By 2021, experts predict 3.1 billion people will use social media. A sea change over the last decade has turned social media from an experimental playground for the tech-savvy to an activity required for almost every kind of job or goal. Adobe’s survey on side hustles showed 74% of entrepreneurs use social media to promote their passion projects. Purpose-driven companies are finding happy employees make for powerful online evangelists. And major brands are leveraging their own customers to co-create, co-market, and ultimately shape branded content through participatory viral challenges.

People are creating like brands--stepping into their own influence (no matter the scale) to empower the things they care about, whether that be a cause, hobby, or business. And brands are creating like people, hoping to win over audiences by being transparent, real, and human.


As content creation becomes a part of everyone’s job, work isn’t happening in silos and content production and visual storytelling is becoming a prerequisite for communicating effectively everywhere from the classroom to the boardroom to the chat room. Professional lines are getting blurry, too. Graphic designers need to think about social channels like marketers, while social media marketers need to hone their visual storytelling skills to keep up and stand out.

In 2019, we introduced 
more ways to collaborate on visual stories and coming up in 2020, we’ll help you craft content for your multi-hyphenated identities by launching the ability to manage multiple brand identities in one convenient content creation dashboard.

Social media is a medium with the highest penetration rate of anything ever in some quarters of the world.

We validate everything—from what to buy to who to date— with a search on social. The feed is your new branded homepage, one that offers 
a much more powerful glimpse into not only 
who you are but how you show up to the 
social media party.

More and more brands are adopting a social-first strategy, in which every share is an opportunity to build an identity that will attract a community. The strategy works because it has the power to convert target audiences to community members to brand advocates. But it requires consistency, velocity, and a high EQ to pull it off. One sizzling ad campaign doesn’t do it anymore. You gotta show up regularly with an offering--something interesting, helpful, delightful, surprising, thought-provoking, 
or simply resonant. And then you have to 
be there to nurture the connections that 
the offering wins you.

That offering is your content. Make sure it 
represents your identity in look, feel, and message. Don’t know where to start? We recommend trying a bunch of things, watching what resonates, and then templatizing what works so you can deliver it with regularity. A few tricks of the trade like aligning on a color palette or a signature font will keep you from reinventing the wheel each time. And a logo or watermark can help ensure your name follows you wherever your branded content is shared.

Social media is the new 
branded homepage

- Jay Baer, Founder, Convince & Convert

Gone are the days when video content was the product of deep advertising budgets and production crews. We need only look at video-sharing network TikTok’s exponential growth in 2019 (and Instagram Stories and Snapchat before it) to see that short-form video content is anyone’s game--and it’s required for success on social. Social media posts with video have 48% more views than plain text or images (HubSpot) and social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined (G2 Crowd). But you don’t need studies to tell you how powerful video can be: it’s live, it’s immersive, it’s emotional, it’s sonic. And it’s now something everyone can and will create in order to move hearts and minds.

In 2019, we provided 
more ways for you to make an impact with social video. Now you can animate text with fresh animation presets, apply a moving sticker to an image, and add a video background to any graphic design in a single tap. Video content is truly just a tap away, so there’s no excuse not to get in on the trend in 2020.

Engaging video content is now at everyone’s fingertips.

Social media got more intimate in 2019. Instagram released the “close friends list” on Instagram Stories as well as Threads, a standalone, camera-first messaging app for your inner circle. Two-thirds of people say messaging apps are where they feel most comfortable sharing information online. And micro-influencer campaigns became the new go-to social strategy for savvy marketers

Social media is still a powerful awareness tool--and most of the discovery is still happening on public feeds. But the brands that will win in 2020 will be the ones who can figure out how to convert target audiences to community members. In 2020, consider how private communities, like Facebook groups, and messaging can supplement your awareness strategy and bring people you reach closer. Then pair specific types of content for every part of that journey.

