2018 – it was crazy!
It’s the second week of January, but to be honest, we’re still reeling from some of the big changes that happened across the social media industry in 2018. We all know that social media will constantly change as platforms grow and evolve, bringing new trends, ideas, and rules to learn each year. In most cases, the changes aren’t sudden or unexpected (who was really surprised to see Google+ shut down?), but we want to recap the big changes that occurred in 2018 to help you understand what’s changed and what’s coming, to allow you to adapt your social media strategies accordingly. Here are our thoughts:
#1: Consumers lost confidence in Facebook
The Cambridge Analytica scandal and multiple data breaches resulted in non-stop negative press. Even Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress, didn’t do much to reassure users that Facebook was taking data privacy seriously, prompting a lot of people to find new places to hang out online.
#2: Twitter cracked down on automation
Twitter cracked down on bots and fake followers, announcing changes to its API that will effectively end automation services that let those controlling large numbers of accounts to batch tweet, follow users, retweet or like tweets. If this has been part of your plan, that's a strategy that's no longer working as Twitter cleaned up its user experience.
#3: Facebook reduced the reach of all content essentially halting most organic reach
In an effort to focus delivering meaningful conversations to users, FB made an update to its News Feed, serving up less content from Pages and more from a user’s friends and families. While this update to Facebook's News Feed algorithm doesn't completely eliminate Page content from your audience’s News Feed, it does establish different priorities for which content gets prime News Feed real estate. According to a private Facebook webinar hosted in January 2018, those priorities are: (1) content that is shared over Facebook Messenger; (2) content that is Liked or commented on; (3) content receiving multiple replies; and (4) “meaningful interactions" between users (i.e., shares and comments). PS: if you’re still not sure how to optimize your Facebook content to appear on your users’ News Feeds, stay tuned for a Kalyx Group webinar to help you figure it out coming in February!
#4: Instagram launched IGTV
Instagram went all-in on a new long-form vertical video platform to compete head-on with YouTube. IG users can now upload videos up to 1 hour in length, up from the previous 1-minute limit. IGTV is accessible from a button inside the Instagram homescreen, as well as a standalone app. Initially, IGTV was home for popular videos from big Instagram celebrities, but was quickly adopted by users/content creators of all sizes to grow and engage their audience.
#5: YouTube rolled out Stories
Stories is YouTube’s answer to rival social apps like Snapchat and Instagram — except that YouTube Stories disappear after 7 days, not 24 hours. YouTube Stories was initially available only to select YouTube creators, but in November, YouTube expanded Stories to all creators with more than 10,000 subscribers, and gave them access to the new creation tools that include the ability to decorate the videos with text, stickers, filters and more.
#6: Facebook overhauled Groups
Facebook added Watch Parties, better analytics, and badges for active users to their Groups product. Of course, because 2018 was Facebook’s annus horribilis, that was quickly followed with additional bad press around Groups and a quick roll out of policy changes allowing only administrators of groups with more than 100 members to change their group names once every 28 days. The rule is designed to prevent deception and provide transparency as it was discovered that some group owners were attracting large groups of followers on a particular issue, then changing the group name and focus to something else. In response, Facebook has begun displaying name changes to its groups, going back 2 years.
#7: LinkedIn relaunched Groups
The Microsoft-owned platform decided to overhaul its Groups product in an attempt appeal to more users. With over 500 million users, LinkedIn needed to make significant changes to revive Groups, which had seen a steady decline in use. Big changes included rolling Groups into the main LinkedIn app, after pulling the standalone app earlier in 2018. It also streamlined the service by cutting out several features, including an ability for Group administrators to pre-moderate comments; and a way to email send Group posts as emails to the whole group, while also adding in new features like threaded replies and the ability to post video and other media.
#8: Facebook launched Facebook Watch
In August, Facebook rolled out its on-demand video service worldwide following a trial run in the US. Watch is intended to compete with YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime for viewership, and Facebook will spend up to $2 billion this year to produce a wide range of original content for Watch. Watch is available on mobile, on desktop and laptop (pictured), and via Facebook’s TV apps.
#9: And then there was GDPR…
The year 2018 saw some big changes – most of them driven by customer demands around content and privacy.
so what's next?
If you're still trying to adapt your social media strategies and practices, you're not alone. Many marketers have had to adjust and reinvent their social media strategies to adapt to all the big changes that landed in 2018. And because social media is constantly evolving, more changes are on the horizon for 2019. We'll share what we see as upcoming trends for social media and what that means for you on Thursday.
Until then, have a great week and let us know what you think about the latest 2018 social media changes in the comments below.