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2019-12-03 23:18:08

It’s that time of the year once again, when all of the kids are writing down their Christmas lists, and all of the adults are jotting down their new year’s resolutions. And when all of the social media experts and 'thought leaders' start churning out their predictions and prognostications for what’s coming from Facebook, Twitter and Co. in the twelve months ahead.

Yep, it’s prediction season, and with all the pundits and armchair experts coming out with their educated guesses on where things are headed, I thought that I should also put my crystal ball to work. Some of these will come true, some will never eventuate, but based on what I’ve seen in 2019, I'm fairly confident that these will be some of the developments that you can expect to see in 2020.

Here are my 20 predictions for the new year in the social media marketing world, starting with…

Facebook

Facebook has just been through probably the most tumultuous 12 months in the company’s short history.

Still working to address concerns raised by the Cambridge Analytica scandal as we head into the next US Presidential Election cycle, the company has also been negotiating the terms of its crypto payments option, tightening up its data access processes, convincing news organizations to trust in its new dedicated news platform, and mapping out ways to connect the next billion users.

There’s always a lot going on at Facebook HQ – here’s where I expect to see Zuck and Co. place the most emphasis in 2020.

It’s all About Payments

As noted, Facebook’s still working to build a regulatory framework for its Libra cryptocurrency, and right now, with nearly all of Libra’s major backers stepping away from the project, it’s not looking great. Facebook has repeatedly insisted that the project will move forward regardless, but the signs don’t suggest, at least at this stage, that it’s going to become the transformative payment option that The Social Network had first envisioned.

But payments, and facilitating both on-platform transfers and in-stream purchases, remain a key focus for Facebook, one way or another. Libra would enable Facebook to build an internal eco-system for financial transactions, free of traditional bank fees and the like, which would give the company a better platform to build from, but even without it, Facebook is already working to facilitate the same process within its networks through WhatsApp Pay and Facebook Pay – which are both, essentially, the same thing.

Facebook launched Facebook Pay in the US last month, while it’s already working on full rollouts for WhatsApp Pay in Indonesia and India. The latter is key to Facebook’s payments mission – a core consideration in the development of Libra is that it could facilitate cheap, even free, funds transfers within Facebook, making it a better option for those looking to send money back home to family, which is a key use case in the Indian market. Once that money is being transferred within Facebook, that would make it much easier for users to start using the same for on-platform purchases too - basically, if Facebook can get more people shifting cash around within its system, it stands a much better chance of extending that behavior into easy, on-platform buying, and building a transactional eco-system inside its apps.

Even without Libra, Facebook is working towards this. Expect to see a lot more focus on simplifying in-stream payment options on Facebook and Instagram over the next twelve months, which could become a key considerations for eCommerce businesses.

Getting People to Watch

Facebook Watch, by pretty much any measure, hasn’t taken off the way that Facebook clearly would have hoped.

Sure, Watch has had some hits – some Facebook Watch originals are seeing millions of viewers, and Facebook reported back in June that 720 million people monthly, and 140 million people daily, now spend at least one minute consuming Watch content.

Those seem like okay numbers – but then again, in comparison to Facebook’s 1.6 billion daily actives overall, 140 million is only a fraction of its overall audience. With Netflix, Disney, Amazon and other OTT providers gaining traction – not to mention YouTube, which has seen significant increases in viewership on home TV sets – Facebook Watch hasn’t been able to make any real noise in the market. Or at least, not yet.

Expect Facebook to give Watch another major push in 2020, fueled in part by its new dedicated News tab (which includes original video news programming), the ongoing popularity of video content on its platforms, and its updated Portal device, which facilitates direct connection of Watch content to Home TV sets.

If Facebook can make Watch a more essential element, that will provide it with a whole range of new ad options, and increased revenue potential. It has all the building blocks in place, it just needs a few big hits, and/or functional developments to take it to the next level, and make it a more essential entertainment option.

