Social Media Marketing Trends 2019

Facebook, Influencers, Instagram, YouTube

By Leon Merse on 10/11/2019

We are happy to present you the most significant Social Media Marketing Trends !

Below please find the most influential social media marketing trends. For each article, our team of Digital Marketing experts left recommendations supporting you to make better decisions in this fast moving world:

OCTOBER 2019

TIKTOK: HUGE USER NUMBERS AND THREATS COMING FROM INSTAGRAM


Over 500 million user with an average consumption of 52min a day: there is no doubt that Tik Tok joined the race to the Social Media olymp. Particularly young audiences enjoy to upload short yet creative videos that mostly circle around a certain song or melody. Brands started to experiment on the platform and one of the key strategies to use TikTok professionally is – no surprise – contracting Influencers to promote your brand. Another option particularly useful for larger brands is to kick-off a so-called “Hashtag challenge” in which users can compete by uploading their videos including  your chosen hashtag to see who is the funniest or most creative. Lately, TikTok also started to test ads – something to look out for in the near future.
Last but not least, Instagram now seems to join the movement. Facebook’s social media giant is known to steal ideas from other platforms (such as the “stories” function from Snapchat), now they seem to develop a new story-interface that copies TikTok’s features.

Our recommendation: Adapt vertical videos and consider TikTok for your brand.
The trend of TikTok creates spillover effects to other platforms and demonstrates how important vertical videos are. We therefore recommend to start creating and adapting your content accordingly. Furthermore, TikTok has evolved to a serious social platform and should be evaluated as a channel to reach audiences between 13–18 years old. When considering TikTok, it could be useful to find songs or sounds that fit your brand.
[learn more]

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OCTOBER 2019

SOCIAL LISTENING: CLOSER CONNECTION TO YOUR AUDIENCE


Social Listening is a process of tracking and analyzing consumer insights from a variety of internet  sources. It can range from brand names, campaign hashtags to competitors, specific products or people. Within those reaches companies can then see which words or phrases are mentioned most frequently. This can lead to several benefits: Next to a proper reputation management, particularly product launches are of interest for social listeners to receive first-hand customer feedback. Another important field of use is customer service. People expect brands to be faster, more personal and helpful in their online service approach. Social Listening can increase your reach up to 70% and thereby help satisfying your customers.
If you’re interested in available tools please check the end of the article.

Social Listening ist ein wichtiger Teil des Social Media Marketing 2019

Social Listening is becoming a crucial part of companies Social Media Marketing.

Our advice: Establish a Social Listening routine.
Both small/mid-sized and large companies can truly benefit from Social Listening. Even if your capacity for content production or product launches is considerably low, it can be worth tracking what words and consequently emotions are current within your industry. Awario (one of the tools presented) offers a free trial and is affordable at 30€ / month. We therefore recommend test Social Listening and thereby establish a routine that helps you for upcoming product launches, customer service and research purposes.

AUGUST 2019

SHOWDOWN ON INSTAGRAM: AUTOMATED ACCOUNT VS HUMAN ACCOUNT


News about automation software and chatbots hits the headlines quite frequently, yet only very few facts and tests about their actual performance exist.

Hubspot, took on the case and created a showdown testing how well automated Instagram accounts perform vs. human accounts. In their experiment, 2 similar profiles (name, description) posted equivalent content (pictures, hashtags) at the same time. The only difference: One account was steered automatically by Grammista which means that all outbound engagement (commenting & liking other posts, following other channels) was done artificially. The other account was controlled by a human. The result:
– The human account achieved 3x more engagement and 2,000 likes more on its posts
– In percentages, the human account gained more larger followers whereas the bot account attracted more automated accounts
see here for more results.

