The biggest social media trends of 2023

A roundup of 2023's social media highlights.
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Table of Contents

It wouldn’t be a stretch to describe 2023 as one of the most revolutionary in modern history.

Change upon change came thick and fast, particularly at the social media companies that influencers, brands and marketers continue to call home.

But if it feels like you can’t get your head around the past 12 months, Vamp is here to help.

We’ve compiled some of the biggest, key trends this year so you can hit the ground running in 2024.

So get comfortable, stick some Christmas music on and get ready to digest all the trends you need to be aware of so far.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI made 2023 feel a little like time travel.

Technology that felt like it was from a distant future was rapidly embedded into everyday life, with businesses scrambling to keep up for fear of being left behind.

Social media giants were instantly determined to cash in on the revolution, and this took on various forms throughout the year.

Meta (Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp) rolled out the use of AI stickers in October, which allows users to transform text prompts into “unique, high-quality stickers” in seconds.

That update came before the company announced the rollout of 20 new AI features including the tool Imagine, which is Meta’s answer to AI image generation, itself a surging trend in 2023.

Meta also announced it was working on its Emu Video tool, which will generate videos based upon text prompts.

And, of course, there was the rollout of Meta AI in beta phase, which is an AI assistant you can interact with in text-based chats, mirroring the game-changing success of ChatGPT.

YouTube offered its Premium members the chance to engage with its Conversational AI tool, in addition to Dream Track, that enables you to create music using the voice of high-profile, consenting artists including John Legend.

Meanwhile TikTok announced its Creative Assistant, an “AI virtual assistant designed to intelligently collaborate with brands and creators throughout their creative journey on TikTok”.

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The continued rise-and-rise of TikTok

The year 2024 will mark the 20th anniversary of Facebook.

But what a fresh-faced Mark Zuckerberg probably didn’t anticipate two decades on was a video-swiping rival threatening to hoover up his audience.

TikTok reached a staggering 1.5billion users as of October 2023, according to Business of Apps, which marks a 16% rise from the previous year.

By 2024 it is expected to reach 2billion users, and it’s hard to bet against that at its current meteoric rate.

Trends on TikTok continue to be flammable. The Roman Empire trend, which involves asking men how often they think about the Roman Empire, was viewed more than 2.4billion times. 

The answer to that question apparently sheds light on a man’s personality, and led to global online debates about what the female version of the Roman Empire was (what a time to be alive).

For influencers TikTok continues to be a haven for short-form video, which itself was a leading trend in 2022 that continued to succeed in the following year.

But brands that perhaps once felt TikTok wasn’t a home to a suitable audience continue to take the app very seriously, earning scores of followers and views.

WhatsApp updates

The family WhatsApp group. The work WhatsApp group. The hen/stag do WhatsApp group. The ‘dinner on Friday’ WhatsApp group that you still share memes in four years later.

But in 2023, a different type of WhatsApp group may have appeared on your list: a brand-led channel.

The Mail, the most widely read online newspaper in the world, launched its own WhatsApp channel in September, followed by The Mirror the following month.

This is exciting news for brands and influencers who may find a bigger level of success through WhatsApp than other traditional outlets.

If you’re a brand, you may wish to start a WhatsApp channel that regularly updates customers on new stocks, seasonal trends and sales.

And if you’re an influencer, you may find fertile ground in updating what you’re up to that day, be it the fitness influencer on a 7am run to inspire others, the beauty influencer with a hot new beauty hack or a food influencer with an unmissable new recipe.

While we’re on the subject of WhatsApp, a special mention should go to the introduction of editing messages.

Since its admittance in May, users have been able to edit messages after sending them.

It’s resulted in a collective sigh of relief from people forever ruining their jokes with typos.

woman in all black standing in front of black door

Meta’s continued focus on short videos

Meta had previously announced increased investment into its short-form video product, Reels.

But 2023 suggests Meta’s focus on video, a strategic move to rival TikTok, is here to stay.

Its share price took a boost in February after a smaller drop in revenues than had been expected.

The focus on short video on Facebook’s Feed falls under a wider shift that results in users seeing less articles to click through, taking you to other sites.

While that’s bad news for article-led businesses, particularly news services, that’s good news for influencers and brands already ahead of the game in short-form video.

In the summer, Meta announced a range of editing tools available on Reels were now available on Feed.

So with Meta’s strategic gamble paying off and TikTok’s audience continuing to grow, you can safely bet on short-form video for your 2024 strategy.

YouTube’s monetization strategy

In July, YouTube relaxed its rules around monetization.

To qualify for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), creators now need to reach 500 subscribers, three public uploads in the last 90 days and either 3,000 watch time hours or 3million Shorts views in the last 90 days.

If successful, creators have access to channel memberships, Super Chat, Super Stickers, Super Thanks and promoting products with YouTube Shopping.

For new influencers, this spells great news if you’re seeking to reinvest earnings into creating better videos to grow your following.

Suppose you’re an influencer earning income with your 600 subscribers, you can now use that income to invest in better cameras, lighting and other forms of equipment to get an edge.

The video giant also announced changes to its YouTube Shopping affiliate program to US-based creators with more than 20,000 subscribers.

The program allows creators to flaunt products from other brands in their content, making them eligible to earn commission for doing so.

In a YouTube blog post sharing the update, Andrea Matillano, a beauty creator, said: “Every week I share new videos on all things beauty on my channel – from best drugstore makeup to Sephora must haves under $20.

“Being part of the YouTube Shopping affiliate program makes it easy for viewers to shop and learn more about the products I’m featuring right along with me. The program itself makes it incredibly easy to see commission rates for products and tag videos so I can spend less time on those details and more time focusing on finding the best products for my viewers.”

All of which bodes well for our next trend…

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In August, business magazine Forbes dedicated an article to the increasing use of micro-influencers being used by brands.

Micro-influencers, who have smaller followings but sometimes higher engagement rates, were predicted to be a big hit in 2023 and it’s safe to say the prediction was on the money.

What micro-influencers offer is a more personable experience, with interactions on comments being a good example.

That can generate an increased level of loyalty and engagement, and it’s clear to see brands are cashing in on this.

One natural reason for this is the lower costs involved in negotiating with someone with smaller followers.

But that presents potentially brilliant opportunities for new influencers to get their foot in the door and get their name out there, before reinvesting in content.

It may also give brands a better opportunity to sell products through influencers.

According to a survey listed by Forbes, 82% of consumers said they were “highly likely” to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer.

So whether you’re a brand seeking a micro-influencer or a micro-influencer seeking a brand, you may find a rewarding market in store for you in 2024.

Influencer investment soars

It is widely reported that brands in the US alone are set to invest somewhere close to $7.14billion (around £5.6billion) in influencer marketing in 2024, following an estimate of $6.16billion (around £4.8billion) for 2023.

With TikTok continuing to absorb downloads and Meta casting its eyes firmly on short-form video, it’s difficult to see this trend nosediving any time soon.

It is important to stay true to the ingredients that made your products successful in the first place, but as AI continues to be embedded into social media apps it is important to experiment so you can keep ahead of the trend.

Here at Vamp, we can help you do that every step of the way.

We have everything you need to get started in influencer marketing for 2024.

Download our report

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