Unprecedented changes are happening in the world of social media, affecting both current practices and shaping the future of the communications industry.
To help professional communicators understand and navigate these changes, Zoetica Media founder Kami Huyse outlined the top 5 social media trends they should keep their eyes on this year.
1. The AI takeover
2. Platform fragmentation
3. The rise of short-form video
4. Virtual social shopping
5. Immersive media – augmented reality and virtual reality
Kami discussed each trend in a recent livestream, the highlights of which are covered below.
The AI Takeover
Talk about AI is ubiquitous. “You can’t [go online] and not see a story about how artificial intelligence is being used in different ways,” says Kami. As she noted in an earlier post, “the thing to remember is that there is no turning back.”
ChatGPT is making big waves in the news right now, but AI technology as a whole is being incorporated behind the scenes into all sorts of tools, whether people see it directly in play or not. Revenue from the AI software market is skyrocketing. “It’s gone from basically nothing in 2018 to [tens of billions of dollars today and] going to completely double in two years,” she explains.
A few years ago it seemed that social media consolidation was inevitable. Today it’s a completely different landscape. “We used to have a situation where there were superplayers on the social media front like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok,“ Kami explains, but now there are over 30 platforms with at least a 100 million active users per month.
We also need to be aware of the impact deglobalization and “the attempt by countries to build their own resources within their own border” may have on social media platforms, she says. Discussions about the United States possibly banning the popular Chinese-owned TikTok, for example, continue to swirl. “People that can figure out how to bridge those [fragmentation] gaps are going to be really successful,” she believes.
The Rise of Short-Form Video
Short-form video, defined as video a few seconds to a few minutes in length, continues to be enormously popular with viewers. Kami shared a 2021 survey which revealed U.S. consumers’ preferred platforms for watching short-form videos. TikTok took first place, followed by YouTube Shorts in second place, and Instagram Reels in third place. Starting in February 2023 YouTube Shorts is going to allow creators to monetize their work to incentivize them.
Virtual Social Shopping
Virtual social shopping is “going to be huge,” says Kami, because “all the social media platforms want you to stay on platform.” Described as “a hybrid of eCommerce and social media,” it allows consumers to buy goods and services from inside platforms rather than exiting them to shop, thus fulfilling platforms’ wish of maximizing the time users spend there. It’s predicted that social commerce “will generate $3.37 trillion by 2028.”
Snapchat has doubled down last year on virtual shopping by releasing a feature that allows brands to provide 3D environments to buy products right in the app. Expect other platforms to follow.
Immersive Media – Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
The last big trend to watch for this year is immersive media. Kami says that while people often think of the metaverse as an alternate world where everyone is represented by an avatar, it’s unlikely this type of media will garner widespread adoption any time soon.
“What will catch on to the mainstream masses,” says Kami, ”is an overlay of immersive technology that enhances the world around you.” We will see an influx of virtual stores on social media, augmented reality during live events, and augmented reality videos where companies and brands can engage directly with their audiences.
Curious about how these trends will impact you and your work? Watch Kami's full livestream for more details!