Although Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are still the most popular social media platforms according to consumers, it's important that brands and marketers be aware of the next emerging social media platforms in order to decide where to make investments.

Although no one knows what is going to be the next WhatsApp, Instagram, or Snapchat in this highly competitive market for audience's eyes and ears, some fast-rising platforms are worth watching.

The influencer marketing industry is worth over $1.5 billion, and that number is on the rise. Fully 65% of brands plan to increase spending on influencer marketing in 2019, according to a recent study from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

Clearly, a brand's commitment to invest in an influencer campaign on a new social media platform is not a trivial one. So, how is a marketer to decide? Social media platform and influencer marketing decisions should align with goals within your organization and trends industrywide.

This article looks at key market trends in social media engagement and the ways new emerging platforms are addressing those trends.

Shifting Your Focus to Generation Z

Gen Z is set to surpass Millennials in 2019 as the largest generation, making up about 32% of the total population, according to recent research. They are also making a big impact on purchasing decisions. Nielsen estimates Millennial buying power at $65 billion, while Gen Z has already exceeded that with an estimated $100 billion in purchasing power.

Moreover, Gen Z has already made an impact on social media. Although members of Gen Z desire more personalized experiences, they are also very protective of their privacy. Gen Z also favors ephemeral content over highly produced social media (think about the incredible success of Instagram Stories, which counts over 3 million daily users), changing the way marketers create and think about content.

Gen Z is often the first to adopt new social media platforms, opting to spend time on the platforms where their parents aren't active. The result is fierce competition among social media platforms to stay relevant with younger audiences.

The next generation of social media platforms is engaging and testing more advanced features across a wide array of topics (such as music, in the case of Tik Tok) to meet the needs of Gen Z.

Following the Rise of Messaging Apps

In 2018, the combined total monthly active users of the top four messaging apps grew to 4.1 billion (including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat). Those users are also spending more time on the apps. The average daily time each user spends on a messaging app is expected to be 12 minutes in 2019.

That very large user base offers a prime market for brands to target via influencer campaigns. From driving direct sales to building one-to-one relationships with customers, messaging apps present several opportunities for brands.

Social Media Platform Meets Messaging With Kik

Kik is a cross-platform mobile app used for instant messaging, similar to Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Users can message individual friends as well as groups.

Kik's main differentiator is privacy. Unlike other messaging apps, it doesn't require a phone number to register users. Instead, users can maintain anonymity by registering with a username or email.

Kik is already ranked a top 10 app with teens in the United States, and the app tracks more than 300 million users by IP address and age. This means that targeting influencer campaigns by location and age group is both a possibility and a key reason for marketers to consider the platform in 2019.

Video Content Continues to Grow

An estimated 80% of global internet traffic will be attributable to video by 2020, according to a Cisco study. Marketers and consumers alike are tapping into video content: 87% of marketers are using video in their campaigns, and 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions.

Figures are staggering: Within 30 days more video content is uploaded to the Web than the amount of TV content created over the course of 30 years.

An increased amount of video content, including livestreaming, vlogging, and produced video, will lead to increased competition in distributing that content on mainstream social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV.

Short-Form Video Platform Tik Tok

Formerly known as, Tik Tok is "a destination for short-form mobile videos." Tik Tok makes it easy for users to create and share videos with special-effects filters, stickers, and more. Content on Tik Tok has an unpolished, authentic look that makes it highly engaging for a younger audience.

Recently, Tik Tok's downloads international were up 20% in three months; US downloads were up 25%. As of this writing, Tik Tok holds the number top spot for social media app downloads, beating Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Though Tik Tok is still relatively new, marketers should seriously consider looking to this emerging platform to create video for younger audiences.

Aligning Your Goals With Industry Trends

No one knows what the future holds for trends and adoption in social media, but these emerging platforms and many more to come are aiming to meet the wants and needs of today's consumers. Social media platforms will be battling it out with each other for audience market share—testing new functionalities, more refined audience targeting, and more to win market share.

As a marketer, your decision about which platforms to embrace should be based on those industry trends that most align with the goals of your business and brand.

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The Next Big Influencer Platforms and Trends in Social Media Engagement

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image of Elena Kutsopal

Elena Kutsopal is the managing director of WeQ INFLUENCERS, delivering scalable influencer marketing endorsement campaigns on YouTube, Instagram, and other significant social networks.

LinkedIn: Elena Kutsopal