In the last year, the conversational data around the term 'advertising' has dropped significantly in net sentiment, as people no longer want to be sold to. More than 80% of millennials say that they don't trust traditional adverting.

With that generation owning significant spending power, new disruptive technologies will be needed to shake up marketing strategies. But it's not all doom and gloom — there is some good news: 80% of brands say that their community-building efforts have resulted in increased traffic.

Here are 10 trends that are taking over social in 2020:

1. The rise of niche networks

Social is moving from being a mass marketing vehicle back towards being a personal, communication-driven approach. A HubSpot and TalkWalker social media trends review that utilised 50+ industry experts says that "people are no longer looking for large communities, but the relevant ones: less noise — more genuine engagement."

2. Going dark

It is forecasted that the social media trend for 2020 will be 'Dark Social'. Fewer public interactions and more private interactions on dark social channels like Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram DMs and more.

4. AI-transformed landscape

The social media advertising landscape has transformed dramatically in the last two years. A huge part of that transformation is related to developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. According to the HubSpot & TalkWalker social media trends review, "Artificial intelligence was our most discussed trend in H1 2019, with more than 4.7 million mentions."
Ad targeting matters. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google offer data-rich algorithms to target audiences with excellent precision, where doing this manually is unsustainable. By leveraging AI, marketers reach the right audience and understand how consumers react to campaigns and different types of creative.

Thanks to AI, advertisers can now optimise targeting tactics in real-time and tune the overall media delivery based on consumer behaviour. So what does this mean for marketers?

It's time to adapt! Consider chatbots, for example. ChatBots are a significant investment, offering 24/7 support and managing incoming customer data. Additionally, it is forecasted that 'visual search' like GoogleLens will be a major disruptor this coming year.

Marketers will have to change and adapt their SEO strategies from their classically textual approach to one that strategically considers visuals. Voice search is also the next big thing for brands to watch out for with their content strategies.

5. AR and VR

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are the next big innovations in technology, having integrated into our social media channels and Apps. In 2020 these realities will be further harnessed by marketers to boost user experience and engage audiences via gamification.

6. Human and personal approaches

The use of private groups and communities, messaging apps and ephemeral 'stories' has risen sharply in the past two years, with many major platforms building their core products around this change in how people now prefer to engage with others.

User-generated content appears to be on the rise, with 'authentic' less commercial content often outperforming slicker Photoshop’s creative.


When it comes to influencer marketing, success can be found in large numbers of content reach to target audience segments. In the past, it was thought that macro influencers give brands the 'best' reach as they have more followers than their micro-influencer counterparts.

However, marketers are becoming more savvy in the quality of reach earned by their paid influencers. Just because an influencer has a large reach doesn't mean that the reach earned by him or her posting, will be the right fit for your target market.

Instead of investing in one macro influencer with a large reach, brands in 2020 will rather invest in numerous micro-influencers for a similar combined cost.

The benefits of the micro include:
  • more focus on more segmented/specific audiences
  • improvement with regards to your engagement
  • a decrease in risk, and 
  • less spend for potentially better returns.

8. Video

In 2020, videos will be on the rise and will be beyond raising brand awareness; they'll be used to offer personalised video responses to customers' questions, issues or needs. Receiving customised videos in email inboxes, on messenger, or via pop-up chat boxes will become more common.

9. Caring 

Brands appear to have become more ethical, socially conscious and invested in CSI. The result of this is positive brand sentiment. 

10. Micro-blogs and longer-form content

Take a look at Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn — all of them are adding functionality to share longer-form content. Facebook now optimises videos that are over 3 minutes in length for organic reach. These social platforms are now clearly facilitating and rewarding rich, value-add content.

Gone are the days of the multiple short-snippet posts and in are the times of 'less is more' — fewer, more in-depth content pieces.

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Social media is ever-changing due to technology growing and expanding almost daily. But fear not! You can keep up with these Five social media trends to look out for in 2020.