In a year when online viewing habits have fundamentally changed and video consumption has doubled, social platforms are increasingly becoming the main source of entertainment and inspiration in the home.
During the pandemic, Snapchat and Instagram cemented their place as the social media platform of choice for younger populations. TikTok, which will soon reach a billion users worldwide, had a particularly notable success this year, building on its already sizeable platform space. Meanwhile, both Facebook and YouTube also posted record numbers in 2020.
These social platforms have caught the attention of the global audience by being able to consistently deliver light-hearted and organic content that eases a chaotic news cycle. As viewing habits evolve, positivity will be key, and programs that incorporate this behavior change will win the day.
Platforms that evolve over time
As platforms continue to advocate consumer mindshare, maintaining a positive online environment can help build trust between platforms and their users.
Pinterest, for example, experienced a massive boom this year by reaffirming its core mission of being a “platform of positivity” on which users can be inspired. The company recently stepped up its brand safety efforts and positioned itself as a fun and safe place for advertisers to promote the idea that the context in which a brand’s content appears really matters. TikTok followed a similar path by introducing new features that can encourage educational content development, improve distance learning, and enrich people’s lives. For other platforms like Facebook and YouTube, positivity and content benefit have also been given a higher priority lately.
A boost towards positivity
The trend towards feel-good content and positive messaging will continue across the ad ecosystem for the next year as brands seek to mimic the success of Ocean Spray’s UGC virus sensation. The now famous clip with skateboarder Nathan Apodaca singing along to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” contributed to positive brand associations and ultimately created an extremely uplifting story that led to rapid sales of the drink.
As platforms evolve and competition increases, brands need to continually update messaging and develop upbeat and socially conscious content that takes different experiences and communities into account. Ocean Spray has shown that it is able to deliver relevant and trustworthy product news to its customers through positive user-generated social content. This is a trend that digital media will see more of in 2021 as it comes straight from the user base.
With the advent of new user-generated formats like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, they are giving consumers more ways to express themselves and new ways to shape the cultural conversation. With much of the world paused in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, for so many of us social platforms have been a lifeline and a place to save all hopes and dreams that have been put on hold until life returns to normal. When the lights get brighter at the end of the tunnel, you can expect the positive attitudes built online to continue as users make up for lost time.
The advertisers who are best able to authentically deal with this optimism will ultimately win over users.