The Complete Guide to Paid Social: 2024 Trends and Predictions

February 22, 2024

As we head into 2024, it's a good time to explore the latest social media advertising strategies to elevate your business. But what should you focus on? In this article, we'll talk about what's happening in paid social media advertising right now and what's coming up. With trends changing swiftly and affecting how users leverage social media, it's essential to keep up. Let's talk about how you can use these trends to make your strategy even better.

Current Landscape of Paid Social Advertising

Many things affect the market, especially the global economy. For instance, social media ad spending didn't grow much in the first half of 2023, which can be explained by economic downturns, new technologies, and unexpected changes like Twitter switching to X. However, these numbers started to stabilize, and digital ad spending is expected to rise in 2024.

But spending isn't the only concern for brands. They also struggle to keep up with rapid changes in digital platforms, consumer attitudes, and world events.

One notable trend is the rising popularity of TikTok, thanks to its low advertising costs and high engagement rates. YouTube is also stepping up its game by investing heavily in Shorts, making it a strong competitor to TikTok. Additionally, significant investments in AI technology are being made. Meta, for example, plans to invest over $30 billion to enhance its AI capabilities for advertising, Reels, Feed-based, and generative AI projects.

However, let's not jump to conclusions. Instead, let's focus on the particular trends and forecasts influencing the future of paid social media in 2024 and onward.

Emerging Trends in 2024

Consumer behavior significantly influences the paid social landscape in 2024. At the same time, specific trends are emerging that will not only change the way we approach paid social but also impact how consumers view brands.

Video Dominance

Video content is set to maintain its position as the leading format on social media platforms in 2024. This isn't surprising, given that more than half of marketers believe video is the most effective format for achieving marketing goals. Furthermore, 87% of marketers agree that video content drives sales.

In terms of user preferences, short videos - those lasting up to a minute - are particularly appealing to 66% of users. Authenticity is also key for users, which bodes well for brands as short videos remain popular.

However, there's an emerging trend: social media users are increasingly finding longer videos more engaging and meaningful compared to shorter ones. For example, TikTok users are spending more time watching videos that last a minute or longer. Additionally, live-streaming video is gaining prominence, with platforms like TikTok encouraging hour-long broadcasts.

Several factors are driving this shift towards longer videos:

  • Users want more in-depth information about brands and products.
  • User-generated content is becoming essential for social media strategies, promoting authenticity and diversity of content.
  • Longer videos serve an educational purpose and satisfy users' desire for informative content.
  • Video remains an effective storytelling medium, and longer formats allow for more in-depth storytelling.
  • Longer videos often provide more value to viewers due to the effort and information invested in their creation.

It seems that video content will continue to dominate social media platforms in the foreseeable future

AI-Powered Personalization

Studies show that 72% of consumers engage only with personalized content, while 81% of consumers expect brands to meet their needs and engage with them at the right time.

AI-powered personalization, like direct messaging conversations and messenger integration, is key for providing tailored customer service, interactions, and transactions. It's not just about using a customer's name; it's about dynamically adjusting content, product suggestions, and recommendations based on real-time data from user interactions. This level of personalization creates a more engaging and relevant user experience, ultimately leading to more purchases.

Currently, 92% of businesses utilize AI-driven personalization tactics, with 9 out of 10 marketers reporting increased ROI from implementing personalized strategies. Additionally, 24% of consumers believe retailers should use AI to provide more personalized recommendations. Hence, leveraging AI for personalized connections is essential in today's market. 

"Many customers are looking for AI-powered software solutions to make the user experience more personalized. I'm sure it's something that is going to remain a hot topic for a long time to come," says the CMO of DDI Development.

Social Commerce Expansion

Social commerce combines online shopping with social media, making it easy and convenient to buy directly from your favorite platforms. It's not just a fad, it's the future of online retail. Experts predict that social commerce will grow bigger than traditional e-commerce. In the U.S., it's expected to make up 6.6% of total e-commerce in 2024 and reach about 8.5 trillion U.S. dollars by 2030. 

