2024 social media outlook: Social shopping, messaging apps and video content will become integral to brand marketing strategies

by | Nov 27, 2023 | Public Relations

2023 was another landmark year in social media marketing, with major changes like the sale and rebranding of Twitter, and the launch of Meta’s Threads catalyzing significant strategic adjustments by many brands and businesses. So what can we expect in 2024? New insights and predictions from customer engagement platform Emplifi give us a pretty good idea.

Among the forecasts are that as companies build out their 2024 goals, marketers and CX teams will expand their social commerce efforts, explore new ways to leverage their social channels, messaging apps, and chatbot technology, diversify their mix of social video content, and increase investments in social intelligence tools. 

“In 2023, social media marketing faced unprecedented challenges due to the rise of ChatGPT, industry layoffs across tech, and major platform changes like Twitter’s transformation to X and Meta’s introduction of Threads,” said Zarnaz Arlia, CMO at Emplifi, in a news release. “As brands navigated these disruptions, customer experience (CX) remains a crucial focus amid increasing consumer expectations. Faced with resource constraints, our marketing and CX teams are adopting more strategic, integrated approaches, leveraging shared tools to seamlessly blend marketing, commerce and support. We anticipate stronger collaboration between these teams as they adapt to the evolving social media landscape and the modern customer needs.”

Emplifi’s top 6 social media marketing predictions for 2024

The firm’s predictions point to substantially greater alignment between marketing and customer experience teams and are based on social media campaign insights from thousands of global client brands.

1. Social shopping will become a crucial element of online commerce strategies as brands aim to streamline the transition from product discovery to purchase

The role of social media in enhancing a brand’s eCommerce strategy is more significant than ever. Modern consumers use social media not only for discovering and learning about products but also for making purchases. The key lies in creating a seamless experience and offering necessary content for informed buying decisions—such as ratings, reviews, and user-generated content (UGC)—coupled with an intuitive and effortless in-app shopping experience that minimizes friction. Given that nearly 90 percent of consumers report that ratings and reviews greatly influence their purchasing decisions, integrating authentic content from real product reviews within the same social media post as a purchase link can significantly boost a brand’s social commerce initiatives.

​2. Messaging apps and chatbots are set to experience increased adoption, offering marketing and customer support teams efficient 24/7 communication channels on a large scale

As email inboxes become increasingly cluttered, making emails less effective, more than 50 percent of customers now expect responses within an hour when they post a question on a brand’s digital channel. This has led marketers and customer support teams to explore new ways to engage with customers promptly. Modern consumers are more inclined to interact with brands that skillfully utilize messaging apps for various communications, ranging from discount offers and product updates to addressing customer support queries. AI-powered chatbots enable real-time, effective customer engagement. Similarly, business tools in WhatsApp, Messenger, and other SMS messaging platforms allow brands to interact with their customers efficiently and at scale.

3. Customer support teams are increasingly turning to social platforms to address customer inquiries and concerns

In today’s digital- and social-first landscape, consumers expect to engage with brands on social media for more than just marketing and commerce; they seek support and care as well. As the number of consumers reaching out via social platforms for questions and product inquiries rises, customer support teams are adapting by employing more social media marketing tools and dedicating more time to connecting with customers on their preferred channels. Forward-thinking customer care professionals are already utilizing social media to refine their support strategies, yielding significant results. For instance, one brand experienced a 40 percent reduction in call volumes and a nearly 30 percent decrease in wait times for speaking with a live agent.

4. Brands diversifying their video content to include both short and long formats are likely to achieve higher engagement

Social video platforms like Reels and TikTok continue to rise in popularity: this year, Instagram Reels surpassed all other content types on the app, generating 55 percent more interactions than single-image posts. Additionally, TikTok’s user growth skyrocketed, with brands experiencing up to a fivefold increase in follower counts. While the focus was once on short, “snackable” videos that ran 1 to 13 seconds in length, brands are now gaining traction with longer videos, ranging from 26 to 90 seconds. The key is identifying the most effective content formats and channels for your audience. By experimenting with different video lengths, formats, and platforms, brands can gather valuable insights on the types of video content that resonate best with their target audience.

5. As brands increasingly prioritize privacy in their marketing strategies, social intelligence will become essential for obtaining deeper consumer insights

With consumer privacy being a critical concern, marketers are exploring new methods to understand consumer behavior. An earlier Forrester Consulting survey commissioned by Emplifi revealed that 78 percent of marketing leaders considered investing in technology for customer insights a critical or high priority, while another 45 percent identified brand health as a key metric for marketing success. 

Utilizing social listening tools that offer sentiment analysis, as well as capabilities to track impressions, mentions, and social interactions, provides brands with a comprehensive view of their customers and allows for effective real-time brand reputation management. In the upcoming months, an increasing number of brands are expected to adopt social intelligence tools, applying these insights throughout the customer journey to enhance their marketing and customer support strategies and strengthen their brand reputation efforts.

6. Generative AI applications and AI-powered tools will become integral to customer support efforts, driving productivity across the entire customer service organization

AI-powered platforms are delivering extraordinary efficiencies for customer care departments, empowering customer service agents to optimize their daily routines—streamlining interactions, automating routine tasks, and providing lightning-fast responses to common customer questions. With the ability to understand context, sentiment, customer histories, and more, AI technology enables brands to forge deeper connections with their customers. Brands are already experiencing unparalleled results with AI-powered chatbots delivering as high as 97 percent match rates when answering customer inquiries. As AI tools continue to evolve, we’ll see even broader adoption by customer care and CX leaders focused on driving greater efficiencies across their organization. 

“As we adapt to the dynamic digital and social landscape, our strategies are evolving to meet the contemporary needs of customer engagement. From managing the shift away from traditional email communications to embracing the immediacy required on social platforms, we’re integrating AI-powered chatbots, leveraging a mix of video content across social channels, and expanding how we use messaging apps,” said Arlia. “With customer privacy remaining a top priority, we’re focusing on social intelligence to gain deeper insights into their behaviors and preferences. This strategy enhances the customer journey while ensuring marketing tactics remain both innovative and privacy-conscious. It’s a balancing act between leveraging cutting-edge technology and maintaining a human-centric approach.”

The primary takeaway from Emplifi’s predictions:

Brands that can bring together their marketing, commerce, and customer care efforts in a strategic and connected way will drive more growth, increase customer loyalty, and reach key outcomes at an accelerated rate. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter