The biggest social media trends of 2022 and what we expect to see in 2023

Start your 2023 social media marketing strategy with the key trends we're expecting to see
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Scrolling through social media has embedded itself into our daily routines. It’s become an invaluable aspect of our lives that helps us communicate, stay in the know, and participate in modern culture.

But aside from its value in our personal lives, social media has also become essential to marketing. Social platforms provide a great way to connect with audiences, build awareness, and experience unlimited growth. 

As such, it’s important for businesses to continually keep up with the social media landscape. And this landscape changes a lot. 

This year, we’ve seen the continued rise of TikTok, a demand for ‘authenticity’, the dominance of short-form videos and a whole lot more. All of these trends are important, as they hint towards the future of social media, and the things you should focus on if you want to stay ahead.

We’ll be taking you through a recap of some of 2022’s biggest trends, and what we expect to see in 2023. 

The biggest social trends of 2022

2022 was a huge year for social media. With newer platforms in the limelight and the increased popularity of video, this year saw a shift in the way we experience and consume media. 

Short-form videos became more widespread

We all know how short the human attention span has become, so it’s no surprise that short-form videos are continuing to be our preferred content medium. 

This impacts the world of marketing, as businesses are now creating short videos as a form of promotion. In fact, in comparison to other content types, it’s been found that short-form videos are “the primary form of media used within any content strategy for the third year in a row”.

So, if your business isn’t creating short form videos on social media, now’s the time to start.

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TikTok continued to rise in popularity 

We can’t talk about short-form videos without mentioning TikTok.

Since its launch in 2018, TikTok has garnered over 1 billion active users and has become the fifth most used platform in the world. 

This is particularly important to note, especially when you compare it to Facebook, the most used platform in the world. Facebook has been around since 2004 and has approximately 2.9 billion active users

When comparing the active users on the two platforms, you’ll notice that TikTok has amassed users at a far more rapid rate, highlighting its potential to take the number one spot in due course.

TikTok became a key marketing tool

In addition to its popularity among everyday users, TikTok has also been gaining traction as a marketing tool for businesses. 

This is because it’s a great place for brands to create and join trends, establish communities, build awareness, and show off their personalities. As a result, we’ve seen many brands use TikTok to elevate their success.

Duolingo is the perfect example of a brand with a stellar TikTok strategy. Today, the Duolingo TikTok account has amassed over 5.1 million followers and 101.1 million likes by participating in the latest TikTok trends, using popular sounds and talking about trending topics. 

Duolingo also uses TikTok to bring their brand’s voice to life, and their humorous approach is winning the hearts of the duo-community. 

man on smart phone yellow trousers

A move towards portrait videos 

From TikTok to Reels and YouTube Shorts, 2022 saw portrait videos gain more traction than ever before. 

The main reason for this shift is that we live in a mobile-first society, where mobile phones are the most used digital device in the world

As we all know, horizontal content isn’t the most compatible with these devices. Yes, we can all turn our phones around, but the shorter our attention spans get, the less effort we want to put into things we don’t have to do. 

So, if you want people to watch your content, make it vertical.

UGC was more popular than ever

User generated content (UGC) has been around for a while, but in 2022 we saw it skyrocket.

This is because there are an increasing number of people who want to contribute to participatory internet culture and an increase in brands wanting to use UGC.

When brands repost user content, it shows that they appreciate their audience and care about what their audience has to say. Many brands also like to use UGC in paid ads for a more organic style.

UGC is a great way for brands to show off their authenticity and build trust. This digital form of ‘word of mouth’ is a very effective way to market your business, so if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to freshen up your social media strategy, start with UGC. 

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Social commerce played a crucial role in 2022

In 2022, social media became our virtual shopping centre. 

Social commerce has come a long way from being our saviour during the pandemic, and has now become the new norm. 

In fact, worldwide, it was found that a total of 992 billion USD was garnered through social commerce in 2022. Moreover, over a quarter of internet users claim to use social media solely for the intention of either purchasing items or finding something to purchase

This year, we have seen brands using social media to sell their offerings, and this is only expected to become more prevalent with platforms like TikTok launching ecommerce options.

Influencer marketing became even more powerful

This year, we really saw influencer marketing grow in success. It’s been reported that the influencer marketing industry is now valued at $16.4 billion, which is an 18.8% increase from last year. 