Beyond 1-1 messaging and micro-communities, content itself is getting more personal. We’re ditching the pitch in favor of virtual togetherness. One powerful example: “How to” content for the last decade has consistently been some of the most popular on the Internet. After all, teaching someone how to do something, showing how your product works, or helping someone accomplish a goal--is a great way to build trust. But the way we’re teaching and learning has even started to shift to being downright intimate. Think with Google noted a massive spike in 
“with me” videos --”cook with me,” “shop with me,” even “study with me”-- in 2019. Instructional content is getting the voyeuristic treatment that we’re seeing on platforms like Instagram Stories and Snapchat and content is becoming a way to connect rather than broadcast.

Ephemeral, episodic story content and unfiltered glimpses into our worlds are becoming more interactive. You’re going live, polling, and pulling others into the conversation. And your public social media content is the ice-breaker towards those deeper relationships.

At the end of the day I believe that businesses grow based on personal connections and conversations. You create compelling content which leads to engagement… for me the word “engagement” means “conversations.”

Broadcasting is out; 
conversation is in.

Just as social media got more intimate in 2019, it also got more ephemeral, which is helping (ahem, forcing?) us to let go of perfectionism in favor of immediacy and connection. In the last decade we saw both the birth and the death of the Instagram aesthetic. Perhaps the shift away from the highlight reel to the real reel is a nod to more focus on mental health issues (one of 2019’s most trending topics) and greater authenticity online. Perhaps things are just moving too fast to stay precious about what we create for a hot social media second only to have it fade into the Snapchat or Instagram Story ether. Either way, if moments don’t last forever, than the creation better be quick and the content real and resonant above all.

That doesn’t mean polished content doesn’t have its place for some brands or that playing to aesthetic trends doesn’t have its advantages. But what’s important to know in 2020 and beyond is that your content can be glossy or grainy, minimalist or maximalist, flashy or understated, so long as it’s uniquely and undeniably YOU. Real is always better than perfect and the new batch of consumers can spot inauthenticity faster than their thumbs can scroll past you.

Millennials ushered in this very hyper curated look. For younger people, what resonates with them is a little bit more messy. It’s more off-the-cuff... it’s not trying too hard.

We’re creating for the beauty of the moment; not perfect aesthetics.

Social media is built on crowd-sourced creativity: We add a license-free animated sticker to punctuate our video clip, we modify that viral image with a new caption to make a whole new point, we co-op hashtags, clapback, callback, and participate in viral challenges. Today, originality comes more from the finesse--that final secret ingredient that’s all your own--than starting from scratch. There are 
no more blank canvases and it’s allowing us 
to co-create toward richer conversations 
at the speed of social.

In 2019, we expanded Spark’s content 

library to include premium design ingredients 
from top social creators. We also allow you to share your designs not just as an artifact but as living, editable document.


















Creativity, when shared, only begets more creativity. And in 2020, we plan to make it easier for you to create a ripple effect by upping the ante around collaboration. That means: more robust design ingredients from 
generous pros who know how to get results and greater control over how your content can be remixed. We heard you want to be able to lock certain design elements in place, while you bring on collaborators to build off and remix content. So in 2020, we’re hyper-focused on smoothing workflows that get in the way of allowing marketers and designers to bring new content 
to market faster.

Remixing is the 
new creating.

As we create more content than ever before, our creation tools need to get smarter in order to speed up the production process. We simply don’t have time to manually resize content for a growing number of engagement channels. And as more people need to create visual content, AI-powered design guidance will become more important. In 2020 and beyond, machine learning will be integral to enhancing human creativity and empowering content velocity.














 

For Spark, that means automating the tedious, like resizing images and mapping color palettes across branded content. It also means, presenting you with responsive suggestions and guidance that will help you traverse the design landscape quicker so you can make better decisions.


In 2019, Spark’s design intelligence, like responsive design cues, smart resize, content-aware layout, and intelligent color mapping technology earned us a Webby Award for best use of machine learning. And there’s no slowing down in 2020. For instance, we’re developing ways Spark can detect which part of your message is the most important and then suggest ways design can be used for emphasis. We’re improving our style suggestions to be more aware of the context of your creation. The tool is getting smarter about detecting focal points in imagery, which will lead to more automagical creation, so you can stay squarely focused on that message, speed, and finesse that is crucial for success.

