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       2. Storifying Social                                commerce  hasn’t  kept  pace  in  North  America  despite
                                                           the  long-hyped  promise  of  buy  buttons.”  New  and
       According  to  consulting  firm  Block  Party,  Stories—the   evolving technologies are changing that—especially for
       vertical, disappearing videos invented by Snapchat—are   young  buyers:  e.g.  Instagram’s  shoppable  posts  now
       now  growing  15  times  faster  than  feed-based  sharing.   allow  users  to  go  from  discovery  to  checkout  without
       So, since the format is playing an increasingly important   ever leaving the app and the platform has even added
       role in sharing and even buying, brands need to include   a  Shopping  tab  to  its  Explore  page;  Facebook’s
       stories in their repertoire in 2019.                Marketplace is now used in 70 countries by more than
                                                           800  million  people;  on  Pinterest,55%  of  customers
       Hootsuite  explains:  “Social  media  is  pivoting  from  text-  using the site to find and shop for products, and beyond
       based  platforms  originally  designed  for  desktop  use   the  familiar  YouTube,  new  formats—from  in-stream
       (think early Facebook) to truly mobile-only networks that   buying plugins for Instagram to livestream shopping on
       enable  users  to  capture  in-the-moment  experiences—  WeChat—have  emerged  for  integrating  social  video
       and   Stories   embody   that   pivot.   Stories   are   deeper into the buyer’s journey.
       overwhelmingly  visual  and  meant  to  be  created  and
       consumed  on  the  fly  with  nothing  more  than  a   A  key  issue  in  2019  will  be  that  brands  will  make
       smartphone  and  a  creative  eye.  Because  they’re   shopping on social media live, interactive and seamless
       ephemeral—often  disappearing  after  a  day—there’s   -  especially  on  mobile  devices.  The  most  successful
       more room for fun and experimentation. Stories feel real,   brands will invest a lot of energy in 2019 to show their
       immediate,  and  intensely  personal.”  That’s  why  brands   customers how their products and services fit into their
       increasingly embracing the intimate, multimedia look and   everyday lives.
       feel of Stories.
                                                           5. Messaging eats the world
       3. Closing the ad gap
                                                           The four largest messaging apps together have nearly
       The  growing  competition  at  Paid  Social  is  forcing   five billion users who are active at least once a month.
       marketers  to  come  up  with  more  than  just  spending   As  a  result,  instant  messaging  is  quickly  overtaking
       more  and  more  money.  Instead,  they  need  to  take   more  traditional  social  networks.  Sixty-nine  percent  of
       customers  seriously  and  engage  them  with  personally   consumers  surveyed  by  Hootsuite  say  they  trust  a
       relevant content to add value.                      brand  more  when  they  can  contact  them  through  a
                                                           messaging  service.  What’s  clear,  however,  is  that
       But rising costs and fleeting attention are limiting ROI for   consumers don’t want more advertising channels but a
       advertisers.  To  counter  this,  paid  social  teams  are   better 1:1 social experience, hence, smart brands are
       pairing ad money with equal time investment, creativity,   using   messaging   apps   for   more   high-value
       and  targeting  savvy.  Their  goal  is  to  generate  user   conversations.
       discussion  and  engagement,  rather  than  to  simply
       “broadcast” an ad at an audience.                   Combined,  these  trends  can  provide  great  new
                                                           opportunities  for  brands  to  build  a  deeper,  more
       4. Cracking the commerce code                       authentic  and  sustainable  relationship  with  their
                                                           customers in 2019 and beyond. ◊
       According  to  Hootsuite’s  report  social  commerce                             By Daniela La Marca
       adoption has been swift in Asia, with 70% of the Gen Z
       in  China  now  buying  direct  from  social,  but  social

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