Our adviseUse a human approach when people seek deeper engagement with your brand.
Although this experiment was conducted on Instagram only (where bots are not allowed anymore, by the way), its implications are manifold and applicable more broadly for the automation industry. While we often recommend using chatbots for enlarging one’s customer service, this test clearly showed that this cannot replace the human touch.  Automation software and chatbots should therefore only be used for channels with very high interaction quantities and whenever humans are unavailable (e.g. after office hours). Whenever deeper engagement is demanded, such as for unusual requests or emotional comments, human interaction is advisable.Ideally, the data of both systems is then fused in one central database so that both parts of the system can learn from each other. This increases the service quality over time.

JULY 2019

INFLUENCERS: SINKING ENGAGEMENT RATES AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS


A recent study by InfluencerDB showed that engagement rates of influencer posts (e.g. like to follower ratio) are dropping: from 4% in 2016 to 2,4% in 2019. This development is visible across all categories and especially so for travel influencers (8% in 2018, 4,5% in 2019). A beacon of hope against this are Micro Influencers: While accounts with 10,000+ followers had just 3,6% engagement rates, accounts with 1,000 – 5,000 followers achieved 8,8%. While reasons for this may vary, smaller Influencers are generally seen as less commercial and hence more credible & relevant to their fanbases. Additionally, the study support the hypothesis that major social platforms favor smaller influencers over larger ones by granting them a higher visibility (which in turn drives engagement).

Influencer-Raten in Social Media Martketing

Influencer posts suffer from a decreasing number of likes and comments.

Our adviceEvaluating influencers on Cost-per-Engagement/Reach basis 
While cooperating with Micro Influencers is an obvious solution, we recommend increasing comparability between influencers by evaluating them based on an Expected Media ROI model. For example, metrics such as Cost-per-Reach and Cost-per-Engagement can provide a more meaningful understanding of the cooperation’s value (than the fanbase size) and enable comparability to alternative Marketing tools. A more unusual possibility is to let Influencers take over your brand’s Messenger platforms (e.g. Chat, Whatsapp). This gives brands a more human touch, while also driving interaction by activating the influencer’s fanbase. Letting the influencers work with an internal expert could add even more relevance to the cooperation.
[learn more]

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MAI 2019

AN INSTAGRAM WITHOUT LIKES? IG TO MOVE TOWARDS MORE PRIVACY


The platform reportedly begins experimenting with hiding like as well as follower counts. Instagram stated that the platform wants to move towards more privacy and thereby encourage a more mindful usage of the app by choosing consumption based on interest and not on the most popular content. “Influential”, an influencer marketplace, commented about impacts for influencers and marketers. They see the viability of marketing on Instagram as proven, regardless of the existence of likes and don’t fear crucial negative consequences for brands.

Our assessment: Another incentive to focus on smaller, specialized Influencers.
We often mentioned that product-specific content provided by authentic influencers wins over the pure number of likes or followers. Potential customers are attracted by people who display expertise about the product and its category. The potential removal of hard factors such as likes are likely to increase this trend. We therefore recommend to reach out to specialized and authentic influencers.

MAI 2019

DATA PRIVACY: FACEBOOK’S LAST ATTEMPT TO FIGHT AGAINST DATA SCANDALS?


At the F8 conference, Marc Zuckerberg recently announced “the next chapter” in the history of Facebook and laid out several plans to cope with the current privacy concerns cycling around the social media giant. In six key respects Facebook will try to improve It’s users data safety: private interactions, encryption, reduced permanence, safety, interoperability and security data storage. Furthermore, Facebook announced to stock up its reserve to cover upcoming penalties regarding the data scandals. Up to 5 billion dollars are anticipated according to Facebook.

Our advise: Closely observe the aftermath of data privacy scandals.
We consider the outcome of those scandals as the single most important determinator of Facebook’s future. As announced in our 2018 recap, users got way more sensitive to their online privacy and safety so that the next months will be crucial for Zuckerberg & co. The co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, even suggested the company to finally “break-up” deeply concerned by last years developments.

MAI 2019

COULD SNAPCHAT RETURN TO THE SUMMIT OF SOCIAL MEDIA?


