From recent research into digital marketing trends, there is newfound support for what we have been reporting at this blog over a period of years. The entire landscape of the industry is transforming to become potentially unrecognizable to people who were starting campaigns ten or even just five years ago. As a key part of that change, there is now a much different distribution of the demand for digital marketing on the various mainstream platforms.

Ad revenues for TikTok increased by approximately 140 percent in 2022, while revenues for Facebook and Instagram were collectively down almost four percent. This, of course, reflects broader digital marketing trends that have seen an expanding variety of demographics using the comparatively newer video-sharing app, and being more receptive to branded messages while doing so.

It was not long ago that we were highlighting the importance of marketing on TikTok as a way of reaching younger consumers. But as the established digital marketing trends continue to evolve, it seems increasingly apparent that the once youth-oriented platform is becoming an indispensable tool for digital marketing in the general sense. At the same time, these trends underscore the inherent long-term unpredictability of the industry, and the possibility that TikTok’s emerging role could be challenged in much the same way as Facebook’s was at its peak.

In fact, there are already new players in the social media landscape, such as BeReal and Lemon8, which are making their presence known within niche markets and could break out into the mainstream in a matter of months. Some of these have actually shown faster growth in their first year or two than Instagram and Snapchat demonstrated at a similar stage. The successive rise and fall of similar websites and apps should leave little question about the importance of close, long-term monitoring digital marketing trends.

At the same time, marketing professionals and their clients should remain open to the possibility that those trends will point to an overall flattening of the industry, and thus to the need for a reevaluation of future investments. There is already data pointing in this direction. Despite the substantial growth from TikTok over the past year, ad spending on all social media increased by only 3.7 percent despite economic recovery, whereas growth in the previous year was a remarkable 37 percent.

It is too early to tell whether long-term digital marketing trends will support this change. If they do, the industry will no doubt continue to grow steadily, albeit at a much slower pace. And a less dynamic situation may prove to be a blessing in disguise, especially for those who prepared in advance. It may allow digital marketers to set up long-term strategies with at least some measure of confidence that it won’t be interrupted by major shakeups to the industry.

In that case, they will also be able to train their attention on other, less familiar digital marketing trends, in order to determine where best to target their client’s budgets, apart from upstart social media platforms.