Looking Ahead to 2024

Using social listening to identify trends which are sure to impact 2024

Henry Chapman, Research and Insights Analyst

Identifying two 2024 trends

We’ve had quite the 2023, but we’re already looking ahead to what’s new in 2024. One of our favorite aspects of social listening is its predictive nature, or its ability to identify burgeoning trends within the massive social media landscape. We’ll show you two trends, the enormous growth of artificial intelligence and a shift towards streaming live entertainment in 2024 that we’ve picked up on and show you the indicators we look for so you can also identify the trends essential to your social listening practice.

Trend #1: Artificial intelligence is here to stay

First, we’ll look at the trend that has been all over the digital landscape over the last year: the explosive growth of artificial intelligence and Generative AI. We covered ChatGPT immediately after its November 2022 release, so seeing its dramatic rise over the last year has been interesting.

When identifying a trend’s growth, post volume is the most critical attribute to look for. Beyond the apparent indicators like direction (increasing or decreasing), our team also looks at the rates of increase (is the growth exponential or linear) and overall volume of the trend (how many underlying posts are there). For typical “flash in the pan” events that fizzle out (think a political scandal), we see exponential growth within a short-term window, which rapidly decreases.

Artificial intelligence doesn’t have those indicators which suggest that it’s a trend that’s here to stay. We see a large volume (35 million posts) within the AI trend and stable growth (211% over two years). We see steady, almost linear growth over the last year. These patterns suggest it has durability and staying power as more and more people post about it.

Figure 1: Post volume attribute to artificial intelligence (December 2020 through November 2023); Infegy data.

While post volume is the most critical indicator of a growing or declining trend, social listening tools, like Infegy Starscape can also provide other growth indicators. We use solid emotional indicators like the preponderance of Trust or Joy within social media content to determine how people’s opinions have changed.

Regarding artificial intelligence, after OpenAI’s November 2022 release of ChatGPT, we see massive increases in the distributions of both Trust and Joy. These increases have remained consistent since the release, keeping up with the growing post volume we alluded to.

Emotions attributed to artificial intelligence
Figure 2: Emotions attributed to artificial intelligence (December 2020 through November 2023); Infegy data.

Trend #2: A shift towards live event streaming

We’ll turn to something slightly less obvious but potentially bolder for our second trend. We predict 2024 will be the year for live events, specifically sports, to move to streaming services. Figure 3 shows post volume attributed to a query around live events and streaming from December 2020. It looks similar to the AI graph that we looked at above. We see stable, linear growth starting in 2022 and continuing up to the present. Post volume, on the whole, has grown 85%. Volume is extensive, with 56.9 million posts over the last two years.

Post volume attributed to live events and streaming
Figure 3: Post volume attributed to live events and streaming (December 2020 through November 2023); Infegy data.

The overall post volume graph showed increased market demand (and a growing trend) for streaming and live events. Next, we'll discuss how ESPN and Disney ultimately hope to fill that niche.

Disney and ESPN have had a rough post-pandemic in terms of growth. Bob Iger, Disney's past and current CEO, hopes to reignite ESPN's image as a streaming-first platform. When turning to our post volume graph, we see that there's a ton of ESPN-related streaming growth in the same trend pattern that we've looked at thus far in this brief. We see decent volume and stable growth within our two-year window. These patterns suggest actual market demand for ESPN's streaming pivot.

Post volume attributed to ESPN and Streaming
Figure 4: Post volume attributed to ESPN and Streaming (December 2020 through November 2023); Infegy data.

Next, we'll look at gender trends. These would be particularly interesting for ESPN and Disney because they've got a lopsided audience (very male) and are looking to expand their customer base to more women. We see a predictable, very male audience when we look at ESPN and streaming. However, we see a 613% increase in female conversations attached to ESPN and streaming. This growth suggests a streaming push could successfully grow ESPN's female market share.

Gender Distribution attributed to ESPN and Streaming
Figure 5: Gender Distribution attributed to ESPN and Streaming (December 2020 through November 2023; Infegy data.

Takeaways for your brand

Social listening is your brand's compass for 2024 trends. Our analysis highlighted just two significant shifts: the enduring rise of artificial intelligence and the imminent move of live events, especially in sports, to streaming platforms. There are thousands more for you to identify. For your brand, social listening provides foresight into these trends, offering a strategic advantage to help your company get ahead of the competition. As you navigate 2024, integrating social listening ensures you align with evolving consumer preferences, enhancing your competitiveness in the dynamic market landscape.

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