Top Trends in Digital and Social for 2022

Jasmine Enberg from Insider Intelligence predicted the biggest trends in social media in 2022 and what marketers should do to capitalize on the changes. Enberg is a senior analyst at Insider Intelligence, covering global trends in social media with a focus on social commerce and influencer marketing.

Key Takeaways

The U.S. social media market will go through a major upheaval in 2022 as TikTok rises through the ranks to become the third-largest social network. According to eMarketer, it will have 90.6 million monthly U.S. users in 2022, surpassing Snapchat and Pinterest for the first time. Facebook and Instagram will remain in the lead with 180.7 million and 126.3 million U.S. users, respectively.

Looking at the year ahead, Jasmine Enberg from Insider Intelligence suggested five trends which she thinks will cause disruption in the social advertising, commerce, and influencer marketing landscapes in 2022.

  1. Meta (Facebook and Instagram's parent company) U.S. ad growth will remain strong despite negative press and privacy changes: U.S. Facebook net ad revenues grew by 32.1 percent in 2021 to $50.30 billion. Growth will decelerate to 15.5 percent this year, dampened slightly by Apple's AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework in the iOS 14.5 update.

    The biggest risk to growth will be usage declines, said Enberg. Facebook has declined in popularity among younger audiences, and even Instagram has started to show slippage among teen users. However, Enberg speculated Instagram will do whatever it can to keep younger users in the fold. Instagram will account for close to 60 percent of Meta's U.S. ad revenues in 2022, at $33.25 million. She believes Meta will work toward making Instagram a more teen-friendly environment, from addressing mental health issues to rolling out features that appeal to teens. For instance, Instagram is already developing a tool to turn its Instagram Stories into Reels.
  2. Retail media's rise will threaten social ad budgets: Amazon currently dominates with 77.7 percent of retail media ad revenues. Amazon's digital advertising gains will increasingly come at Facebook's expense, said Enberg. She added that Facebook will be affected by Apple's AppTrackingTransparency initiative, and brand budgets will flow toward Amazon's upper-funnel offerings powered by first-party purchase data.

    Meta will remain the second-largest digital ad seller in the U.S. behind Google, posited Enberg. Even if some advertisers move some of their spending elsewhere, she said, many others will stay, because the pull of the second-largest digital ad platform in the U.S. will be too powerful to resist. She said TikTok will worry Meta ad executives, as it reported 500 percent growth in the number of advertisers running campaigns between 2020 and 2021.
  3. Viral commerce will be the "it" trend in social commerce: TikTok is leading the way with its powerful algorithm. Influencers with niche audiences are becoming even more crucial in driving social commerce. Shoppable content is now commonplace across social platforms. Facebook is the top social commerce platform, with Instagram a distant second.

    Enberg postulated that other platforms will imitate TikTok in 2022. Improving search, discovery, and tweaking the algorithm will be top priorities for brands and retailers. Marketers will build activations around viral commerce, creating content that's designed for both shopping and sharing. Partnerships with micro- and nano-influencers will help brands and retailers target niche pockets of social media.
  4. 2022 will be the year of the micro- and nano-influencer: This year, creators with smaller followings (between 1,000 and 100,000 followers) will become the A-listers of the influencer marketing world, said Enberg. She believes smaller influencers will need to work with brands to earn a living online, despite new revenue streams.

    Enberg predicted social platforms will expand creator tools to influencers with smaller followings. Many of the main creator tools have a minimum follower requirement. As micro- and nano-influencers rise in prominence, the social platforms will lower or remove those limits. As a result, marketers will have a wider roster of creators to choose from for sponsorships.
  5. TikTok will be more popular than YouTube for influencer marketing: In 2022, Enberg said nearly two-thirds of U.S. influencer marketers will use TikTok for influencer marketing, versus 57 percent for YouTube. Instagram will still be the top destination for influencer marketing, she added, because YouTube hasn't kept up with the trend toward short videos, while Instagram is a major TikTok competitor with its Reels.

    Enberg said the feature TikTok is most known for — short, catchy, user-generated videos — will change. Longer content will prevail, as TikTok and others try to lock in consumer engagement.

    Instagram is closing the distinction between short and long video on its platform. When it shuttered the ill-fated IGTV app in October, it paved the way for video to exist solely as video on Instagram.

"Top Trends in Digital and Social for 2022." Jasmine Enberg, senior analyst of global trends at Insider Intelligence. 2022 ANA Digital and Social Committee Meeting, 1/20/22.

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