AI is your new 
production assistant.

- Sue B Zimmerman

- Taylor Lorenz, Internet Culture Reporter, NYT

Steep competition and opaque algorithms have resulted in diminishing returns for social media marketers who have their graphs set to measure audience growth, click-throughs, and conversions. Social isn’t the organic traffic driver it was in the early part of the last decade. But today’s data--the likes, comments, shares, and conversations happening in real-time on social feeds--tells us so much more about what makes humans tick. We can’t measure today’s success by yesterday’s indicators. We suspect--and many of you told us--we’ll be much more focused on real-time interactions and long term relationships in 2020 and beyond.

It's not so much about fame or followers or reach. It is more about phonebook-style relationships, like ‘let's hang out online with different groups.’ I think that's, in some ways, a more healthy way of using social.

Connection is the 
new success metric.

- Jay Baer, Founder, Convince & Convert

What social media trend are you most focused on in 2020? Message us @adobespark and let us know!

The Social Media Trends That Will Shape How 
We Work in 2020

In 2019 our team traveled throughout the U.S. talking to business owners, freelancers, marketers, designers, side hustlers, students, and influencers about their social media and content creation habits. We’ve pored over data, conducted surveys, and spent hundreds of hours synthesizing insights from Adobe Spark users and social media experts with the goal of making Spark your go-to content creation tool. Several broad, interesting insights emerged in the process. Here are the 2020 trends that will shape not only what we create for social, but how we create it and why.

nobody:

absolutely nobody:

not a single soul:

social media: ...

There’s a new kind of social media marketer (Spoiler: it’s everyone).

- Peter O’Donovan, Senior Computer Scientist, Design Intelligence, Adobe

The driving question of our artificial intelligence is always ‘How can we help you get results without you having to sweat the details?

The Social Media Trends That Will Shape How 
We Work 
in 2020

In 2019 our team traveled throughout the U.S. talking to business owners, freelancers, marketers, designers, side hustlers, students, and influencers about their social media and content creation habits. We’ve pored over data, conducted surveys, and spent hundreds of hours synthesizing insights from Adobe Spark users and social media experts with the goal of making Spark your go-to content creation tool. Several broad, interesting insights emerged in the process. Here are the 2020 trends that will shape not only what we create for social, but how we create it and why.

nobody:
absolutely nobody:   
 not a single soul:   
 
social media: ...

There’s a new kind of social media marketer (Spoiler: it’s everyone).

By 2021, experts predict 3.1 billion people will use social media. A sea change over the last decade has turned social media from an experimental playground for the tech-savvy to an activity required for almost every kind of job or goal. Adobe’s survey on side hustles showed 74% of entrepreneurs use social media to promote their passion projects. Purpose-driven companies are finding happy employees make for powerful online evangelists. And major brands are leveraging their own customers to co-create, 
co-market, and ultimately shape branded content
through participatory 
viral challenges.

People are creating like brands--stepping into their own influence (no matter the scale) to empower the things they care about, whether that be a cause, hobby, or business. And brands are creating like people, hoping to win over audiences 

by being transparent, 
real, and human.

As content creation becomes a part of everyone’s job, work isn’t happening in silos and content production and visual storytelling is becoming a prerequisite for communicating effectively everywhere from the classroom to the boardroom to the chat room. Professional lines are getting blurry, too. Graphic designers need to think about social channels like marketers, while social media marketers need to hone their visual storytelling skills to keep up and stand out.

In 2019, we introduced 
more ways to collaborate
 on visual stories and coming up in 2020, we’ll help you craft content for your multi-hyphenated identities by launching the ability to manage multiple brand identities in one convenient content creation dashboard.

Social media is a medium with the highest penetration rate of anything ever in some quarters of the world.

- Jay Baer, Founder, Convince & Convert

We validate everything—from what to buy to who to date— with a search on social. The feed is your new branded homepage, one that offers 
a much more powerful glimpse into not only who you are but how you show up to the 
social media party.

