When I wrote my predictions for 2020, global pandemics and national lockdowns were not something that I was feeling in my gut – that's for sure! The impact these things have had on global economies is, of course, immense – but conversations I've been having over the last few days have made me reflect. My predictions are guesswork. I am not a mastermind with deep connections in silicon valley telling me what innovations are on the way – and I'd also admit that my crystal ball is proving to be a tad unreliable!
One of the 2020 social media predictions I got right
Big tick there! In the last few weeks LinkedIn stories rolled out followed by slightly clumsy delivery of Fleets on Twitter and YouTube has given us Shorts. Instagram stories have gone from being described as one of the worst advertising placements to one of the best for brand awareness. Yep – I think I got this one right – Phew!
The 2020 prediction that didn't turn out as I expected
We are seeing more businesses use WhatsApp – especially as a live chat option on their website or adding WhatsApp to their contact details. Bot tools such as ManyChat have continued to grow to allow brands to broadcast messages via their Facebook pages and there's definitely been an increase in automated email marketing tactics this year when I look at our client base. So you could say yes – I was right businesses would embrace creating more conversations on a 121 level. However, my expectation of this was that those channels would be more people managed than Bot managed or auto-generated. What we've got isn't as personalised as I had anticipated.
The 2020 prediction that I could not have been more wrong about
This year – more than any other I've seen businesses jumping platforms to the new and shiny! (Well, new and shiny for them anyway!) Instagram has probably the biggest platform growth-wise from a brand perspective. One of the impacts of having to save costs in our business is that, from the perspective of marketing, free options have been considered whereas they may have been previously ignored. Just this week I've had conversations about platforms like TikTok and Parler and what the business use cases might be.
I honestly thought this year that brands would be doubling down on what they have in terms of channels and increasing their commitments to those channels – but the reality of having to reach new audiences without leaving your home has seen many business owners ask the questions what else can we add into our arsenal! One core indicator is the increase in the discussion of Podcasts – I'd suggest pretty much everyone these days knows at least one person who has a podcast. (Let me know if you're thinking you don't, by the way. I'd be interested to know!)
Were my predictions on point?
I'm pleased to say that my social media predictions were not that far off the mark. I'm not going to go through them all here – but you can go and have a look and decide for yourselves if you'd like. I'm happy that when I read through them now, 51 weeks-ish after writing them that there are reflections of them in the digital marketing strategies I'm seeing implemented today. Some of them, I did think would be more everyday by now, but one of the impacts of the COVID-19 from my perspective is the slowing of innovation in marketing generally. For that reason, I'm really looking forward to what 2021 and 2022 have to bring us.
I think by the time I get to writing the 2022 iteration of this blog we'll see massive leaps forward from a marketing tech and innovation perspective. 2020 may have slowed things, but marketers are by nature raring to go and make a splash with the next cool thing. Let's see what the future holds! Ok, I'm getting carried away now – time to reel myself in and get my thoughts together ready for next week's blog and what I think 2021 is going to bring us!