Social media is an ever changing landscape; it is critical for marketers to understand if they want to engage their target audience.
Social media is a unique niche of the tech world in that it isn’t just selling a service to people, but supporting existing user behavior with new features and changes. These changes directly impact advertisers. From how social posts are planned and created, to the dimensions and formats of paid ads, the changes made to social media applications are necessary to follow and understand.
Additionally, the behavior of users is constantly evolving. From which jokes are funny, to the desired length of content, the wants and needs of social users is ever-evolving. In order to create effective social strategies and paid ad campaigns, marketers need to stay on top of social trends.
This is where following trends becomes essential. By following user trends and behavior, marketers can predict which changes might be coming down the pipeline, but also what their target audience is looking for when logging in.
Short form content is continuing to grow
These new formats create new advertising opportunities and new ways to engage with users. But they also signal a larger change in consumer behavior.
In the case of YouTube, Shorts were created as a way for the platform to directly compete with TikTok, but rather than draw in TikTok’s audience, the format has split the platform’s existing audience. This leaves the video giant struggling to balance Shorts with their traditional video content.
While the short form content is massively popular, this leaves YouTube with a problem – loss of advertising opportunity. Long form videos offer the opportunity to show pre-roll, mid-video, and post-video ads. Not only that, but these ads can be longer as well, since viewers are watching a more substantial piece of content.
Since short videos can only sustain short ads, shown between videos, YouTube is feeling a loss in ad revenue. By not predicting the popularity of Shorts, the company has put themselves in a tricky spot.
Amidst YouTube’s troubles, TikTok is booming. The app is predicted to be the top social app in daily minutes used by 2025. This goes to show – short form videos remain massively popular.
Marketers who understand the popularity of short content are able to take advantage – creating their own content and finding ways to make the most out of the short ads slots available on these platforms.
Social media usership is dropping
Users are using social platforms less, and minimizing their time online compared to past years. While this understandably may be better for their mental health, it signals a need to shift strategies for marketers.
Some of these users are opting to use social media less, but many others are opting to simplify the way they use these platforms. This could mean switching to using only one site or social platform, or to only following a company on one social media profile versus all of those where they have an account.
For example, with the recent changes being made to Twitter, many users are leaving the platform. Additionally, just 0.1% of Instagram users ONLY have Instagram. This means that they are likely to see your brand elsewhere and if content becomes repetitive across the two spaces, they are likely to unfollow on at least one of those platforms.
These shifting behaviors make creative cross-posting critical.
Hubspot’s annual social media trends report found that “only 17% of marketers are cross-posting the exact same content.” which means that many marketers are dropping the copy-paste strategy and instead tailoring their content for each platform they use.
The same survey found that while 48% of organizations were tweaking content from site to site, “over a third (34%) are starting from scratch each and every time.” This gives these marketers an edge. By creating new content on each platform, brands encourage users to follow them in multiple places.
It is also important for brands to track which platforms are losing popularity. Not every social media site lasts forever – remember MySpace? Consider where time and energy is best spent based on the behavior of your specific target audience.
While users are leaving some social platforms entirely, it is still very much a profitable means of advertising. Rather than leaving the digital world entirely, many users are simply changing habits, and using one platform instead of several. By utilizing cross-posting strategies and choosing paid social platforms carefully, advertisers can better target potential customers and stay on top of these fall trends.