Updated August 18, 2022

The social media advertising landscape has experienced major transformations during its lifetime – especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a variety of noteworthy social media trends swirling around in the ecosystem, finding your footing can be a challenge.

In this blog, you’ll uncover insights from ROI’s State of Digital Marketing Survey that can speak to the future of social media marketing. Keep reading for insights on how the social media landscape looks right now, with information on attribution, emerging channels, social commerce trends, and more.

The State of Social Media

Social media is a top priority for 50% of digital marketers.

A key component of most digital marketing strategies for over a decade now, half of marketers say social media is a big initiative for their brand this year. This means standing out from your competition will be a key component of any revenue-driving strategy.

And the competition is fierce. Social media usage has grown substantially with the pandemic. In fact, Q2 2020 was the highest time period on record globally for social media usage. Growth has leveled out now, but usage still remains much higher than pre-pandemic predictions.

77% of internet users use social media to search for more information on brands. Brand executives and decision-makers should be sure to give adequate attention to their company’s social media budget and the profitable return that a strategic social media plan can deliver.

Consumers are changing the way they use social media as authenticity becomes more of a priority. 30.3% of social media users say they care less than they used to about impressing others on social media, and 24.5% say they’ve become more open online about how they’re feeling.

31.6% of digital marketers say authenticity and trust are top-of-mind for their brand.

A genuine social media presence both showcases your brand’s authenticity and encourages your customers to be authentic themselves. This can be a key way to reach more consumers on social media – especially Gen Z and Millennials.

Attribution Confusion & iOS 14.5

Out of all the trends we asked our survey respondents about, attribution ranked #1 as the most prominent for marketers right now. With new consumer privacy regulations, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update, and more, the ability to clearly understand the multiple touchpoints that your customers pass on their path to purchase is growing increasingly complicated.

iOS 14.5 Impacts

Apple released its iOS 14.5 update in April 2021, transforming how brands advertise through social media. With the update, iPhone app users are required to opt in to sharing their unique Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA).

Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA): A random identifier assigned to each iPhone user that provides advertisers with valuable data to provide relevant ads, measure campaign performance, and track the customer journey.

Prior to the update, approximately 70% of iPhone users shared their IDFA with apps. That number is now cut nearly in half, with 37% of iPhone users opting in as of December 2021.

As the need has risen for social media advertisers to bridge the gap created by decreased targeting and tracking capabilities, Meta introduced server-side tracking known as Conversions API (CAPI).

CAPI helps marketers lower costs per action, improve efficiency, and accurately measure performance on Facebook.

CAPI connects a brand’s marketing data to a system that optimizes targeting and increases measurable results on Meta’s platforms – regardless of opt-in status. CAPI follows user privacy preferences while still fulfilling much of the same tracking functionality of the traditional Meta Pixel, and quickly matches that activity to customer information stored in your server to capture the full picture of how your customers interact with you.

Emerging Social Media Platforms

As brands grow wary of advertising on Facebook due to attribution concerns and as users become more concerned with their personal data privacy, the road is being paved for new social media platforms to emerge. Businesses and consumers alike are increasingly looking toward these new channels to build their brand presence and reach new customers.

Emerging social media platforms are top-of-mind for 41.4% of marketers this year.

The social media sites with the most user growth in 2021 were TikTok and Reddit, with 18.3% and 14.4% growth respectively. Comparatively, Instagram grew just 3.7% and Facebook saw a 0.8% increase in users.

Facebook is still the most popular social network worldwide by user count, coming in at 2.1 billion active monthly users compared to Instagram at 1.3 billion and TikTok at 755 million. 26% of social media users say Facebook is their favorite service.

TikTok was also the most downloaded app in 2021 with at 94 million downloads, followed by Instagram at 64 million and Snapchat at 56 million.

TikTok

TikTok is the third largest social network in the US based on user count, second only to Facebook and Instagram. That means TikTok has more users than Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest! The average TikTok user spends 38 minutes per day on the platform.

The key opportunity with TikTok is organic brand growth. 67% of TikTok users say they have been inspired by the community to shop even when they weren’t looking to do so, and 52% say they intentionally search for products or shop on TikTok.

92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than traditional advertising.

According to research from Nielsen, users find TikTok to be authentic, genuine, and unfiltered.
With authenticity top-of-mind for nearly 1 in 3 of the marketers that we surveyed, TikTok can be a key way to achieve trust with your customers.

LinkedIn

Since 2016, LinkedIn has ranked first among social media platforms for digital trust. In an age when trust in social media is steadily declining, LinkedIn provides a valuable opportunity for brands to engage with their target audiences – particularly B2B customers.

LinkedIn makes up one-third of all US B2B digital display ad revenue.

LinkedIn saw more user growth than Instagram in 2021. It’s the sixth largest social network in the US, expected to reach 66.8 million users in 2022. In 2022, US B2B LinkedIn display ad spend is expected to reach nearly $2 billion, up from $1.64 billion in 2021 and just $650 million in 2018.

Reddit

Reddit was the second fastest growing social network in 2021, with user count increasing 14.4% after rising 25.9% in 2020.