More and more brands are adopting a social-first strategy, in which every share is an opportunity to build an identity that will attract a community. The strategy works because it has the power to convert target audiences to community members to brand advocates. But it requires consistency, velocity, and a high EQ to pull it off. One sizzling ad campaign doesn’t do it anymore. You gotta show up regularly with an offering--something interesting, helpful, delightful, surprising, thought-provoking, or simply resonant. And then you have to be there to nurture the connections that 
the offering wins you.

That offering is your content. Make sure it 
represents your identity in look, feel, and message. Don’t know where to start? We recommend trying a bunch of things, watching what resonates, and then

templatizing what works so you can deliver it with regularity. A few tricks of the trade like aligning on a color palette or a signature font will keep you from reinventing the wheel each time. And a logo or watermark can help ensure your name follows you wherever your branded content 
is shared.

Social media is 
the new branded 
homepage

Gone are the days when video content was the product of deep advertising budgets and production crews. We need only look at video-sharing network TikTok’s exponential growth in 2019 (and Instagram Stories and Snapchat before it) to see that short-form video content is anyone’s game--and it’s required for success on social. Social media posts with video have 48% more views than plain text or images (HubSpot) and social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined (G2 Crowd). But you don’t need studies to tell you how powerful video can be: it’s live, it’s immersive, it’s emotional, it’s sonic. And it’s now something everyone can and will create in order to move hearts and minds.

In 2019, we provided 
more ways for you to make an impact with social video. Now you can animate text with fresh animation presets, apply a moving sticker to an image, and add a video background to any graphic design in a single tap. Video content is truly just a tap away, so 
there’s no excuse not to get in on the 
trend in 2020.

Engaging video content is now at everyone’s fingertips.

Social media got more intimate in 2019. Instagram released the “close friends list” on Instagram Stories as well as Threads, a standalone, camera-first messaging app for your inner circle. Two-thirds of people say messaging apps are where they feel most comfortable sharing information online. And micro-influencer campaigns became the new 
go-to social strategy 
for savvy marketers

Social media is still a powerful awareness tool--and most of the discovery is still happening on public feeds. But the brands that will win in 2020 will be the ones who can figure out how to convert target audiences to community members. In 2020, consider how private communities, like Facebook groups, and messaging can supplement your awareness strategy and bring people you reach closer. Then pair specific types of content for every part of that journey.

Beyond 1-1 messaging and micro-communities, content itself is getting more personal. We’re ditching the pitch in favor of virtual togetherness. One powerful example: “How to” content for the last decade has consistently been some of the most popular on the Internet. After all, teaching someone how to do something, showing how your product works, or helping someone accomplish a goal--is a great way to build trust. But the way we’re teaching and learning has even started to shift to being downright intimate. Think with Google noted a massive spike in 
“with me” videos
 --”cook with me,” “shop with me,” even “study with me”-- in 2019. Instructional content is getting the voyeuristic treatment that we’re seeing on platforms like Instagram Stories and Snapchat and content is becoming a way 
to connect rather than broadcast.

Ephemeral, episodic story content and unfiltered glimpses into our worlds are becoming more interactive. You’re going live, polling, and pulling others into the conversation. And your public social media content is the ice-breaker towards those deeper relationships.

At the end of the day I believe that businesses grow based on personal connections and conversations. You create compelling content which leads to engagement… for me the word “engagement” means “conversations.”

Broadcasting is out; 
conversation is in.

- Sue B Zimmerman

Just as social media got more intimate in 2019, it also got more ephemeral, which is helping (ahem, forcing?) us to let go of perfectionism in favor of immediacy and connection. In the last decade we saw both the birth and the death of the Instagram aesthetic. Perhaps the shift away from the highlight reel to the real reel is a nod to more focus on mental health issues (one of 2019’s most trending topics) and greater authenticity online. Perhaps things are just moving too fast to stay precious about what we create for a hot social media second only to have it fade into the Snapchat or Instagram Story ether. Either way, if moments don’t last forever, than the creation better be quick and the content real and 
resonant above all.

