Despite the debates around privacy, disinformation and influencer authenticity; social media continues to fuel our digital lives. The biggest change is how. With ever evolving platforms, trends, and even content types, social is growing increasingly complex and discerning fact from fiction is becoming progressively more difficult. What will be the biggest trends for marketers in 2020? Chris Walts, Social Strategy Lead at Ogilvy UK, and Kanika Bali, Social Strategist at Ogilvy Hong Kong share their insights.
WHAT IS IT?
With consumers demanding a more seamless and cohesive buying journey, brands explored integrating the new commerce
options being developed by the social networks. As a result, social media is shifting from merely being an inspiration or
education channel to a full storefront experience.
Percentage of people who are influenced
by digital content when shopping
Percentage of people bought a
product online after discovering it
on social media
Percentage of merchants who use
social medial to generate sales
Deloitte; Kleiner Perkins; Big Commerce.
Facebook Pay Shopping ads
Shoppable and swipe up stories
Checkout on Instagram
In app purchases
#Hashtag Challenge Plus
Shop by brand
In game direct purchase
In app purchases
News Feed Ads
In app purchases
INTERACTIVE COMMERCE: ADIDAS
Adidas teamed up with Snapchat to launch its limited-
edition baseball cleats.
Adidas created a game that you can play in Snapchat
called "Baseball's Next Level," where customers can play
as famous MLB athletes. Users can also shop for the new
Adidas cleats through a shopping functionality built right
into the game.
Creative content will take a front seat as social
commerce features become increasingly popular. It is
more important than ever to add value and put customer
experience first through content which leads to purchase
in a natural, non-invasive way.
OMNICHANNEL COMMERCE: OASIS
Oasis has built a complete omni-channel experience that
extends through their social channels.
On Instagram, they feature tagged products that link
directly to optimised product pages and their profile
features a link to their mobile optimised Instagram store.
Most impressively, when users login, the product stays in
their cart, regardless of what device they use. Customers
even have the option to "Find in Store," allowing
customers to find the product they've identified online in
their nearest store to try on or pick up.
To complete the experience, in-store shop assistants will
offer advice based on user’s online preferences and
history with the brand.
AR COMMERCE: LEGO
LEGO Wear and Snapchat launched a clothing
store with no clothes in it allowing them to swap a
traditional shopping experience for AR pop-up.
The physical store was empty of everything
except a plinth-posted Snapcode which once
scanned allowed shoppers to enter a virtual shop
that an featured an interactive DJ booth, LEGO
bouncer, arcade machine, and most importantly,
exclusive products for purchase.
It’s a fantastic example of how brands are blurring
real world and virtual spaces and enabling people
who can’t make it in person access to their
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?
• The platform's walled ecosystems will get even higher as social content becomes shoppable microsites. This could lead to the
proliferation of 'dark websites' that are just a warehouse of items available for purchase through APIs.
• There will be a boom in influencer affiliate marketing through social as their sales figures become more trackable and transparent.
• Fuelled by improvements in augmented reality and camera detection technologies the distance between inspiration and
purchase will continue to shorten upending the path to purchase funnel. Everything we see will be instantly shoppable both on
and offline wherever we are in the world.
• Personalised marketing will get more personal as social media platforms track previous purchases and begin to recommend the
• Social platform's digital wallets will open the internet up to the 'unbanked’.
WHAT IS IT?
Users have had enough of staged morning routines and transactional endorsements. Influencer culture isn’t ‘niche’ anymore and
the authenticity of ‘influencers’ is being called into question.
In 2019, we saw the rise of ‘shitposting’, a documentary about the Fyre Festival, the rise of ‘vlogpologies’, as well as audiences
starting to fight back by calling out faked and photoshopped content.
In the Gartner Hype Cycle influencer marketing appears to have reached the Trough of Disillusionment.
To help get to the Plateau of Productivity brands need to work with influencers to ensure there's a clear value exchange for both
the influencers and their followers.
