Little Bits: August 2022 Edition

This month we are happy to share some interesting Media, Content and Design announcements, articles, features and reports along with our take on each, to help keep you up to date with the latest marketing news.

Google exec suggests Instagram and TikTok are eating into Google’s core products, Search and Maps

The TikTok threat to Google’s business isn’t just limited to YouTube, as it turns out. Core Google services, including Search and Maps, are also being impacted by a growing preference for social media and videos as the first stop on younger users’ path to discovery. In a discussion about the evolution of search, Google somewhat offhandedly noted that younger users ages 18-24 were now turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps for discovery purposes.

Our take: Here’s why that’s happening. When you search Google for a “cool bar in Boston,” for instance, you’re greeted with 125m results. On TikTok, the same search will return quick, fun clips of Boston bars. What would you rather: 125m results, or a catchy 12-second video?

TikTok

TikTok’s Dominance is Now Expanding into News and Search, According to New Reports

TikTok’s meteoric rise is both undeniable and unprecedented, sparking whole new trends in content consumption that have flowed onto virtually every other form of media in some capacity. And new reports show that TikTok’s influence may be extending well beyond entertainment alone, with younger users now increasingly relying on the app for search and discovery, and for keeping in touch with news content.

Our take: It’s TikTok’s world, we’re just living in it. For now…

Cookies

Google delays move away from cookies in Chrome to 2024

Google is again delaying plans to phase out Chrome’s use of third-party cookies — the files websites use to remember preferences and track online activity. In a blog post, Anthony Chavez, Google’s VP of Privacy Sandbox, said that the company is now targeting the “second half of 2024” as the timeframe for adopting an alternative technology.

Out take: We called it. Expect more pushes in the future.

TikTok Suspends Planned Data Usage Policy Change Amid New EU Investigation

Previously we reported on this change coming to European users of the TikTok App, however since then the company has come under hot water (more on that below). The app is suspending the use of the ‘legitimate interest’ provision pending an investigation from the EU to prove that the in-app data that TikTok will be using will be in good faith. TikTok stands firm on their position that personalized advertising provides the best experience for their community and brings them in line with industry practices. Last month the FCC Commissioner in the US called on both Apple and Google to ban the app from their app stores due to concerns that it could be used by the Chinese Government to surveil US users (TikTok has since sought to reassure users that their data is safe). Additionally, TikTok was found last month to be failing in in its duty to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content – a clear breach of EU rules and a cause for concern. Bans on the app are unlikely.

Our take: Some of us really enjoy using TikTok, the most successful advertising in the app is when advertisers engage with their audiences and produce content as opposed to your traditional advertisements. TikTok’s decision to use the ‘legitimate interest’ provision was a way to fly under the radar and allow for them to provide personalized advertising to all users even those who have opped out of it. We do stand by the notion that personalized advertising provides the best user experience, however users should be able to choose what ads they are seeing and engaging with.

Instagram Adds New ‘Boost’ Promotion Option for Reels Clips

As it continues to double-, and triple-down on short-form video, Instagram will now enable brands to amplify their Reels clips, via a new ‘Boost’ promotion option built into the format. Instagram says that Boosted Reels will be eligible to appear in feed, Stories, the Reels tab and the Explore page to help new customers find your brand.

To be eligible for boosting, your Reels clips must be less than 60 seconds and have a 9:16 aspect ratio, “which means they’re filmed vertically and have a full-screen format”. Reels that use third-party IP – such as copyrighted music, GIFs, interactive stickers, or camera filters – are not eligible for boosting. In addition to this, Reels which have been shared to Facebook are also not eligible

Our take: It might be a good way to get more people engaging with your Reels content, but really, the ultimate success of your short video clips will be determined by the actual content, and how well you understand what your target market wants to see from your brand and engage with.

Instagram Adds New Business Search Tools Within IG Maps

Instagram has launched a new map search feature, which will provide another way to discover local businesses, and get more information about them, within the app’s tools.

Our take: Everybody wants a piece of that search pie, and Instagram’s native photo/video format lends itself nicely to businesses wanting to put standout in results.

Music

Music Revenue Sharing: A New Way for Creators to Earn Money Through Facebook Videos

Meta announced Music Revenue Sharing, a new monetization option for its Facebook platform designed to lure creators back to its ad ecosystem. This is a new feature that allows creators to use licensed music from popular artists in their Facebook videos and earn a share of in-stream ad revenue. Video creators will receive 20% revenue share on eligible videos, with a separate share going to music rights holders and to Meta.

Our take: Facebook is trying hard to hold on to its users, and it seems their go-to is to hand out cash.

How to Spice up Your B2B Company’s Instagram

Instagram’s Chief Explains the Latest Changes in the App Following User Backlash

After both Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian shared their support for a campaign which calls for Instagram to ‘stop trying to be TikTok’, in response to its latest algorithm and feed changes, today, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has posted a reply, in which he explains several aspects of concern among the IG community.

Our take: We actually covered this in the July 27 Little Talks podcast, but the days of social media channels chasing the latest, greatest, shiny rival platform may be over. Users are on specific channels for specific reasons, and Instagram is finding that out quick.

Meta May Soon Enable Users to Set Up Various Facebook Profiles Tied Back to One Master Account

In the fight to remain relevant and engage current and future users, Facebook is considering how to evolve their platform. One such evolution of Facebook could include up to five separate profiles tied to a master account. These multiple profiles are one of Meta’s answers to user concerns about increased political content on the website. These additional profiles could allow users to engage with niche interests without fear of being judged or annoying others with their opinions. This may be a precursor to the coming Metaverse which may include multiple avatars for multiple elements. It is worth noting that Facebook has tried changing the newsfeed before to include alternative, topic-based News Feeds in the app, however this was largely hindered by spam and repetitive posts.

Our take: We are interested to see how this experiment progresses. Facebook has become its own niche platform and other apps have evolved to fill the gaps that it doesn’t provide. This potentially could drive more user interest in the app.

Google’s “Ads Creative Studio” Tool is Now Available to All Businesses

The Google Ad Creative Studio tool is now available to all businesses and can provide a streamlined way to construct new ad content from your existing assets. Ads can be customized for different audiences, locations, languages, or contexts. Based on your uploaded assets the system will put together customized versions of your ads. The app will provide your new ads in different formats including vertically aligned video presentation which can then be exported for use in your campaigns. Images can also be exported from the Ads Creative Studio straight in the Google Assets library of any linked account.

Our take: Google has a way of creating ads that deliver results. We’re looking forward to incorporating this new streamlined way of creating ad units.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Continues to See ‘Record Levels’ of Engagement and Sessions Growth

As part of its latest performance update, LinkedIn’s parent company Microsoft has shared that LinkedIn revenue grew 26% in the most recent quarter, while user sessions grew 22% – ‘with record engagement’.

Our take: Hard to get too excited about it, they claim “record engagement” every year, but on the surface the math doesn’t add up.

Twitter and Social Media Marketing

Twitter Adds 9 Million Users, Posts Lower Revenue Result Amid Musk Takeover Fiasco

Amid ongoing uncertainty around the Elon Musk acquisition, Twitter has shared its latest performance update, posting an increase in active users, but a year-on-year decrease in revenue, which it’s attributed to challenging market conditions.

Our take: If anyone thought Musk was REALLY going to buy Twitter, we have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Meanwhile, 9 million new users aren’t too shabby though for the Big Blue Bird with no election or pandemic pushing eyeballs.

Facebook’s parent company reports a drop in revenue for the first time ever

Facebook parent Meta was hit with a double whammy in the last three months: revenue fell for the first time ever and profit shrank for the third straight quarter, amid growing competition from TikTok and nervousness from advertisers.

“We seem to have entered an economic downturn that will have a broad impact on the digital advertising business,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors on a conference call. “I’d say that the situation seems worse than it did a quarter ago.”

He said Meta would slim down spending and slow its pace of hiring to weather the storm.

Our take: This is likely the first of many consecutive drops for Meta. When you’re the big dog, there’s usually no way to go but down (and TikTok is right there happy to give you a push).

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