As social commerce gains traction, businesses must use popular social networks effectively to boost sales and influence, seizing the vast opportunities available while staying competitive.

Influencer Marketing 2.0

Influencers aren't just people who have sway over audiences; they're reshaping how trust-based sales work on social media. A study found that one in four social media users bought something based on an influencer's recommendation, and 23% of marketers use influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing 2.0 goes beyond teaming up with social media stars to promote brands. It's about using advanced tools to measure collaboration effectiveness, like AI-powered analytics for selecting influencers, tracking performance in real time, and creating personalized content. This new marketing approach focuses on long-term partnerships, authenticity, and natural engagement.

The impact of AI on influencer marketing is significant. For instance, Meta is actively rolling out new AI experiences across its products, such as AI Personas - AI versions of celebrities that can contribute to the personalized interactions between influencers and brand followers. The future is already a reality.

Interactive Content

Another trend to consider and adopt is interactive content. While the concept of user-centric content isn't new, in 2024 it's evolving in new ways to drive engagement, which is critical to social media and sales success. Did you know that 62.3% of the world's population are social media users, spending an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes daily? For example, users spend approximately 23 hours and 28 minutes per month on TikTok, 23 hours and 9 minutes on YouTube, and 12 hours on Instagram. These are averages that could be even higher for your audience.

In 2024, interactive content and gamification will be key to capturing and keeping the attention of these people. This can be achieved through surveys, quizzes, contests, and challenges that encourage active engagement with your brand. The power of this approach is that it encourages people to take action rather than passively observe.

Additionally, engaging branded games can play a significant role. They should be simple yet captivating, enhancing brand awareness. Interactive content aims to communicate brand values by showing interest in each user's personality, fostering a strong connection between users and the brand. Through interactive content, brands demonstrate that they value and listen to their users, thereby fostering loyalty.

Social Listening and Conversational Ads

Brands need to move beyond one-way communication and actively listen across various platforms, including forums and blogs, not just social networks. Social listening provides valuable insights by tracking customer sentiment, understanding expectations, anticipating trends, and managing reputation. This understanding enables effective communication tailored to avoid alienation and ensure positive responses. Meanwhile, identifying emerging conversation topics allows for proactive adjustments.

Now, let's discuss Conversational Ads, found on platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. These interactive ads initiate conversations with users, offering help, product recommendations, or seeking opinions to drive deeper engagement and actions like website visits or purchases. Conversational Ads are expected to strengthen customer relationships, which will be critical to marketing strategies in 2024 for deeper customer connections.

Predictions for the Future

We've discussed the latest trends in paid social media, but what's on the horizon? What can we anticipate to prepare for upcoming shifts in the market? To help you stay ahead, we've compiled a list of paid social predictions to keep an eye on. By staying informed, your business can adapt and thrive amidst any unforeseen developments down the line.

Augmented Reality (AR) Advertising

Augmented reality (AR) advertising is a growing strategy that enhances consumer experiences and delivers more brand information using AR technology. The mobile AR advertising market is booming, with global revenue projected to reach $6.68 billion by 2025.

How does it work? AR utilizes smartphone cameras to overlay 3D models or virtual objects onto real-world settings. For instance, companies can place QR codes in brick-and-mortar stores, triggering pop-up messages or virtual experiences on users' smartphones when scanned. AR and VR platforms also enable virtual conferences, trade shows, or product launches, offering cost-effective alternatives to physical events.

Integrating AR into social media marketing helps brands stand out and cultivate an innovative, customer-centric image, giving them a competitive edge. For example, Sephora launched a "Find your Fragrance Vibe" AR ad campaign on Instagram. Users could test fragrances by tapping the screen, triggering an AR effects filter matching their ambiance to a fragrance. This campaign increased brand awareness and associated Sephora strongly with fragrances, outshining competitors.

Sustainability-Focused Campaigns

Consumers are increasingly looking for brands that reflect their values, especially when it comes to sustainability. With more than 90% of respondents favoring more sustainable brands, companies need to adhere to these principles. Social media provides an ideal platform to demonstrate openness, transparency and responsibility.