In 2019, Reddit’s annual ad revenue was $94 million. In 2022, it’s expected to reach $423.8 million – and in 2023, it’s projected to hit $522.4 million.

Reddit’s ad revenue has been steadily growing as the platform becomes more appealing to advertisers. In February 2022, Reddit updated its app to include an algorithm-driven, visual-based Discover tab that looks similar to Instagram’s Explore tab or Pinterest’s home feed. Reddit is also working to ensure brand safety for advertisers, improve audience ad targeting, and more to become a more viable advertising platform.

Pinterest

Pinterest has also seen notable revenue growth over the past several years. In 2021, Pinterest’s revenue surged 52.3% to $2.6 billion. That’s nearly double what it was in 2019!

In 2020, Pinterest was the third fastest growing social media channel. In 2021, the platform ranked fifth with 3.1% user growth – more than Snapchat but less than Instagram.

Pinterest has been a pioneer in incorporating augmented reality (AR) into its platform with its Pinterest Lens technology, which enables users to stage pinned furniture in their own home by uploading a photo, try on beauty products by uploading a selfie, and more. Pinterest users are 5x more likely to purchase a pinned product with the AR-powered Try On feature than other pins.

Social Media Trends on the Rise

On top of emerging social media platforms, new and exciting social media trends are also at the forefront for marketers right now. These trends will be key to reaching your target audience and propelling them to convert into customers.

Social Video

Video and social media go hand-in-hand, and US social network video ad spend grows every year. In 2021, social video ad spend grew 38.2% to reach $20.28 billion and make up one-third of all social network ad revenue.

In 2023, social media video advertising spend will grow 15.9% to $28.2 billion. That’s nearly double what it was in 2020, when advertisers spent just $14.7 billion.

Native social video advertising will be key to many social advertising strategies in 2022. Consumers are more likely than ever to resonate with content that is less formal and more personal, a shift accelerated by TikTok since 2020. On all platforms, native video ads that are similar to user-generated content are becoming a major social media initiative.

Social Commerce Trends

An emerging trend in social media right now is social commerce, which refers to shoppers’ ability to purchase items directly through platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and TikTok.

Just the stats:

Facebook is the most popular platform for social commerce, followed by Instagram and YouTube. One out of every three adult social media users has made a purchase on Facebook.

Social commerce can make it easier for brands to track conversions because the entire path to purchase happens on one platform. Many brands are turning to social commerce as a solution to alleviate attribution confusion by reaching and converting consumers on a single channel and device.

“Recent changes to tracking and measurement have left many social media channels scrambling to find ways to drive directly attributable revenue. In addition, recent data has shown how younger generations trust brand messaging from influencers and user-generated content more than from brands directly. These changes are combining to pave the way for greater adoption of social commerce, and will likely drive significant changes in how we use social channels to shop in the future.” – Mike Ewasyshyn, Director of Digital Advisory & Programmatic at ROI Revolution

Influencer Marketing Trends

Influencer marketing trends are another huge emergence to keep an eye on. US brands will spend $4.62 billion on influencer marketing in 2023, a 12% increase over 2022. That’s more than double what it was in 2020, when US influencer marketing spend was just $2.76 billion.

Influencer marketing is a top initiative for 35.1% of brands, making it a higher priority than Amazon, lead generation, or design/creative.

A key reason that influencer marketing is so lucrative is that it’s based on a foundation of trust. With consumers feeling wary about ads, influencer marketing provides your target audience with content they’re actively seeking out. Influencer marketing meets shoppers right where they are, showing your product to them unobtrusively with a strong endorsement from someone who they trust.

Influencer marketing can also be a great way to reach highly targeted audiences – especially through micro-influencers with a niche following. Micro-influencers are users with a large following, but not as much as a prominent celebrity or public figure. Micro-influencers tend to have smaller, more focused followings – which can lead to 60% higher conversion rates than with macro-influencers!

VR & Augmented Reality in Ecommerce

From the Metaverse to new online shopping capabilities to video games, the emergence of virtual reality and augmented reality in ecommerce is becoming clear. In fact, 36.7% of social media users say they pay more attention to advertising that incorporates AR.

VR and AR will have 165.6 million monthly users in 2022 compared to just 115.9 million in 2019, an increase of nearly 50 million consumers.

42% of TikTok users pay more attention to ads with augmented reality.

Around one in every three social media users say AR was helpful for trying on products they otherwise wouldn’t during the pandemic. 49.3% of social media users say AR makes the shopping experience easier, with that number highest for TikTok at 56%. 43% of Instagram users say AR makes the shopping experience easier.

Tying It All Together

Take a deep breath! In today’s constantly shifting ecommerce landscape, it can be easy to feel social media whiplash – but hopefully the data and insights in this report help clear up the complexity.

Social media will remain a crucial component of any successful marketing strategy for the foreseeable time ahead, and having a thorough understand of the competitive landscape will help you maneuver the future of social media marketing with confidence.

But you don’t have to walk the journey alone. The social media experts at ROI Revolution can help. With over 20 years of digital advertising experience, our social media advertising team helps brands recognize untapped growth through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. Reach out today to see how we can work together to grow your brand’s revenue.

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