2019 was the year TikTok exploded and influencer marketing gained traction, especially with marketers in beauty, fashion, e-commerce and auto.
In 2020, we predict 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.
TikTok will continue its meteoric rise
After hitting one billion downloads in 2019, we can expect TikTok to continue its meteoric rise in 2020 thanks to aggressive marketing campaigns and investment in geographic expansion. The platform is adding to its offices in London and Silicon Valley, and recruiting talent directly from top technology companies.
TikTok is the platform to watch in 2020. But for all of its hype, TikTok is not without controversy. TikTok has been using popular videos submitted to its platform as part of its ongoing promotional campaign without informing or compensating creators.
More recently, the app has been drawing increased scrutiny from US lawmakers who worry that it could constitute a national security threat. However, while other platforms attempt to catch up, such as Facebook’s struggling Lasso and Instagram’s new format, Reels, TikTok is still likely to reign supreme in 2020.
Influencer marketing will grow, not wither
Consumers are increasingly seeking out reviews and trusted voices when making purchasing decisions. This has created a huge opportunity for influencers and brands to team up to create authentic connections with audiences.
Our data found that influencer sponsored ads grew by more than 150% in the last year, while the use of #ad more than doubled. We can expect brands to continue increasing their investment in influencers in 2020, and help make influencer marketing a $10 Billion industry in the next year.
VR/AR's time is coming
Virtual Reality 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-seeking gimmick.
We know VR presents a huge opportunity for marketers as it can engage audiences in a new and exciting way, build brand awareness, and drive product discovery and purchase. 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 this used at scale, VR technologies promise to be a powerful weapon in the retail marketers’ arsenal. Expect to see more experimentation in 2020.
Social commerce prepares for lift off
Our data has shown that shopping-related content is rapidly growing on social media – and 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 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.
2020 will 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.
Facebook vs Instagram: The ad spend battle
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. 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 to 10%.
All in all, brands are only spending 1/3 of their total budget on Instagram, the most engaging platform, which raises questions for marketers. Are brands really getting the most engagement out of their investment? In 2020, it will be interesting to see if this investment grows as brands see results from their Instagram spend. We can also see a lot of potential value in Facebook suggested video – it has the second-highest click through rate (CTR) at nearly 0.8%, but commands hardly any relative ad spend.
In 2020, the imperative for marketers is to focus on optimising advertising content and personalising their ad experiences. Settling for blanket strategies across channels is not going to bring in the desired results.
Yuval Ben-Itzhak is CEO of Socialbakers.