As always, there were some exciting social media updates to discuss at The Lighthouse Social Summit on 29 September 2022.
Below is the summary of all of the updates discussed by Luan Wise and Andy Lambert… keep reading, or watch the recording:
Trends and Data
- Social media as a source of news
- Facebook trends
- Instagram Reels usage
- TikTok continues to be a thorn in Instagram’s side
- Social media usage demographics
- The rise of BeReal
- Meta updates
- Twitter updates
- LinkedIn updates
- TikTok updates
- YouTube updates
- Snapchat updates
Trends and Data
Social media as a source of news
This data point is very interesting and is something that Andy recommends all marketers pay attention to. It essentially means that news is a key reason of intent for many people going on social media. This is important to know as you can essentially tailor your niche into providing topical updates on your socials depending on what is happening in the world. Out of all of the platforms, Facebook is the main place that consumers go to get their news, followed by YouTube.
However, the change in the number of users who go to a particular platform for news purposes is a key piece of data. Unsurprisingly, Facebook has seen a drop in numbers from 2020, which is common across many of the demographics for the platform. Further, TikTok has seen a dramatic increase since 2020, which is also not too surprising. Even though it is not surprising, what is interesting to debunk is why video content seems to be increasingly popular for people wanting news updates. Andy suggests that is likely because people are searching for people that they trust, and are wanting news from their perspective, on their own terms. Trust in the media is declining, and so people are placing their trust in content creators online.
Luan adds that there are likely generational differences in where people go for their news. This may explain the increase in popularity of the likes of TikTok and YouTube. Also, the ability to search and discover is perhaps the attraction to many consumers.
Currently, video makes up 50% of the time people spend on Facebook. Despite some people voicing concerns over the algorithm, it still remains the most popular platform. This shows that users of the platform have not been deterred by its recent updates, instead they are just adjusting to it.
Facebook is pushing towards more video-form content. The platform recently shared four factors that influence distribution of videos (inc. Reels).
- Originality- no reposting from other apps, especially with watermarks
- Capture and retain attention- get people watching until the end of the video
- Loyalty and intent- aim for people coming back to watch your content
- Engagement- the classic engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, etc.
Therefore, this is becoming less about your audience reach, and more towards an almost TikTok style of ‘recommended content’. This is a key update, especially for small businesses as it means that content can now be viewed by more people who are not currently following you.
Instagram Reels usage
Since the shift in the platform’s preference for video content, there has been an evolution of Instagram Reels usage. Reels alone only make up around 20% of a typical brand’s content. So, although this number has increased over time, it is still a minority. However, when looking at the evolution of the interaction with Instagram content, Reels attract the most interaction. For Instagram, the format you choose is almost key right now. Content is of course, highly important. But the format is becoming more and more crucial.
TikTok continues to be a thorn in Instagram’s side
Despite Instagram adopting TikTok’s focus on video content, TikTok users are still spending 10x the amount of time on the platform vs. Instagram. The time that users spend on platforms is a key metric to consider, arguably more important than monthly active users.
In recent months, Reels engagement has dropped 13.6%. It is essentially back to where it was 6 months ago. It is ever-evolving and so unpredictable. So, an important thing to consider is that balance between the message and the format. Even though we do not have much control over how specific platforms favour specific content, as long as you are continuing to post and keeping updated with any changes, you will be as prepared as you can be.
Social media user demographics
For social media use, the data can be quite conflicting depending on what you are measuring. For this, it is crucial to split the data into two groups: monthly active users and time spent on the platform.
When thinking about a strategy for Gen Z, it is of course important to consider their age- birth years between 2004-2012. Instagram is the platform that someone who is Gen Z is likely using, followed by TikTok and then Snapchat.
Although a lot of this is important to consider, Gen Z are also heavily influenced by friends and family, even of other generations. So, isolating a generational group may not be the best strategy.
In the UK, demographics are incredibly well balanced. The average social media use by demographic shows that Gen Z spend the most time on social media, followed by Gen X and then Millennials. So, 35–44-year-olds are currently more active than 25–34-year-olds. In terms of average time spent per day in the US, TikTok is taking the lead with 45.8 minutes, with YouTube following slightly behind with 45.6 minutes. Globally, TikTok heavily surpasses any other platform with an average of 94 minutes a day, and YouTube shows an average watch time of 73 minutes a day.
The rise of BeReal
BeReal is rising in popularity, with millions of people now sharing a snippet of their day at any given moment. But the question poses- how can brands utilise this growing platform? It is still in its early stages, but Luan shared an interesting story about a fast-food brand using it to promote its food and discount codes. Although they are in the minority, it is certainly interesting to get an insight into its usability for future strategies. The authenticity of the app is what drives its popularity, but it is important to consider how new it is in the social media world before diving into the app with any form of marketing strategy.
