Digital marketers have had a front row seat to countless social advancements over the years, but the end of 2019 has taken serious strides to bring the world of social media to the next level. From targeting enhancements and restrictions to new and improved ad formats and tools, these innovations mirror the evolution of the broader social landscape and have set marketers up for success in 2020 and beyond.
Social Shoppable Experiences
As more and more social apps blend advertisements and shopping, the gap between promotion and purchase is closing. As a result, shoppable social experiences are becoming significantly more popular – with 57% of people stating they’ve used a smartphone or tablet to purchase a product through social media – and making the experience for consumers more seamless.
- Pinterest rounded out 2019 with a variety of shoppable experiences for users. From browsable catalogs to personalized shopping ideas to its very own Pinterest Shop, the social platform pulled out all the stops to create customized experiences and reach new consumers.
- As the most downloaded app in the world, TikTok introduced its Hashtag Challenge Plus to a massive audience and offered marketers a new outlet to plug their brand in viral-worthy content.
- YouTube’s Shopping Ads now allow viewers to make purchases directly from the YouTube platform. Correlating to users’ Google search history, consumers can search for a product on Google and advertisements for related products will begin to appear on YouTube.
- Merging commerce and video, shoppable videos also entered the scene and subsequently created potential opportunities for advertisers looking for new revenue sources on ad-free streaming networks.
New Social Media Ad Formats And Tools
A growing number of social media platforms have taken action to make advertising simpler for brands, while adding new levels of interaction for consumers. As the trend of advertising convenience continues, brands can look forward to increased marketing opportunities and improved relationships with their audiences.
- Between the launch of automated lead generation for Messenger, interactive ad options, customizable holiday ad templates, machine learning insights.digitalmediasolutions.com/social-media/facebook-tailored-ads and the expansion of search ad placements, Facebook’s innovative ad formats and tools dominated the end of 2019.
- Snapchat introduced their Instant Create tool, designed to simplify and streamline the creation process for certain types of ads in three easy steps.
- LinkedIn discovered that most advertisers using the social platform were interested in targeted traffic and increasingly specific analytics. As a result, LinkedIn created call-to-action (CTA) buttons for LinkedIn Pages, offering increased usability for businesses.
- Instagram began placing advertisements within their Explore page, one of the most popular places for users to discover new favorites, shop top brands and connect with different people and businesses.
- The launch of the WhatsApp’s Status feature gave users the chance to share text, photos, videos and animated GIFs, all of which would disappear after 24 hours.
Social Media Targeting Enhancements
Stemming from the latest string of targeting enhancements, marketers have experienced improved planning and budgeting for campaigns, a better understanding of their audience sizes, enhanced consumer targeting and an overall clearer understanding of their advertising results.
- The month of July saw the reintroduction of Facebook’s custom audience reach estimates, allowing advertisers to better plan and budget their campaigns and understand the size of a custom audience before launching a campaign.
- LinkedIn released three new tools to enable marketers to better target and understand results of their paid advertising campaigns: more robust audience forecasting, Boolean logic and enhanced demographic reporting capabilities.
Social Media Targeting Restrictions
Although they may seem restrictive at first glance, if your brand is looking to get the most out of its marketing efforts and experience the highest-quality consumer interactions, these latest targeting restrictions can help, as they were developed to give marketers a better understanding of their advertisements and improve overall campaign performance for the future.
- Facebook rolled out a multitude of new features – from a new Ad Volume API to top fan targeting for pages to a special ad audience targeting system – in an effort to help brands improve advertising performance.
- Earlier this year, YouTube developed and implemented a system to help advertisers and channel owners comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal law that deals with how the data of children under the age of 13 is collected by websites, apps and other online platforms.
- As the 2020 general election neared, Facebook, Twitter and Google all announced changes to their political advertising policies, presenting possible challenges for marketers looking to reach disparate audiences during a campaign year.
New Niche Social Platforms
Sometimes, honing in on smaller, niche platforms can be more beneficial than setting your sights on every major site. From the world of online dating to up-and-coming video platforms to the beauty and fashion industry, these social platforms engaged their audiences by tapping into unique, niche audience profiles.
- Facebook continued to expand its audience by targeting a variety of niche platforms: A dedicated news tab was created for journalists to bring high-quality news to users. Joining the competitive world of dating apps, Facebook Dating launched in early September. “Threads” from Instagram, a new camera-first messaging app, was designed with the goal of diving deeper into the world of direct messaging. Whale by Facebook, an experimental app, allowed users to edit photos with “pro tools” to make their own memes.
- Twitter launched Twitter ArtHouse, a platform connecting brands with the creative capital and talent of influencers, artists and editors who can add a new dimension of relevance to their content.
- Google began the discussion of acquiring Firework, a short-form video platform similar to TikTok, which was recently valued at more than $100 million.
- YouTube created “Slash Fashion,” a single, centralized destination dedicated solely to fashion and beauty content.
- Genies continued to see success among the younger demographic, gearing up to rival fan-favorite avatar app Bitmoji and solidify its place as the next wave of social communication.
New Social Integrations And Partnerships
Brand collaborations and the introduction of new, innovative integrations appeared to be a surefire way for marketers in 2019 to create mutually beneficial business relationships, expand their audience reach and enter into new markets.
- Reddit announced its first-ever native content sharing capabilities through a partnership with Snapchat, enabling Reddit users to seamlessly share their favorite Reddit content with friends in the Snapchat app.
- Adidas also turned to Snapchat when becoming the first retailer to sell products directly through a Snapchat video game. The move was a strategic and timely one, as 44% of shoppers ages 18-34 said they have purchased products through social media.
- TikTok hopped on the partnership bandwagon through two new integrations with American Eagle and the NFL. Both collaborations stemmed from each brand’s goal of captivating the younger demographic.
Tips For Digital Marketers Embracing Social Media Innovations
The world of social media is a dynamic and ever-changing space. For marketers, it is also a necessity. In order to build meaningful relationships with their target audiences and establish a brand voice and presence, marketers must develop a social media strategy and best practices guidelines.
- The question of when to engage, when to ignore and when to remove social comments was as relevant as ever in 2019. But, in the end, marketers will need to trust their gut, use their best judgement and never rush to action in order to create meaningful consumer relationships and positive brand reputations.
- Brands continued to learn that in order to thrive in the social media space, it’s important to define their audiences, understand how and when their viewers spend their time on each social channel and maintain an active and engaging presence.
The digital marketing industry is in a time of rapid technological advances, global competition and constantly evolving trends and consumer needs. As we head into 2020, marketers must stay on top of these day-to-day improvements in order to remain ahead of the curve and head into the new year with the most effective social strategy in place.
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