In Awe of AR

Augmented reality has been slowly gaining momentum over the last few years, mostly lead by Snapchat and its popular AR filters. Case in point - who could forget the gender-swap Lens fad earlier this year?

Facebook, from a tech standpoint, has largely superceded Snap's capacity on this front, but Snapchat has continued to best it on creative innovation – again, just recently, we saw the sudden rise of Snapchat’s latest age-modifying Lens which became a trending meme across various social networks.

While Facebook has the technical capacity to provide better, more immersive, more interactive AR experiences, Snapchat has generally been able to use the tech better. But that could all change in 2020 if another company can take the next key step.

Back in October, reports suggested that Apple had begun production of its Project StartBoard augmented reality glasses, with a view to launching the device in the second quarter of 2020.

Apple’s AR glasses would enable users to overlay digital effects on their real world view, with Apple potentially at an advantage in their development because the device would be smaller and lighter due to the majority of the visual processing taking place on a connected iPhone.

Snapchat has been working on developing its own AR glasses for years, but has thus far been unable to take its Spectacles to the next stage, while Facebook has also been developing AR-enabled glasses, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg says will realistically be viable in around 2022.

But Apple’s development could accelerate things significantly - and if it does, expect Facebook to push ahead with its own AR glasses, which we could, potentially, see in the latter half of 2020.

This is a big ‘maybe’, there’s a lot that needs to happen before Facebook would be in a position to move ahead. But the company has invested big in AR development, and as noted, Snap has continually beaten it with savvier moves and features. Facebook won’t want to see Apple do the same, and if Facebook is close, and has the capacity to compete, and not let Apple move in and dominate the AR space – which is a key connector to VR, Facebook’s next big investment – then it may just pull the trigger on its latest product offering.

The VR Shift

That, of course, leads into the next phase in virtual reality, where Facebook is already investing big through Oculus, and where it sees the future of social media interaction more broadly to be headed.

Oculus actually made a big advance in VR tech earlier this year with the announcement of hand-tracking, which enables people to interact in VR environments without gloves or controllers.

There's little question over the potential of VR and where we’re headed – the question really is when it will become the must-have, the next stage where everyone will be looking to get on board.

Right now, VR offerings are fairly limited, with developers still looking for major opportunities, but that could change quickly, and with tools like hand tracking and cordless VR headsets making it easier and more affordable than ever, Facebook will continue to push its ‘VR is the next evolution of social’ messaging in 2020.

It may not reach that key plateau of consumer awareness in the next year, but you can expect VR to become a more significant consideration - and eventually, a more important marketing tool as more consumers start to buy into the next phase.

Cross-Stream Messaging

This is less of a prediction, seeing as though Facebook straight-up said back in January that it would be looking to integrate the messaging functionalities of Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp into a single stream. But this integration will likely happen in 2020, which will bring with it two additional, functional options that could have a significant impact across its family of apps.

The first is payments. As noted in the first point above, facilitating payments within its systems will become a key focus for Facebook, and the integration of its messaging apps will play a part in expanding this functionality across its apps. You can already transfer funds in Messenger and WhatsApp, but by adding the same into Instagram, that will open up new opportunities for connection and eCommerce in the app.

The second is bots. While Facebook’s bot eco-system never really took hold, there are more than 300,000 active Messenger bots, and by connecting up its messaging back-end, Facebook could also enable bot connection within Instagram, where they could actually prove more popular.

Younger users, like those on Instagram, are more comfortable interacting and purchasing from messaging bots, and with more eCommerce and in-stream buying options emerging on Insta, the addition of bots could prove to be a beneficial, and even welcome option via Instagram Direct.

With less feed space for ads on Instagram, eCommerce will be a key focus for Facebook in monetizing the platform’s popularity. Messaging bots could be another element of this shift.

Instagram

Instagram remained the trending social platform in 2019, and it looks set to maintain that momentum heading into the new year.

