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Hong Kong’s social media landscape in 2019

theDesk - Social Media 2019
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In the blink of an eye, 2018 is history. It was a busy year in Hong Kong’s ever-growing social media industry and with key developments from all of the big social media platforms, the behavior of both users and businesses has been affected. To keep you in the know, we’ve put together some important updates that you should be aware of in 2019.


2018 witnessed numerous game-changing transformations on Instagram, especially with the augmentation of Instagram Stories. New functions like super-zoom effects, video chat, and verified badges, inspired creative users and incentivized more brands to use the platform. Among the 2.66 million Instagram users in Hong Kong, over 60% of them are young adults aged between 18-34 years old. These numbers underline how the young population is driving the city’s Instagram trends and why they’re the primary target audience to keep tabs on.

theDesk - Social Media - Instagram
There were 2.66 million Instagram users in Hong Kong in December 2018, which accounted for 35.6% of its entire population.

Given the continued growth of video as an effective advertising tool, it was no surprise to see Instagram deliver its new video platform – IGTV. The arrival of IGTV and the ability for users to share previews of IGTV videos was a landmark moment for all industry players. The effectiveness of full-screen mobile videos to engage users means that an effective IGTV strategy will be for brand visibility in 2019.

Another update for IG, that will particularly affect those in the retail sector, is the ability for users to save tagged products. This will allow users to create a virtual wishlist, enabling them to shop their favorites at a click of a button. This addition comes as the logical evolution of the recently deployed product stickers. Through stickers, brands have been able to create more interactive shopping experiences that enable users to easily view product information and efficiently click through to mobile sites for purchases.


2018 saw Facebook maximize the ability of brands to advertise in unique and engaging ways with their consumers. Facebook Story Ads, Augmented Reality Ads, and Playable Ads, revolutionized the way that brands deliver messages to target audiences.

Earlier last year, Mark Zuckerberg stated, “Stories are on track to overtake posts in Feed as the most common way that people share across all social apps.” Facebook’s back-end data clearly validates this shift with 68% of people saying they use stories regularly on at least three apps. The improved Story ads will help brands tap into this trend, with features such as Blur and Slo-Mo effects making ad campaigns increasingly immersive. Story ads will support all objectives currently available, such as reach and brand awareness, and Facebook’s full range of targeting and measurement capabilities will continue to assist delivery.

As an extension of their AR tools for Messenger, Facebook is now implementing augmented reality ads to enable users to virtually try on products, such as make-up, directly from their News Feeds. Given the 2.2 billion active users, the ability to target users directly on their News Feeds will give brands greater power to drive awareness and shorten consumer journeys. These ads will enable users, once they’ve tapped to try on the product, to link directly through to the product page to make a purchase. Facebook has been working with the likes of Michael Kors and Bobbi Brown to test out these tools and don’t be surprised to see this ad type really come to the fore later in 2019.
Michael Kors was the first brand to test AR ads in Facebook News Feed, enabling people to try on a pair of sunglasses and make a purchase based on their experience.
Video source: Facebook Business

Try before you buy, that’s the main message of Facebooks new playable ads for game apps. With the aim of encouraging in-app downloads, Facebook is ensuring users can experience a demo of games before installing.


Alongside Facebook, WhatsApp is ranked as Hong Kong’s top social commerce platform with both platforms registering 67% usage from e-commerce merchants. This indicates how WhatsApp’s versatile nature, as a payment mechanism and social application, cements its position in Hong Kong’s social media sphere.

The imminent arrival of targeted advertising to WhatsApp means marketers should be looking to further utilize the world’s most popular chat app in 2019. These ads will be run by Facebook’s native advertising system and will be used as a channel to familiarize users with WhatsApp Business. Serving ads through WhatsApp Status is a logical step for Facebook as the platform recently hit 450 million users and advertisers can easily track how many users have seen their statuses.

In addition to the updates to WhatsApp Status, it’s been noted that WhatsApp Business will be positioned as a major deliverer of ads in 2019. A variety of ad types will be implemented and they will primarily help companies communicate directly with their audiences – a great channel for improving customer service and delivering flash promotions. Over 100 companies are said to already be testing the ad-focused feature, including Uber and Singapore Airlines, and it’s certainly an avenue that companies will want to monitor in the coming year.

In an era in which brand awareness is more important than ever, businesses that are able to connect with potential customers, partners, investors, and local communities, will be ones that flourish. Another great way to connect, aside from through social media, is at your workplace. Here at theDesk, we devote ourselves to unlocking the power of collaboration amongst our members and neighbors. It’s been proven successful thus far and we’re excited to see how these connections develop throughout the year.

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