The sustainability-focused campaign trend suggests that brands will emphasize their commitment to ethical standards by integrating sustainable themes into their advertising and brand development. This approach is projected to foster a deeper connection with socially conscious audiences.

Enhanced Analytics and Attribution Models

As customer journeys change, better analytics and attribution models are becoming more crucial in digital advertising.

A big deal in this area is the update to how Google Ads tracks results in 2024. It's changing the way advertisers analyze campaigns, especially when it comes to understanding which ads, keywords or campaigns drive the most conversions. This change moves away from traditional models to a data-driven model, which aims to capture the entire customer journey.

Using machine learning, this model looks at all the touchpoints, giving a more detailed view of the customer journey. While it opens doors to more insights, it also brings challenges. Advertisers need to adapt by rethinking strategies and dealing with the complexity of these new models.

To get the most out of data-driven attribution, advertisers need advanced analytics tools that can handle complex data. Techniques such as predictive and prescriptive analytics will be key to understanding customer behavior and how well different marketing channels are working.

Increased Focus on Social Responsibility

Companies are shifting focus from just making money to caring about social and environmental issues. They're now interested in things like protecting the environment, supporting women's rights, and helping the less fortunate. This kind of policy makes companies look better to consumers, investors, and shareholders, and it generally helps their business grow.

Being socially responsible also builds trust with customers. For instance, if a company regularly donates some of its profits to help people affected by disasters or wars, customers who care about those causes are more likely to support the company.

Socially responsible companies attract employees who want to make a difference, not just earn a paycheck. They see it as a chance to do good in the world. Because of their positive image, companies that care about social issues often have an edge over competitors.

Socially responsible practices can go beyond marketing campaigns and become the backbone of a brand, as evidenced by the example below. 

Lucy & Yak, an ethical clothing brand, makes colorful clothes from recycled materials. Their mission is to use organic or recycled fabrics to create comfy, timeless designs. This promotes responsible shopping, so customers can wear their clothes longer. 

The brand also promotes self-acceptance and a positive body image, attracting customers who share these values. 

Source: Instagram, Lucy and Yak

What's most valuable is the response the brand gets from people. You can see it by reading the comments under their posts.

Customization of User Experience

Paid social is moving towards more customization and better user experiences, and these trends will continue into 2024 and beyond. We can see this with "for you" recommendations on platforms like Google, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, where content is tailored to our past choices. Factors like preferred topics, time spent on the app, types of videos watched, and even content we've avoided are taken into account. Surveys are also used to understand user preferences better, especially when recommending content outside their usual interests.

Social media algorithms are changing to prioritize user experience, focusing on meaningful engagement rather than just likes and shares. They promote interactions like quality comments and personalized shares, using machine learning for personalized content. Algorithms now prioritize relevance over popularity, ensuring content aligns closely with users' interests. For businesses, this means creating high-quality, engaging content to encourage meaningful interactions with their audience.

Regulatory Changes

In 2024, social media platforms will face growing demands to transparently address misleading and harmful content. With the rise of generative AI, managing online content is getting more complex. Compliance will be critical in the fight against misinformation.

New laws are expected to force platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to invest more resources to combat misinformation and hate speech. These laws also prohibit targeted ads based on factors such as ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Meanwhile, each platform has its own rules and guidelines for users to follow. For example, TikTok's community guidelines focus on safety, authenticity, and a positive user experience, addressing issues such as hate speech and bullying.

Furthermore, Google and Meta will undergo annual audits to identify systemic risks associated with their social assets. Search engines will also be required to suppress misleading search results.

Overall, based on past experiences, combating misinformation and hate speech and ensuring a safe environment for brands and users on social media will remain a priority in 2024.


With so many changes happening in the paid social landscape, it can be daunting to keep up with the latest trends and improve sales and marketing campaigns. But don't worry. With this guide and the support of marketing experts, you can increase your sales in 2024. Remember, with the right approach and AI-powered solutions, you can take control of your marketing efforts.

Maya Kirianova

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