Instagram’s big focus this year has been on user health and wellbeing, with its eCommerce options also slowly evolving. Now with former Facebook News Feed chief Adam Mosseri at the helm, you can expect to see Instagram shift further towards monetization in 2020 – though that could also see some changes in direction to better steer and steady the app’s course.

Threading the Needle

I may be wrong, but I don’t see Instagram’s separate ‘Threads’ close friends messaging app holding up.

Instagram launched Threads back in October, with the tool's major innovation being its auto-status update to help let your closest connections know what you’re up to, even when you’re not active in the app. Threads, seemingly, provides another way for Instagram to tackle Snapchat’s core use case - but given that you can already use Direct within the main Instagram app, where you can also utilize every other Instagram function, the utility of Threads seems fairly limited.

Initial data suggests that Threads hasn’t proven as popular as Instagram’s last stand-alone messaging effort ‘Direct’, and unless Instagram does something drastic – like, say, removing messaging functionality from the main app and forcing people to download Threads (ala Facebook Messenger) - it’s difficult to see the Threads app gaining significant enough traction.

I predict that at about this time next year, we’ll be writing about the closure of the app.

The Rise of Video Chat

One of the many youth trends that Facebook has tried to tap into in recent years is the rise of group video chat, with Houseparty, from the makers of Meerkat, gaining momentum as a platform where young people could virtually hang out.

Instagram responded to this by adding single live-stream guests (via split-screen), as well group video calling in Direct - but with Houseparty being purchased by Epic Games back in June, and likely set to see a significant change in focus at some stage, there could soon be a renewed opportunity for this type of group live-stream offering. Expect Instagram to capitalize on this in 2020.

Expanding on its’ existing multi-participant video chat offerings, expect Instagram to also roll out a new, live-stream hangout process, which will facilitate four or more people within a single live-stream (note: Houseparty enables eight person streaming).

In some ways, this would run counter to Facebook recently removing its option to add friends into your Facebook Live streams, but the functionality may work better on Instagram - and maybe, by removing the option on Facebook it’ll free up more back-end capacity to facilitate the same on Insta.

Again, there does seem to be opportunity here, and it could prove to be an especially popular function on Instagram. There’s no evidence that something like this is in the works, but don’t be surprised to see a new offering of this type in the first half of 2020.

IGTV Push

Also, similar to Facebook Watch, expect Instagram to try a new push on IGTV in 2020.

Snapchat has seen big success with its Discover shows in 2019, and while IGTV hasn’t gained the same momentum, Instagram won’t be letting Snap off the hook, in any way, without a significant fight.

We’ve already seen experiments suggesting that Instagram is looking to make IGTV appear more like Snapchat’s Discover, and even TikTok, and you can expect that Instagram will look to better promote influencer and original content on IGTV in an effort to blunt Snap’s popularity.

At present, IGTV is not a significant consideration for most marketers, but given the reach and promotional potential that Instagram has – through its own app and via parent company Facebook – it’s worth keeping tabs on IGTV developments and seeing where Insta goes with its dedicated video platform.

Twitter  

Twitter’s biggest shift this year has largely been in perception.

Early in the year, as part of its Q4 ’18 update, Twitter flagged a change in how it would report its active user counts moving forward – no longer would Twitter continue to share its monthly and daily active user stats, as has become the norm for social platforms. Instead, Twitter switched to a new metric, which it calls “monetizable daily active users” or “mDAU”.

As explained by Twitter:

“Monetizable DAU are Twitter users who log in and access Twitter on any given day through twitter.com or our Twitter applications that are able to show ads.”

In this sense, mDAU is actually a more relevant marketing and business metric, because while it may be lower than the regular MAU and DAU counts, it shows the users from which Twitter can derive actual value. That, ideally, would mean that the market would be happier with this new metric, and that Twitter could then avoid the ongoing migraines its leaders suffered every time it had to report a decline in MAU, which isn’t really a meaningful stat anyway.

