Socialbakers, a unified marketing platform for social media marketers, today released its top social media predictions for 2020. According to Socialbakers, 2019 was the year TikTok exploded and influencer marketing gained traction, especially with marketers in beauty, fashion, e-commerce and auto. In 2020, the company predicts that influencer marketing will continue to grow and that social commerce will achieve lift off thanks, in part, to the growth of shopping-related content, experiments in VR-powered shopping experiences, and the rise of bots for customer service.
According to Socialbakers, these are the top five social media predictions for 2020:
1. TikTok will continue its meteoric rise
In October 2018, TikTok was the most-downloaded photo and video app in the Apple store worldwide and it officially hit one billion downloads in 2019. “Expect TikTok to continue its meteoric rise in 2020 thanks to its aggressive marketing campaigns and investment in geographic expansion,” says Socialbakers CEO, Yuval Ben-Itzhak.
● To support its growth and continued geographic expansion, TikTok is adding to its offices in London and Mountain View (CA) and recruiting talent directly from top technology companies.
● But for all of its hype, TikTok is not without some controversy. TikTok has been using popular videos submitted to its platform as part of its ongoing, external promotional campaign without informing or compensating the creators. More recently, the app has been drawing increased scrutiny from US lawmakers who worry that it could constitute a national security threat.
“In short, TikTok is the platform to watch in 2020,” says Socialbakers’ Ben-Itzhak. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged TikTok’s success and attempted to compete by launching Lasso in November of 2018. Unfortunately for Facebook, Lasso has struggled to attract users. As of February 2019, it had only attracted 70,000 users in the US.
2. Influencer marketing will grow, not wither, as others have predicted.
“Consumers are increasingly seeking out reviews and trusted voices when making purchasing decisions,” says Ben-Itzhak. “This has created a huge opportunity for influencers and brands to team up to create authentic connections with audiences.”
Large consumer brands in beauty, fashion, e-commerce, and auto leaned into influencer marketing in 2019 and found that their efforts drove business and moved the needle. Leading brands like Estee Lauder, Boss and Burberry have explicitly stated that they believe influencer marketing is playing a key role in driving their success on social media. Expect them to increase their investment in 2020 and help make influencer marketing a $10 Billion industry by 2020.
According to Socialbakers data, in the last year:
● Influencer sponsored ads grew by more than 150%
● The number of influencers using the #ad (to denote sponsorship) more than doubled
● Micro-influencers became more important and now comprise the majority of influencers (over 75% of all influencers in North America are micro-influencers).
3. The time for VR/AR is Coming
Virtual Reality (VR) has long been associated with the gaming world or with high budget Hollywood movies. “While some tech-savvy marketers have experimented with VR, most make the mistake of underestimating its potential by seeing it only as an attention-getting gimmick,” says Ben-Itzhak.
“At Socialbakers, we know VR presents a huge opportunity for marketers as it can engage and excite audiences, build brand awareness, and drive product discovery and purchase,” says Ben-Itzhak. “Imagine giving customers the opportunity to browse products through virtual clothing racks and virtual showrooms and then giving them a lifelike experience with the product before leading them to a purchase. While it may be 5-10 years before we see it used at scale, VR technologies promise to be a powerful weapon in the retail marketers’ arsenal. Expect to see more experiments in 2020.”
4. Social Commerce Prepares for Lift Off in 2020
According to Socialbakers data, shopping-related content — including shopping experiences leveraging VR — is rapidly proliferating on social media. Platforms are responding by adding more e-commerce features.
Instagram already launched Instagram Shopping for selected brands, giving businesses an immersive storefront for people to discover and explore products as well as a link for purchases. Facebook’s family of applications — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Groups — already offers tools for customer care and community management so that all marketing funnel activity — from product discovery to post-purchase customer care and evangelism — can happen on social media. Facebook is even launching its own cryptocurrency, Libra.
“The year 2020 could be the year that social commerce takes off as more and more customers make purchases directly from social media platforms instead of heading to a shopping site’s app or to an online store after discovering a product on social media,” says Ben-Itzhak.
5. Battle for Ad Spend: Facebook vs Instagram
Who will win the battle for ad spend in 2020, the behemoth Facebook or current darling Instagram? (Answer: Facebook, as the company owns both platforms)
Socialbakers recently analyzed data to determine where ad spend is going and what to expect in the New Year.
“Our data showed that while marketers have been increasing their spend on Instagram, more than 60% of all total ad spend is still allocated to the Facebook News Feed,” says Ben-Itzhak. “The Instagram feed comes in a distant second at 20%,followed by Stories at 10% and the rest of the top 5 – Facebook suggested video, and Facebook instream video – combine for about 10%. All in all, brands are spending only about one-third of their total budgets on Instagram, which is the most engaging platform. This raises the question — are brands really getting the most engagement out of their investment?”
Socialbakers’ believes there is a lot of potential value in Facebook suggested video, which has the second-highest click through rate (CTR) at nearly 0.8%, but only a few percentage points of relative ad spend.
“The imperative for marketers is to focus on optimizing advertising content and personalizing their ad experiences. Settling for blanket strategies across channels is not going to bring in the desired results,” says Ben-Itzhak.
