What’s 2022 got in store for social media?
In short: NFTs, cryptocurrency, TikTok and AR.
But for businesses, brands, and marketers, the key to surviving 2022 will be to stop thinking like advertisers, and to start thinking like – and working with – creators.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the key trends that will shape the social media landscape in 2022 and beyond.
Traditional Ads Have Had Their Day
Nobody watches YouTube for the ads. Indeed, how invested do you think a viewer would be in the loud and obnoxious ad that dared to interrupt their video?
Users have learned to phase out adverts wherever they appear online. In 2022, businesses and brands will have to get creative if they want to connect with their customers. And all the major platforms are introducing tools and features to help us do just that.
We’ll explore how in more detail below. But the ethos is best summed up by Pinterest’s plea to advertisers:
“Stop interrupting. Start inspiring.”
NFT stands for “non-fungible token”. It’s a means for users to “own” original digital images.
You’ve probably heard a lot about NFTs in 2021. You’ll almost certainly hear a lot about them in 2022, too. Some think that NFTs are “a bubble waiting to burst”. But as many social media platforms seem to be exploring their potential, that bubble probably won’t burst for some time yet.
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are each experimenting with ways to let users showcase their NFT purchases. Some users appear to treat their NFT characters as digital avatars. It’s no stretch to imagine that these characters will eventually be available as fully-customisable 3D avatars, and brands will be able to sell digital clothing and accessories to anyone who wants them.
In September 2021 Twitter announced that users can now tip content creators with bitcoin.
This made Twitter one of the first major platforms to support cryptocurrency.
They’re unlikely to be the last.
The Unstoppable Rise of TikTok
In 2021 TikTok surpassed one billion active users, which means that the platform’s now as popular as Instagram.
But if TikTok’s to continue growing, it needs to find a solid and sustainable way to pay its creators.
So TikTok’s experimenting with eCommerce features and the Creator Marketplace – essentially a means for creators to produce sponsored content.
Twitter’s also looking to help its creators monetise their content. Super Follows allows users to create exclusive content for subscribers. Ticketed Spaces allows users to host paid gatherings. And Twitter Blue is a new subscription offering, with a host of new features for users who’re prepared to pay.
Each of these initiatives promises huge potential for businesses and brands. But perhaps more immediately interesting is the introduction of powerful eCommerce features to Twitter. With the Twitter Shop Module you can sell products and services directly from tweets, rather than linking to off-platform product pages.
Facebook isn’t as popular with younger audiences as other social media platforms. But don’t write-off Facebook just yet. With 2.9 billion active users, Facebook was by some distance the most popular social media platform in 2021.
So Facebook is going nowhere. In fact, it’s going Meta.
Facebook for Business is now Meta for Business. The company’s been talking about creating a “metaverse” – a digital world users will access via VR.
The possibilities are endless: A Coldplay concert in your living room? A “face-to-face” GP appointment without leaving your house? Front-row seats at the FA Cup final from the comfort of your couch?
The metaverse may be the future, or it may be a fad. But either way, expect to see brands and businesses across the world experiment with the possibilities of these virtual spaces throughout 2022 and beyond.
Spotlight on Snapchat
Snapchat launched their Spotlight feature in late 2020. It allows users to watch a continuous feed of short videos. So of course, people originally compared it to TikTok.
But Snapchat may ultimately become not an imitation of TikTok, but a powerful rival.
With the Snap Originals series of “made-for-mobile shows”, Snapchat claims to have reached over 85% of Gen Z over the course of 2021. They have a head start on TikTok when it comes to the commercial side of their platform. So in 2022, Snapchat may consolidate itself as a major means for influencers to monetise their content, and a major means for brands to reach a large and lucrative Gen-Z audience.
“Live Commerce” – Shopping on Facebook
Businesses can now run digital storefronts on both Facebook and Instagram. You can expect the ecommerce side of these platforms to expand significantly in 2022.
In China, live-stream shopping is on-course to become a $423 billion market. What’s live-stream shopping? Think of it as a cross between a home-shopping channel like QVC, and a YouTube stream with product endorsement. Brands, businesses and influencers will showcase a product during a livestream, often with a significant discount that lasts just as long as the stream.
It might sound a bit old-fashioned, but it works. Some companies report a conversion rate of 30%. Others have reported that live commerce has boosted their share of younger audiences by as much as 20%.
AR on Instagram
Augmented reality – or AR – is a standard feature on many smartphone cameras. At the touch of a button, you can add dog ears to your selfie, or watch dinosaurs roam across your kitchen table.
Facebook recently unveiled smart glasses – wearable AR tech – and it looks like they’ll be compatible with Instagram. You’ll be able to record what you see through your AR glasses before posting it to Instagram.
If this catches on, expect brands and businesses to compete to create the most entertaining AR experience in 2022.
Video on Pinterest
AR also has huge potential on Pinterest. Users will be able to see how products will look in their homes or on themselves. And if they like what they see, they’ll be able to proceed directly to the purchase page.
This is just one way in which we might see an increased focus on video content on Pinterest in 2022 and beyond. In October 2021, Pinterest announced a range of new features, including:
- A new “watch” tab, which allows users to view a fullscreen feed of promotional “Idea Pins”.
- Takes – a means for users to respond to creator’s ideas with their own interpretation.
- Creators Rewards – A new monetisation program for creators.
In short, it looks like Pinterest is attempting to become a friendlier place for creators, their sponsors, and for brands and businesses in general.
Are You Ready for The Challenges 2022 Will Bring?
The past two years have made it clear that nothing’s set in stone, and that we can’t take anything for granted.
We can help you devise a long-term marketing strategy that’ll help you survive and thrive in 2022 and beyond. We specialise in giving businesses of all sizes access to leading marketing expertise at an affordable price.