And evidently, the change has paid off. Well, mostly. Twitter’s share price did decline significantly after issues were discovered with its ad tech back in October, but before that, its stock value had increased for the year, showing that the market was at least okay with its new mDAU stat.

The flow-on benefit of this is that it now enables Twitter to focus on measures which may hurt overall MAU counts – like removing bots – without fear of that impacting its stock performance. With MAU numbers less of a concern, Twitter has been able to implement new measures to clean up its platform, which we should see continue into 2020 as well.

Topical Discussion

Last month, Twitter began giving users the option to follow specific topics, as opposed to user accounts, expanding the ways in which people can use Twitter to stay in touch with the latest news and trends.

The focus here is on simplicity – if you’re a seasoned Twitter user, you may not care a heap about being able to follow topics, but newcomers often find it difficult to connect with the right people and the right accounts, in order to derive value from their tweet experience. This seeks to solve that, so while topics might not become a major thing in western nations, where Twitter is established, it could be key for users in developing markets, where the platform continues to grow.

And while Twitter has already released a full listing of the topics available to follow, you can expect it to continue to refine and improve this process in line with usage.

The key to the option's success will be relevance – Twitter’s topic listings will only be valuable so long as the people who check them out can derive value from them. If the topic lists get flooded with spam, it’ll be a waste of time. Expect Twitter to make this a focus, at least early on in the new year, as it seeks to gauge interest and measure the potential value of the option.

And here’s another place where topics could be of value – replacing Twitter’s ‘Trends for You’ listings.

The trends identified by Twitter’s algorithm for this section are often useless, or at least, lack context or reason. If Twitter’s topic listings work out, it could look to replace this section with active topics, relative to your interests (based on tweet activity). Instead of ‘Trends for You’ think: ‘Check out the latest activity in these topics’, with the listing aligned to what you tweet about or who you follow, and the relative volume of discussion happening at any given time.

Narrowcast Tweets

Twitter has already flagged this, so it’s not so much a prediction, but it could be a big change for the platform, depending on how it's implemented.

As noted by Twitter's VP of Design and Research Dantley Davis in November, Twitter will be looking to add new options to limit the audience and usage of your tweets, including the capability to remove the retweet function from chosen tweets, and to restrict your tweet reach to only chosen hashtag discussions and/or to certain friends.

That could have a significant impact on how tweets are used – imagine being able to target your tweets to specific audiences, and not flooding all of your followers’ feeds with each message. That could be great for businesses who operate in different regions, as well as for people who regularly participate in Twitter chats.

It could also increase the emphasis on topics - if you could limit your tweet reach to certain hashtag discussions and/or topic groups, that could shift the focus away from individual accounts and more towards the discussions themselves – which might not be great for helping individuals build their profiles, but could be beneficial for facilitating more active discussion.

Imagine, for example, that you like John’s tweets about social media marketing, but hate his random shares about his favorite baseball team. Soon, you might be able to follow only John’s tweets on a certain subject, helping to clarify your list, and keep you zeroed-in to your key areas of interest, improving your usage of the platform.

Tweet Streaming

Twitter’s video strategy has shifted a lot over the past few years. One moment it’s the key thing and Twitter’s putting all of its energy behind making live-stream broadcasts a major focus moving forward. The next, it’s pretty much gone, then the next, Twitter announces a new live-streaming deal for the 2020 Olympics.

It’s not clear what Twitter’s video content strategy will look like moving forward, but it is clear that Twitter hasn’t yet worked out how to capitalize on the fact that some 94% of people now keep a smartphone on hand while watching TV, and most of them share their thoughts on live, in-progress shows and events via tweet.

In an ideal world, Twitter would be able to integrate these behaviors in a more beneficial way, but thus far, it’s had to settle for the engagement stemming from popular TV content, while losing out on the ad revenue that can be generated from the broadcasts themselves. Twitter had hoped to morph into a mixture of both, but without the solution to such emerging, it could lose interest in trying to host video content, and invest the money it would’ve paid on broadcast rights deals into other elements.