As always, Luan and Andy conclude their social media update by discussing some of the latest feature updates on the many platforms, and what this may mean for those of us in the marketing world.
- Instagram introduce tools to manage content quality, which encourages the use of emojis and levelled up words and phrases.
- Feed post recommendation criteria were released to understand what Instagram is pushing, including:
- Dwell time on posts
- The likelihood of a user commenting on a post
- The likelihood of a user liking a post
- The likelihood of a user re-sharing a post
- The likelihood of a user tapping through to the creators’ profile
- Topics have been added for Reels, so you can tag it to a certain genre and help your content to appear in certain recommendations
- A reposting feature is being tested to allow your content to be shared with a wider audience
- Videos on stories up to 60 seconds will no longer be broken up into segments
- The ability to make Reels from a story is now much easier
- Facebook video posts can now be auto-created into Reels
- ‘Community Chats’ have now been launched in groups
- The ‘Creator Endorsement’ feature now means that fellow creators can endorse each other. It will be very interesting to see how this feature is utilised in the creator community and whether this will become a form of monetisation.
- Facebook is spotlighting ‘Rising Creators’ on our feeds
- Twitter has launched ‘Circles’, in which we can form smaller communities and select people to share our thoughts with.
- Replies can now be ‘pinned’, which is an interesting development for engagement and providing further information
- ‘Spaces’ is an audio feature that was launched around 18 months ago, but it is becoming more and more popular. Spaces can also be scheduled, up to 10 Spaces at once.
- Twitter has started focusing more on podcasting and is becoming a podcasting platform. Potentially this is because of the rising popularity of podcasts on mobile devices and audio-only content is still in demand.
- Sharing to other platforms from Twitter is now much easier. Now, content can be shared directly to Instagram stories, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and other platforms.
- LinkedIn has launched an audio event promotion. From this, you can create an audio-only event in which you can host and interact with your community in real-time. The growth of this feature will be very interesting to watch and to see how creators utilise the feature.
- TikTok’s ‘retention’ metric has been rolled out and is becoming more and more useful for creators. Short-form content relies heavily on this metric and so having it in the analytics section of the platform is ideal. We can see when people are ‘dropping off’ from the content we post in order to optimise our content.
- ‘Activity status’ is now available in which users can show their followers when they are active or recently active. This feature will be useful for those who prefer real-time interaction.
- TikTok insights is a free feature where you can see different audience types, industries and specific metrics related to that demographic.
- It is now easier to share content to other platforms, including Reddit, Facebook and Instagram. However, something to consider is the potential effect that repurposed content can have on your engagement on other platforms. The watermark will remain and platforms such as Instagram will not rank it as highly.
- ‘TikTok Now’ has adopted the BeReal concept in which users capture photos and videos of what they are doing each day. Currently in the UK, this is a separate app. However, in the US it is a feature in-built into TikTok.
- The search feature is much more prominent and shows trending searches. This is such a key feature because of the rising popularity of people searching on platforms. A lot of consumers, especially Gen Z, will search on social platforms before search engines when wanting to find information. This will have a huge impact on how content is discovered and almost adds a shift into how we strategize on social media.
- Description characters have been increased to 2,000. This is another big update as it is now able to post long-form copy. Now, you have more ability to utilise keywords and SEO on TikTok. This update goes hand-in-hand with the search feature update- both steered towards searching.
- TikTok lives now supports up to 5 guests. This is great for collaboration and reaching audiences that you otherwise might not have been pushed out to.
- Ads have now come to YouTube Shorts. Similar to Instagram reels, this is another way for brands to monetise their short-form video content. However, what is interesting is the way creators are paid for these ads. YouTube shorts gives creators a 45% split of ad revenue, similar to long-form YouTube content. This is important because, with more money, more creators will move to the platform. When creators move to that platform, they take their audience with them. It is more important than ever to be considering YouTube in your strategy.
- Shorts comments can be replied to with a video, which is another way to have an added level of depth to engagement with your audience.
- Snapchat has released a ‘Question Sticker’, similar to other platforms where your audience can engage further.
As always, there was lots of information and data shared with us, so here are the top five takeaways from this session.
- Consider Facebook and Instagram’s recommendation logic- it’s not black magic…
- TikTok continues to evolve faster than the other social apps
- Keep an eye on BeReal
- Reels in unpredictable at the moment- it’s not you!
- Content repurposing has never been easier
Join Luan and Andy for future social media update webinars – visit our events page for details.