The predicted size of the influencer
marketing industry by 2020
Percentage of consumers aged 18-
34 have been swayed in their
decision-making process by digital
61% +22% YoY
Consultancy, Influence 2020
Influencer marketing was the fastest
growing online customer acquisition
channel in 2018.
Super Stickers go Global
Shop buttons to profiles Brand takeover ads
Sponsored influencer posts
INFLUENCER TIERS: REVOLVE
Revolve has remained authentic, relatable and influential
to Millennials and Gen Z’s by carefully selecting the right
influencers since 2003.
An early adopter in the influencer marketing space, they
are a perfect example of how-to successful blend
influencer strategy across campaign objectives.
Revolve carefully selects a range of influencers from
celebrities to a large mix of micro and mid-tier influencers
allow them to gain both reach as well as authentic
endorsement and engagement.
They’ve now accrued a roster of over 3,500 influencers
who collectively drive an estimated 70% of sales for the
company despite only making up 25% of their annual
There’s a new niche of 'good influencer' content
emerging like Study Tube - an online community of young
people who revise and encourage each other in their
These ‘good influencers’ revolve around helping Gen Z
better themselves - a sort of online study buddy or
influential role model.
One in five UK teenagers are now using “Study Tubers” to
help them revise for their GCSEs, a survey has found.
In a recent survey 29% per cent of UK children said that
the videos give them social support and reassurance
while they studied.
GOOD INFLUENCE: STUDY TUBE
VIRTUAL INFLUENCE: LIL MIQUELA
Samsung partnered with well-known virtual influencer, Miquela
Sousa (Lil Miquela), bringing her onboard for the new Galaxy
S10 launch. They also featured her alongside, Steve Aoki, Millie
Bobby Brown and Ninja for a video in their #DoWhatYouCant
Miquela, who has 1.6 million followers on IG, shared her
Instagram secrets through a written interview on the Samsung
site. She also posted product endorsements with the Galaxy S10
images on her Instagram.
Virtual influencers represent a need for people to express
themselves and are a unique representation their true selves. As
they gain popularity more brands will likely jump on board to
leverage their lower risk round the clock efficiencies.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?
• Authenticity and creativity will be the biggest factors in whether a campaign resonates with consumers.
• Brands will strike up more longer-term partnerships with smaller influencers so they can grow their followings together.
• Advancements in CGI and AI technology will allow brands to embrace the weird and wonderful world of virtual influencers
through branded storytelling.
• Influence will become more closely associated with purpose through the rise of 'good influencers'
• Whilst Instagram will remain the preferred platform for influencer marketing, platforms like TikTok will go mainstream with more
brands using the platform and its influencers.
• Brands will realise that they have influencers within their walls that they have yet to discover leading to new influencer employee
• Whilst video in all its forms (Live, IGTV, YouTube, etc) will continue to grow, audio enabled influencer content like podcasts will
become the powerful medium in a marketer's toolkit.
Pew Research; Sprout Social; The Atlantic
WHAT IS IT?
Data privacy concerns, combating disinformation and a rising awareness of mental health has led to users to take more control
of their social media usage. Consumers are starting to lock down their accounts and explore new closed communities. The
knock-on effect for brands has been equally as stark as they respond to new regulations like GDPR and are required to re-
examine their paid media strategies due to reduced retargeting capabilities.
Percentage of social media users
are concerned about businesses
accessing the data they share on
social media platforms.
Percentage of consumers say
they’re likely to buy from brands that
are transparent on social.
Percentage of users surveyed by the
Atlantic who said they changed their
behaviour after learning about the
Cambridge Analytica scandal
Facebook Ad Library
Why Am I seeing This
Ad Targeting Transparency
Removal of suggestions
Fake account crackdowns
Third party fact checking and labelling
ALT PLATFORMS: PRIVATE NETWORKS
People are starting to explore more private social
networks like Minds, MeWe, Telegram and WT:Social.
Minds is an open source networking platform with
familiar features like the newsfeed, groups and
discovery, but all its code is open source and all
messenger services are encrypted along with options
Similarly, Telegram with over 200 million MAU's has
become the social media of choice in some areas of
APAC. Telegram offers complete anonymity of users,
multiple sessions , secret chats, and a public API have
been gaining traction.
Features that prioritise user privacy, anonymity and
public contribution to the source code have gained
trust and popularity and large platforms are starting to
Twitter has announced it will be funding a research
project for a decentralised version of its platform.
FACT CHECKING GOES SOCIAL: SNOPES & AFP
The number of fact-checking outlets around the world
has grown to 188 in more than 60 countries amid
concerns about the spread of misinformation.
While politics has been a major driver, many outlets are
also concentrating on viral hoaxes or other forms of
misinformation such as fake health claims.
Interestingly, the fact-checkers are starting to deploy
more in-depth social media strategies to ensure their
content gets shared rather than just referenced.
Snopes for example has started an Instagram handle
which creates bold, succinct, social media ready posts
and AFP Factcheck Twitter is focusing on making fact
checking accessible to the normal user.
CLOSED BRAND COMMUNITITIES: STARBUCKS
Starbucks' "Pumpkin Spice Latte" or "PSL" is one of the
brands most loved and followed products. To capitalize
on this, the coffee brand started an exclusive Facebook
Group called the Leaf Rakers Society. PSL lovers can
to apply to be part of the group.
Starbucks posts exclusive content in the community,
members share images with their PSL's, comment with
suggestions that might help the brand inform product
decisions, and even donate to charitable causes.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?
• Engagement rates will continue fall as more conversations and sharing shifts to private social networks. As a result the measures
for what success looks likes will need to change.
• Amidst privacy concerns (and potentially new regulations) social media targeting will become less personalised and CPMs will
increase as there more competition for inventory.
• There will be a rebirth of human curated, fact checked, slow content.
• Transparency and provenance will become key components of branded communications.
• New privacy first social networks will start to gain traction, but most if not all will fail as the major networks copy their key USPs.
• Consumers will start demanding direct control of their data, becoming gatekeepers of their own digital lives, so they can start to
design and control their own digital ecosystem to servers up content based on how they’ve set their personal algorithms.
Markets and markets; Oracle; Deeptrace.
WHAT IS IT?
'How to best utilise AI?' is quickly becoming a key question for business so it’s of little surprise that it could have a huge impact on
the marketing department as well as agencies. One of the most exciting areas of AI is how it can be used to bolster humanity
creativity. AI is already being used to power customer experience through chat bots, but it’s quickly expanding into other areas such
as video and copy creation.
While AI has the potential to make a huge positive impact, there are also real concerns around its misuse. Brands and agencies will
need to tread very carefully when using AI to avoid creating even more distrust and disillusionment amongst consumers.
The predicted size of the AI for
social media market
The predicted percentage of brands
who will be using chatbots for
consumer interactions by the end of
The increase in the amount
of deepfake videos compared to the
Banned misleading deepfakes Labelling or hiding images that are
Introduced a FaceSwap Feature
CAMPAIGN DEEPFAKES: MALARIA NO MORE
Like most technologies, deepfakes aren't inherently
bad, they can be used to entertain affect as on TikTok,
or to help deliver a more global reach.
Malaria No More A launched a “Malaria Must Die”
campaign, where David Beckham appears to speak
nine languages using deep fake technology.
After watching the video viewers were encouraged to
sign a “voice petition” by recording their own voices
saying, “Malaria Must Die.”
As the technology continues to develop brands will
need to weigh the utility and efficiency benefits against
consumer sentiment. Creative execution and obvious
transparency will likely be key to avoiding any backlash.
BIG DATA AI: KFC
E-sports is a growing global phenomenon with over 25.7
million viewers in the US and over 200 million people
engaging with it in China.
KFC realized that there wasn’t a way to predict who’d win
these highly watched matches, so they created a prediction
model that leveraged big data to solve the problem.
KFC built the Colonel KI into their mobile app giving fans
access to the predictions along with exclusive KFC coupons
leading to 203 million views and 70 minutes of brand
exposure per day (4x more than planning).
More importantly, KFC inserted itself in the e-sports arena,
by becoming an invaluable part of their
customer's everyday lives.
AI COPYWRITING: ALIBABA AI COPYWRITER
Venturing into the realms of transitional creativity, Tech
giant Alibaba has created an AI copywriter
that produces up to 20,000 lines of e-commerce copy
The AI copywriter continuously improves its craft by
analysing lines of copy on Alibaba's T-mall and Taobao
eCommerce platforms to understand what types of
copy perform best.
Brand wanting to use the platform simply need to insert
a link to their product page and click a button to have
the system generate AI copy.
The biggest benefit to brands utilising this tool is
increased efficiencies through the removal of repetitive
tasks allowing creatives to spend more time on big
ideas and content for their audiences.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?
• Organizations will need new, systematic approaches for unlocking the full potential of human collaboration with AI. People will
soon need to learn how to work with the machines and how to better communicate with them.
• Big data will unlock previously incomprehensible insights for brands meaning they can narrow the gap between what brands think
consumers want and what they actually want.
• First touch customers service will become increasingly automated and most consumers won't be able to tell the difference.
Humans will only become involved in outlier cases.
• AI will become a go-to resource for iterative creative executions especially if multiple languages are involved. Programmatic
media buying solutions will port into social content as turnkey SAAS solutions for personalised messaging campaigns.
• People will begin to demand proof of digital provenance in the content they're consuming.
WHAT IS IT?
People are consuming more content than ever before. In fact, we spend more than 142 minutes just on social media a day.
As people’s content consumption continues to rise, they are finding new ways to engage with content throughout their lives.
Last year saw the explosion of new content types such as podcast, longer captions, and micro blogs. Most importantly, total
brand immersion through experiences and technology are becoming mainstream.
Percentage growth from last year
of Spotify’s monthly users listening
Percentage of predicted online
searches in 2020 will be voice
Percentage of respondents who believe
that by the year 2025, immersive
technologies like augmented reality, will
be as ubiquitous as mobile devices.
Spotify for Brands; Comscore; Perkins Coie.
Voice enabled audio ads
Increased investment in developing podcast offering
Snapchat Discovery Series
PERSONALISED AUDIO: MICHELOB
Michelob partnered with Spotify to build a custom,
experience for runners.
To make the experience as personalised as possible,
content was delivered to runners based on their location,
local time and weather with the follow-up messages
during exercise and recovery.
Each ad then invited Spotify free users to visit the ‘Miles
of Michelob Ultra’ microsite where they can listen to their
personalised Spotify playlist based on the running
distance, intensity and location.
On finishing the playlist, listeners were invited to post
their run on the Michelob Ultra Marathon site to receive
INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING: TINDER
Tinder created an interactive adventure that
represents a whole new way to match on the app.
The "Swipe Night" story is an adventure that allows
you to decide what happens next at key turning
points. Importantly, the choices not only impact the
story, but also who you match with.
Swipe Night takes place live, inside the app and as
the story unfolds users face moral dilemmas and
practical choices. With 7 seconds to choose, there's
no going back.
After Swipe Night, the choices are added to your
profile showing what decisions you did or didn't make
to your potential matches.
Storytelling through immersive experiences is a great
way to keep customers engaged with attention
spans continuing to decrease.
AR FILTER: WHICH CHARACTER ARE YOU?
Instagram and Facebook Stories were taken over by
filters in December as users raced to find out which
Disney, Pokemon, or Harry Potter charter they were.
Although created by users and not brands in this
instance, this phenomena clearly outlines the potential
of augmented reality lens in brand campaigns as a way
of getting consumers to further engage with
There is a huge opportunity for clever brands to couple
AI and personal data to create highly personalised
experiences that people will want to share.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?
• Audio and voice will becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix as brands explore audio driven content
• Interactive storytelling will unlock more personalised content experiences based on user choices. The opt-in nature of the
experience will lead a greater acceptance of future personalised content from the brand.
• Immersive content will blur the lines between offline and online allowing brands to increase engagement and build affinity through
• Event driven cultural moments will become integrated viewing experiences that see audience participation on a level playing field
with the content itself.