But it won’t go that route just yet – in 2020, with the aforementioned Olympics deal in place, expect Twitter, like Facebook Watch and IGTV, to also make another push into video content, in the hopes of maximizing its existing slate and testing how it can generate more money from its original broadcasts.

In order to do this, Twitter will, however, need to give its video offerings more focus. Right now, it’s not always easy to find Twitter’s video broadcasts at any given time, and with the Olympics coming up, you can expect Twitter to put a lot of focus on building a dedicated, easy to find video space within the app, which could be the push it needs to fully squeeze out the true value from its original broadcasts.

There are currently four tabs at the bottom of your Twitter app, with a lot of white space in between:

If an extra video tab were added, I don’t think it would annoy users - and it might just be the thing that Twitter needs to push its video content that extra bit. Split the video listings in this new tab by topics (including live), showcase your top broadcasts (again, Olympics content) and see if that takes hold.

If Twitter’s going to make video work - and it’s hosting the content already - this is the sort of step it'll need to take.

Conversational Features

Twitter’s been testing out its new ‘conversational’ tweet features with selected users for more than a year, and we’ve not seen any of them appear in the live version as yet.

That likely suggests that they’re not proving as beneficial in testing as Twitter had hoped - though there are some very functional and interesting tools in there.

Expect to see the best of these features make it out of beta in 2020, with the larger changes likely to be left by the wayside.

By larger changes, I’d suggest that these tweet threads, spotted recently in the back-end of Twitter.com, to not actually become a thing in the live environment.

They look like they could make Twitter very messy – but I do expect elements like author tags to make it through, as well as availability and status indicators, which could add to the Twitter process.

But threads – maybe not. As noted, Twitter’s been trying to make its threads work for months, and it hasn’t made the move yet. I see it being more a headache than a benefit – though Twitter did recently confirm to TechCrunch that ‘the best parts’ of its experimental Twttr app will come to the main surface in 2020.

If threads like this are rolled out, expect a lot of user backlash.

Political Ads Policy Chaos

Twitter recently won plaudits for taking a stand and announcing that it would no longer allow political ads on its platform, in opposition to now Facebook’s well-documented stance.

But Twitter’s actual policy documentation around this change underlines just how complex the process will actually be, and with so many potential gray areas and questionable elements, you can expect there to be a lot of discussion, and criticism, around the right way to handle political promotions.

You can also expect to see many examples of how activist groups are flaunting Twitter’s system. Make no mistake, Twitter should take a stand, this is no criticism of its decision in this respect. But in doing so, it’s opening itself up to a world of finger-pointing and accusations, which will get louder and louder as 2020 rolls on.

Twitter will learn a lot from the process, and could end up developing a more effective, foundational approach, which other platforms could follow on from. But it’s definitely not going to be a smooth ride on this front. 

LinkedIn  

When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion back in 2016, one thing was clear – LinkedIn’s data banks were about to be opened up, and utilized in new ways to maximize its revenue potential.

That’s largely what we’ve seen since – with access to Microsoft’s resources, LinkedIn has continually added new ways for users to tap into its unmatched pool of professional insights, in order to better target their ads, to locate better candidates for open positions, and to advance their own careers. It hasn’t always been an obvious transition, but slowly, LinkedIn has provided new access points to help guide professional decision making. And those efforts have paid off – LinkedIn’s revenue was up 25% as per Microsoft’s most recent update.

We'll likely see its next evolution on this front in 2020.

Group Project

Once a mainstay of many social media marketing strategies, LinkedIn Groups have been something of a no-go zone for most over the past few years. Every once and a while, LinkedIn announces a groups refresh, but each of these updates, thus far, has resulted in a few tweaks, and none have addressed the real problems with spam, junk notifications, etc.

Could that be set to change in 2020?

Just last month, LinkedIn published its first transparency report, which, among other elements, showed how its automated defenses are now stopping 99.8% of known spam. There’s still a lot of junk posts on LinkedIn, so a lot of this comes down what you define as ‘spam’ in this context, but the data does suggest that LinkedIn’s processes are improving, which could have significant advantages for LinkedIn groups.

Basically, groups remains a great potential opportunity for LinkedIn, and with engagement on the platform rising, particularly interaction with feed posts, it seems logical that LinkedIn will look to give groups another push next year.

And maybe, by incorporating these improved elements, it could actually restore groups to its former glory, and make them a key consideration once again.

Corporate Video

As you’ve no doubt read before, video is the best performing content type on every social platform. Tweets with video see 10x more engagement than those without, video generates more engagement than any other content type on Instagram, Pinterest users are 2.6x more likely to make a purchase after viewing brand video content on the platform.

And while it may not seem like video is key on LinkedIn, research has also shown that LinkedIn users are 20x more likely to share a video on the platform than any other type of post. Combine that with the fact that LinkedIn members spend almost 3x more time watching video ads compared to time spent with static Sponsored Content, and it’s fairly safe to assume that LinkedIn is going to make video a key focus heading into 2020.

How will it do this?

Expect LinkedIn to improve its video discovery tools, and put more emphasis on uploaded video content as a means to share your brand story, build thought leadership and connect with your audience. LinkedIn’s content discovery features still need some work, but if it can promote more video engagement, and subsequently, more uploads, then it can look to add in new video ad options, like pre and mid-roll ads, in order to capitalize on that attention.

As a first step, expect to see LinkedIn add in new content discovery options, potentially including a new tab in the lower function bar of the app, which will help users locate more relevant content.

The Main Event

Back in October, LinkedIn launched its new events tool, which enables people and brands to create new event pages in the app.

This will be a big addition to LinkedIn – not only will events enable you to create a central organization space for professional meet-ups, but it will also provide the capacity to facilitate related discussion and engagement around that event on LinkedIn, where other professionals in your field will see it.

Expect LinkedIn to roll-out new events features, like the capacity to share live-streams from events on the event page, and the option to add separate pages for event sessions stemming from the main page, boosting interaction.

The capability to generate interest around events on LinkedIn makes perfect sense, and as the option sees more use, LinkedIn will likely look to build on its potential.

Return of the Inbot?

Back in 2016, LinkedIn outlined a coming, automated tool within your LinkedIn messaging experience called ‘inbot’, which would help you schedule meetings and find information on contacts through an automated process.

But LinkedIn’s inbot never actually arrived. Sure, it was announced in the midst of Facebook’s broader push on bots, which never really took hold, and sure, you can schedule meetings like this through other assistant tools like Siri or Cortana. But still, LinkedIn’s inbot could be valuable, with the capacity to show you more information about the people you’re meeting with, based on their LinkedIn profile and activity.

Microsoft could look to add this capability into Cortana, making it more easily accessible, but it’s something that LinkedIn may look to revisit, in some form, at some stage in 2020.

Snapchat

2019 feels like the year that Snapchat grew up, and finally started to conduct itself as a real business, as opposed to a rebellious, risk-taking app.

And while that revised focus hasn’t seen Snap boost its active user counts in any significant way (Snap rose from 190 million DAU in Q1 to 210 million DAU in Q3), it did see Snap improve its revenue performance, reducing costs and rationalizing its operations. Snap generated $1.18 billion in revenue in 2018, and has already brought in $1.15 billion in three quarters in 2019.

The rise of Instagram may have slowed Snap’s roll somewhat, but it’s re-grouping, and re-shaping. And it’s had some big wins to help guide its future path.

Discover Double-Down

One of Snapchat’s big positives for 2019 has been the performance of its Snap Originals shows, short-form, episodic video content, which aligns with the consumption habits of younger users.

