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Social media trends aside, the last two pandemic-filled years have caused disruption for businesses online and everyday life in general. Although we are hopefully now moving into a brighter and more positive 2022, we cannot ignore the implications that the past 24 months have had on the entirety of the economic landscape and more specifically, the digital marketing industry. Behaviours, perceptions and priorities have changed for both consumers and brands. E-commerce shot through the roof, video content became our new normal (here’s to many family Zoom calls!), and screen time for many will have peaked at an all-time high. As a result, social media platforms had to adapt to a new way of content consumption, and they had to do it quickly. 

As we move into 2022, some habits have stuck with us, and some have been pushed aside. For example, working from home was once a necessity, whereas now only 33% of workers in the UK work from home. Many physical changes have been and gone, but many attitudes and behaviours have remained, particularly those around technological advancements and increased importance surrounding community and communication. So, what can social media platforms do to keep up with such demands? We run you through our predictions for the top social media trends for 2022, and explore the latest social media trends to look out for across Facebook and Instagram.

2022 Social Media Predictions

Facebook

1. E-commerce is everything

It’s no real surprise that post-pandemic, many social media platforms are prioritising e-commerce. Given how important shopping online has been for us over the past 18 months, the latest social media trend is for social platforms to up their game in providing a better user experience for shoppers within their platforms. Facebook Shopping is set to expand its current e-commerce offering by introducing Facebook Pay (fancy paying by Diem anyone?), improving their product discovery, and even allowing you to set buying alerts, much like eBay!

2. Live shopping

In the same vein, expanding e-commerce efforts to make transactions easier for consumers will include live shopping as a key focus for Facebook Shopping in 2022. Many markets have already adapted to this new feature, with China’s live-commerce marketing increasing 280% from 2017 to 2020. So whilst Westerners are slightly further right on the Overton window than China, expect to see your favourite brands offering live shopping experiences throughout 2022. 

shopping on COS website

3. AR/VR development

Now owned by Meta, Facebook can expect to see advancements in tech-based customer software, such as AR technology. We’ve already seen Facebook AR glasses made in collaboration with Ray-Ban, allowing you to shoot video content directly from your lenses and upload it to Facebook. With Meta now shifting its focus to tech, the sky is the limit for what Facebook may offer regarding AR or VR in 2022.

4. Building digital identity

A social media trend in 2022 that will dominate focus will be the idea of building a digital identity. Dressed up as another way to improve your digital presence and improve your existing company branding, Facebook aims to help build a bridge between your Facebook profile and your Metaverse presence. Expect to see NFT avatars, NFT profile displays, 3D characters displays and avatar creation tools across the platform. Meta’s tech-push will govern and push app direction over 2022, hoping to lead advancements in social technology. 

5. Facebook Live

It’s good news for those who want to experiment with Live Shopping but previously haven’t been able to! Social media 2022 advancements in Facebook include expanding Facebook Live to anyone who uses the platform. Previously, this feature was only available to verified brands; however, in an attempt to improve e-commerce offerings, the feature is now available to all. With Facebook Live engagement being 178% higher than average post engagement, this is an excellent marketing avenue for small businesses with tight budgets. 

facebook live video camera

6. Video matters more

Video content is projected to account for 82% of all internet traffic in 2022. Due to this significant statistic, the popularity of video marketing on Facebook is predicted to increase dramatically in 2022. Facebook videos receive 135% more organic reach than images, which is most likely why social media marketers are considering using video content in their future marketing strategies moving forward. Of course, content is still king, and quality prevails above all; however, a high-quality, valuable video is set to perform dramatically better than its static image counterpart.

7. Chatbox takeover

Have you ever used an automated chatbox? Traditionally only used on websites, Facebook allows brands to use AI within chat boxes to offer personalised messages to shoppers needing a helping hand. Predominantly used for customer service, there are already 300,000 active bots on Facebook Messenger. Looking towards the future, Facebook is pushing for further personalisation of chatboxes, allowing them to sound even more realistic than they do currently. This automation advancement will help to improve customer satisfaction and allow brands to drive more sales effectively.

iphone showing messaging apps

8. Boosted paid social spend

Facebook advertising is becoming even easier too, resulting in increased paid media spend on the platform. In fact, it’s been shown that 93% of social media advertisers are investing in Facebook ads. Facebook ad revenue amounted to $84 billion during 2020, with posts on average resulting in 74% effectivity. Whilst Facebook ads can be professionally tailored, thought-through and strategised by specialist paid media teams, Facebook’s recent addition to ‘Boost’ posts has made the prospect of paid media spend much more accessible to non-specialist individuals. We expect to see an increased use of re-targeting ads in 2022 for targeted, precise leads that convert easily.