In the recent years Snapchat lost many of its users to Instagram which let many marketers to de-prioritize the platform in their marketing mix. In 2019 the app that invented the story-function could strike back:

Numbers & People: Promising news in financial and personnel matters
After Snapchat lost users for 3 quarters in a row, it finally reported positive figures. 190 million users (+4 million) now share creative pictures and videos via Snapchat. Additionally, the ad revenue increased by 40% to 320 million USD and losses were successfully reduced to 310 million USD (-276 million). Secondly, the HR department hit the headlines by announcing a new CMO: Kenny Mitchell. He comes with experience from McDonalds and Gatorade and will initially work on improving the android app as well as gaining audiences overseas.

Ideas & Announcements: Functions, partnerships and security matters
Snapchat already announced several new, creative ideas to use its momentum. Firstly, new gimmicks that e.g. let users solve math puzzles will be introduced soon. Secondly and more importantly, several partnerships with Tinder, Fitbit or Venmo (hosted by Paypal) were announced. Lastly, Snapchat wants to learn from Facebook and pointed out to focus on data privacy for its users.

Snapchat ist zurück als Spitzenkandidat in den Social Media Marketing Trends.

Can Snapchat regain its position in 2019?

Our advise regarding Snapchat: Keep an eye on the platform and Mitchell’s decisions.
We are positively surprised by the development of Snapchat and look forward to what extend the new CMO can boost this trend. The recent announcements sound promising, in particular the partnerships in which we see a high potential to reach back to millions of users that left the platform in the last years. We therefore recommend to keep an eye of the platform.

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MARCH 2019

PINTEREST: NEW ADVERTISEMENT INCENTIVES AND “BUY-PINS”


The social media platform expands its advertisement options in Germany and other european countries. The so-called “pins” that can be added to posts to forward users to your website are the original way of advertising on Pinterest. In the future however, Pinterest will launch regular ads as well as “Buy-Pins” that work like  shoppable posts (e.g. on Instagram).

Pinterest ist eine Social Media Plattform zum teilen kreativer Inhalte.

Pinterest is a Social Media Platform on which users share creative content.

Our assessment: Consider to invest into Pinterest. 
250 million followers, growing user numbers and continuous improvement of marketing opportunities: Pinterest is catching up on its big social media competitors. We recommend to experiment with Pinterest as long as it still benefits from its rather “commercial-free” image. Next to the ads, it offers promising influencer marketing opportunities as well as targeting options.
[learn more] (German article)

MARCH 2019

INSTAGRAM OFFERS NEW ADVERTISING FORMAT


The social media platform announced that the so-called “Branded Content Ads” are going to be rolled out this year. In 2017, Instagram enabled influencers to identify their posts as sponsored. Using the upcoming update, brands will be able to use those posts featuring their products as a new ad format. Considering a report of Mediakix showing that IG stories and posts are the most effective influencer formats across all social platforms, this update could turn out to be interesting for marketers.

Our assessment: Consider media budget for influencers.
This new form of promotion should be considered when planning your media budgets in the future: evaluate where “Branded Content Ads” could be more valuable than traditional online ads.
[learn more]

FEBRUARY 2019

MICRO-INFLUENCERS ARE EN VOGUE – HOW OPEN ARE THEY TO PROMOTIONS?


In several articles we mentioned that smaller-sized influencers beat those with millions of followers, because of their higher authority and credibility amongst followers. “Social Media Today” surveyed 1,000 global micro-influencers (<10,000 followers) regarding their opinion towards posting sponsored content: 83% are posting brand recommendations on a weekly basis. Also, nearly half of them spend over 5 hours on social media per day and want to become a professional content creator in the future.

Our advise: Research thoroughly about micro- or nano-influencers in your niche
The survey shows that micro-influencers are not only often most favorable from a brand point of view, but also more than open to product promotions. However, they pay huge attention to their authenticity – brand fit is therefore crucial.In case you want to learn more about the differences between smaller and bigger-sized influencers, read this guide.
[learn more]

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FEBRUARY 2019

FACEBOOK PLANS TO MERGE ITS MESSENGERS – WHAT IS THE IMPACT FOR MARKETERS?


