Rather than looking back at the last 7 days for the last Talk Social of 2020, we wanted to look forward to next year.
Here are our top 5 predictions for the world of social media and what it means for brands.
A big focus on eCommerce
In 2021 eCommerce is set to be a major focus for many social media platforms with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all looking to incorporate more shopping tools in the New Year.
We’ve already seen the first stages of Facebook’s next big revenue push, with the introduction of Shops on Facebook and Instagram, which simplifies the process of selling through the platform. Expect to see further developments from Facebook Pay, which will simplify one-click purchasing – making it even easier for brands to sell directly from advertisements.
Likewise, Snapchat has been working on various eCommerce options for some time, including its integration with Amazon to maximize its in-feed shopping opportunities.
A return to trusted news
Social media companies have vowed to do more to tackle the tidal wave of misinformation and conspiracy theories that have spread through their platforms. Facebook’s announcement of a “trusted” news feed is coming to the UK in January and is designed to help by providing its users with fact-checked information from mainstream news outlets.
To be approved by Facebook, publications need to adhere to Facebook’s Publisher Guidelines. These include “a range of integrity signals in determining product eligibility, including misinformation (as identified based on third-party fact-checkers), community standards violations (e.g., hate speech), clickbait, engagement bait and others.”
Most British newspaper groups have already signed up to the programme that will see them paid substantial cash sums for allowing their articles to appear on the feed, as well as the promise of new readers. This could make a big difference to the finances of many struggling publishers.
The Facebook merger
Yes, Facebook is still working on its integration of Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct and Whatsapp.
Already this year we’ve seen the beginning of the process with Messenger and Instagram Direct given the option to combine contact lists and messages from people in the same app. But Facebook isn’t stopping there as we know it is still working on a full cross-platform integration plan.
Once realised, this would make Facebook the unquestionable leader in global messaging. This would also open new opportunities for marketing and eCommerce.
‘Skinimalism’ and ‘Hypothetical Sabbaticals’ among next year’s top-trend predictions
Pinterest has published its latest listing of trend predictions, based on user interests and habits over the past 12 months.
This is something brands should pay attention to as the social media platform has a strong track record of predicting what the next big things will be. In fact, last year, 80% of its trend predictions ended up coming to fruition, according to its own tracking.
Pinterest has selected 30 trends that it thinks are going to take off, that cover ten different categories: travel, wellbeing, food & drink, home, fashion, parenting, beauty, celebrations, finance, and hobbies & interests. It’s well worth a read if your business operates in one of these sectors.
Read the full report here
Augmented reality will be big business
Augmented reality is set to become the next digital battleground with both Apple and Facebook working on their own AR glasses set to launch around the same time in 2021. Both companies have said they believe this will be the next stage in how consumers interact with technology.
As well as bringing their first functionable AR glasses to the market, Facebook has been working on fully immersive AR environments, and the capacity to incorporate new ad types, promotions, informational cues and more, all linking back into its main app.
However, arguably the leader in terms of augmented reality software has been Snapchat. As well as developing many viral AR lenses this year, Snapchat has recently rolled out several AR tools, including the ability to scan barcodes and labels to provide more contextual information through its camera. Expect Snap to be adding more AR functionality and tools next year.