I’ve been telling creators and businesses to build an exit plan before it’s too late. The way social media algorithms are evolving. There will be only a content engine.
No Influencer, No Creator, No Social Media business. What we would have left is an AI-controlled content engine.
That engine never gives a creator or business enough time to build that connection. Or brand messaging. We all are going to be affected by this. Me too.
Join the newsletter today, Stay ahead of the curve!
May 01, 2023 - 15 min read
This is Jaskaran, And today I’m bringing you a quarterly review of what changed regarding marketing in the last quarter.
Every week a lot is going on regarding marketing & some updates impact your business & some don’t. And I want to look back at what happened and share some insights on social media and marketing. If you're curious about how I know everything about recenr changes. I share the weekly recaps of marketing industry in my free newsletter.
We kicked off the year with Instagram’s CEO sharing his vision & revealing in an interview that Instagram will be back to prioritizing every single Post format equally. And since then many users have been seeing an increase in organic reach for photos. Then we had the “+” posting button come back to its old position confirming that IG isn’t only pushing reels in 2023. Overall content posting is a part of the new strategy.
After that, we saw Instagram test “lead capturing” action buttons in profiles & official launch of Instagram broadcasts. The test feature & launch of broadcasts leads us to Instagram trying to make the platform more engaging & connecting. This is Instagram realizing that if they can’t attract new users like Tiktok. They can make users stick for a longer period. For businesses, this is great news as more features to connect with your followers is a great opportunity to build long-term brand engagement.
Then, the launch of Meta Paid subscriptions in New Zealand, Australia & US. A recent survey shows that businesses & creators will pay for subscriptions to have account security and protect their brand image. As many businesses feel like bot accounts & getting in contact with Instagram is hard and this subscription might help them. The promise of more organic reach in NZ & Australia isn’t what businesses love the most, it's just the cherry on the top.
Some other things going at Instagram are “reels editing tools'' might get a makeover soon & new features to help creators. Monetization features on Instagram are currently on hold. For example Reels bonuses & Revenue from Profile Ads. And at last
Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO is working on providing more of his insights through his account.
The most downloaded app of Q1 2023 & also the most controversial due to the latest US ban issues.
Policy Changes: First they increased enforcement of nudity & NSFW content for teen users in January and also partnered with Meta & Bumble for a project to protect teens. After that InMarch, amid US Ban Tiktok introduced a new set of community guidelines to restrict adult content & tightening the guidelines to shadowban content that is too political and can harm the audience.
Content Systems: Tiktok launched a “Refresh” feature to provide users access to start a new feed if the content on their feed is too repetitive. The focus of this feature is to make sure users find more original and unique content. With the same approach, Tiktok launched “Creativity Program Beta”, a new creator Fund where creators earn more money from creating original content with a minimum length of 1 minute.
With the launch of both of these updates, we are seeing TikTok creators facing low reach on short content under 30 seconds & long-form content with over 4 seconds to 1 minute is getting rewarded more. The new content systems want users to stick for a longer period and that’s why we are seeing a push of long-form content on Tiktok.
Attracting Advertisers: Tiktok is expanding access to keyword-oriented search Ads to more advertisers & attracting advertisers. This showcases the importance of building a presence on Tiktok, many brands are still nowhere to be found when we search their names on Tiktok. The growth in more people searching for products on Tiktok was seen this quarter, that’s why after optimizing for Google search, try to do the same for Tiktok.
Other news regarding Tiktok, The US Ban seems unlikely to happen from my POV. Tiktok also introduced an Instagram-like promote button for businesses to run Ads in a matter of time with a few clicks. This can attract new advertisers & SMBs to test run ads quickly to get started with Tiktok marketing.
I don’t cover the latest e-commerce marketing news & data but people at Insider Intelligence do. They recently released a new free report about the latest e-commerce & retail marketing trends. The data is completely updated, unlike other reports.
You can find the report available to download for free + you might receive more data & insights from Insider Intelligence after the first report. Why? To help you more with doing data-backed marketing.
Mark: The priorities for this year are the same AI for 2023 & Metaverse for the long term. And with that Facebook is using AI more than before to recommend content on Facebook. We also learned from Mark that Daily usage on Facebook hasn’t taken a dip. The platform was successful in keeping users engaged.
