The end of the year is a perfect time to sum up, what happened in the previous 12 months with all of its successes and failures. Let’s go through 6 of the most significant moments of 2018 which changed social media for both users and marketers.

Facebook Feed Changes

In the very beginning of the year in January, Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement on his Facebook profile telling that the company is changing the aim of Facebook. To be concrete, he wrote, besides other things, this:

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” … “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

This means that new Facebook’s algorithm would prioritize posts from friends and family over public content. On the other side, it is harder for the public content to find its users and brands has to find new ways to reach the audience. According to Facebook, those page posts generating conversation between people will show higher in News Feed, for example, live videos, which are supposed to get six times as many interactions as regular videos 📽🎬

Cambridge Analytica Affair

One of the most significant topic not only within the social media world but around the whole society was revealing Facebook’s data breach. The company behind the misuse of the data is called Cambridge Analytica Ltd, a British political consulting firm, which accessed 87 million Facebook profiles in favor of president Donald Trump during the American presidential elections in 2016. 

The scandal broke through in March 2018, resulting in controversy, mistrust and also a $37 billion drop in the market capitalization of Facebook. After this, one evaluation of Facebook was that only 41% of users trust Facebook afterward. So far it was the biggest data breach and misuse of social media users, even though in autumn Facebook faced another data breach. This time the security issue affected “only” 50 million users.

The video took over Facebook and Instagram

It is nothing new, and we will repeat ourselves, but social media platforms are mostly about the video content. To get the most of it as well as to separate video apart from the crowded feeds, the biggest platforms took a (video) step 🚀

Yes, we are talking about IGTV and Watch. Instagram launched IGTV globally back in June 2018 as a standalone app for longer video. IGTV is also a part of Instagram itself, and in both interfaces, it enables to share video up to 60 minutes long. The last improvement here happened recently, and Instagram is trying to help the views via sharing a statistic image from any IGTV video in Stories. The preview will automatically launch the full video on IGTV after clicking on it in the Story.

Later in August Facebook launched its video platform globally with made-for-social TV shows and longer video content called Watch. Watch was already launched in the USA a year ago, and during that time Facebook was improving the feature before global releasing. According to Facebook, the total time spent watching videos in Watch has increased by 14x since the start of 2018.

Short-lived Content Is Winning the Price of Popularity

In the world of social media, short-lived content is simply a Story. And with the continually rising trend of visuality in our society, Stories are growing rapidly. To give you exact numbers, Stories creation and consumption is up 842 percent since early 2016, according to consulting firm Block Party. Across all social media platforms, nearly a billion accounts create and watch this kind of content.

In May, at Facebook’s annual developer conference, chief product officer Chris Cox said that: “…the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.” Besides that, according to Facebook’s data, stories are actually growing 15x faster than feeds. Stories are changing the way we consume the content on social media, the format, communication as well as rules for successful advertising.

And what are the numbers of daily users on particular platforms? WhatsApp’s Stories have over 450 million daily users, on Instagram, it is over 300 million users, and Facebook Messenger has 70 million. Snapchat hits 150 million users using Stories.

Instagram Is on Its Way to Becoming E-commerce King

If you’ve already read this article, you know what a powerful shopping tool Instagram is turning into. The photo-based application is basically the biggest online showroom you could imagine. In the begging of the year, Instagram added its version of Facebook’s shoppable Collection ads into the main feed. Later Instagram launched new tool Shopping on Instagram enabling brands to tag their products.

And that’s not all. As we mentioned above, Stories are a real game changer and thanks to their popularity, ads can’t be missed here neither. In the summer, Shopping Bag icon in Stories successfully expanded to all brands globally.

Besides shoppable posts and shoppable stories, Instagram also launched a whole Shopping channel in Explore to help more people discover new products. The feature is being tested, and channel contains shopping posts that are personalized to each shopper’s style and taste. Some rumors are also talking about releasing another standalone Instagram application called IG Shopping. Well, maybe we will wait to see it in 2019 🤔🔮   

2018 Is the First Year With Lower Usage than the Previous

The social media usage went down this year, and it almost looks like social media hit its peak. According to Edison Research, it is the first time ever, when fewer Americans are using social media than the year before. In 2018 it was 77% of Americans using social media compared to 80% in 2017. According to DailyMail, a third of millennials left permanently social media and deleted their accounts completely.

The most significant decrease happened to Facebook, which is facing its very first decline in Facebook’s history. The usage dropped from 67% to 62%. The same happened to Twitter, its use declined for the first time as well. Not surprisingly, Instagram and Snapchat keep on growing, especially between younger users 12-34 years old.

What makes people, especially the younger ones, leaving social media? There are more possible causes. One of them could be privacy as a huge concern (which brings us back to Cambridge Analytica👆). Next possibility is a mental health concern – many studies show that nowadays young generation has experienced 70% more depression and anxiety over the past 25 years and that social media use is heavily linked to these increases. Lastly, it is also the amount of commerce and ads all around the social media which annoys its users. 

For the best 2019

It’s not just a point of interest to go through all those big social media moments of 2018, but also an experience to learn from. Be sure to make the most out of it, both the idea of better video content and stories or the reasons of decrease of usage within Facebook and Twitter. And let’s together look forward to new social media adventures in 2019! 🎉