Social Media Trends for 2022 and Beyond

Sprout Social, The Sprout Social Index™

Social media is a limitless playing field. And isn't that kind of the problem?

Social is finally recognized as a major business function, but hiring your A-team remains a top challenge. Your audience can choose from hundreds of platforms, but you need to know where to meet them. How do you harness that potential and seize today's (and tomorrow's) greatest opportunities?

In our ninth year of reporting on social media trends, we surveyed marketers and consumers across the US, UK and Ireland to understand how they're navigating this transformation—and to predict what's on the horizon.

The Index by the numbers

  • 9 Years of trend forecasting
  • 2K+ Consumers surveyed
  • 1K+ Marketers surveyed

Explore emerging technologies & trends

It serves no brand to stand still in the middle of an ever-changing landscape like social media. Marketers, get ready to leave your comfort zone.

Adopt early, set the standard

Consumers aren't so sure about the metaverse, NFTs or the VR social media revolution. But that means there's an opportunity for brands to lead the way and show their audiences what's possible.

Over the next year...

  • 67% of marketers anticipate investing at least a quarter of their budgets into a metaverse/AR/VR social strategy
  • 39% of consumers anticipate VR/AR/XR will play a role in how they engage with brands
  • 24% of consumers anticipate the metaverse will play a role in how they engage with brands

Choose creators whose authenticity shines

Creators are key players in the future of brand marketing, and authentic content beats follower count. 81% of consumers will unfollow creators if they post sponsored content more than a few times a week.

The most important qualifications of creators working with brands, ranked by marketers and consumers.

  1. Their experience with the product
  2. Their authenticity (i.e., they seem like a real user of the product)
  3. Their use of high-quality content (e.g., visually appealing posts)
  4. Follower count
  5. Their demographics in relation to me/our audience (e.g., similar age, sex, gender)

Build trust by putting people first

Business may measure success by the numbers, but consumers see your actions first. Beloved brands build trust by living up to their community's standards.

When brands take a stand, consumers stand with them

71% of consumers say it's important for brands to raise awareness and take a stand on social issues. Similarly, 48% of marketers say for brands to be culturally relevant on social, they speak out on social issues and embrace brand activism.

Consumers' POV: It is important for brands to raise awareness and take a stand on sensitive topics.

  • 34% strongly agree
  • 37% agree
  • 22% neutral
  • 4% disagree
  • 3% strongly disagree
Bar Graph: How quickly consumers expect a response on social vs. brands' average response times.

A customer-first mindset means high expectations

Marketers hold themselves to a high standard for customer service response times on social: More than half report their average is under two hours. Contrast that with just over one-third of consumers who expect such a speedy response. Nice work!

How quickly consumers expect a response on social vs. brands' average response times.
US Consumer US Marketer
Less than 1 hour 13% 29%
1-2 hours 22% 30%
2-12 hours 22% 23%
12-24 hours 19% 13%
24-48 hours 12% 3%
48 hours 5% 2%
Never contacted a brand on social 6% N/A

Get the full story

See the complete reports to explore more data and transform your approach to social.

Test, learn & evolve

Your brand is constantly competing for consumers' attention—online and off. It's marketers' responsibility to follow your audience and deliver what they want, where they are, when it's relevant.

Find a publishing sweet spot

How often should you post on social media? Consumers say 1-2x per day—though each platform's algorithm is different, so more frequent posting might not be a bad idea.

74% of consumers think the publishing sweet spot is for brands to post 1-2x per day.

Length of content matters

Consumers consider short-form video content to be 2.5x more engaging than long-form. 66% of consumers report short-form video to be the most engaging type of social media content in 2022, up from 50% in 2020.

The most engaging types of in-feed social content

  • 66% Short-form video
  • 61% Images
  • 37% Live video
  • 32% GIFs/memes
  • 32% Text-based posts
  • 26% User-generated
  • 24% Long-form video
  • 13% Audio
  • 11% URL/links to other content
The top platforms consumers and brands anticipate using most in the next 12 months.
Consumers Marketers
Facebook 71% 65%
YouTube 51% 35%
Instagram 49% 59%
TikTok 38% 39%
Snapchat 19% 9%

Try new things

You can't ignore TikTok's rise to become one of the most popular social media platforms. But more than half of consumers are turning their attention to YouTube–and marketers will need to catch up.

Chart your own path forward

The numbers tell a story of human nature driving innovation and change in social today. People are rethinking what it means to engage with brands. In turn, marketers need to rethink how they will lead through the next evolution of social. Not by doing what's always worked, but by charting your own path.

Social media no longer lives in a silo. It's more dynamic and collaborative than ever before.

Get the complete reports to explore the data and decide on your brand's next move.


The data referenced was collected as part of Sprout Social's 2022 Index project. Participants ages 18-75 were recruited by Lucid between February 22 and March 01, 2022 via online survey. Selected US consumers (N = 1,236) and UK & Ireland consumers (N = 1,312) were those who use at least one social media platform and follow at least one brand on social media. Selected US marketers (N = 506) and UK & Ireland marketers (N = 505) were those who hold a full-time job in marketing and were involved (i.e., performed the job themselves or managed someone who does) in managing their brand's social media strategy.

Relationships between variables collected were analyzed using parametric statistics for statistical significance. All data visualized on this page reflects US respondents only.