Layoffs: So far more than 20,000 people have been laid off and the motto behind that was promoting efficiency.
Advertising & Businesses: A launch of new certifications for companies & agencies to prove their expertise in Meta advertising in January. In February, promoting transparency Meta started sharing more information with users about “Why am I seeing this Ad?”
And now in March, Meta lost a case in the EU about Ad tracking abilities. From April, EU users can opt out of personalized Ads & tracking. Impacting Ad targeting for EU advertisers.
Organic: Facebook introduced the ability to create 90-second reels for users & also shared hints regarding bringing Messenger back to Facebook. And Meta started sharing prompts with Facebook Pages & creators confirming their content is recommendation worthy.
Others: Meta confirmed that Creator Studio will soon go away and merge with the Meta business suite. On the other hand, WhatsApp users in the EU will be able to disagree with the terms & conditions of Meta.
Newsletters: The platform is going all in on this new format, with new features like one-click subscribe, scheduling & showing other users what newsletter people are reading. The efforts are there, but engagement isn’t. Many creators that have email newsletters & repurpose their content to LinkedIn say that LinkedIn subscribers aren’t converting into email subscribers. The reason could be the newsletter feature is now heavily overused and people aren’t reading that engagingly. I have been receiving subscription requests 5 secs after connecting with them.
Organic: LinkedIn’s seeing a spike in user engagement as a tech & other industry layoffs have caused people to use the platform actively. That’s why LinkedIn is also pushing more content. Recently the team announced they will start using algorithms more frequently to suggest content that your connections engage with.
AI Usage: LinkedIn Will use AI to create collaborative content with curated insights from creators & LinkedIn experts. This could help many businesses & experts creating content get recognition through LinkedIn. To help recruiters & job seekers, LinkedIn introduced premium features to use AI to generate job descriptions & profile headers.
Advertising: Document Ads are still one of the best Ad formats in 2023 and to help advertisers platform added a bunch of new service interest attributes, and more than 120 new product interests after doing advertising research. These will help you narrow your Ad targeting for better conversions.
The trend of Youtube Shorts is growing faster than Instagram reels & Tiktok now. One of the reasons behind that is creators & businesses focused on Youtube shorts can easily repurpose long-form content as short-form content by chopping up the content. And that short-form content leads the audience back to long-form content. And this element is lacking on IG & Tiktok, Youtube is providing a better loop.
Creators: Youtube started sharing Ad revenue with Creators from Youtube Shorts. And the new CEO said they are focused on sharing more rev with creators in the future.
Advertising: Music Marketers are also utilizing
Shorts are more than Reels as they can run Music-focused CTAs like “Create a video with this audio” through Youtube Short Ads. And that is not possible for now with reels.
Youtube got rid of Overlay Ads but Introduced a new format of Ads where marketers can run Ads on YouTube's Homepage for a specific time to capture attention during events.
Others: This quarter Youtube provided podcasts a push by bringing Podcasts to Youtube Music. And also added the ability to create a podcast in YT studio.
The year started with Twitter renaming their home feed to “For You” and that feed only included recommended content for a while & that backfired. And now it serves 50% recommendations & 50% of the content you signed up for.
Advertising: In January partnered with Double-verify to fix Ad targeting issues & after that launched “Search keyword Ads” to attract targeted advertisers. Elon promises more Positive Ad changes in February to attract back the Top advertisers that stopped advertising. And still, the Advertising platform is in emergency & needs to be fixed for better Ad targeting.
Twitter Blue: First Twitter said Blue creators will receive a share of Ad revenue. And after that Blue subscribers get access to create 4,000-character tweets. Then a major change was where 2FA access was limited to only blue subscribers. And now we have reached a peak where earned/legacy blue badges are no longer available & Twitter blue is the way to get verified, regular users. While big brands will pay a hefty amount to get blue badges.
Overall: The past doesn’t matter now as after making the Twitter algorithm source code public. Now everyone knows how the algorithm works. We can no longer blame Elon or algorithms for organic reach. You need to nail your content to make sure you are creating content for your circle of followers.
The daily usage growth was there for Snap but the platform failed to reach revenue goals in 2022 as revealed by their earning report. But to keep users more engaged, They launched “Snapchat AI” for premium subscribers and that feature is keeping teenagers and especially Gen-Z attached to the platform.