NY Times reported that Mark Zuckerberg plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger this year. While this may have shocking security impacts for individuals, we wondered how this might impact marketers. Firstly, users are expected to engage more across Facebook’s messenger ecosystem. Secondly, brands will  potentially be able to connect with customers more easily.

Our assessment: Observe the developments & user reactions.
Data Security is one of the key terms in this year’s user experience. Before breaking out in astonishment about marketing opportunities, we therefore recommend to observe how sensible users will react to the merger. On the other hand, this change incentivizes to invest in messenger marketing tools such as chatbots.
[learn more]

NOVEMBER 2019

INTSAGRAM STUDY REVEALS INSIGHTFUL FIGURES ABOUT INTERACTIONS AND POST-TYPE


Quintly recently analysed over 9 million posts on Instagram and revealed interesting insights, especially regarding user interactions. The study was clustered into 6 account groups based on the follower-size, and then analyzed in 6 categories from post-type performance to the impact of emojis. The key takeaways: Interactions on videos are 21% higher compared to photos, yet only 17% of the content posted are videos. Moreover, based on interaction-rates the “perfect” content-piece uses 1–50 or even zero characters, no hashtags and 1–3 emojis. Note: the figures slightly vary for each follower size.

Quintly stellte heraus, dass Videos zu 21% höheren Interaktionen führen als Fotos.

Quintly figured out that videos provoke 21% more interactions than photos.

Our assessment: Follow Instagram studies and updates closely.
The study shows how many factors should be considered by marketers to get the most out of the platform. We recommend the use of videos, condensed text as well as emojis. However, the numbers regarding hashtags might be misleading, since they are still essential to gain awareness outside your follower group. We advise to follow trends such athe announced profile redesign closely.
[to the study]

NOVEMBER 2018

APP TREND: TIKTOK & DOUYIN PENETRATE SOCIAL MEDIA


The Chinese company ByteDance stretches its wings in Social Media through it’s western brand TikTok (former Musical.ly) and its Chinese pendant Douyin. The basic idea of these apps is to let users post so called “Lip-Sync Videos” in which they have up to 15 seconds to entertain their followers supported by music. TikTok is growing rapidly and counts over 500 million users, mostly under 23 years old. Brands like Adidas already successfully positioned their products in some of the videos. Nevertheless, there is little research about the extremely fast-moving platform so that an experimental streak is necessary.

Our assessment: Observe the development of Lip-Sync apps.
First of all, the target group of Lip-Sync apps is very young, which has to be taken into consideration before entering the platform. Also, the booming numbers of users might imply a short termed hype. Yet, a recent german study revealed that only 8% of teenagers use Facebook daily, which shows the potential for new platforms. We therefore recommend brands that want to target under 23 y/o consumers, have an experimental mindset and capacities for Real-Time Marketing may take a closer look at the platform.
[learn more] (German article)

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NOVEMBER 2018

LINKEDIN: 3 EXCITING UPDATES FOR MARKETER


The social network hit the headlines and gives Marketers incentives to have a closer look at the platform.
1) The feed ranking algorithm will consider how strongly the creator of the content “appreciates” the engagement. Smaller businesses will benefit from that, according to LinkedIn, since likes and comments have more importance for them to gain visibility.
2) Sponsored content can now be tracked via Google’s Campaign Manager. It includes the ad performance compared to other channels as well as cross-device and platform analytics
3) Companies can now publish videos on LinkedIn through Vimeo. It’s the first platform offering end-to-end integration and enclosed analytical tools.

LinkedIn überrascht im November mit gleich 3 attraktiven Updates für Marketer.

LinkedIn surprises martkers by releasing 3 attractive updates this November.

