A Deep Dive into the Luxury Social Media Trends & Predictions for Q3 & Q4
Reading time: 6 min
Exploring the top social media trends and future predictions for Q4
Social media continues to be a major driver of revenue for luxury brands in 2023. For a decade and more, marketing agencies and teams have been able to experiment using incrementally more effective and sophisticated tools to deliver impressive results for brands. At the same time, comfort with sharing their personal information with and purchasing from brands on social media among consumers has grown exponentially.
But what does Q3 and Q4 hold in store for us? We don’t foresee a great deal of change – things are working well for brands and social media platforms now. There’s not much of a push for change from brands given the effectiveness of social media and, especially as CPM costs are expected to decline in Q3 and Q4 of 2023, that means brands can stretch their marketing budgets further.
We’ve got five predictions to share with you. The first three are continuations of current trends but, for the last two, we’ve gone more speculative. We’ll cover:
- Connecting through values and storytelling
- The continue rise of short-form video content
- UGC and micro-influencer marketing
- Livestreaming and social commerce
- Virtual reality and social media
Connection through values and ownable storytelling
If consumers perceive that your brand share their beliefs and aspiration, it can create a sense of belonging and loyalty. This is nothing new but, in an era where the relationship between brands and consumers is like human relationships, luxury brands have understood this and exploited it better than most other businesses.
There is a caveat here. There is the sense that some consumers are beginning to push back against corporate campaigning as seen by recent campaigns launched by Bud Light and Target in America. Our perception here at VERB is that this is something to think about but, for now, it seems mainly restricted to certain demographics. It’s important to remember that, not so long ago, most corporations did not express opinions either way on matters of social justice or on big political decisions (like the 2016 EU Referendum). So, while we believe luxury brands associating with causes are safe for now, it’s prudent for all of us in the sector to read the room on this issue on an ongoing basis.
For brand building and aspirational messages, we still encourage clients to apportion part of their budget to communicating their values through videos, images, stories, live streams, podcasts and other channels. We still see value in partnering with influencers who share those beliefs. We like how Gucci has done this with their Gucci Equilibrium and Gucci Changemakers campaigns. They’re very effective at promoting Gucci’s approach environmental responsibility and diversity, inclusion and sustainability – all great for branding. See the high-quality content they create for this campaign on their website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and other platforms.
Ownable storytelling involves creating unique and engaging narratives to showcase brands’ heritage, craftsmanship, innovation and exclusivity. In addition to cementing the personality of your brand and its value proposition, they evoke desire and emotion in a way that only a luxury brand can. Chanel’s “Inside Chanel” series tells its founder story and explores her impact on the fashion industry through her vision and creativity. They share some great content on their website, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms.
If we really do have relationships with brands now, value signalling and storytelling are the foundations in those relationships.
Continued dominance of short-form video content
Another ongoing trend we’re advising clients to continue focusing on throughout the rest of 2023 is short-form video content. Much of the brand building and storytelling we’ve just praised is successful because of this medium.
Short-form video content is very effective in building audiences and increasing revenue. According to HubSpot, 36% of marketers in 2022 already surveyed use short-form video content and rank it third in ROI. We’re excited by the potential of using short-term video to generate sales on social media platforms that offer in-app purchasing. We see this being an area that continues its growth through the rest of 2023 and beyond.
Short-form video contents allows luxury brands to tap into the preferences and behaviours of younger sections of their target audience who generally tend to be more tech-savvy, socially conscious and individualistic. From fashion shows to how-to videos to behind-the-scenes peeks, they’re really popular and get great engagement. Read our piece on lo-fi content for an off-shoot of short-form video and other content.
An example of a successful short-form video marketing campaign that has lasted for more than five years now is Burberry’s B Series. This is a great mixture of product presentation and FOMO. At launch, the company promoted exclusive, limited-run exclusive products on Instagram and WeChat every month, creating anticipation and excitement among its followers. New launches are no longer every month but generally every quarter.
More UGC and micro-influencer marketing
Building on that, the most successful form of short-video video is user-generated content (UGC). Brands should make every effort possible to encourage followers and brand advocates to create UGC. With the correct permissions in place, your brand can then feature the best of these contributions in future marketing campaigns. UGC is far more trusted and influential than brand-generated content, no matter how talented the team of creators behind it. Brand-generated content performs even better when it includes UGC.
