ICYMI: TikTok World Edition

Here's what happened on social media this week, Sept. 3

Welcome back and thanks for reading! If you’re new here, this is a curated list of trending social content and key platform updates that I share with students and clients.

💻 Roadmap

📲 TikTok’s comms team must be working overtime this week:

  • A new study suggests that ads and influencer content perform better on other platforms if people had seen them on TikTok first. Insert mind blown emoji. For example, you’re ​​31% less likely to skip through a YouTube ad if you’ve first watched TikTok content, according to Whalar’s Science of TikTok study. And watching an Instagram influencer’s content is 43% more memorable if you’re already primed to the content via TikTok. 

    So what does this mean for marketers and the platforms themselves? Whalar’s Social Platform Partnerships Director Sierra Reed kindly replied to my tweet about the study with her thoughts: 

    “If I were a platform, I’d be looking at what makes the content on another platform more effective? I’d also look at the Creators and how we can get them on our platform AS well rather than making them abandon their successfully built channel.

    “As a marketer, I think there’s a real opportunity to deepen relationships with Creators across platforms. Rather than thinking of a partnership that’s focused on one platform, how can we work across platforms? How can we integrate Creators into more of our assets in general?”

  • In another study (funded by TikTok) users reported spending more time on TikTok and less time on other diversions like watching TV, listening to podcasts, streaming videos, reading, news, social media and dating apps.

  • TikTok announced it’s going to let brands and agencies tap into a Creator Marketplace API to access first-party data about audience demographics, growth trends, best-performing videos and real-time campaign reporting so they can make better decisions about which influencers to hire and what to pay them.

  • In related news, aspiring YouTubers are seeing “insane” growth from posting TikTok-style videos to YouTube Shorts. The Hollywood Reporter found 3 creators who shared details around their rapid subscriber growth after focusing exclusively on Shorts. 

    At the same time, TikTok keeps expanding the length of its videos. They’ve gone from 15-seconds to 3 minutes and are now said to be testing 5 and 10 minute options. So while Reels, TikToks and Shorts are fueling growth right now, long form and live video obviously aren’t disappearing.  

  • Finally, you’re invited to catch up on all the TikTok developments on September 28 when the platform hosts TikTok World. The virtual conference, which sounds similar to Facebook’s F8, will reveal new trends and opportunities for marketing partners. Registration is still open as I write this.

🔄 Instagram Swaps: “Whyyyyyy?!” —every micro-influencer on my Feed to Instagram now that the swipe up link is being replaced by a link sticker and the Share to Stories option is disappearing. What makes this even worse is that the roll out (or roll back) of these features seems to be on a random timetable so everyone’s experience in the app is different right now.

On the flip side, not enough people are talking about Adam Mosseri’s recent post about how search works on Instagram — specifically that to show up in search results, you need to put your keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments. Finally, a definitive answer from Instagram. 

📰 No News For You: Facebook is said to be deprioritizing politics and current events in the News Feed based on negative user feedback. There is also talk of Facebook forming an election commission of outside academic and policy experts which would weigh in on political ads and misinformation. If you’re in government, public policy or news, this could have a major impact on the visibility of your posts in people’s feeds and might also affect the newsrooms who staffed up on political reporters over the past couple of years. 

🔵 Twitter Creators: Twitter kicked off their Super Follows feature. Creators can set a monthly subscription price ranging from $2.99 to $9.99 for access to behind-the-scenes content, bonus tweets and subscriber-only conversations. 

The platform is also testing some new privacy features, including the ability to hide your liked tweets. In the words of @alplicable, stop snitching!

👋🏻 So Long Stories: LinkedIn just announced they’re scrapping Stories on their platform in favor of a yet-to-be-announced video experience at the end of September. Following in the footsteps Twitter, which hit pause on Fleets in July, LinkedIn found that the format wasn’t a hit with their users and is re-imagining video to integrate “more tightly with your professional identity.” That leaves Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube with Stories, with a TikTok Stories test underway.

👆🏻Click Thru

🤰🏽Drake v. Lil Nas: Champagne Papi was the first to drop his new album cover art for Certified Lover Boy on Instagram featuring pregnant women emojis. Within a day, Lil Nas had spoofed the album cover, swapping out the women for pregnant men as part of his Montero album “delivery.” The man is a literal master class in making memes.

🌪 Ida Online: The way we view hurricanes has changed thanks to webcams and apps. A surge cam strapped to a pole streamed waterlogged footage throughout Ida while New Orleans residents took to TikTok and Snapchat to share their experiences during the hurricane. There were more than 12 million views on Snapchat's "Snap Map" content from New Orleans as Hurricane Ida hit the city, according to Axios. And students, who couldn’t evacuate during the storm, uploaded vidoes of flooded dorms and ration bag unboxings

👾 Gaming Limits: Teens in China will be limited to just 3 hours of video games per week, unless they can find a way around the new rules the government is imposing. The oversight seems intense but it’ll probably be a while before we fully understand the financial and cultural implications of this policy. 

🚫 Twitch Boycott: Streamers took #ADayOffTwitch on September 1st to bring attention to the “hate raid” harassment some streamers are facing. While viewership wasn’t dramatically impacted, the boycott made a lot of noise and showed the collective power users have to push for change.

🛑 Beware: A high-end sex toy company based in Australia has been hiring influencers for campaigns and then ghosting them. Creators have spent months chasing payments and some have still never been paid. Always sign a contract!

🙃 If you’re feeling particularly fragile these days, these are some good reads to let you know you’re not alone:

  • Over 86% of social media pros say the idea of maintaining and having a good personal social media presence exhausts them and more interesting details from Rachel Karten’s survey of social media managers and the pressure to manage their own social accounts.

  • “The pandemic has left people sick, tired, exhausted, and rattled. It has also changed peoples’ priorities and upended their notions of what is possible.” From What If People Don’t Want 'A Career?'

  • Trauma memes are taking over the internet, according to this Mashable piece, which might be our collective way of healing or deflecting.

  • And then there’s this dystopian profile of the perfect social media manager: never eats, sleeps or goes on holiday.

🍎 School Stuff

I’m very much in back to school mode right now — which includes prepping a marketing lecture I’m giving to some French grad students at UCLA later this month. The program director asked me to come up with a uniquely LA-themed session so it’s going to be about integrated marketing and the history of billboards on the Sunset Strip.

Can you guess which new wave streaming service loves this lo-fi model so much they now own the most billboards on Sunset?! 

Anyway, the point of all this is that there is no one-size-fits-all advice. In LA, entertainment billboards are everywhere you look. But it’s a super regional tactic — we also have skywriting planes to promote new TV shows. Both of these are unlikely to be effective depending on where you live and what you’re promoting — despite my newfound obsession with billboards and OOH marketing tactics. 

Whether you’re just getting started in social media or have been at this for a while, it’s tempting to look for that magic bullet. But any time you see an article with a headline like ‘The Best Times to Post on Social,’ just remember that the advice might be specific to an industry, brand, product, location or audience demographic. By all means experiment with the information to see if it applies to your accounts but never take it as absolute truth.