Instagram

9. E-commerce remains on top

Similarly to Facebook, it’s easy to predict that e-commerce will become even more popular on Instagram in 2022. Live shopping is the latest social media trend, and many brands have already jumped on board. For example, COS recently enlisted two influencers, Brittany Bathgate and Sophia Roe, to run through their SS21 collection top picks on a live stream event. Throughout the live shopping experience, customers could tap onto the items seen on the influencers on-screen and purchase pieces through the app. Instagram’s current aim is to make all posts shoppable, so users become more accustomed to shopping and eventually spending within the app. In addition, with rumours of Instagram shopping options being expanded into advanced product search by image and product discovery panels, we expect to see multiple monetisation avenues arise in 2022.

man on phone scrolling through ASOS

10. Automated direct messages

Instagram is no doubt one of the most popular social media platforms used by online consumers. Users are using Instagram more and more to discover, browse, and reach out to businesses. Over 400 million messages are sent to businesses on Instagram every day, spanning topics including product inquiries and customer service requests. According to Statista, 28% of customers globally expect a response from a brand within an hour. Met with ever-increasing demand, businesses are turning to automation tools to manage their workload. Using Instagram automation is an excellent way to meet customer demand, and further improvements to automated responses help increase customer satisfaction. This is the latest social media trend actively trying to improve user experience, brand efficiency, and brand perception.

11. Click-to-messenger ads

Have you ever messaged a brand on Instagram, only to be met with a response that funnels you into Facebook? Expect to see a lot more of it. A 2022 social media trend incorporates both Instagram and Facebook working harmoniously to offer a click-to-Messenger advert experience that’s seamless. These ads send shoppers into Messenger instead of the traditional shopping landing page. This active ad experience has been used to improve interactivity and reduce passive marketing techniques. We expect to see this feature used in discount code automation, whereby brands ask customers to DM them for a personalised discount code rather than promoting a blanket code. This method helps to collect contact information and increase leads.

12. Short-form video domination

Spurred on by the likes of TikTok and Snapchat, short-form video is the latest social media trend for 2022 that platforms want to jump on as soon as possible. While the trend of using short-form video content started in 2016, it hasn’t shown plans to stop anytime soon. The platform introduced Instagram Reels to keep up with this trend, and Instagram hasn’t been shy with pushing them. In early 2021, Instagram changed the footer buttons to include a Reels icon front and centre. Additionally, in June 2021, Instagram made it easier for brands to sponsor influencers Reels by adding a ‘sponsored by’ function, much like Instagram posts. With TikTok continuing to grow in popularity, we predict further pushing of Instagram video content to compete in the social media race.

13. Micro-influencers take centre stage

Influencers are now seen as part of the social media furniture. They are difficult to avoid, easy to find and loved by their followers for their authenticity and knowledge. However, as users spend more time on the platform and become more accustomed to interacting with influencers, their presence can often seem too picture-perfect for daily consumption. The desire for ‘authentic, real’ influencers has increased, with users finding greater value in influencers that appear more realistic and relatable. Additionally, micro-influencers are receiving more brand attention due to their grasp over niche, engaged communities. 77% of marketers stated that they wanted to work with micro-influencers on brand campaigns, compared to 22% wanting to work with traditional celebrities. We expect one of the biggest social media trends in 2022 will be the rise of the micro-influencer.

iphone showing instagram analytics

14. Shoppable influencers

Have you ever seen an item of clothing on an influencer and wondered where it was from? Nowadays, many influencers tag the item’s brand or have a LiketoKnowit profile; however, these practices aren’t used widely, leaving many followers frustrated that they cannot find the item they desire. Enter thousands of messages from avid fans asking the influencer where certain items are from, making it difficult for the influencer in question to keep up with such requests. Instagram has hinted at an easier solution: shoppable influencers. Currently only available to select influencers such as Kylie Jenner and Chiara Ferragni, Instagram is slowly allowing influencers to tag items within their images, much like an Instagram Shop. A study published in 2019 stated that 1/3 Instagram users had bought a product directly through an Instagram ad, so we’re predicting the native nature of shoppable influencers to yield even higher conversions.

If you made it to the end – we applaud you! These are just some of the trends we predict will dominate the industry landscape in 2022. As we learn more about different platforms, expect to see relevant updates added to this post regularly. Additionally, it’s still hard to predict where things may be heading due to the amount of industry disruption we’ve encountered over the past two years, so we suspect we may encounter some curveballs as we enter a period of rebuilding and reconstruction.

Despite our rightful hesitations, these are the key trends predicted for social media 2022. So, stay on top of the market and leverage these points to your advantage to stay competitive. Social media is quick and ever-changing, so act fast and stay dynamic in your approach moving forward. To read more industry news and articles, check out our blog. To chat with one of our specialists, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.