One of the main reasons influencer marketing grew so much this year was because brands have been increasing their budgets for influencers, as they’ve noticed that influencers are continuing to rise in power.

However, it’s important to distinguish that there’s a particular type of influencer marketing that’s been driving the most success. 

Micro-influencers have been found to be the most effective at driving results, as they’re seen to be the most authentic. These influencers have a smaller, more engaged community of followers, and since they have tight bonds with their audience, there’s a real sense of trust within these communities. So, when a micro-influencer promotes a brand, their audience is more likely to try it. 

Micro-influencers have higher conversion rates than macro (and sometimes mega) influencers, as they have stronger connections to their followers. This has contributed towards the popularity of influencer marketing in 2022.

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BeReal brought authenticity to the forefront 

Speaking of authenticity, BeReal is a newest player to the social media landscape that’s been challenging norms and presenting new opportunities for brands. 

Despite being released in 2020, BeReal gained a lot of exposure in 2022, leading it to amass around 10 million daily active users

BeReal aims to create a space on social media that’s free of advertising and influencers. It wants to be more authentic, challenging the constructedness of the current social media landscape. As such, it’s very reminiscent of the earlier days of social media. 

Interestingly, whilst strong in its anti-promotional stance, BeReal creates opportunities for brands to surpass conventional marketing. 

For example, Chipotle used BeReal to market their products by posting a photo of a paper bag with a handwritten promo code, allowing BeReal users to get a free entree. 

Many other brands have followed suit, using BeReal as a creative way to implement marketing strategies. 

If you want to be known for your creative marketing, BeReal is a great place to start, and it’s definitely a player to watch.

What does 2023 have in store?

If you’re looking to get a head start on your 2023 marketing strategies, here are some trends to expect in the coming year:

TikTok will continue to grow in popularity

In 2023, TikTok is expected to continue growing in influence and popularity. 

It’s even been said that the platform could eventually become the top social media platform, although this could take some time. 

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BeReal will impact social media and marketing 

BeReal is particularly influential among Gen Z audiences.

So, brands catering to Gen Z’s are expected to use BeReal in subversive ways to connect with their audience. 

According to HootSuite, Gen Z have very particular needs when it comes to social media. They demand unfiltered, real content that isn’t salesy. They don’t want to be asked to purchase anything, they just want to use social media to have fun. 

Because of this, businesses need to subtly advertise their products in ways that will satisfy an audience that values realness and authenticity. 

So, in 2023, you can expect to see BeReal becoming popular among brands who want to test out unconventional marketing tactics. 

BeReal is already changing conversations around authenticity on social media, so it’ll be interesting to see how it impacts authenticity in the marketing industry. 

​​A new type of UGC?

UGC is predicted to rise in popularity in 2023, however, it’s been reported that it’ll take on a new form

Today, lots of brands are paying freelance creators to make UGC for them, so content that may seem organic is actually being paid for.

This brings a whole new meaning to UGC and even influencer marketing, as it highlights that audiences want to hear more from ordinary people. 

This newer form of UGC is quite interesting, as it both challenges and supports the authenticity that today’s audiences are demanding. It causes us to question whether paid content and authenticity are mutually exclusive, creating space for new conversations around authentic marketing.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking to create content that really resonates with your audience, working with freelance UGC creators is a great way to build connections with your customers.

woman on armchair on phoneSocial commerce will continue to rise on a global scale

There are many mixed messages regarding the fate of social commerce in 2023. However, despite this, sales made through social commerce are reported to increase.

In fact, the value of social commerce sales is forecasted to reach 2.9 trillion USD by 2026, which indicates that 2023 will see a continuation in selling and purchasing behaviours on social media.

A web free of third-party cookies

2023 marks the end of third-party cookies, which will present a great challenge to marketing. 

Third-party cookies help brands target their marketing, but without them, businesses will have less access to personalised information about their consumers. 

This will present an interesting set of challenges and opportunities, as brands will have to be more creative about their marketing. 

We should expect to see businesses seeking different ways to gain information about their consumers, and a new era of innovative marketing.

Staying up to date with the ever-changing landscape 

Successful marketers have always had to stay up to date with social media trends. However, these days, the trend cycle is faster than ever before.

Whether it’s a new TikTok sound or an updated algorithm, there’s always a plethora of news to keep up with if you want to stay ahead. 

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