Raw content and AI search: social media marketing trends for 2024

January 2024

We’ve been interpreting our dreams and reading our tea leaves, and we predict that social commerce will soar, UGC content will be everywhere and yes, AI will take over even more of our lives. This time, it will be reading your mind while you search. Here are our top social media marketing trends for 2024.

1. The end of the search as we know it

A trend that began last year and will continue in 2024 is a seismic shift in the world of search.

Instagram and TikTok will give Google search a real run for its money, especially for Gen Z. ChatGPT, meanwhile, has had everyone asking whether this is the end of the search engine as we know it.

But Google and other search engine giants are responding to the ‘threat’ of ChatGPT by developing ChatGPT-like generative AI search technology. Unlike traditional search engines, which return a list of links that match the user’s query, generative AI search uses natural language processing and machine learning to understand the context of the query more deeply. It returns information that’s more relevant, useful and engaging. 

And as search evolves and becomes more important, so will SEO. Using more visuals, being creative and producing high-quality content will all be the SEO order of the day and, with Gen Zers forgoing search engines entirely, social media SEO will become crucial.

2. The unstoppable rise of social commerce

Social commerce, where consumers browse and buy products straight from social apps, has been rising steadily in the past few years, with global sales expected to be $1.298 billion by the end of 2023 (up from $992 billion in 2022). By 2026, that figure is predicted to reach $2.9 billion.

Brands that put social commerce high up in their social strategies will thrive, especially those who attract customers with discounts and easy refunds and returns.

Online reviews will become increasingly important, as will shoppable ads on Instagram and Facebook. And on TikTok, we’ll be seeing more of the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt to encourage users to buy products.

3. Raw content made by real people

Social media users don’t care what brands have to say. They want to watch and listen to actual people. Unrealistically manicured influencers with perfectly put-together self-improvement regimes are also very ‘last year’. 2024 will be all about user-generated and raw, authentic content.

Whether it’s employee insights or funny impersonations, real stories and conversations help brands build an emotional connection with customers. Humorous content will become increasingly important. We also hope 2024 will be the year of the granfluencer, as there can never be too many feisty, foul-mouthed pensioners on social media.

4. Reels and videos on a roll

TikTok is not the only platform that’s big on little videos. Instagram’s Reels, launched shortly after TikTok, have been incredibly popular. More than 140 billion reels are played across Instagram and Facebook every day – and this is predicted to grow in 2024.

We think live-streaming will also be big next year, and Instagram Live technology will develop and grow in popularity.

5. Marketing on social messaging apps

Brands have been using platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to communicate with customers since they first came on the scene. But till now they have been mainly used for customer service. With the introduction of Whatsapp Channels, we will see a shift in emphasis on social messaging apps for marketing.

And, as well as sending push notifications about promos, product updates and so on, there will be a focus on more creative content designed to engage customers on messaging apps. Which, in our view, can only be a good thing. Here’s to a creative and social 2024.