Our recommendation: Evaluate LinkedIn for your brandWith more than 260 million users, LinkedIn offers a large audience. Considering the adjusted algorithm and the opportunity to post videos, it is worthwhile to evaluate LinkedIn as a pillar in your Social Media ecosystem . However, we recommend to first assess LinkedIn for your brand and test non-monetary options before integrating sponsored content.

NOVEMBER 2018

YOUTUBE COUNTS ENGAGEMENT ON VIDEO ADS AFTER 10 SECONDS


The social media giant adapts its video ad view metrics. It’s system will now count TrueView video ads as “viewed” after the user watches them for 10 seconds, compared to the prior 30 seconds. Youtube argues that 10 seconds is a more accurate representation of the current purchase journey of customers. Additionally, Youtube stated that 90% of consumers now discover products and brands on the platform, which should encourage marketers to further invest in YouTube.

Our recommendation: Assess ads produced for YouTube. 1.8 billion active users from which, according to YouTube, 90% find new products and brands – those are highly attracting figures for publishers. The shortened ad view registration may let the first seconds of the commercial be even more important than before. However, there is no evidence regarding the impact on ad billing and exposure yet. Therefore we recommend to start assessing your existing YouTube ads for now.
[learn more]

NOVEMBER 2018

PINTEREST: 250 MILLION USER AND LUCRATIVE MARKETING TOOLS


It has been a long time since the inspirational picture-curating platform was seen as the “hidden gem” of social media channels. An increasing number of followers and fruitful marketing tools may rather let it shine like a golden nugget:
– User can target their audience by using more than 5000 options
– Influencer campaigns to ease cooperation of brands and influencers
– Pincodes to forward users form physical products to the website

Our assessment: Seriously evaluate Pinterest for your brand.
Recently, we recommended to keep an eye on the platform. Considering the current developments, promising influencer opportunities and targeting options, we recommend to thoroughly evaluate Pinterest for your brand. Additionally, it is privately held and doesn’t struggle with monetization accusations such as Facebook or Instagram yet.
[learn more] (German article)

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OCTOBER 2018

DOES WHATSAPP FINALLY GO COMMERCIAL IN 2019?


According to Facebook’s marketing specialist Carolyn Everson, WhatsApp plans to increase its commercial activity in 2019 by introducing new types of ads, such as little ad banners across the messengers interfaces. This trend towards more monetization goes along with the fact that both founders of WhatsApp now left the mother company Facebook. 5 years ago when Facebook bought the messenger, the founders had established a clause in the contract to disregard profitability, which will expire soon.

Our assessment: Keep an eye on WhatsApp’s commercial functions. WhatsApp just recently established its Business function globally, to introduce more companies to the platform. In case the shift from a formerly ads-free app to a more monetized messenger continuous, WhatsApp is definitely worthwhile to consider for online advertising. Nevertheless, its remains questionable where and when exactly these ads will be placed, and whether consumers will accept the format.
[learn more] (German article)

OCTOBER 2018

FACEBOOK ANNOUNCES GLOBAL EXTENSION OF STORY ADS


The social media giant launches ads globally for its “Story” function including ad targeting and measurement functions. Accompanying this announcement, Facebook conducted a survey with Ipsos which revealed that 62% of respondents were more interested to buy the products after seeing it in a story and ⅔ are using stories on three or more platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp or Facebook) on a weekly basis.

Facebook folgt den Social Media Marketing Trends und launcht Stories.

Facebook adapts to Social Media Marketing Trends by launching story ads.

Our assessment: Use ads on Facebook stories.
Stories are on the rise. Once produced, the content can be easily adopted from one platform to another. E.g. Instagram stories can be applied for Facebook immediately, as long as the ad doesn’t exceed 6 seconds. We also expect that Facebook’s move will accelerate the trend towards mobile friendly vertical ads, thus we recommend to evaluate producing content tailored for this.
[learn more]

OCTOBER 2018

PINTEREST, SOON ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PLATFORMS FOR INFLUENCERS?