According to a report by Stackla, 85% of consumers report that UGC influences their decision more than brand content, and 79% say that UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. UGC also helps brands to generate more content at a lower cost and reach new audiences through social sharing.
Micro-influencers help luxury brands on UGC marketing campaigns by showcasing products or services in a believable and aspirational way. Key to this is an influencer giving honest feedback in their reviews so their recommendation of your product or service may not be unequivocal but it’s still very positive.
Micro-influencers can also help brands to target specific segments of the luxury market, such as millennials, Gen Z, eco-conscious consumers or travellers. While we still see demand for clients for partnerships with larger influencers, we have certainly been asked a lot more for nano- and micro-influencers in the first 6 months of 2023. We think this is because brands want to segment better, improve ROI (micro-influencers are more effective) and stretch marketing budgets further.
We’re a lot less certain about our next this prediction although excited by its possibilities – livestream shopping. This is the broadcast of live video content, specifically product demonstrations, reviews, tutorials, fashion shows and more on YouTube and social media which allows viewers to purchase the featured items in real time.
For clarity, livestream shopping is a form of social commerce, a broader category of e-commerce that uses in-app checkouts to allow the purchase of goods and services from shoppable posts, stories and ads. Social commerce has taken off and continues to grow in popularity, as we predicted it would in our look forward to 2023 at the end of last year.
In Asia, particularly China, livestream shopping has become a major sales channel for luxury brands. The market is much smaller and less well developed in Europe and North America. We would not be surprised to see Western social media platforms, keen to monetise more of their traffic, invest in this channel. To justify this investment, we believe that they will insist brands use their e-commerce checkouts so that they can take a proportion of sales generated.
This is what happens in Asia and it’s successful. In China, live-commerce sales across all sectors were expected to reach $423 billion last year. Luxury brands there have been experimenting with livestreaming platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou to launch fashion shows and campaigns that attract millions of viewers and generate impressive sales. In the past two years, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon and YouTube have all toyed with it in one form or another with livestreaming and social commerce involving brands like Hermès, Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger.
The impediments to uptake still exist in Europe and North America, particularly around the fragmentation of platforms. The first platform to build a lead and consolidate on it in these areas will reap the rewards as will the brands that use these channels.
VR-related social media experiences
The launch of Apple’s expensive VR headset was the most high-profile launch in the sector since Meta’s introduction of its Oculus headset. However, barely two weeks after launch, the company is more than halving production from 1 million units to fewer that 400,000 because it’s hard to build in volumes. Facebook’s share price recently took a pummelling because of its huge investment in VR and critics have lambasted its version of the Metaverse for not being very popular, the users who are there being aggressive, and, of course, the avatars having no legs.
But we write them off at our peril. While we don’t think the future is necessarily going to be like Ready Player One, there may be a space for VR and AR although we’re not quite sure where yet. Facebook has already shown how VR can enable people to attend fashion shows or explore historic sites through their VR headsets. Louis Vuitton and Porsche France use AR for virtual try-ons and immersive customisation features, yielding millions of impressions and adding to their customer prospect databases. Some of this collateral is already being used on social media sites with 360-degree videos which allow followers to explore content by dragging the view around with their mouse. That’s not really a great advert for the type of 3D immersion VR can offer, however.
We therefore predict that VR will be particularly visible on luxury social media channels for the rest of 2023. However, its value to brands may be in appealing to a niche, technical audience and in driving backlinks on a digital PR campaign for technological innovation.
Looking to the future
As we stated at the start of this piece, we don’t expect major change to occur in the rest of 2023. That’s probably a good thing though. It provides a settled and predictable environment for brands, their agencies and their internal marketing teams. Predictability is profitable. The battle to brand awareness and revenues on social media will continue to rely on effective customer segmentation, smart ad buying, and exceptional creatives.
To discuss how you can do this with Verb, get in touch with one of our account managers. We’ve been working with some of the world’s leading aspirational and heritage luxury brands for over a decade and we’d love to hear from you. To contact us, please click here.