2022 Final Exam: Trends, Moments & 2023 Predictions - Social Studies
2022 Final Exam: Trends, Moments & 2023 Predictions

2022 Final Exam: Trends, Moments & 2023 Predictions

As always, the year’s biggest stories played out all over social, but what set 2022 apart from year’s past, is that this year it was the influencers who use were the at the epicenter of each major moment.  Elon became Chief Twit. Volodymyr Zelensky leaned on social communities to inspire the world to stand by Ukraine. MrBeast packed an entire New Jersey mall just to try his hamburgers.  

All this news could make any marketer’s head spin, but luckily we at Social Studies have sifted through each and every headline to prioritize the ones that matter most. We’ve come together to provide you with a final exam on significant moments, important trends and 2023 predictions you need to know about.

The Most Important Influencer Marketing Trends of 2022

Luxury Fashion Embraces Gen Z Influencers.

Luxury brands who have historically resisted a less produced style of social content have shifted their position in hopes of reaching Gen Z audiences through influencer partnerships on TikTok. Entrepreneur reports that Gen Z will account for nearly 20% of net luxury spend by 2025.

NCAA Got Paid: Year 1 of the NIL Ruling Complete.

2022 was the first full calendar year since the NCAA NIL ruling, allowing student athletes to work with brands in exchange for monetary compensation based on their name, image and likeness. Opendorse estimates college athletes earned an impressive $917M NIL Year 1 ranging from July 2021 to July 2022 and projects Year 2 of NIL could hit $1.14B. Female athletes have emerged as ‘big economic winners’ with female basketball ranking third in NIL compensated sports.

Virtual Influencers Finally Gain Momentum.

Virtual influencers, or computer-generated fictional characters, are on the rise having grown by over 2,122% since their inception in 2017. Brands are opting to generate their own VIs to maintain creative cultural across all aspects of the partnership while others are choosing to leverage existing virtual influencers with established followings and interests. AI continues to takeover with a viral trend prompting users share AI-generated portraits of themselves.

Micro Influencers Deliver Mega Engagement.

Unlike mega influencers who have earned an average engagement rate of 1.23% on Instagram this year, micro influencers are gaining the trust and attention of brand players with an average engagement rate of 4.48%. The reason? Micro influencers are often much more connected to their audience than their macro and mega counterparts due to their follower size, allowing them to more regularly manage authentic and genuine engagements.

You Can’t Spell Marketing Without DEI.

Diversity and inclusion is required from brands to gain consumer trust and loyalty as millennials and Gen Z no longer wish to see brands that reflect their values, morals and beliefs – but require it and will hold these brands accountable.

Platforms Finally Invest in Creator Marketplaces.

Both Instagram and TikTok have released new features within their creator marketplaces to help streamline how brands and influencers communicate with each other. The creator marketplace API integration on TikTok provides insights on talent both pre and post campaign and is further evidence that platforms are prioritizing investment in the creator economy.

The Most Social Moments of 2022

Depp vs. Heard Took Over TikTok.

The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial garnered major spikes in viewership across YouTube and fed into viral debrief-style content that took over social platforms like Twitch and TikTok. Not since The People vs. OJ Simpson trial descended upon cable TV has the medium for viewership shifted in such a way as the world leaning so heavily on social.

BeReal Takes Center Stage With Harry Styles.

During a Harry Styles Madison Square Garden performance, a fan handed him their phone immediately as their BeReal notification went off – just in time to have the superstar posts a BeReal selfie to the account. The lucky fan’s serendipitous moment immediately went viral after it was shared to Twitter.

Elon Musk Becomes Chief Twit.

On April 14th 2022, Elon Musk began his acquisition of Twitter which was concluded on October 27th, 2022 causing major upheaval to the company’s inner workings prompting a mass exodus and backlash.

Balenciaga Receives Major Backlash Around Kids Ad Campaign.

The world nearly stopped when Balenciaga released an ad campaign that featured children in what can only be described as bondage-inspired set design. Beyond the immediate backlash that spread across the internet – consumers demanded that their favorite influencers and celebrities issue statements denouncing the fashion house and promising the refusal of any partnerships or collaborations in the future.

The Oscar’s Slap Seen Around the World.

On April 14th 2022, Elon Musk began his acquisition of Twitter which was concluded on October 27th, 2022 causing major upheaval to the company’s inner workings prompting a mass exodus and backlash.

Highly Anticipated 2023 Trends & Predictions

AI Returns to Instagram.

In 2022 Instagram scaled back AI-recommended posts in user feeds due to lack technology sophistication and accurate recommendations. We predict that Instagram is investing in this functionality and will relaunch their AI-backed recommendations to users soon.

Consumers Buy Into Live-streaming.

We are already seeing the impact of this trend in China and believe it will continue to grow globally. Livestream shopping allows for influencers to give their unaltered and unedited opinion of products and services to their audience in real time, building trust and driving conversion.

Search Goes Social.

People are using apps such as TikTok to search (for anything) rather than using Google. A study showed us that 40% of 18-14 year olds turn to TikTok over Google when looking for restaurants.. an example supporting why we believe it is important that brands learn how to leverage SEO on TikTok and cater their campaigns to help boost brand-associated search results.

Influence Moves Behind Paywalls.

Subscription-based content allows creators to connect with their audiences, providing them with exclusive content. Graphteon reports that as of September 2022, the popular subscription based platform Patreon had over 55,000 creators with estimated monthly payouts totally in $6.4M including hidden earnings. We predict subscription content will evolve to more creators entering the space.

YouTube Shorts Exceed Expectations.

YouTube’s short-form 60 second video-sharing platform ‘Shorts’ launched in the US in March 2021 and has since accumulated over 5 trillion views. We predict that YouTube shorts will continue to gain traction in 2023 as short form video content is easier to consumer particular on mobile.

The TikTok-ification of Social Media.

Gary Vaynercheck recently wrote about TikTok-ification as anyone’s ability to post to “TikTok with zero followers and have your post get seen by hundreds, thousands or a million people who share the same interests.” The shift lies in platforms’ adapting their algorithms to favor content over follower size. This trend is also being adapted to video content as it relates to YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels.

The Rise of the B2B Influencer.

As 50% of marketers in industries like healthcare, Pharma, entertainment, insurance and financial services look to launch influencer marketing initiatives for the first time, influencer marketing continues to solidify its place at the core of the modern marketing mix with a particular emphasis on influencer-supported B2B initiatives.

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