Today there are some 3.5 billion active social media users around the world, up from 1.8 billion just five years ago.
Not only are more people active on social media than ever before, we are spending more time on it, with the average UK user now clocking up 1 hour 50 minutes across the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
With 50% of the world’s population predicted to be using social media in 2020, I’ve picked out 5 key trends to be aware of over the rest of 2019 and beyond.
The resilience of Twitter
Three years ago The New Yorker published an eye-catching article titled, ‘The End of Twitter’, in which it professed the demise of the social media giant. However, whilst younger platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have eaten into the Twitter’s user base, it still has a substantial 330 million daily users 13 years after it launched.
It’s this loyal and active user base that makes it one of the most resilient social platforms today. Amid claims of ‘fake news’, 71% of Twitters users continue to use the platform as their primary news source, with 80% on mobile, helping it become the seventh most viewed website in the world in 2018.
For businesses, one of Twitter’s differentials has been the ability to directly and publicly engage with their customers, with Twitter reporting that 77% of users feel more positive about a brand if they respond to a tweet. In the past year it has become even more compelling for brands, with total Twitter ad engagements increasing by 81% and cost-per-engagement falling by 32%.
Even in the year when the company received criticism for new-design features (avocados and flames instead of the good old heart for likes) it remains a simple-to-use, dependable platform with rock-solid brand integrity, providing people and businesses alike with a globally accessible resource and publishing platform. Rather than the end, Twitter remains as relevant as ever.
Instagram Stories, everywhere
Instagram reached its biggest milestone last year - 1 billion users. One of the drivers of this has been Instagram Stories, which has fast become its most utilised feature for users. As of this year 500 million users are posting or watching stories daily, more than the entire population of USA, Canada and Australia combined.
Within that huge number, it’s interesting to note that 1/3 of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses. The platform gives brands the ability to be highly creative in the content they post including polls, contests, collaborations and real-time announcements.
Looking ahead, the platform’s IGTV feature, which allows users to post longer videos, is set to boom in 2020, especially as brands can now share one-minute previews of their IGTV content on Stories.
The golden age of LinkedIn
Engagement is at its highest on record for LinkedIn, as it has announced a 34% increase in logins amongst users in the last year.
This is likely the result of a more ‘human’ approach, which has carved its position in the social universe as a blend of personal and professional. New group functionality, native video and easier integrations with third party apps have made LinkedIn a far more accessible and dynamic platform over the two years, driving its recent boom.
LinkedIn has further cemented its position as THE social media platform for lead generation. Out of the 89% of B2B marketers using it for marketing purposes, 62% generated inbound leads from it. In contrast, of the 30% of marketers using Instagram as part of their lead generation strategy, only 5% saw results.
Boasting 610 million members and 130,000 new articles per week in 2019, LinkedIn continues to go from strength to strength.
New markets mean new growth for Facebook
Despite articles proclaiming a decline of Facebook, we are not there yet, far from it in fact.
Usage may be slowing down in more ‘mature’ markets like the UK and North America, however growth is still being gained from adoption – and increasingly mobile adoption - in developing countries.
And while concerns about privacy remain a key concern, overall user numbers grew by 8% growth last year.
This could be due to Mark Zuckerberg’s announcements in April, saying that the platform’s future is ‘private’ as Facebook will invest more in private messaging, focusing on small group and close friends’ chat on their Messenger platform. With major design changes made during during 2019, and more set to come according to the company, especially for Messenger, expect to see the platform and how businesses utilise it, evolve in 2020.
TikTok, the new kid on the block
TikTok, made by Chinese tech unicorn ByteDance, is a short video sharing platform where users can watch and produce quick videos using music, stickers and animations as effects. Whilst it’s just three years old, it has rapidly amassed 500 million daily users, growth the likes of which we have not seen before.
The platform represents a new trend in social media – cocreating. Rather than place the onus on users to scroll and watch, TikTok encourages all users to publish and collaborate on content. It is this new approach that has fuelled its rise and enabled it to ‘steal’ increasing numbers of users from older platforms.
As TikTok matures, expect to see brands utilising the platform as a means of customer engagement and brand building in the year ahead.