Earlier today we unveiled Battenhall’s social media trends for 2024 at London’s famous Barbican Centre. Our report diving into the five trends is available to download now.
Earlier today we unveiled Battenhall’s social media trends for 2024 in front of a packed audience at London’s famous Barbican Centre. It was our 11th annual trends event in London, where our expert speakers, joined by special guests, highlighted the five key trends that reflect the state of social media today – and what we expect it to look like in 2024 and beyond.
Since 2013, Battenhall has gathered first-hand data and brand benchmarking to gain a deep understanding of the evolving social media landscape. This year, with analysis from Battenhall’s dedicated Insights team, we’ve created five individual reports – one for each of our chosen trends for 2024 – that uncover key learnings about the current state of social media landscape, as well as what brands and marketers can do to capitalise on what comes next.
This year’s report zeroes in on these changes, highlighting trends including AI, safety and purpose online, and the surge of new social media platforms against the backdrop of Twitter/X’s demise.
We also take a look at creators and their growing importance, as well as why entertainment-first social has become such a big deal in the age of TikTok, Reels and Shorts.
Battenhall’s 5 social media trends for 2024
1. Safety and purpose on social media in 2024
It’s been a year of turmoil on social media. Hate speech has increased on Twitter/X, Instagram and Facebook is removing more posts than ever for bullying and harassment, and TikTok has faced probes over the spread of illegal content.
It means brands are faced with new decisions over how to manage their communities, which influencers to work with, and what social networks to commit to. In the year ahead, Battenhall expects brands to require more thoughtful approaches to where teams, budgets and effort is placed, and a closer monitoring on the evolving regulations governing social media.
With the UK’s Online Safety Bill joining the European Commission's Digital Services Act and the US Federal Trade Commission's Consent Decree, social networks will be walking a tightrope in 2024, and brands will need to be better equipped than ever to build positive communities online.
2. AI in social media: unavoidable and unstoppable
A new ethical maze lies ahead for the use of AI in social media, and the brands that are best equipped to navigate it will win in 2024. Social networks are already engaged in a race to the front on implementing the latest AI features, and Battenhall’s AI report looks at the potential impact of all forms of artificial intelligence (including generative AI) on creativity, problem-solving, data analytics, and even influencer activation in the year ahead and beyond.
Far from AI replacing humans (as some news headlines suggest), we found there’s an opportunity to let this emerging technology augment productivity and creativity – if we use it wisely. Brands using AI can test and learn at speed, and make the most of a rapidly-evolving environment to gain first-mover advantage, but they will need to keep ethics front of mind. The challenge will be to fuse technical ability with creativity and authenticity, to ultimately harness AI as a tool for social media for good.
3. The X-odus: new social media channels for a post-Twitter world
Twitter/X has had a tumultuous year, with user numbers, advertising revenue and brand trust declining steadily. This has led many users to try and replicate their Twitter communities and experiences elsewhere – and Battenhall has tracked the migration of the Twitter flock to see what impact this change is having on other networks.
From the growth of busier and more personal news feeds on LinkedIn, to a second surge of users on new networks such as Threads, nowhere has yet managed to clone Twitter, but the chaos brought about by Elon Musk’s leadership has stimulated growth almost everywhere else.
The opportunity for brands is to harness new networks, evolve with existing platforms, and adapt to changing audience behaviours. At the same time, it’s important to protect themselves from the harm that still exists on Twitter while it continues to buzz (more quietly).
4. Entertainment: from unhinged to educational
As social media platforms position themselves as entertainment, and entertainment media continue to seek engagement from social media, successful brands have risen to the top of both by creating entertainment content to win hearts and minds.
Beyond simply advertising, influencer marketing or community management, Battenhall’s report shows how any brand can engage audiences by becoming entertainment in its own right. From niche sectors engaging in educational content, to lifestyle social media, and latest trends around unhinged brand personality, we look at what it takes to become an entertainment brand on social media. There are some great examples including Duolingo, Channel 4 and Ryanair.
With more focus than ever on social media algorithms, and new platforms, features and formats appearing all the time, the opportunity has never been greater to create entertainment content. In doing so, brands can build new communities that transcend platforms altogether to build brand love.
5. Creator culture: the dynamics shaping influencers in 2024
The growth in influencer marketing spend has been matched by a growing number of specialist social media creators – and the practice of working with creators is more highly evolved than ever before.
With corporates and niche brands working collaboratively with creators as much as consumer brands driving eyeballs and clicks from paid influencer activations, this report explores the dynamics shaping the sector in the year ahead. The journey from influencer to creator, the difference between the two, and how to use each as a brand is key for 2024.
Whether a brand is looking for more direct marketing or a focus on the creative approach, there’s a place for influencers and creators in the digital marketing space. By maximising the opportunities of specialist communities in social media in 2024, all brands can enhance their influencer marketing efforts, and add longevity to build their brands in a more sustainable and long-term way.
To read more about each trend, with pages packed full of data, insights, and learnings, you can download all the reports here.