In October, Snap reported that more than 100 of its Discover channels are now reaching, on average, audiences in the double-digit millions every month , underlining the popularity and potential of Snap’s video content.

Given this, and the supplementary advertising potential that such content can provide, you can expect to see Snap make a bigger push on its original programming in 2020, as it seeks to carve its own niche within the video content sphere.

Snapchat can’t, and isn’t trying to, compete with YouTube or the rising OTT video players in the market, but its focus on a different type of video content – shorter, more succinct, aligned with its audience – could see it win out as a kind of offshoot of the broader digital video shift.

Expect Snap to announce a revamp of its Discover platform at some stage, and a new slate of coming shows, which could also, potentially, see Snap working with prominent influencers to create new types of episodic content.

AR Shift

It’s no secret that Snap has been working towards the next level of augmented reality engagement for some time.

Back in 2015, Snap filed a patent for an AR-enabled version of its Spectacles, which would overlay digital graphics over people’s real-world view.

Snap even bought a secretive Chinese lab, where it would be able to advance its AR plans outside the view of the western press - but manufacturing complications and technical limitations seem to have somewhat de-railed Snap’s initial AR wearable plan.

Now, Facebook is developing its own glasses, and reports have suggested that Apple is doing the same. That could see Snap lose out – but don’t be surprised if Snap ends up taking a big step in the AR realm in 2020, potentially through another iteration of Spectacles which are able to drive that type of next-level AR experience.

In order to do so, Snap could potentially look to partner with Apple, or even another player, in order to advance its AR plans. At present, Snap is in the box seat on the AR wearable front, as no one else has been able to manufacture a popular, fashionable type of AR glasses which consumers will actually buy (RIP Google Glass). Spectacles haven't necessarily been a runaway hit, but they have sold more than 220,000 pairs of the sunglasses. And they're still making them, Snap is still invested in the product.

Interestingly, Snapchat did also work with Apple in the development of AR features for the iPhone X, while Snap had long made iOS a key focus in the app’s development. What if Apple’s AR glasses are actually Spectacles V.4, and Snapchat's working with the tech giant in order to take the next step?

There’s nothing to suggest such a partnership is on the cards, but for Snap to maintain its lead in the AR space, it needs to develop fully functional AR glasses. It hasn’t been able to do that alone thus far, but maybe, in partnership, it could become a reality.

Staying the Path

Really, for Snap to ultimately be successful moving forward, it needs to stay focused on what it’s doing well, and concentrate on building its community bonds.

Snapchat has succeeded thus far by:

Understanding what its audience wants, and aligning with that through its various feature updates and changesStaying ahead of the game with innovative, creative offerings, which others might be able to match technically, but lack the same audience nous 

Snapchat can’t compete with the resources of Facebook, and it won’t be able to win out in the AR stakes if, as noted, Apple releases a new form of AR-enabled glasses. But Snapchat can still stay focused on what it does well, and continue to evolve from there. While it'll be tempting for Snap to branch out fast, and take on the other players, Snap really needs to stay the course, and keep focused on building over time, through incremental, measured improvements and updates which keep its users aligned to the app.

Snapchat doesn’t have an easy road ahead of it – and questions have already been asked over whether the app can even remain viable given its rising costs relative to its user base. But if Snap can continue to innovate, and remain in the public consciousness, while also catering to its dedicated audience, it has the potential to significantly improve its offering for advertisers, which could help it further solidify its growth path moving forward.

In this respect, while AR and Discover content will likely see changes, stability will also be key, which could mean Snapchat remains fairly steady in 2020, without any major functional announcements.

This is where things will likely be headed for all the major platforms in 2020. Yes, Pinterest will also shift further into eCommerce, and questions will also be asked of TikTok and its potential value for marketing. But these are where the biggest changes in the sector will be happening, as the social media space continues to evolve.

Again, as noted, not all of these will come to fruition, but hopefully, the insights noted here will provide some indication of what you can expect, in order to help in your consideration and planning.  


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