For the first time, the inspirational picture-curating platform will give access to its previously untouchable analytics. Initially, only 8 partners are part of this cooperation (e.g. HYPR, Open Influence) and should help brands to understand how Influencer Marketing works on Pinterest.

Our assessment: Keep an eye on Pinterest. Pinterest has over 250 million users around the globe seeking inspiration on a regular basis. Once the platform has established the necessary environment for Influencer campaigns, this could be a game changer… Plus: Since most other social channels have difficulties to track the actual impact of Influencers, Pinterest could potentially even become the preferred chann, but let’s see what the first tests reveals.
[learn more]

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SEPTEMBER 2018

INFLUENCER MARKETING VS. TV COMMERCIALS: WHAT IS MORE EFFICIENT?


Influencer Marketing has long since become a crucial advertising tool, especially since Influencers are often considered the cheaper alternative to TV Ads. A recent research by Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft challenges this assumption: It revealed that to reach 1 million people, companies would have to spend approx. 30,000€ on TV versus up to 170,000€ to do the same with Influencers. However, influencers promise a better targeting than TV ads, given the brand finds suitable ones.

Our assessment: Plan TV & Influencers together. The study points out that the prices of Influencers may be cheaper  in certain cases. Hence, booking Influencers where they are cheaper than TV or where they can address a suitable target group, could help reaching more people with the same amount of money.
(German article) [learn more]

SEPTEMBER 2018

FACEBOOK ROLLS OUT VIDEO PLATFORM “WATCH” GLOBALLY


Facebook challenges Youtube’s monopoly on Influencers by rolling out its video platform “Watch” globally and offering enhanced monetization possibilities for those producing the content. The platform enables anyone to share videos and allows accounts of a certain size (min. 10.000 followers generating 30.000 1-minute views) to earn a share of the ad revenue. The main ad format will be called “Ad Breaks” which are 15 second video ads that are shown before or during the video.

Anzeigen auf Video-on-Demand Plattformen gehören zu den Social Media Marketing Trends.

A significant Social Media Marketing Trend are ads on video-on-demand platforms.

Our assessmentTry in the next months. Although Youtube is the #1 video platform, Watch has the advantage of Facebook’s huge audience of 2.2 billion users per month. We believe that the monetization incentives will motivate many Influencers to use the platform, hence booking Ad Breaks could be an interesting test before their prices go up.
[learn more]

SEPTEMBER 2018

A NEW APPROACH TO FINDING THE RIGHT INFLUENCERS


LikeYaa, a start-up from Germany, tries to solve the issue of finding the right influencers for one’s brand: The platform matches influencers and companies based on qualitative measures and thereby tries to propose cooperation partners that really want to work with the brand. Hereby, the influencers choose the brand they want to work with, which creates a more natural fit and decreases scouting efforts on the brand’s side.

Our assessment: Promising idea. In face of the ever increasing number of Influencers, as well as their surging prices, Influencer campaigns have become more difficult for many brands. We therefore find LikeYaa an attractive idea that may help finding a suitable cooperation partner. Also, the service may be cheaper than a traditional Influencer agency. On the other hand, it is likely that the matching algorithm will still have to mature before being able to deliver on its promise. We hence recommend to keep an eye on this service.
[learn more] (German article)

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SEPTEMBER 2018

PODCAST LISTENERS SHOW HIGH ACCEPTANCE FOR ADS


A recent survey analyzed Germans with a higher education aged 20 – 35 and found that Podcasts are fully established in the age group (87% of respondents listen to podcasts weekly). Much more than that, it revealed that listeners accept ads within the podcasts that were read by the podcast host (81%). 75% even listen to ads deliberately.

Our assessment: Evaluate Podcast ads for your brand. Podcast-Hosts benefit from comparable perception as early Influencers did: authenticity and sympathy. Also, users often listen to Podcasts when they cannot consume visual content (e.g. while driving a car). Owing to this and the current acceptance of ads, we recommend evaluating the usage of podcast ads.
[read the study here]



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Mit digital Grüßen,

Watersky Digital Signature