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Don’t Overlook These 5 Social Media Trends in 2020

January 14, 2020 Natalie A. Kilgore

A new decade is upon us and, as the pace of the world continues to move faster than ever, so does the pace in which social media is evolving. With an estimated total of nearly 3.8 billion social media users across all platforms in 2020, there is no cheaper or faster alternative to getting your message out to both the masses and niche audiences alike.

Below we’ve compiled five of the top social media trends the Bradford Group believes shouldn’t be ignored in 2020 AND what they mean for marketers and PR professionals in the year ahead

Increase of Video Content

Video is sensory, engaging and appealing. A short, snappy video clip can steal a user’s attention away from a competitor’s static advertisement. It’s also the best way of delivering a long message that your audience may not want to read. Whether it’s short-form a la Instagram Stories or long-form for YouTube, video will dominate online content in the 2020s, plain and
simple. In fact, according to a recent Cisco study, 82% of all online content will be video content by 2022.

As online video content becomes the norm, the production value will become more important in order for brand messaging to stand out. PR and marketing departments will need to invest more resources in production tools and personnel in the coming decade, changing the composition of agencies and internal departments worldwide.

82% of all online content will be video content by 2022.

Augmented Reality (AR) Features

Augmented Reality (AR) is the use of technology to alter the world we see around us every day. Although it sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, many of you are already using this technology daily. If you’ve ever added sunglasses or bunny ears to your video on Instagram Stories or used the Face Swap app, then you’ve used AR technology.

Many high-profile brands have begun using AR technology in an effort to enhance shopping experiences for customers. Major beauty brand Sephora has long-used AR technology within the brand’s app to enable shoppers to virtually try on make-up before they buy it. Recently Sephora extended this service through Facebook Messenger in an effort to expand its unique user experience and increase customer capture.

In December 2019, Facebook announced that AR ads are now available to all marketers through its ad manager. Brands and marketers can now create and incorporate AR effects into their campaigns through Facebook’s Spark AR engine and deploy the advertisements through the platform’s ad targeting system. As more social giants integrate AR technology into everyday platforms, the sky is the limit for what creative marketers can implement to promote their clients and create unique customer experiences.


Facebook and Instagram have dominated the social media landscape today; however niche platforms are expected to make major waves in 2020. The leading contender? A little video app called TikTok. TikTok is a fast-paced app, focusing on quick video entertainment that ranges between 15 to 60 seconds per video.

Launched in 2018, TikTok gained steam so quickly that it seemed to come out of nowhere. By late 2019, the platform boasted 800 million monthly active users worldwide – rapidly closing in on Instagram’s one billion users. Fast Company reported that, on average, users spend 45 minutes a day on the platform with each session lasting nearly five minutes, significantly longer than Instagram or Snapchat.

Due to its instant gratification, and significant user base, TikTok has the potential to become a valuable marketing tool for influencers, celebrities, products and brands. In fact, one of the platform’s earliest and most successful campaigns was Guess’ #InMyDenim challenge. According to TikTok, videos marked with this hashtag have received a grand total of 38.8 million views to-date. Time will tell if TikTok persists or goes the way of Vine and Meerkat; however, the platform’s current staggering numbers are something marketers and PR professionals simply can’t ignore in 2020.

The Rise of Ephemeral Content

While you may not be familiar with the term “ephemeral content” it’s something most of us enjoy daily on our personal social media accounts. Ephemeral means “temporary” and, simply put, ephemeral content is content that is available for a short duration and then disappears forever. Instagram and Facebook Stories as well as the entire Snapchat platform are based around ephemeral content. In 2020, people’s attention spans are short and that extends to how they like to consume information. Ephemeral content may be the antithesis of traditional marketing playbooks; however, it continues to grow in popularity because it caters to the moment and taps into users’ FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). With Instagram Stories’ growth toppling more than 400 million daily active users in 2019, ephemeral content will become increasingly important to brand building in 2020.

85% of users do not tag a brand’s handle when sharing their experiences

Social Listening

Whether B2B or B2C, these days brands and products live and breathe by their online reputations. In 2020, social media IS word-of-mouth marketing. As such, social media is a digital goldmine of data and insights into both troubleshooting and also developing new products and services to meet customers’ demands. Investing in a social listening platform is imperative to gathering real-time customer insights as well as identifying brand advocates that can aid in championing your marketing efforts to an online audience. Additionally, social listening platforms are becoming an increasingly valuable tool for crisis management efforts since more than 85% of users do not tag a brand’s handle when sharing their experiences on social media. From YouScan to Buzzsumo to Meltwater, check out the plethora of social listening tools on the market and find the best fit for your company – and fast!

These are just a few of the social media trends that are important for public relations and marketing professionals to pay attention to in 2020.  Read more tips on implementing successful social media campaigns at our company blog page.

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