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The 5 big trends to expect in social media in 2020

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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 LauderBoss 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.

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Alexa can now read all messages

For the first time, an Alexa skill is available that makes it possible to listen to any kind of message while driving

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For the first time, Alexa users can now hear all their messages and email read aloud.

Amazon’s Alexa has become a household name. The world’s most popular virtual assistant is getting smarter every day and now, with Amazon Echo Auto, it’s in cars too. 

“In today’s highly connected world, messaging in the form of emails, texts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and work channels like Slack, are integral to our daily routine,” says Barrie Arnold, chief revenue officer at ping. “However, distracted driving is responsible for more than 25% of car crashes and thousands of preventable fatalities every year.” 

ping, a specialist in voice technology founded by Arnold and South African Garin Toren, has developed a new Alexa skill as a companion to its patented smartphone app, that enables any message type to be read aloud. Designed for safety, productivity and convenience, “pingloud” is the first skill of its kind for keeping users connected when they need a hand or an extra pair of eyes.

“The ping Alexa skill is specifically designed to help drivers stay off their phones while giving them exactly what they want – access to their messages.” says Toren, ping CEO. 

Opening up Alexa to developers has resulted in an explosion of new skills available either for free or for a fee that unlocks premium services or features. These tools magnify the usefulness of Alexa devices beyond common tasks like asking for the weather, playing music or requesting help on a homework assignment. According to App Annie, the most downloaded apps in 2019 were Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s main app and WhatsApp, highlighting the importance of messaging. 

“The ping Android app is available worldwide from the Google Pay Store, reading all messages out loud in 30 languages,” says Toren. “The iOS version is in global beta testing with the US launch coming very soon.” 

Once you’ve signed up for ping, it takes a few seconds to link with Alexa, enabling all messages and emails to be read aloud by a smart speaker or Echo Auto device. Simply say, “Hey Alexa, open pingloud.” ping links an account to a voice profile so unauthorised users with access to the same Alexa cannot ask for the authorised user’s messages.

All major message types are supported, including Texts/SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, Twitter DM’s, Instagram, and all email types. Promotional and social emails are not read by default.

*For more information, visit www.pingloud.com

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Coronavirus to hit 5G

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Global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 199 million units in 2020, after disruption caused by the coronavirus scare put a cap on sales forecasts, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than tenfold from 19 million units in 2019 to 199 million in 2020. The 5G segment will be the fastest-growing part of the worldwide smartphone industry this year. Consumers want faster 5G smartphones to surf richer content, such as video or games. We forecast 5G penetration to rise from 1 percent of all smartphones shipped globally in 2019 to 15 percent of total in 2020.”

Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “China, United States, South Korea, Japan and Germany are by far the largest 5G smartphone markets this year. The big-five countries together will make up 9 in 10 of all 5G smartphones sold worldwide in 2020. However, other important regions, like India and Indonesia, are lagging way behind and will not be offering mass-market 5G for at least another year or two.”

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The global 5G smartphone industry is growing quickly, but the ongoing coronavirus scare and subsequent economic slowdown will put a cap on overall 5G demand this year. The COVID-19 outbreak is currently restricting smartphone production in Asia, disrupting supply chains, and deterring consumers from visiting retail stores to buy new 5G devices in some parts of China. The first half of 2020 will be much weaker than expected for the 5G industry, but we expect a strong bounce-back in the second half of the year if the coronavirus spread is brought under control.”

Exhibit 1: Global 5G Smartphone Shipments Forecast in 2020 1

Global Smartphone Shipments (Millions of Units)20192020
5G19199
Rest of Market13941165
Total14131364
 
Global Smartphone Shipments (% of Total)20192020
5G1%15%
Rest of Market99%85%
Total100%100%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Global Handset Sales for 88 Countries & 19 Technologies, is published by the Strategy Analytics Emerging Device Technologies (EDT) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/wep83gc.

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