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Ones to watch: Top social media trends to look out for in 2023

As YouTube launches its music library, virtual influencers sign NFT deals, and platforms battle to offer the best monetization options, 2023 is set to be a year of transformation across social media. Leading digital publishing studio, TheSoul Publishing, shares its predictions for the top social media trends in 2023 and tips on how publishers can leverage these to their advantage. 

The continued domination of short-form content

In 2022, YouTube announced that shorts would be eligible for monetization from January 2023, with creators keeping 45% of revenue generated from their videos. With TikTok expected to change its monetization strategy, we expect to see creators moving their content towards platforms that offer them the most generous opportunities in 2023.

“The race to monetize short-form will kick into a high gear in 2023” says Michael Boccacino, Director of Content Partnerships at TheSoul Publishing. “Whoever offers creators the best deal will win the day.” 

As the platforms battle to attract content creators, new opportunities for brands to advertise on social media will arise. “I think we will see a departure from the old model of traditional advertising in 2023.” says Marat Gubaydullin, Head of Idea Development at TheSoul Publishing. “The general sense is that we are on the cusp of a new phase for platforms and creators alike – and 2023 will determine what they will be in the next few years.”

Consumer viewing habits will drive social media to the big screen

Shared viewing experiences will become a priority in 2023. Platforms are likely to respond by seeking out partnerships in order to drive revenue. Watching YouTube content on TV is already a growing trend, especially amongst families. A recent survey commissioned by TheSoul Publishing found that parents are watching child-friendly content alongside their children as a means of bonding and supporting their digital development. TheSoul’s own popular YouTube content will make it to the bigger screen in 2023, courtesy of its recent partnerships with SamsungTV Plus and Kidoodle.TV. 

Jonathan Shrank, Head of Broadcast Distribution at the company, expects to see these partnerships become increasingly common throughout 2023, especially between streaming platforms and mobile providers. He explains, “As the popularity of watching content on mobile devices continues to grow, we will see more partnerships between streaming platforms and mobiles as well as the onward march of those such as Samsung who offer content options on both.”

There will be new opportunities for music on social media

So far, monetization opportunities for music content on social media have lagged behind video. This is set to change in 2023, as YouTube plans to launch its music library which will make syncing music and video easier than ever before. Facebook has already started to share ad revenue from video content with music authors, which Andrejs Lihvars, Head of Music Production at TheSoul Publishing, says is set to continue across other platforms in 2023. “We’re on the cusp of a big change. In 2023, it will no longer be solely video content that earns revenue on social media – music will also take its share of income from video platforms.” 

Virtual influencers will become a popular marketing tool for brands

The growth of the metaverse in 2022 has seen brands experiment with new platforms and tools to market their products. Social commerce, VR fitting rooms, and metaverse catwalks have all been explored and we’ll continue to see these evolve as demand for personalized shopping experiences grows. 

The impact of this technological evolution will be felt intensely within the influencer industry. The popularity of influencer marketing is growing at pace, with Statista predicting the market value to double between 2020 and 2025. Brands looking to reach Gen Z audiences will have to go one step further than investing in human talent to remain relevant. Virtual influencers are computer-generated characters that interact with consumers across social media and within the metaverse. According to a report by Brandwatch, 40% of purchases made through virtual influencer promotion came from Gen Z or millennial consumers. This will only rise in 2023 as brands realise the opportunity for product promotion provided by these influencers. 

TheSoul Publishing has first-hand experience with virtual influencer marketing, with its digital popstar, Polar.  Patrik Wilkens, VP of Operations at TheSoul Publishing says, “We will see more integration between social media, music and gaming in 2023 and beyond. This will generate a host of new opportunities for virtual influencers within decentralized media. These digital creations offer content creators opportunities to generate revenue through a wide range of partnerships, as well as their own product launches.” 

2023 is set to be a year of technological evolution across platforms, which will bring with it new opportunities for revenue generation. The bravery to experiment with new technologies will see brands reap the rewards from Gen Z and gaming audiences, who are amongst the first to adopt new platforms and technologies.