#10Year Challenge – What’s changed in social media

Social is changing at such a rapid pace, that you may find it hard to recall the last 3 Facebook updates, let alone what it looked like 10 years ago. While the internet is in a frenzy of #10yearchallenge selfies, we’ve been looking back at what has changed on social in the last decade, as well as what is still to come.

Over time, social networks have dispensed with chronological ordering of content, opting instead for algorithms that prioritise content based on our recent likes, trending posts and what our friends / followers are looking at.

We asked Deri, our in-house Video Lead, what he thinks has changed the most. “It’s transitioned from a text-based medium to a visual one. Less people are posting long statuses about their lives and more people are uploading pictures to quickly convey what they’re up to.”

And it’s no wonder, people are reportedly 34% more likely to engage with a post if it is image based. Not only have we gravitated further towards picture based platforms like Instagram, but brands have followed keen at our heels.

Influencers and self-made celebrities have such a large presence on social and they have become another string to the bow of brands who can leverage individuals eager for sponsorship. Our Relationship Director, Zoe, says “You can now use social media to monetize your life. Bloggers, vloggers, Insta-models and YouTubers are all now legitimate career paths. Zoella started her YouTube channel in 2009, has gained over 6.5 million followers and has earned an estimated £3.5 million.”

So, in the last decade, social has become a profession, a dynamic vehicle for brands and companies to hyper-target their products and services, leveraging algorithms and functions like Stories to infiltrate a consumer’s brand experience like never before. Why waste time and money on expensive billboards when the population now carries around a portable device to which adverts can be displayed on basically every app they open?

‘Stories’ is perhaps the most notable change for social in the last 10 years. The 24 hr temporal, fleeting life-cycle of the 10 second clips create a hype and busyness on real-time updates that don’t require much thought or planning on the user side.

Our Head of Innovation, Jon, weighs in on Stories: “They are authentic, and a lot less ‘polished’ than the social content users have become accustomed to over the last 10 years. Stories are putting the ‘social’ back in-to social media.”

What started as the central feature of Snapchat was later copied by Instagram, which cannibalized Snapshat’s daily usership and volume of active users. But what is interesting is the lack of uptake by Facebook and Whatsapp users with the stories feature when compared to the success Instagram and Snapchat had before them.

However, for Facebook and Whatsapp, their inclusion hints that Stories as a content format are here to stay. It can be tricky to navigate the world of social, as even the largest social networks can’t always understand why a feature works on one platform and not another.

Jon, elaborates “Stories petrify marketing teams the world over who have become reliant on professional shoots, copywriters and 5 layers of sign-off for their social content.

But they present a real opportunity for agile brands who can connect with the people that matter to them in the most authentic way.”

Need help? Carve is a global social agency. We help world-leading organisations build meaningful relationships with the people who matter to them.

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