In a year where online viewing habits have been fundamentally altered and the rate of video consumption has doubled, social platforms are increasingly becoming the primary source for entertainment and at-home inspiration.
Throughout the pandemic, Snapchat and Instagram have cemented their place as the favorite social media platforms for younger demographics. TikTok, which will soon surpass a billion global users, achieved particularly noteworthy success this year and built on its already sizable footprint in the platform space. Meanwhile both Facebook and YouTube also experienced record numbers in 2020.
These social platforms have captured the attention of global audiences by being able to consistently deliver light-hearted and organic content that provides relief from a chaotic news cycle. As viewing habits continue to evolve, positivity will be key, and programming that embraces this behavioral shift will win the day.
Platforms evolving with the times
As platforms continue to jockey for consumer mindshare, cultivating a positive online environment can facilitate deepening trust between platforms and their users.
Pinterest, for example, saw a massive resurgence this year by reinforcing its core mission of being a “platform of positivity” where users can go to be inspired. The company recently bolstered its brand safety efforts and positioning as a cheerful and safe place for advertisers, promoting the idea that the context in which a brand’s content appears truly does matter. TikTok followed a similar trajectory by making a broad push to roll out new features that can boost the development of educational content, enhance remote learning and enrich people’s lives. For other platforms like Facebook and YouTube, positivity and content utility has also become a higher priority in recent times.
A push towards positivity
The trend towards feel-good content and positive messaging will continue to resonate across the ad ecosystem next year, as brands look to mimic the success of Ocean Spray’s UGC viral sensation. The now famous clip featuring skateboarder Nathan Apodaca singing along to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” helped engender positive brand associations, and ultimately created a hugely uplifting story that led to soaring sales of the beverage.
As platforms evolve and competition intensifies, brands must continually update messaging and develop upbeat and socially aware content that caters to different experiences and communities. Ocean Spray demonstrated it was able to give its customers relevant and trustworthy product messaging through positive user-generated social content. This is a trend digital media will see more of in 2021 because it flows directly from the user base.
As new user-generated formats like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts emerge, they offer consumers more ways to express themselves, and new opportunities to shape the cultural conversation. With much of the world paused in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, social platforms have been a lifeline for so many of us, and a place to store all the hopes and dreams that were put on hold until life gets back to normal. With the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter, expect all that positivity built up online to continue, as users make up for lost time.
The advertisers who are best able to engage with that optimism in an authentic way will ultimately win users over.