From the Elon Musk Twitter takeover to Instagram scaling back its shopping feature, there has been a lot happening in the social media marketplace in 2022. But what factors will shape the social landscape in 2023, what trends can be expected to arise, and what will cookie-less tracking mean for this huge marketplace?
2023 is the year we will see the demise of third-party cookies.
Rising demand for privacy has meant that consumers are now more cautious over which brands they give their data to. As a result, in the summer of 2023, third-party cookies will officially be end-of-life. This means that companies can only use first-party cookies to track online activities. This doesn’t just affect social media activity tracking, but will impact a user’s journey across any digital activity, including web apps and websites.
What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small piece of data which is placed on your server, mobile, desktop or tablet that stores website activity. Over time these cookies build up a profile of you and your browsing habits which advertisers can use to direct their content to you.
Have you ever been browsing social media and come across an advertisement which is similar to something you were browsing the day before? This is due to the collection of data cookies, and businesses using that data to know that if you searched for a certain product, you might be interested in theirs too.
What does the death of third-party cookies mean for social media in 2023?
There has been a lot of chat in the industry for some time about how the impact of the cookie update might affect social media advertising. However, most social media platforms use their own tracking pixels, for example, the TikTok pixel or the Facebook pixel. These are first-party cookies which can monitor your social media behaviour and profile you around these activities.
Here is a simple example; if you are part of a number of dog breed groups and follow Pets at Home, the pixel will profile you to be a dog lover. This could mean that pet food companies can target ads to you as you are likely to be a potential new customer.
While there has been a lot of confusion about the future of social media advertising, it is unlikely to see much of a change. As for the consumer, they can browse safely knowing that their activity is much more private than ever before.
However, with the growing consciousness of privacy and data protection amongst the general population, consumers are becoming savvier about the content they consume. A higher degree of trust now needs to be formed. We expect 2023 to show an increased demand for integrity and authenticity that brands and social media channels will have to adapt to.
Is it likely that not only the algorithms, but consumers will be starting to hit back at fake content, fake ads and phishing sites? Chances are, yes. Content generators which are creating clickbait headlines for social posts will likely start to see their reach impacted, therefore meaning their content is not delivered as far as it used to be.
Multi-sensory experiences and interactive video will take centre stage for many social media strategies this year. Businesses are expected to invest in bringing sensory elements to digital experiences, from gamification to fully immersive digital shopping centres.
Imagine VR but within your social media channels, or videos where you can change the narrative.
Interactive videos ensure that one piece of video content can be adapted to a number of different audiences. Let us explain.
A brand can film a 30-minute video of how to groom your dog properly. But 2 minutes into the video the user is asked if their dog has long or short hair. Selecting your answer will jump you to the next relevant section of the video, for example, how to groom your short-haired dog. Then it might ask if you have ever clipped your dog’s claws before, and so on.
For the content producer, it means making their content evergreen and can be consumed over and over again. For the user, it gives them the information they need without having to do the scrolling through themselves, saving time and effort.
TikTok has now been downloaded over 2.6 billion times, and by 2025 it is expected to have 15 million active UK users every month. This popular social media platform appeared from nowhere in 2016 and is changing the entire social media landscape.
While we have been banging the ‘video is essential’ drum for a while now, TikTok is proving this fact more than ever. Primarily used for short videos, usually around 15 seconds, brands are starting to reach this ever-growing audience by showcasing their culture, products and messaging.
This has been an emerging trend for a while, and we will see it continue through the next few years, with people spending more time watching videos than they are reading or listening to music. Video can also be shared more easily than other types of content, making it an ideal way for businesses to reach their target audience online.
TikTok emerged as a video creator’s platform for sharing dances and other ‘fun’ content, aimed at the younger generation. But while the app has grown over the last 6 years, it has also evolved from ‘TikTok dancers’, to short informative and educational videos. Many even quote that they have learnt more from TikTok than they have from school!
There has also been more of a focus on brands getting involved in global issues and sharing their opinions. This includes societal, environmental and political issues. Politics from a brand perspective and sharing opinions on these topics have long been frowned upon. But the very nature of building trust and alliances with brands seems to be resonating with all of their beliefs, including those of a political nature.
Greenwashing is also going to take a beating down. Greenwashing is when a company reports being environmentally conscious but actually isn’t making any notable sustainability efforts. The buzzwords around ‘eco’ and ‘sustainable’ will likely start to see some backlash until they can be backed up by real, tangible evidence that users can understand.
Those who are making a real eco effort will really see the results, while others will probably see their social media reach deplete.
Trends are the spice of social media. So while some predictions will really take off, others will barely get going. The key is to be up to date with what consumers want to see and how they want to engage with you.
The more immersive and interactive you can make your brand the better, grow with your audience, understand what makes them tick and create content to increase their appetite.