Hootsuite’s 2024 Social Trends Report Unveils Key Insights, Navigating AI Challenges in Social Media Marketing

Photo by Igor Omilaev

Hootsuite, a frontrunner in social media marketing, has released its highly anticipated 2024 Social Trends Report, shedding light on the dynamic shifts within the social media landscape. Drawing from surveys encompassing over 4,000 marketers and 4,500 consumers, the report underscores the ongoing pursuit of ROI, the authenticity challenge, and the importance of platform selectivity. Key findings reveal the ascent of Generative AI, presenting a balancing act between efficiency and authenticity

As the social marketers’ guide to the future of social marketing, Hootsuite is continuously pushing boundaries to help businesses authentically connect with their customers and realise the true value of social. Today, Hootsuite launched its Social Trends 2024 Report, and while the data points to an ever-evolving space, much remains constant — the quest for social ROI, the challenge of upholding the essence of social (ahem…relationships), and striking the balance between authenticity and a steady churn of content.

“Knowing these are the trends that keep trending, as marketers we need to ask ourselves if we’re approaching social in the right way,” said Elina Vilk, CMO, Hootsuite. “Ticking a box is no longer ticking the box. If brands are still questioning the value of social, they should instead be asking themselves what value does connecting with people bring to their business? Social can be a massive profit engine for business — but it requires shifting the focus to relationships, not transactions.”

The content code has yet to be cracked by many brands on social — pointing to an unrelenting disconnection between brands and the users they’re trying to reach. Hootsuite found that 34% of consumers say a focus on self-promotion is a major turn-off in how they perceive brands and 56% of consumers think that brands should be more relatable — and yet, 48% of marketers are still publishing product or brand updates or news multiple times a week.

“What we’d really like to see start trending is the 90% rule — where a great modern social strategy is about adding value to the relationship (with content) 9 times, with the 10th time being when you can reasonably expect to extract value,” said Billy Jones, VP of Marketing, Hootsuite. “Relationships on social, like anywhere else, are a two-way street where you should aim to give more than you take.”

Informed by a commercial survey of 4,281 marketers and a consumer survey of 4,508 people, the top trends that Hootsuite uncovered in this year’s Report tell us a consistent story about social marketing across industries:

  • AI forces brands to redefine authenticity. With generative AI on the rise, brands are toeing the line between efficiency and authenticity on social media, while being up against demographic differences in how audiences greet AI-generated content. While 62% of consumers say they are less likely to engage with and trust content if they know it was created by an AI application, smart brands will zero-in on the brand experience they are creating, regardless of who (or what) created the content.
  • Strategic brands commit to their champion platforms. With networks releasing new user and advertising features so often, more than half (58%) of marketers say it’s difficult to keep up. Strapped for time and resources, strategic organisations are becoming less likely to stretch themselves thin and are pushing back unjustified expectations and shifting their platform priorities — with ROI at the centre of this exercise.
  • Entertainment fuels the social ROI engine. While 69% of respondents say engagement is the top metric they use to demonstrate ROI, half of organisations are self-promoting to unlock that value. It’s no surprise, then, that 68% of social marketers report being concerned about the ROI of their social activities. In the quest for social ROI, brands must turn to entertainment to boost the bottom line, letting go of the notion that social is a channel to talk at customers — but rather, an interactive space where the exchange of value is a two-way street.

So, what has evolved? Social marketers have come of age and are mastering the art of deep breathing and keeping their eyes on the prize (ROI, of course) despite the constant noise and continued downpour of new tools, platforms and shifts in algorithm science. In 2024, ROI will take centre stage on social as smart organisations finally close in on their top-performing tactics.

“Realising the true value of social is challenging when 42% of marketers don’t know who their real audience is or what makes them tick,” continued Elina Vilk, Chief Marketing Officer, Hootsuite. “A renewed focus on driving deeper relationships on the right channels is how brands can deliver (and reap) rewards — and break the stagnation we’re hearing from consumers.”

Explore more topics
Prolific News
Related news stories