Top social media trends to watch in 2020


This post is sponsored by Talkwalker.

Should you use social media the same way in 2020 as you did last year?

Social media keeps on changing. Just when marketers figured out how to use Facebook for business, it was then time to shift the focus to Instagram Stories. And now TikTok is the talk of the town. What’s next?

Discover the key social media trends for 2020 in this e-book co-authored by HubSpot and Talkwalker, with insights and in-depth analysis from 50-plus experts. It features emerging trends such as social media wellness, data privacy and fake news, AI, AR and VR, Gen Z marketing, and more.

Here are some highlights:

Net sentiment towards artificial intelligence shifts to positive

The amount of marketing data available to brands is not decreasing. Social media continues to evolve. The birth of new channels is only fuelling even bigger customer conversations that become impossible to follow.

This is where technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) come in – with the promise to help marketers in turning data into actionable insights.

Artificial intelligence, for instance, was among the most discussed trends in 2019. It used to be that about 50% of emotional responses around the topic of AI were negative. However, finally towards the second half of 2019, the net sentiment linked to conversational data around AI shifted to a more positive tone; signalling openness towards AI and people understanding its potential better.

“AI is already impacting social media on multiple levels. To start, some platforms use machine learning to determine how content is ranked in people’s news feeds, depending on the quality of the content, whether or not it was shared by a person in the user’s immediate network, etcetera,” says Amanda Zantal-Wiener, senior content strategist at HubSpot.

“Others use that type of AI to determine how interested a user might be in a certain post or piece of content, and therefore, where it might appear in that person’s feed.”

Adds Tiankai Feng, global voice of consumer analytics at adidas AG: “Through deep learning and the vast amount of data available to learn from, data-driven decision-making for successful social media marketing will become even more important – and targeting even more powerful to the deepest level of consumer micro-segmentation.”

Engaging content, and more video and voice content should be part of the strategy

Text no longer encompasses the whole story. As they say, a picture paints a thousand words, and we can imagine video painting a whole lot more. In fact, the more visual your content is, the more engagement it creates.

Cisco projects that by 2021, video will represent 80% of the internet traffic worldwide. Thanks to 5G technology, the increased speed of the internet will further enable us to create and share video content.

“One of the biggest themes in 2020 for the technology industry is 5G will be available. When it becomes possible to send and receive large volumes of data at a different level than before, we expect social media that has evolved with text, images and videos to enter the era of VR and AR,” says  Yosuke Noguchi, general manager of the social media business department at Opt Inc.

Adds Manisha Seewal, group chief marketing officer at “Just a year ago, search used to comprise 95% of our spend while currently, search accounts for barely 60% and the rest is made up by social media. In today’s environment, brands need to have a robust social media strategy, which includes generating engaging content and video.”

Likewise, alternative search methods such as visual search and voice search are emerging. According to experts featured in our e-book, voice search, in particular, is going to be a big thing to watch out for in 2020.

“Social media marketers need to start preparing for voice search. With the rise of different voice assistants and their increasing usage, brands need to be prepared with a voice-focused strategy,” says Aryeh Sternberg, lead consultant at Kenna, Red Communications.

“The way we speak versus the way we write is inherently different. We will need to write more conversationally in our posts. If we want our content to be found by voice search, we need to communicate in a way that optimises for this type of search.”

Influencer marketing gets smaller and becomes a numbers game

While there is nothing new about influencers, the relationship between them and brands is changing. With concerns about the rise of fake influencers, and the continued challenge of proving ROI, there will be a revolution on how brands manage their influencer marketing campaigns.

For instance, instead of working with the biggest influencer in a category, brands will be curating their own networks of micro and nano-influencers who have a smaller, yet more targeted audience. Thus, minimising risks while generating more authentic engagement.

“Influencer marketing is increasingly moving towards greater transparency with brand associations and measurement of deeper metrics,” says Anvesha Poswalia, digital marketing lead at L’Oréal Professionnel and Decleor.

“Brands are extensively using social listening to understand if any brand associations are being faked and to measure the overall sentiment towards influencer associations.

“The right choice of the influencer plays a key role in driving the desired impact. He/she should have an image that is in line with the brand’s values and positioning. Hence, it is not just about the popularity of the influencer, but about the fitment of the individual for the brand objectives.”

Download the full eBook to get insights from 50-plus experts. Plus, get an in-depth analysis on why it’s essential to watch these trends, along with campaign inspiration to inform your 2020 strategy.