As we move to the end of 2018, the HIV.gov team is looking ahead to some exciting trends we see for 2019 (and one we hope will finally catch on).
Trend #1: Videos dominate.
There's no doubt videos are popular on social media, and some experts predict that they'll account for 80% of all internet traffic next year. These data also show:
- Roughly 90% of consumers say video can help them make buying decisions.
- Mentioning 'video' in your email subject line increases open rates by 19%.
In 2019, watch for more live-streaming videos, especially those that share live updates from events. You should also expect more YouTube tutorials and "how-to" videos, as well as more creative video "stories" on Facebook and Instagram.
For HIV communicators, this increasing emphasis on video means greater incentives to explore how they can use low-cost technologies to satisfy user demand for video on their social media channels. Examples include hosting a low-tech Facebook Live event and using new tools (such as Facebook's Premier) as ways to "go live" with a prerecorded video.
Trend #2: Artificial intelligence goes mainstream.
If you follow our posts, you've likely read about our interest in artificial intelligence (AI), intelligence demonstrated by machines, and its potential impact on mobile, web, and social media technologies. Recent survey data show:
- One-third (33%) of marketers surveyed used AI to deliver personalized web experiences.
- Marketers said the main benefits of using AI were: increased conversion rates (67%), improved customer experience (61%), increased visitor engagement (57%), and improved brand perception (46%).
True AI gets "smarter" over time, making it possible to personalize design and content (e.g., shopping recommendations) for individual users based on previous interactions with them. In 2019, we expect websites and emails will continue to take advantage of AI to continue and accelerate this trend.
For HIV communication, it's important to remember that, as websites and email systems get smarter, users will increasingly expect all websites to anticipate what they're looking for and to provide suggestions. It may be time to consider enhancing your website search tool to leverage some of today's AI technology.
Trend #3: Social media influencers team up for social good (and compensation).
Online influencers are commonly defined as popular social media personalities who are compensated to post about a product, service, or brand. In 2019, we expect to see even more public health organizations building relationships (especially on Instagram and YouTube) with online influencers who can help expand the reach and impact of their health messages.
According to recent data:
- The number of influencer posts on Instagram nearly doubled to a little more than 1.5 million posts worldwide between 2016 and 2017.
- Forty-two percent of Instagram influencers are between the ages of 18-24 and 84% are female.
While having a high follower-count is helpful for reaching a large number of people, in 2019, we expect to see a rise in "micro-influencers." These influencers usually have smaller followings, typically between 10K and 100K followers. While there are some unpaid opportunities to work with influencers, most do require compensation. However, micro-influencers can be more open to new partnerships and charge a lower fee for sponsored projects (compared to higher-profile influencers), while still offering an authentic and meaningful connection to their followers.
"From the health marketer perspective, much of the health work that I do does not include large – or any for that matter – media budgets. So we had to find common ground that worked for both of us," Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia said about her work with influencers, "For individuals working in HIV communication, it's important to remember influencers may be motivated to write about health issues, such as HIV, as a way to connect with their readers about an important issue and encourage critical prevention and testing measures."
If you're considering working with influencers in 2019, it's important to remember that Federal Trade Commission rules state "influencers should clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products through social media." This often means that sponsored posts should contain the #ad or #sponsored hashtag within the content.
A final thought: Building two-way communication with audiences
One trend we hope will finally catch on in 2019 is two-way communication. Next year, we hope that organizations will finally move beyond using social media to push out content and focus more on increasing two-way communication and building meaningful relationships. Because social media is intended to be…social!
To share your ideas for 2019 trends, leave us a comment on our Facebook page and join the discussion.