As I reflect on 2021, I realize I spent more time scrolling on social media this year than I’d like to admit. But when I think of the major moments, memories (and memes) that got us through this year, I can appreciate the way that social media kept us all connected in 2021.

This year saw many changes in the social media landscape, but these major trends came to define the industry in 2021.

1. Prioritizing Data Privacy

Data privacy is a top concern among social media users, and the industry is finally taking steps to provide more transparency and protection over user data.

In April of 2021, Apple rolled out its iOS14.5 software update which requires apps to ask your permission to track your activity. With more and more users opting out of sharing their data with social apps, Facebook and other platforms have taken a major hit. Advertisers once relied on the information gathered by these social platforms to reach their target audience and retarget users across websites and devices. But with cookies and other cross-device tracking disappearing, digital advertisers must prepare for a privacy-first future.

From the perspective of a social media marketer, these ever-changing policies present many challenges for our industry. But as a social media user, I welcome these changes as something that will benefit all of us. It is important for us within the digital advertising space to embrace data privacy in order to move the industry forward and help users maintain our trust.

2. TikTok Takeover

Of the many social networks that dominated our screens this year, one app became the breakout star. TikTok has exploded in popularity over the last year, reaching 1 billion monthly active users in Q2 of 2021. (source: https://www.businessofapps.com/data/tik-tok-statistics/)

The boom of video content has been trending for the last few years, and the rise of TikTok has only accelerated this. Competing platforms have responded by doubling down on short-form video content, rolling out their own TikTok rivals like Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and SnapChat Spotlight.

TikTok may be the new app on the block compared to Facebook, Instagram and others, but it has quickly become a major player in the social media landscape. As we look ahead to 2022, now is a great time for brands to reassess their social media strategy and invest in video content. Check out PCG’s TikTok Playbook for our complete guide to creating videos and connecting with your audience on TikTok!

Interested in learning more about TikTok? Register for the Automotive Marketer’s Guide to TikTok webinar today

3. Social Commerce Continues to Expand

2020 forced many brands to shift to an online-only business model. Throughout 2021, as businesses slowly began to reopen and customers returned to stores, ecommerce continued to grow. Consumers may not be confined to their homes anymore, but they’ve grown accustomed to the comfort and convenience of shopping from home.

With social commerce, the online sales funnel is shorter than ever before. Now users can discover brands, research products, browse shops, add items to their cart, and complete their purchase all within the same app, making for a seamless mobile shopping experience. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest now double as ecommerce channels, with shopping capabilities built into their apps.

As mobile shopping continues to grow, we are likely to see more brands pivot to social commerce in 2022.

Chloe McGinley
Chloe McGinley
Chloe is a Social Media Specialist at PCG Digital. She is a digital storyteller with a passion for helping businesses cultivate their unique brand identity and connect with their community using the power of social media. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at her local animal shelter and being outdoors.
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