Instead of social media trends and hypotheses, this blog post provides you with real recommendations for social media action in 2019, which are based on concrete developments, discussions with our customers, and empirical data.
Here we go…
This is what happened in 2018...
Decreasing organic Facebook reach, new feed algorithm
In January of 2018, Facebook began to change the news feed such that personal content and personal moments became more important. Mark Zuckerberg justified this in a detailed post:
“ […]recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” (Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook)
The Facebook algorithm adjustment also affected reach measurement. Each time a person logs in, their news feed loads about 250 posts. To date, all of these 250 posts have been included in the reach statistics - even if the person did not really see them. Now, the range is measured only if the post was really seen.
Facebook Being Put to the Test Given Its Data Scandal and DSGVO
For the first time in Facebook history, there was a decline in the number of monthly active users (MAU) in Europe. The US user count was also stagnating.
Instagram as a Player for Brands
While Facebook restricts any brand content, Instagram is implementing this kind of content. On Instagram, brand content is less intrusive. As many as 1/3 of all successful Instagram stories originate from companies. In our industry report at the beginning of 2018, we clearly saw that Instagram is the channel with the highest engagement across almost all sectors. Whether the fashion, cosmetics, travel, automotive, or media industry is concerned: All of these industries were able to reach a multiple of their Facebook engagement on Instagram.
In September of 2018, Instagram stepped up its brand awareness with the "Shopping" tab in Instagram Explore, where users can discover suitable product recommendations and offers from brands.
Videos Are Taking the Social Media Charts by Storm
In 2018, video content was continuing to rise in popularity. This was especially true for live videos. Having always been popular on YouTube, the trend has since taken over Facebook and Instagram, wherefore we can be notified when someone goes live.
Facebook increased the amount of video content in the news feed by 360%. Over 100 million hours of Facebook videos are watched on a daily basis. And with the launch of Instagram TV (IGTV) and Facebook Watch, both networks now have their own video channel.
Stories Were Getting More Attention
Instagram has long been praised for its successful story feature that the community has happily adopted. Facebook has also taken on this feature. Meanwhile, the format has far surpassed the Snapchat original, offering advertising opportunities and becoming an attractive branding and selling tool for brands.
Over 400 million daily users worldwide use Instagram Stories, 30% of impressions are generated by stories, AND a third of the most popular stories are posted by brands.
WhatsApp Announces Advertising Opportunities via the Status Feature
WhatsApp is the most used messenger app worldwide. As such, it was only a matter of time until the company would use its strong suit for monetisation. As of 2019, the WhatsApp status feature – which is comparable to stories on Instagram and Facebook - will be the new place for advertising. How exciting!
LinkedIn Strengthens Its Position in Europe
Career networks continued to grow in 2018. LinkedIn continues to grow. To strengthen its position in the hotly contested European market, LinkedIn planned to open a second German office.
The increasing shortage of skilled workers also turns these careers networks into a great tool for active sourcing. Yet, only about 13% of the candidates are recruited by means of active sourcing.
The End of Google? No Way!
The Google+ network was discontinued in October 2018 due to information leakage. Does that mean one less channel? Our customers and experience show that another Google product has not gotten nearly enough attention thus far: GoogleMyBusiness.
Key Learnings at a Glance:
These Opportunities Are Waiting for You in 2019
When planning your content, consider Facebook's new scoring system
Facebook has reported what the key factors in prioritising content in the news feed were going to be:
- People sharing a link through the messenger
- Comments or likes on a person's profile picture or status updates
- Multiple responses to a status update or photo
- Meaningful interactions, e.g. by means of a lengthy, thoughtful comment that even starts a dialogue at best
If you are used to comparing your Facebook KPIs year-by-year, this will become more difficult in 2019. In any case, the organic Facebook reach will be lower in 2019 than in 2018 – however, it will be telling you whether your post has really been seen or not.
Allocate a Budget for Creating Reach
The organic reach-paradise no longer exists. Be prepared to allocate your own budget for more reach on Facebook, Instagram, and similar channels in the future if you want to regularly reach your fans in 2019 as well.
Please keep the following in mind, too:
- Ads need to become more relevant and valuable to the consumer, because if all companies invest more in ads, any paid reach will also be highly competitive.
- Make advertising less obvious and deliver shareable content.
- Invest in high-quality content and influencer marketing and other methods that aim to bring real value to the audience.
- Add a personal touch to your ads - offer concrete help. 2019 will once again be all about communicating trustworthiness and brand values in order for your audience to fall in love with you.
Thinking Outside the Box: Reach via New Channels
As shown, the number of active users and reach have slightly decreased for the social media giant Facebook. Although Facebook is still the largest and most important player in the social media market, it makes sense to take a closer look at other new channels. Our recommendations for 2019 are as follows:
For local companies, it pays to take a look at smaller networks. For example, nextdoor.com which surpassed 210,000 Neighbourhoods throughout the United States, Europe and Australia and also offer free business profiles. Giving this platform a try in 2019 is definitely recommended.
Use Videos to Tell Your Story
Even if you are part of an industry that most may not find sexy, your customers want to hear your story, and videos are the way to tell it. Deliver instruction videos, show new products, and product tests. Keep in mind that most videos on Facebook are played without sound using subtitles.
Use the Stories Feature for Advertising and Branding Purposes
With all the hype surrounding stories, it should not be forgotten that the users' time is limited. Even if the stories are mostly made up of short video snippets, it is important to find out how many of them are conducive and exciting for the user or generate added value. We know that the saying has long been trite, but this maxim continues to be true: Content is king.
Supporting Active Sourcing Through Employer Branding on LinkedIn
The shortage of skilled workers will be felt more and more in various industries in the coming years. Businesses should be prepared to cultivate their career networks with well-maintained business profiles and content. Only then will candidates be able to form a picture of their potential new employer, which translates to a higher active sourcing success rate. Given the massive expansion of LinkedIn, it also makes sense - especially for international companies - to more heavily rely on this channel.
Messenger Marketing Is Becoming Increasingly Important
WhatsApp’s upcoming ad features are really exciting to us. For us, 2019 will be the year, during which budgets for these new advertising channels should be tested in order to establish a long-term strategy on the basis of these test runs. But even in direct customer contact, this channel is particularly exciting because a messenger like WhatsApp is one of the few apps that has prevailed across almost all generations and is used daily.
Properly Use GoogleMyBusiness for Your Local Business
76% of all customers who perform a local search on their smartphones visit a store within 24 hours, and 28% of them buy something from that store. Anyone with a GoogleMyBusiness account is clearly at an advantage. Add pictures, your opening hours, and gather reviews. Positive ratings make retailers trustworthier in the eyes of 73% of consumers.
Time to Get Started
2018 has been an exciting social media year! Keep in mind that there is not a single "right way" to develop a marketing strategy, but with these learnings in mind, you can expect a lot of great things in 2019. We wish you a successful year and many triumphs in developing new social media learnings.