It’s that time of year again where I share the social media trends intersecting with business across our platforms. Today’s world is even more connected; we are constantly scrolling, messaging, shopping and sharing on our mobile devices. These activities not only influence how we discover products or services but are at the core of what drives commerce.
For businesses who need to build a customer pipeline, social platforms can offer what traditional lead generation methods like direct mail or search cannot: the ability to both respond to and create demand. Awareness of social trends has therefore emerged as a basic lever for business growth.
So let’s dive into the most promising social trends that businesses should be aware of and could leverage in 2024. The first two are demographic trends, both of which are especially pronounced in Asia Pacific and are sure to have a significant impact in the kind of platform engagement we will see in the years to come.
1. Gen Z Rising:
The group known as Gen Zers (born 1996–2012) are coming of age, they are earning, they are opening bank accounts and they are in business. Our recent SYNC study
with Bain & Co showed that there are over 500 million Gen Zers in Asia Pacific and Gen Z is going to be an influential segment when it comes to digital-centric lifestyles in Southeast Asia too. The report also shows that 82% of those surveyed say they are part of an online community.
2. Rise of the solo economy: The SYNC report also revealed that smaller and single households are rapidly increasing across the region. In fact, three out of the top 10 APAC countries driving the shift to single households are in Southeast Asia. Single households in Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines are expected to see a 20% increase by 2030. This leads to several knock-on effects across sectors from higher levels of pet ownership to the need for single-serve accommodation, products and home appliances. It will shift leisure models as well as media consumption and increase demand for smaller, frequent purchases. It also means more time spent online, finding virtual communities to be part of and following creators.
3. Artificial Intelligence:
2023 was an amazing year for AI – and it was the breakout year for generative AI. AI dominated conversations and captured people’s attention with the speed of development. But this is just the beginning. The marketing and creative industries are testing generative AI across their businesses – from copywriting and creative ideation to driving deeper customer insights. We are hearing that ‘creative is the new targeting’ as AI enables agencies to iterate their ad creatives with insights from their customers. According to IDC’s FutureScape 2024 Business Predictions
research, generative AI is expected to assume 42% of traditional marketing's regular and intensive tasks such as SEO, content and website optimization, customer data analysis, segmentation, lead scoring and hyper-personalization by 2026.
4. Business Messaging: People want to interact with a business the same way they reach out to friends and family – by sending a message. In 2024, people and businesses will want to get even more done right within a chat – whether it is booking travel, making an appointment, getting support or buying a product.
5. The explosion of AI: AI-powered voice agents and chatbots that deliver automated self-service support will continue to expand and businesses will look to embed them across all channels and touch-points where they can overcome the friction of traditional support.
6. Short form video:
According to eMarketer
, Asia Pacific accounts for over half of digital video viewers worldwide with 9 in 10 digital video viewers in the region watching on their mobiles. It’s no secret that short-form videos have become increasingly popular all over the world and especially in Asia Pacific for cultural and demographic reasons. The universal appeal of short-form videos has a lot to do with their unvarnished, lo-fi feel. They tell concise stories that reward our attention and they are highly entertaining, surprising and often fascinating. They are only set to grow because they are a preferred vehicle for Gen Z who value authenticity and individuality to a greater degree than other generations. Enabled by access to Generative AI tools and faster broadband speeds, they are more likely to consume, create and share even more creative short-form videos.
So what does this all mean for marketers and advertisers? In a recent conversation with one of our agency partners, Joyce Chua, head of strategy for Creative Futures in APAC at EssenceMediacom, talked about how 2024 was going to be very much about ‘collapsing the funnel.’
Traditional marketing funnels are undergoing a seismic shift. The era of linear awareness, consideration, and purchase phases is fading away as digital transformation reshapes decision-making processes. To thrive in this era, marketers must evolve from linear funnel thinking to adopt a more responsive and holistic approach. So 2024 isn’t just another year – it will truly be a gateway to a new marketing reality.
Dan Neary is vice president, Meta, Asia Pacific.