7 Predictions for Social Media Marketing in 2024

Social media marketing has evolved from an experimental brand-building strategy to an essential component of digital marketing. As we enter 2024, the societal and technological shifts in how people – especially millennials and Gen Z – use social platforms will transform marketing approaches. With new features always coming out across social sites, marketers need to stay flexible.

Digital Marketing vs Social Media Marketing

Understanding the converging priorities of digital marketing vs social media marketing is the key. Digital marketing refers to the more extensive umbrella of online marketing tactics like SEO, paid ads, content, email, and social media. Social media marketing focuses specifically on branding, engagement, and promotions on social platforms. 

Digital marketing builds presence, while social media ignites conversations and relationships. As the two continue converging, marketing strategies synchronize, too. Integrated digital and social media marketing will become table stakes. There are the following predictions to look out for:

  1. Increased Use of Disappearing Content

Stories and temporary posts have become very popular on sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. It is expected to rise more by 2024. Networks will launch more creative features for this. Marketers will quickly adopt disappearing content to connect better.

The fact that it goes away motivates creativity, too. Brands will test out new vertical and horizontal story styles aggressively. As well as AR filters, location-based posts, polls and quizzes.

  1. Rise of Virtual Influencers

Hyper-realistic CGI and animated virtual influencers are rising steeply in popularity. Brands could create consistent, controllable virtual spokespeople or partner with existing digital influencer properties for more interactive, seamless campaigns. It allows granular control over image optics, messaging consistency, and always-on accessibility.

Compatibility across platforms means endless possibilities, too – with AR/VR, virtual influencers can even “meet and interact” with target audiences in real-time. An authenticity gap remains, but more intelligent AI and improved graphics help.  

  1. Tighter Data Privacy Regulations   

Following multiple scandals around the misuse of consumer data, regulations like GDPR and CCPA are expanding in scope and scale globally. By 2024, we can expect much tighter data privacy laws governing how brands, platforms, and other stakeholders gather, store, use, share, and destroy personal user data.

Marketers will need very explicit consent before collecting user data, allow users easy access to delete or download their stored data, and have set protocols for swift disclosure and containment of data breaches. Staying on top of policy developments in key markets will be crucial.

  1. Conversational Content Consumption

Voice assistants like Alexa and Siri are advancing rapidly in functionality, with consumers expected to interact with over 8 billion voice assistant devices by 2024 – surpassing the global population. This over 2X growth in voice assistant usage in just a few years signals major opportunities for marketers to optimize content for voice search and hands-free discovery.

With better NLP, scripting, and triggers, interactive chatbots can also enable highly engaging website and app conversations. Continuous two-way text and voice dialogues will become pivotal to engage time-crunched users.

  1. Video Content Goes Hyper-Short

Ephemeral video platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts show that people today increasingly enjoy “quick bites” of vertical mobile video. By 2024, creativity will be optimized for smartphones and social feeds rather than longer-form storytelling.

Videos must be ultrashort (under 15 secs), vertical, serialized, and highly snackable in format. Vlogging, sketches, and posts may give way entirely to music clips, micro-moments, challenges, news bytes, ASMR, ambient scenes, and more. Attention spans rule – portable videos made for mobile under 60 seconds will win.

  1. Social Commerce Comes of Age 

Social networks are aggressively ramping up natively shoppable features and channels, promising ever more seamless discovery-to-checkout capabilities so users can instantly shop inspirational content. Small businesses can also powerfully leverage communities for peer-driven sales.

Influencers and public figures may launch extensive digital storefronts and personalized shopping recommendation engines through social platforms. Frictionless “Buy Now” buttons, integrated digital payments, and one-click checkout will become commonplace.

  1. Messaging and Communities Rule   

Private messaging apps and exclusive brand communities on social platforms will dominate engagement and relationships for consumers seeking deeper connections. One-to-one and intimate group messaging allow for greater personalization and depth.

Private enclaves will drive relevance and better ROI as public social media feeds grow increasingly cluttered and undifferentiated. Branded communities will invite users with exclusive content, insider tips, discounts, and loyalty perks to boost retention.

Key Takeaways

The social media marketing trends above show an interactive, ephemeral landscape with privacy and personalization becoming mandates. As channels and devices continue diversifying, brands must optimize content formats creatively while respecting user preferences. Testing innovative platforms balanced with privacy compliance and secure data infrastructure will be vital for gaining a share of voice and wallet.