Trust Photo by Yuri Catalano from Pexels

Social Media in 2018: Trust – The New Digital Currency

Hello and welcome part two of our end of year blog. I’ve joyfully sifted through my ‘What’s New in Social Media’ blogs from the last year and pulled out a number of trends that are likely to continue through 2019. This particular blog focuses on trust and how important it will be to businesses in the coming year. Oh, and if you missed our last blog about  Wellbeing – Positive digital lives and switching off, you can jump back at any time.

Trust: The new digital currency

This year was a challenging one for social media companies and their use of personal data. This was evident in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and accusations of election rigging.

GDPR: Just the beginning

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May, shining a light on our rights to control how our data is used. It signalled a shift in power from advertisers to consumers and brought the issue of data protection into mainstream conversation.

However, although people now feel more informed about how their data is being used, they also feel less in control. It is clear there is work to be done through 2019 to counteract this. Businesses that are able to foster a sense of control within their customers will benefit from greater loyalty and advocacy.

Facebook’s charm offensive

Facebook has been on the charm offensive this year in a bid to improve public trust in its platform. It has implemented algorithm changes to demote posts that use engagement bait, and prioritise posts from family and friends. It has removed 5000+ advertising categories relating to race and religion in an attempt to reduce discrimination. It has also made changes to its Advertising platform and made updates to the Facebook Pixel in order to remain GDPR compliant.

Twitter & Instagram

Twitter has set limits on the posting of content from multiple accounts, making it much harder to distribute duplicative content across its platform. In a bid to display transparency it has also removed locked accounts from follower counts, meaning that many high profile accounts lost a large number of followers.

Instagram has hunted down and closed a large number of ‘like’ pods. These groups form purely for people to ‘like’ each other’s posts in order to improve the reach of their content.

Ad Blockers & Social Advertising

As Ad Blocking software has become more prevalent and effective, advertisers have had to think more carefully about how to reach their target customers. Some publishers have even changed their business to become subscription-based in order to make up for falling ad revenue.

Social media advertising is developing at pace. This may be the answer that advertisers are looking for, as social ads are less affected by advert blocking software.

Many social media platforms are ‘borrowing’ ideas from each other and launching similar features. For example you can now find the ‘Stories’ format on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. This means that the social channels are becoming more similar to each other. The key differentiator this year will be community and trust. People will inhabit the social platform they (and their friends) trust.

The big challenge for social media providers comes in convincing the public to hand over the personal data needed to serve contextual ads. The public simply won’t do this unless they have trust in the company. They need to be confident that they’ll remain in control of their own data.

Find out how our use of social media has evolved this year in our next blog Social – no longer just for socialising