The ‘Influencers’ That Changed Social Media in 2018

The 8 Moments That Changed Social Media in 2018It is officially the end of 2018 and as we look forward to the coming year with new hope, latest technology, and innovative trends – let us reminisce the past and look at the 8 moments that affected social media significantly this year.

The social media changing moments of 2018

1. The great Facebook algorithm update

Facebook started stirring things up right from the beginning of 2018 with an announcement regarding an algorithm update by Mark Zuckerberg. Published on January 11 on his personal Facebook account, the statement by the tech giant stated that Facebook is changing its algorithms and now users will see posts from friends and family before public content on their News Feed.

According to Facebook, the company updated its algorithm to allow enhanced interaction/communication between members, as per the prime goal of the social media platform.

The news exasperated most users who utilized Facebook for advertisements and branding purpose. However, Facebook suggested business owners generate conversation-creating content to appear higher in News Feed. Since organic traction would be hard to reach, users were advised to use more live videos, polls, and Facebook Groups to start a conversation between users and increase their businesses reach.

2. Mark Zuckerberg appears in Congress

Mark Zuckerberg was called to the Congress where he testified two hearings in two days along with 10 hours of questioning from 91 lawmakers. The testimony was a result of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal that compromised more than 87 million Facebook accounts.

After his appearance at the Congress, Zuckerberg made quite a few changes to the company’s system including restricting access to their APIs, giving limited ad targeting options, and many other features that controlled marketers and their targeting tactics.

3. The GDPR strikes

Most of us are not careful regarding our privacy over the World Wide Web. Not setting strong passwords, taking random Facebook quizzes and subscribing to newsletters from unknown websites are just some of the internet ‘misconduct’ we all do.

Luckily, there is a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in place that is designed specifically to protect our leaked data. The GDPR enforces rules and laws in accordance with the EU data protection law and takes stern measures against companies that misuse the personal data of users.

4. IGTV and Facebook Watch go global

Five years ago, Mark Zuckerberg had predicted the News Feed to be “mostly video”. However, with the shifting of an algorithm in 2018, the videos took a backstage as most media content on Facebook is provided by public accounts.

To retaliate, a few months ago Instagram launched IGTV – a standalone app for longer video. Facebook also rolled out their own video platform with the title – Facebook Watch. Both programs include several innovative features including an Ad Breaks program that gives publishers a new way to monetize.

Up until now, Facebook has not shared much data regarding user adoption of these new video platforms. Let’s wait and watch how they turn out in the coming year.

5. Instagram comes up with shoppable media

In September, Instagram introduced shoppable media that would give a boost to the social commerce economy. According to the company, businesses can use shoppable posts and stories allowing prospective consumers to shop directly within the app.

The jump into the e-commerce industry brings a new source of revenue for Instagram as well as more opportunities for small business owners to reach consumers around the world.

As per the statistics, four in five Instagram users follow at least one brand on the platform. Moreover, 90 million accounts are already using tags in shopping posts on Instagram every month. Simply put, Instagram is rapidly becoming a hub for e-commerce and implementing a new way to shop will create a win-win situation for both – the social media platform and the users.

6. Tech stocks fall

Despite the popularity of social media, tech companies faced major fallout in the stock exchange department.

According to reports, on July 26, Facebook’s stock tumbled to $173 per share from $215. Similarly, Snapchat also had a troublesome 2018 with their ongoing user growth challenges. Although popular with the youngsters, Snapchat is still struggling especially when the markets are dominated by the established giants.

7. TikTok reaches the top of video charts

Where apps like WeChat and Alibaba’s Youku are struggling to gain users outside of China, the new social video app TikTok managed to garner more than a half-billion users in limited time with forty percent outside of them outside China.

In fact, CNBC reports TikTok to be the most downloaded iOS app during the first half of 2018 surpassing the downloads of leading channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Moreover, brands are also starting to use TikTok for advertising campaigns. Just recently we saw the retail brand Guess launching their campaign on TikTok with their #InMyDenim hashtag challenge.

Fast food giant Burger King is also collaborating with TikTok to promote their new burger and asking users to post comical videos of them.

Interestingly, Facebook has also launched their clone video app called Lasso for the US market but we will have to wait and see how their video plays out in the coming year.

As of now, TikTok is ranked among the top three social video apps in the world, alongside Instagram and Vigo.

8. Story-based sharing leads

Messaging apps are growing day-by-day with users utilizing platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp for their one-to-one personal communication regularly.

Within the messaging apps, the Stories feature is also gaining popularity and changing how users exchange information, communicate, and even advertise their businesses. According to statistics shared by Facebook, the evolving format is growing 15 times faster than feeds and we are likely to see more Stories in the coming year as well.

Is the tech industry prepared for 2019?

The technology industry is known to innovate and bring out new products, regardless of the challenges. In 2019 also, we hope to see several new changes, trends, and of course – cutting-edge products from the world’s brightest social brands.

Stay tuned with us for more New Year predictions.
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