Social media marketing seems to change more than any other industry out there (except perhaps the tech industry itself).

One day, your proven tactic to reach your audience no longer works. One week, a new social platform sweeps the web — only to never be heard from again.

In short, you always have to be on your toes and on the lookout. That’s exactly what Social Media Examiner does. Each year, for the last 10 years, they’ve surveyed thousands of social media marketers and compiled an annual industry report.

Read on for the top three biggest changes to the world of social media marketing this year.

Facebook remains at the top, but its role is evolving.

Sixty-six percent of marketers consider Facebook their most important social platform. But only 49 percent find their Facebook marketing effective.

As 52 percent saw declines in their organic Facebook reach, 49 percent spent more on Facebook ads in 2018. Next year, 67 percent plan to spend even more.

Perhaps that’s why, for the first time in years, marketers say generating leads — not developing loyal fans — is more of a focus on social.

Takeaway: Businesses typically have the largest following on Facebook, so we’ve got to roll with the punches. In short, Facebook isn’t going anywhere. But as we spend more money to reach our audience, we expect more in returns (sales over likes).

Automation is slow to happen. But the shift to "dark social" is fast approaching.

Right now, only 15 percent of marketers are using Messenger bots. But 51 percent plant to in "the future." In short, marketers know they’ll get there but aren’t in a rush.

On the flip side, 41 percent of marketers plan to increase their advertising spend on Facebook Messenger in 2019. Previously, only 20 percent of marketers bought Facebook Messenger ads.

Takeaway: Automation will happen (eventually). But marketers are generally playing the long-game here. Dark social is the problem they need to solve now. As a refresher, dark social refers to any web activity that can’t be tracked and usually refers to messaging apps. In fact, the top four messaging apps have more monthly active users than the top four social networking apps, according to a 2016 BI Intelligence report. Plus, 65 percent of posts shared as of June 2017 were on dark social, found 2018 BuzzSumo data. Facebook Messenger ads will give businesses more control and data on a platform they’re desperate to learn more about and do more on.

Instagram is now the second most popular app for marketers.

Last year, 54 percent of marketers said they used Instagram. Now, 66 percent do. Instagram continues its multi-year increase. Plus, after Facebook, Instagram is where marketers are doing the most advertising. Right now, only 31 percent of marketers regularly use paid posts on Instagram. In 2019, you’ll see more competition as 53 percent of marketers plan to increase their spend.

On the other end of the spectrum, marketers using Snapchat rose a single percentage point from 2017 to 2018. That reflects Snapchat’s overall user growth, which has also stayed rather stagnant.

Similarly, Twitter use fell 6 percent while Pinterest dropped 3 percent. Unsurprisingly, 73 percent of marketers said they have no plans to advertise on Pinterest.

Takeaway: Instagram continues its (seemingly) never-ending upswing. Plan to spend more time and money on the platform this year and next. But know that as more businesses do the same, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to stand out.

On the other end of the spectrum, Twitter maintains its decline. It’s become more of a place for businesses to blast out info than connect or engage. As far as Snapchat and Pinterest go, those, too, have shifted to niche platforms that you don’t have to use regularly unless they match your business’ target demographics.