Increasing competition, growing fragmentation and decreasing attention spans are making it ever more challenging for brands to grab customers' attention through social media.
Amid social media's continuous evolution, marketers need to leverage these six key trends to keep their digital advertising fresh and effective:
1. Social ad spending
Every year, we see people spend more and more money on social media ads. And in some areas it’s predicted that social ad spending will overtake TV by 2020.
But even when you pay to promote your ads, it doesn’t mean that you can rest on your laurels. With Google AdWords and other social media platforms, you’ll want to establish a strategy right off the bat to ensure you’re getting a return on your investment. And remember, storytelling is still the crux of today’s social media success, especially when it comes to ads.
2. Chatbots enhance the customer experience
Chatbots are a recent phenomenon that are shaping the future of social media and content marketing.
With chat functions within platforms such as Facebook Messenger, we’re seeing more in-messenger capabilities. This includes in-chat payments, built-in natural language processing and a Handover Protocol. Many of these features are still in beta but have already experienced promising initial success.
This recent development answers a key need within audiences for speedy and efficient buying processes.
3. Social’s organic reach dwindles
Organic reach, or the number of people your post reaches without paid promotion, is on the decline. You may even have noticed this in many of your feeds, where posts from friends and family receive higher priority than the brands you follow.
Are brands therefore doomed to the bottom of the feed? Not at all. You can keep your brand center stage on social -- without doling out tons of money on ads. The secret? Consistently post high-quality, engaging content that your audience loves. The more engagement that your posts receive, the higher your content will rank.
4. Facebook still dominates
2018 has admittedly been a rough year for Facebook, with enough controversy and scandal to go around. But despite this, Facebook still dominates the social media playing field, and it doesn’t seem like that will change any time soon.
Granted, some changes to Facebook’s algorithm have hindered brands that want to reach audiences organically. But far from throwing in the towel, brands should look for new ways to revamp their strategy to reach more audiences.
5. Ephemeral content touches younger audiences
Ephemeral content is media, primarily images and video, that is shared for a brief period of time and then disappears. Popular channels that use such content are Snapchat and Instagram -- and it has fast become a fan favorite of younger audiences due to its authenticity.
Tap into your storytelling side to make the most of this social feature and capture the attention of your audience.
6. Social might be looking at subscription options
We’re all familiar with subscription services like Netflix and Hulu; you pay a set fee per month and have access to loads of ad-free content. Even some news media sites have begun to offer a subscription service that removes ads from their content.
We expect that the ad-free subscription-based model may even begin to touch on social media platforms down the road. Even after Facebook’s latest scandal, there were talks of the platform adopting an ad-free subscription option to appease its audience.
If we learn anything from these trends, it’s that social media is a powerful, fighting force in the world of digital advertising. If we hope to champion our brands on these platforms, we need to keep alert to the coming changes on the horizon and make the necessary adjustments to stay relevant.
Sam Meenasian, an expert in marketing, sales, operations and commercial insurance, is co-founder and Vice President of Operations of USA Business Insurance and BISU Insurance, which have served thousands of businesses. He has nearly 25 years of business experience.