TikTok takes on COVID-19
The fastest growing social media platform in the world has also become an epicenter of public education about the coronavirus, attracting more than 30-billion views, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
The young have been getting a bad rap for wanting to party on while COVID-19 sends the world into lockdown. But a different movie is playing itself out on the social platform that is growing fastest among teenagers: TikTok.
Awareness campaigns by TikTok itself, collaboration with the International Red Cross, and spontaneous videos made by TikTok creators have combined into a barrage of information, education, awareness and social consciousness around the coronavirus.
Both globally and in South Africa, TikTok’s COVID-19 campaigns have gone viral.
The local #HayiCorona challenge, designed to remind people not to touch their face and wash hands regularly, has passed 1.5-million views. The TikTok collaboration with the International Red Cross, the #WashingHands challenge, has passed 12.6-million views.
One of the best-known participants in these challenges is the past year’s icon of South African talent, the Ndlovu Youth Choir, took up the global challenge with a 20-second hand-washing video. It put together a performance that brings tremendous energy to what can be a clichéd message, and ends with a punt for the Department of Health’s WhatsApp information service. The video can be viewed below.
“On a global scale, TikTok also partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that, while creators are still having fun and expressing themselves on the platform, they stay informed with COVID-19 information coming from a reliable source,” a TikTok spokesperson told us. “Through the partnership, the WHO has created an informational page on TikTok that offers information to curb the spread of the coronavirus as well as dispelling myths.”
The page can be viewed at https://vm.tiktok.com/GHTEGf
TikTok has hosted a number of livestreams with WHO experts, attracting users from more than 70 countries, tuning in for live question and answer sessions. It has also introduced labels on coronavirus-related videos, to point users to trusted information. Resources are also offered directly in the app and in a dedicated COVID-19 section of TikTok’s Safety Center, at https://www.tiktok.com/safety/resources/covid-19.
If users simply want to explore videos on the topic, they can search via the #coronavirus hashtag, or click on https://vm.tiktok.com/swKbn4. The hashtag has had an astonishing 33.8-billion views, indicating the scale of activity and interest around the topic on the platform.
Read more on the next page about how South Africans have embraced the campaign.
On World Backup Day: backup, backup, backup
It was World Backup Day yesterday, 31 March, at a time when business continuity is threatened as never before. That makes calls for protecting email and defending against ransomware all the more urgent.
The global coronavirus pandemic has brought into stark relief many organisations’ lack of business continuity plans and policies. With more than two billion people around the globe in forced lockdown in wide-ranging government efforts to stem the tide of infections, an unprecedented number of employees are working remotely.
This interruption to the normal way of work is precisely what an effective and resilient business continuity strategy should plan for, says Heino Gevers, cybersecurity specialist at Mimecast.
“Companies need uninterrupted access to critical business applications during times of disruption, including safe and secure web and email access for workers that are now operating outside the normal perimeters of the organisation,” he says. “In addition, comprehensive backup and archiving solutions should be ready to restore access to critical business applications should there be any unplanned downtime to ensure continuity until the crisis passes.”
According to Gevers, the current global crisis is likely to push business continuity up the list of priorities for many organisations that have been disrupted by the effects of the coronavirus.
“Organisations are facing new challenges to their productivity; for example in terms of technical support. If a remote user is infected with malware or ransomware, how does the IT team restore that device or do any remediation without being able to physically access it?”
Gevers advises that organisations implement tools that enhances the data protection capabilities of commonly-used tools such as Office365 and can leverage archived data to provide quick recovery of email data in the event of accidental loss, malicious attacks or technical failure.
“As adoption of cloud-based business applications grow in the wake of forced lockdowns around the globe, companies need to ensure they have the tools to recover in any situation,” he says. “This includes a data management strategy that combines archiving, backup and data protection capabilities to allow for quick restoration of critical systems and applications in the event of disruption.”
Jasmit Sagoo, head of technology at Veritas for the United Kingdom and Ireland, warns that this is a golden age for cybercriminals looking for ransomware opportunities.
“As the global cost of ransomware continues to grow, this World Backup Day,
Veritas is saying: ‘don’t pay up, back up!’,” he says. “Ransomware is
said to generate an estimated annual revenue of $1 billion a year, and
companies who are not consistent in backing up their data are allowing
criminals to line their pockets.
“Ransomware attacks exist only because some businesses can’t survive unless the hackers give them back their data. So, the key to survival is removing that reliance and being able to regain access to data, without engaging with the cybercriminals. The best way to do that is with a sound backup strategy.
“Sagoo advises organisations to create isolated, offline backup copies of their data to keep it out of reach of any attackers. They then need to proactively monitor and restrict backup credentials, while running backups frequently to shrink the risk of potential data loss. Businesses should also test and retest their ransomware defences regularly.
“Ransomware strikes without warning and it doesn’t discriminate between its targets – it can happen to any organisation, large or small. Despite their best efforts, most companies will fall to at least one attack. What distinguishes one victim from another is the ability to bounce back, which ultimately depends on its backup strategy.
“When ransomware hits, organisations that aren’t prepared often feel helpless to do anything other than to submit to their attacker’s demands. That’s why we’re urging all businesses to use World Backup Day as a catalyst to get ahead of the situation and get their data protected.”