Snapchat is the home of Gen-Z audiences and also creators. Many creator interviews revealed that Snapchat is paying them the most amount of money to stay on the platform.
Snapchat Influencers are sharing more than regular videos on the platform & which is resulting in better ROI for Brands when they work with Snapchat-only influencers.
The platform also reached 2 million+ paid subscribers & growth in UK teenage users.
The CEO revealed that Gen-Z is adopting Pinterest and half of the video content on the platform was pinned by Gen-Z. With that Pinterest focuses on making video content shoppable this year.
And Pinterest Collage App “Shuffle” was already capturing young users & now they have introduced the ability to tag products. Also, Pinterest introduced a premium Ad Spot that stays pinned to the Pinterest search tab for 24 hours.
With all these features, Pinterest’s focus remains on making social commerce more accessible to its users. And making the user experience better.
Pinterest is becoming an even better place for retail & DTC brands + the platform reached 450 million monthly users.
For the first two months, we didn’t get any major changes to Reddit.
But in March, Reddit announced the End of Reddit talks, expanding further on the that “Live Audio” is dying. As Facebook got rid of Audio Channels & Spotify also gave up on “Spotify Live”. No one talks about Clubhouse anymore. The Era of Live Audio is almost ending with major platforms burying their audio features.
Back to Reddit, The most recent update banning users & communities on a large scale is going on at Reddit. The platform is tightening the policies & banning users to promote transparency showcasing to users in real-time that we are working toward making Reddit a safer place.
Others: Reddit is testing a Tiktok-like feed called “Watch” for video content. In 2020, all platforms jumped on live audio & now which is short-form video.
Obvious: The involvement of AI in Microsoft & Google Ads is increased. And now you can automate asset creation In Google Ads & Bing AI may start serving you Ads from Q2 within the chats.
Silent Winner: Amazon’s Ad business saw the most growth in the last quarter Q4 2022 with a 19% increase.
Google: The Ad policies are getting stricter at Google & also the platform is getting transparent. Recently revealed the platform removed 5.2 Billion Ads in 2022. And now Google launched an Ad library to promote transparency regarding Ads & also to help Advertisers to discover competitor Ads.
Microsoft: The Ad network introduced a lot of new Ad targeting features to improve the Ad network. And now Bing Chat is helping them understand their users better. Bing AI Ads will not only reward Advertisers but the platform is also focused on revenue sharing with creators. They are currently a step ahead of Google.
Walmart: They partnered with Innvoid to provide first-party data to CTV advertisers, improving their Ad Business. Walmart is successfully scaling its Ad business, last year it reached more than $2.7 billion in Ad revenue.
Amazon: The platform is earning more revenue from its Ad Business than from Prime subscriptions. And the profit margins are amazingly high. Why is Amazon Advertising growing so much? The answer is that improvements in the Advertising network system & targeting are very easy. The Amazon Ad marketplace is structured better than any other platform & also the Amazon advertising data helps marketers a lot. In a few years, Amazon’s Ad business is expected to reach the $100B mark.
AI: Some are afraid, many are passionate & few are stressed about AI. Usage of AI in marketing is increasing faster than ever and now we are also seeing Marketing roles requiring AI & promoting skills. The best lesson many marketers have learned from AI Trends is AI can make a selective amount of marketing work easy, which allows marketers to focus on elements & Ideas that require human skills. Adapt to AI & Scale your real-time skills to be a better marketer than ChatGPT or Bard.
Ads: New Heinz Ad campaign was one of the best of Q1 2023 because it captures the emotion of consumers about the brand & product.
Social Media: This Brand “Ovira” is the highlight of Q1 2023. The Brand successfully scaled its whole business with help of edutainment content on Tiktok.
Branding: The new Pepsi rebrand was the highlight of this quarter, a bold move from the brand to recapture nostalgia & also share a new vision for the next Era of Pepsi.
Influencers: Heavily promoted Products by Influencers are now being exposed by Tiktok & Instagram users with #deinfluence. Products that don’t hold value but are constantly praised during the influencer-brand deals.
Design: Marketing Design tools like Canva & Adobe Introduced major AI updates to help marketers create better designs with their tools. Also, Microsoft AI Designer is available to access for now.
Thanks for reading this quarterly review of marketing & advertising industry. You can subscribe below to my weekly newsletter to receive alerts regarding marketing changes on time.