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Here’s how social media will behave in 2019

SEO, stronger homepages, smart on-site recirculation, navigation, push alerts, newsletters, "Stories" ... catch everything that you need to know for 2019!

The time has come to root out "fake" influencers Vertical videos are gaining ground, and so are podcasts! Rise in audience-focused journalism and quality branded entertainment

Excerpted from a report by Newswhip

We started the year with the Facebook algorithm shift that shook up content strategies everywhere.

Snapchat had a messy redesign, and we said goodbye to Google+.

Misinformation and malicious players reached a boiling point, leading to global attention following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and congressional hearings of major tech platform.

Building audience trust and loyalty became critical to success in 2018 for content creators.

In 2018, social media outpaced print newspapers in the U.S. as a source for news, according to Pew Research. For Gen Z in particular, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram are the most-used platforms.

Social media is pivoting to mobile-first experiences that encourage sharing in-the-moment experiences. Stories content is growing 15x faster than feed-based content.

So what’s ahead for 2019?

With publishers forced to look beyond social platforms for growth, strategies need to stretch far beyond Facebook and Twitter and this may include going back to basics: SEO, stronger homepages, smart on-site recirculation, and navigation, push alerts, and newsletters.

It may include transforming journalism for audio, video, or photo-sharing platforms.

We will see an expedited growth in new features for messaging apps and private communities such as Facebook Groups.

'Stories' will also continue to gain new creative and innovative tools for both users and advertisers. Interest and usage of AR and VR will show slow but steady progress.

Video wars between YouTube, Facebook Watch, Instagram's IGTV and others will heat up, but YouTube will remain top dog for some time yet.

The decrease in social sharing on the major platforms, combined with the increasing preference for private sharing will continue.

It's likely platforms such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and others will develop either new features or restrictions for content sharing in group chats in an effort to reduce the spread of fake news.

The integration of chatbots and improved AI, along with increased usage in messaging apps will lead to a resurgence in businesses using bots for customer service and other experiences.

WhatsApp is most likely to see the biggest growth due to the rollout of WhatsApp for Business to more companies.

Forget about fake followers: Let’s talk “fake” influencers

In 2019, a new wave of influencers will emerge, taking the internet by storm. These new lifestyle trendsetters have followers in the millions. Who are they? They’re robots.

Well, sort of. They’re most commonly referred to as, artificial influencers (AI).

Now, brands can’t turn their entire reputation over to these bots. Copy and messaging is still crafted by real people (fortunately!).

We predict these accounts will grow, gaining more attention and followers.

Private sharing ecosystem

People have been moving their sharing behavior to more and more private spaces. That trend will speed up in the new year. People increasingly understand the pitfalls of a fully public social presence, and many of them see the benefit of sticking closer to friends, family and those who share their interests. For some, this may mean spending more time in Facebook groups or taking advantage of the new “close friends” option for Instagram Stories.

Many others are likely to move from social platforms to messaging apps. This presents a challenge to news and content organizations looking for tips and ideas online.

As people share in more private spaces, there’s a risk that the “filter bubble” problem will worsen. The private groups and one-to-one conversations that form online tend to lack a diversity of voices and backgrounds. It’s hard to picture a robust marketplace of ideas when apps and social platforms encourage users to connect privately with people who are much like themselves.

Also, as conversations move to private spaces, misinformation campaigns move there as well, making them more difficult to detect and debunk.

Audience-focused journalism

Next year, we are going to see a rise in more audience focussed.

It will be up to journalists to figure out what is important to the audience and engage with audiences about the questions they want answered, not what news organizations necessarily think is important.

A rise in the quality of branded entertainment

Brands are getting closer and closer to trusting capable publisher editorial teams to create content which both entertains large-scale audiences AND delivers on the brand’s values, and ultimately their KPI's.

The winning digital media brands will be the ones that can move beyond the three-second view addiction and hold the attention of viewers for hours at a time, never underestimating the audience’s appetite.

Vertical video will have a lead role: 

9:16 viewing is here to stay. 94% of users hold their devices upright when capturing content on their smartphones while billions of Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories are created every year, nearly all are shot vertically. Snapchat have launched 'Shows' and 'Snap Originals'. Instagram has launched 'IGTV'. So, we consume content vertically, we capture content vertically and now social platforms have created products/features to allow us to consume quality content vertically.

Podcasting will grow and diversify:

Podcasts are going to continue to grow through 2019. Already the fastest growing medium, they’ll remain the cinema of audio: something that retains the users' undivided attention like very little else.