That doesn’t mean polished content doesn’t have its place for some brands or that playing to aesthetic trends doesn’t have its advantages. But what’s important to know in 2020 and beyond is that your content can be glossy or grainy, minimalist or maximalist, flashy or understated, so long as it’s uniquely and undeniably YOU. Real is always better than perfect and the new batch of consumers can spot inauthenticity faster than their thumbs can scroll 

past you.

Millennials ushered in this very hyper curated look. For younger people, what resonates with them is a little bit more messy. It’s more off-the-cuff... it’s not trying too hard.

We’re creating for the beauty of the moment; not perfect aesthetics.

- Taylor Lorenz, Internet Culture Reporter, NYT

Social media is built on crowd-sourced creativity: We add a license-free animated sticker to punctuate our video clip, we modify that viral image with a new caption to make a whole new point, we co-op hashtags, clapback, callback, and participate in viral challenges. Today, originality comes more 
from the finesse--that 
final secret ingredient that’s all your own--than starting from scratch. 
There are no more blank canvases and it’s allowing us to co-create toward 
richer conversations 
at the speed of social.

In 2019, we expanded Spark’s content library 
to include premium design ingredients from top social creators. We also allow you to share your designs not just as an artifact but as living, editable document.


















Creativity, when shared, only begets more creativity. And in 2020, we plan to make it easier for you to create a ripple effect by upping the ante around collaboration. That means: more robust design ingredients from 
generous pros who know how to get results
 and greater control over how your content can be remixed. We heard you want to be able to lock certain design elements in place, while you bring on collaborators to build off and remix content. So in 2020, we’re hyper-focused on smoothing workflows that get in the way of allowing marketers and designers 
to bring new content 
to market faster.

Remixing is the 
new creating.

As we create more content than ever before, our creation tools need to get smarter in order to speed up the production process. We simply don’t have time to manually resize content for a growing number of engagement channels. And as more people need to create visual content, AI-powered design guidance will become more important. In 2020 and beyond, machine learning will be integral to enhancing human creativity and empowering content velocity.











For Spark, that means automating the tedious, like resizing images and mapping color palettes across branded content. It also means, presenting you with responsive suggestions and guidance that will help you traverse the design landscape quicker so you can make better decisions.

In 2019, Spark’s design intelligence, like responsive design cues, smart resize, content-aware layout, and intelligent color mapping technology earned us a Webby Award for best use of machine learning
. And there’s no slowing down in 2020. For instance, we’re developing ways Spark can detect which part of your message is the most important and then suggest ways design can be used for emphasis. We’re improving our style suggestions to be more aware of the context of your creation. The tool is getting smarter about detecting focal points in imagery, which will lead to more automagical creation, so you can stay squarely focused on that message, speed, and finesse that is crucial for success.

AI is your new 
production assistant.

- Peter O’Donovan, Senior Computer Scientist, Design Intelligence, Adobe

The driving question of our artificial intelligence is always ‘How can we help you get results without you having to sweat the details?

Steep competition and opaque algorithms have resulted in diminishing returns for social media marketers who have their graphs set to measure audience growth, click-throughs, and conversions. Social isn’t the organic traffic driver it was in the early part of the last decade. But today’s data--the likes, comments, shares, and conversations happening in real-time on social feeds--tells us so much more about what makes humans tick. We can’t measure today’s success by yesterday’s indicators. We suspect--and many of you told us--we’ll be much more focused on real-time interactions and long term relationships in 2020 
and beyond.

It's not so much about fame or followers or reach. It is more about phonebook-style relationships, like ‘let's hang out online with different groups.’ I think that's, in some ways, a more healthy way of using social.

Connection is the 
new success metric.

- Jay Baer, Founder, Convince & Convert

What social media trend are you most focused on in 2020? Message us @adobespark and let us know!

Edit this template

Edit this template

Edit this template

Edit this template

Edit this template

Edit this template

Edit this template

Edit this template

Edit this template