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2023 social media predictions


Social media changes so often, it can be hard to predict what will happen next. We don’t think anybody had ‘Elon Musk announces plans to increase tweet length to 4000 characters’ on their 2022 bingo card! However, based on both social media trends, and the results we have seen for our clients recently, here are some of Hydrogen’s 2023 social media predictions.




Interactive ads gain traction





“I think we’ll see more interactive ads, especially on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.” - Gail Malcolm, Senior Paid Manager










Interactive ads are nothing new: but as social media platforms develop their offerings there are becoming more ways to attract and engage audiences through ads.


Augmented reality, ‘playable’ games, polls and trivia are all interactive elements that can help consumers engage more with ads: which means increased changes for brand recognition, positive sentiment and sales. In fact, research from Magna discovered that interactive ads had a recall rate of 23%, compared to 15% for standard video ads.


With 99% of Generation Z consumers admitting to frequently skipping ads, it becomes more important for brands to find a way to stand out when targeting this audience: and interactive ads will be a great way to do this in 2023.



Enhancement of in-app editing





“I predict that social media platforms will continue to enhance their in-app editing tools. TikTok's editing suite has played a big part in the success of the platform as it has opened up content creation to every day social media users, making it more accessible.” – Lindsey Davidson, Content Manager






TikTok and Instagram Reels have helped make video editing easy and available for all social media users. Creating transitions, using greenscreens and even adding captions for the hearing impaired was now something that all users could use, and it helped open the door to content creators.


TikTok’s easy in-app editing was partially responsible for the tide-change from polished influencer videos to authentic content creators sharing their views in real-time. Research by TikTok discovered that 67% of the public think creator videos seem relatable. The in-app editing allows people to share their videos quickly, without having to use additional apps to add effects (although there are lots of app options available!).


In fact, TikTok understands the power of it’s in-app editing to create aesthetically pleasing content that isn’t over-done enough that in 2021 it released a desktop version for ads, allowing brands to create videos that seemed like they were made natively in the app. This rise in authentic, native content shows no sign of slowing down.




Brands take to YouTube




“Brands will finally start using YouTube properly as a social network and less as a dumping ground for videos to get embedded in their website. YouTube Shorts is doing some of the work to encourage this.” – Daniel Rae, Hydrogen Co-founder








As the average Android user spends 23.4 hours on the YouTube app each month (compared to 22.9 hours on TikTok and 11.7 hours on Instagram), this is not a platform for brands to forget about!


According to Google, over 90% of people around the world have discovered new brands or products on YouTube. This makes it the perfect place to share how-to videos and tutorials, best practice guides (ranging from ‘the perfect serve’ for a whisky brand to five things to consider when choosing your new software tool), testimonials and reviews, and even answering FAQs.


There are also opportunities to team with vloggers to the brand even further.

YouTube is the perfect place for customers to find out more about a product or service at their leisure…and the fact that YouTube videos account for 94% of all video carousel results on page one of Google – meaning it doubles as good SEO – doesn’t hurt.



Rise in social shopping


"I think we’re going to see a further rise in social shopping, and really see live shopping take off on TikTok and Instagram.” - Simi Billing, Content Manager











Since 2020, we’ve seen a rise in social shopping: people buying products directly through social media platforms.


TikTok itself reported that 67% users say the platform inspires them to shop, even when they weren't planning to purchase. And with 32.7bn views of videos hashtagged #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt (up from 17bn in July 2022!) it’s clear the trend is showing no sign of stopping.


We predict social shopping would have grown quicker…but there have been concerns about trust with social shopping: Accenture research found that 48% of social shoppers are worried that purchases will not be protected/refunded, while 37% are concerned about policies on returns / refunds. Brands building trust and sharing positive experiences will help social shopping grow in 2023.



Social media will be used more as a search engine



“Social media will be used more as a search engine and for recommendations, especially on TikTok and Reddit.” – Ishbel Macleod, Head of Research and Insights











With research from GWI in Q2 of 2022 finding that 29% of UK internet users visit social media to find out information on brands and products, it’s no wonder that social search is on the rise.


In July 2022, a Google exec revealed that 40% of the 18-24 market turn to TikTok and Instagram to search for things like lunch spots before they go to Google. Shortly after that, TikTok announced that it was improving its search function, and increased the character limit for captions…suggesting that the platform expects search numbers to increase.


People are turning to platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Reddit to get quick, relevant and up-to-date answers to questions: from finding local restaurants to easy cleaning tips.


The machine (learning) takes over


“AI will put me out of a job! But maybe there's a career opportunity in speaking out against it?” – Chris Smith, Head of Design













Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more powerful. The AI art generator app Lensa has been one of the most recent trends : with the app receiving 12.6m global installs in the first 11 days of December alone.


While many people have been sharing avatars created through the app, others have raised issues about artists’ work being used to ‘train’ the app without permission.


It’s not just AI art that has been hitting the headlines recently though: ChatGPT is a new AI chatbot that has been hitting the headlines and reached one million users in just five days. Powered by OpenAI, the free ChatGPT tool crawls the web (including Wikipedia and archived books) to create text similar to other writing styles.


So, will 2023 be the year that AI can create art and social copy to put us all out of a job? Probably (thankfully!) not. There is still much to learn about AI, and how to make sure brands can retain their unique style and tone of voice. It may be that AI is integrated into marketing in 2023, but for the moment it will not wholly replace humans.


Personalisation will become big



“I think Instagram will follow Tumblr and have lots more personalisation, so things like skins and playlists.” – Louise McCahery, Content Manager












Personalisation is becoming more and more important to consumers: and it does seem like personalised social media will become a big thing in 2023.


Back in the mid-2000s, Myspace and Bebo allowed for users to design their own background skins, add their own playlists, organise their ‘top eight’ friends and more.


While some platforms allow for a little bit of personalisation, Tumblr lets users design their account using html – much like the ‘old days’.



This means users can show their personality and make their space match their style: and this is something that platforms like Instagram can play on.



Check out more social media predictions on the Hydrogen TikTok.

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Steele Nickle
Steele Nickle
17 apr.

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