Social media is an ever-changing landscape for marketers. Challenges erupt as users shift the manner in which they interact with a given network, as governmental oversight and scrutiny build, and as new networks emerge and legacy networks vanish or decline in influence.

To help marketers navigate the social media jungle and build meaningful 2020 strategies, Talkwalker partnered with Trust Insights to publish a report on the social networks to watch in 2020. Available now, the study forecasts user interest in the major social networks based on search volume and offers actionable guidance for marketers.

In addition to comparing and contrasting 2020 net growth and decline forecasts for various social media networks, the paper identifies two key trends: 

  1. The rise of velvet rope communities 
  2. The continuation of YouTube dominance

Particularly vexing for marketers, velvet rope communities discourage any kind of URL tracking, so traffic coming from these networks appear in analytics platforms as if the user directly typed it in. The report offers practical guidance for managing this new landscape, including exploring the importance of influencers versus ambassadors.

While its growth rate recently has tapered, YouTube is expected to become even more powerful in 2020. Three major channels rolled into one — a video platform, a social network, and a search engine — YouTube remains much larger than its nearest competitors, making it a critical part of social media strategy.

The report identifies various approaches marketers might take to identifying YouTube micro-celebrities in their verticals and growing their own YouTube channels.