Sprout Social, 66 percent of consumers report short-form video to be the most engaging type of social media content in 2022, up from 50 percent in 2020.
The rise of video content has caused more social media platforms to traƒnsform into entertainment platforms – with more than 54 percent of marketers saying that video is the most valuable content type for achieving social media marketing goals.
This shift in platform’s behaviours have pushed people to switch to private messaging or group chats to share interesting links in a space that feels safe rather than on the open feed. Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri says friends are more likely to post stories or send private messages than post on their grid.
Our desire for connection, whether online or in real life, remains strong. That’s why excitement brewed around the launch of Meta’s Threads, striving to facilitate genuine connections.
There is also a rise of smaller niche and private platforms like Nextdoor for neighbours or Discord for music enthusiasts and gamers. For example, musical artist Frederick John Philip Gibson, or Fred Again, uses Discord to connect with and nurture his highly engaged fanbase. He teases secret gigs and rewards, and picks up inspiration for new songs. He is known to bring this online community into the real world, by giving them dedicated spaces at gigs too.
Looking ahead to the new year, anticipate more networking and community groups and use them to your advantage. Build communities and invest in authentic connections, whether it’s online or offline. If you find it challenging to connect with your audience, tap into existing communities in your industry. Health, exercise, gaming and book clubs. You name it, there are communities for everything, even for the most obscure hobbies.
5. Shoppable videos go mainstream
In 2024, the time and space between awareness, consideration and purchase will be expedited with the rise of shoppable videos. Imagine a retailer like Bunnings shooting a ‘How To Build a Tree Hut’ video, and as a viewer, you can seamlessly buy the tools required in just a few clicks directly from the video. Consumers are demanding these experiences, and it’s up to the retail industry to bring their businesses in-line.
Brands like Moët Henessy are early adopters, and recently ran a shoppable video campaign via Vudoo, who are leaders locally in commerce content. The content shown allowed the audience to click through to purchase products, complete a transaction and then carry on reading an article. By introducing this stream, they saw a 109 percent increase in orders sold in September, and the average shopping cart value increased by 56 percent.
In the same vein, Paramount+ will be one of the first big players in Australia to launch shoppable TV as a revenue stream on TV in 2024. Viewers will be able to use their remote control to shop while watching their favourite show.
The beauty of shoppable videos is that you can reuse existing content to increase efficiency or reduce spend. Semrush’s State of Content Marketing report claims that nearly 10 out of 10 CMOs plan to do this, converting evergreen content into shoppable content.
Livestream shopping is essentially an extension of shoppable video, combining entertainment with instantaneous purchasing. However, Livestream Shopping is far more effective at building customer loyalty through consistent engagement. It gives customers that chance to get to know the brand through regular events and entertain a two-way communication with customers.
To keep up with the always-on shopper, retailers and brands will need to create eye-catching campaigns with seamless experiences that support this new era of retail.
Whilst all these trends are something to look forward to in the new year. It’s important for marketers to consider the way they measure the effectiveness of their programs and stop worrying about the metrics that can easily be bought, like the number of followers gained, or the audience reached.
Instead, focus on ‘attention effectiveness’ and how productive your communication is, whether it converts into business outcomes, like sales.
So there you have my top five predictions for 2024. Did I miss a trend that’s been keeping you awake at night? What trend are you most looking forward to seeing disrupt social media in 2024?
Amaury Treguer is co-founder at Bread Agency.
Cover image created via Midjourney by Amaury Treguer.