For marketers, it’s important to understand the obvious changes in social behavior. After all, if you base your marketing strategy on the wrong assumptions, you will have a hard time achieving your goals. Unfortunately, the headlines don’t always get it right when it comes to analyzing social trends.

Enter Simon Kemp. Kepios, founder of marketing strategy consultancy, examines the activity behind the headlines. It shares this data in reports produced in partnership with Moyens I/O and We Are Social.

Kemp recently shared highlights from his Q2 Digital Statshot at The Next Web’s TNW2019 conference in Amsterdam. Here are three social trends out of the headlines that Kemp says are completely misreported.

1. No social media apocalypse

Yes, there are real concerns about privacy. The headlines are screaming the #DeleteFacebook movement. However, Facebook’s user numbers are not decreasing. They are actually growing.

“Last year Facebook still grew 8 percent,” Kemp said. “Facebook is still growing massively all the time.”

Consider these statistics from Kemp’s analysis of Digital 2019:

  • The number of social media users worldwide increased by 9 percent last year, reaching 3.48 billion.
  • Nearly a million people log into social media for the first time every day.
  • Facebook is the third most visited website after Google and YouTube.
  • Twitter comes in at number 7 and Instagram at number 10.
  • The most used application in 2018 was Facebook.
  • Facebook Messenger became the most downloaded application.

“There is no social media apocalypse,” Kemp said. “Despite their concerns about privacy, ordinary people aren’t too concerned to stop using it just yet.”

take away

Don’t base your plans on clickbait headlines about people leaving social media in droves.

2. Teens don’t flock to Instagram

Yes, young people are leaving Facebook. But they don’t go to Instagram. In fact, the number of 13-17 year olds is also falling on Instagram. So where are they going?

One possible answer is TikTok. (What will you say? See our blog post What is TikTok.) TikTok does not publish viewer counts like other social networks. That’s why Kemp used Google search trends to understand the platform’s popularity. Check out this chart showing comparative searches for Tiktok and Snapchat:

But TikTok doesn’t fully account for all the teens missing from Instagram. In fact, Kemp says we may have “been past the TikTok peak” in Western markets. So where did the young people go?

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“They’re completely disconnecting from social networks and joining communities,” Kemp said. He talked about Discord, a gaming platform he describes as “a bit like Slack, but for kids.”

In most cases, you cannot advertise in these communities (yet, anyway). So how can you incorporate them into your marketing strategy? The answer is the takeaway of this social trend.

take away

“Go from interruption to inspiration,” Kemp said. “This is what his whole impressive move is built on.”

3. Home assistants do not pioneer voice control

Headlines about voice control tend to focus on home assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. But Kemp says the true power of voice control isn’t found in smart speakers in luxury living rooms.

Instead, voice control is revolutionary in low-literacy parts of the world. Or where the local language does not use a typable character alphabet. Voice search is currently most used in India, China, and Indonesia.

The sound is most popular among teenagers worldwide. About half of 16- to 24-year-olds have used voice search or voice controls in the past 30 days.

Kemp said that increased use of voice could completely change the way we think about brands. When creating shopping lists by voice, you tend to order by product category (milk, eggs, beer) rather than brand name.

This means our voice assistants will have to choose brands for us using algorithmic selection when we don’t. Kemp argues that if you know this change is coming, you can see it as an opportunity rather than a threat.

take away

“You will no longer be marketing to consumers,” said Kemp, in certain product categories. “You’re going to market to machines.”

For more of Simon Kemp’s analysis of social trends in collaboration with Moyens I/O and We Are Social, check out the 2019 Global Digital Overview (or summary here) and Q2 Global Digital Statistics.

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