As the days grow shorter and the autumn leaves begin to fall, it’s time to reflect on the innovation, strategy, and industry developments that have emerged in the last month. Continue reading for September’s digital marketing and industry highlights!
Social Media Updates
There are several key trends and insights making impacts in the social media landscape for 2023. The importance of the short-form video trend continues to grow, with TikTok leading the way and social media platforms becoming more focused on entertainment over personal connections. Trends relating to specific platforms are also noted, such as the increased usage of LinkedIn, the mixed response to the name change of Twitter (formerly known as X), and the challenges faced by X in attracting advertisers due to concerns over moderation and controversial stances. While these trends may not represent major shifts, they are essential considerations for social media marketers as they plan their strategies for the remainder of the year.
YouTube has introduced several new creative tools and features, including its first generative AI elements, to align with current trends and enhance content creation. One of the highlights is the “Dream Screen” generative AI feature, allowing creators to add AI-generated images or video backgrounds to YouTube Shorts. This move brings YouTube in line with platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram, which are also experimenting with generative AI elements. YouTube has also launched “YouTube Create,” a free video editing and creation app like TikTok’s CapCut, providing creators with various editing options and features like audio clean-up, auto-captions, filters, effects, transitions, and access to royalty-free music. Additionally, YouTube introduced an AI ideas generator, automatic dubbing tools, and assistive search in Creator Music to enhance content creation and discoverability. These updates aim to spark creativity among YouTube creators and provide more convenient tools for content production.
TikTok has officially launched its TikTok Shop in the United States, aiming to integrate commerce and content to revolutionize online shopping culture. TikTok Shop introduces shoppable videos and live streams into users’ “For You” feeds, offering tools for brands, merchants, and creators to sell products within the TikTok ecosystem. This feature extends to the search bar, a dedicated “Shop Tab” for brands to showcase products and promotions, and “Fulfilled by TikTok,” a logistics solution where TikTok manages storage, packing, and shipping. The platform also includes an affiliate program for influencers and creators. TikTok Shop has integrated with major e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, making it easier for existing sellers to start selling on TikTok.
Amazon is set to introduce ads to TV shows and movies on its Prime Video streaming service in early 2024 in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada, with plans to have “meaningfully fewer ads” than traditional TV and other streaming providers. This move represents a significant effort to monetize Prime Video and could appeal to brands looking to connect with consumers through streaming platforms. Prime subscribers can avoid ads by paying an additional fee, but live sports programming will still include commercials. This decision could also boost Amazon’s advertising business, which has seen rapid growth. It’s part of a broader trend among streaming platforms to include ads in their services to attract more advertising dollars away from traditional TV.
Bluesky, a decentralized social media platform and alternative to Twitter, experienced its biggest influx of new users, with over 42,000 signing up in a single day, totaling 53,585 by the end of September 19th. This surge in sign-ups came just one day after Elon Musk, during a livestream with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced plans to charge all X (formerly Twitter) users a “small monthly payment” to use the platform. Bluesky, which is backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, saw a significant uptick in new users compared to its typical daily sign-up numbers. While it’s unclear whether Musk’s comments directly influenced this surge, they may have played a role in drawing users to Bluesky as an alternative.
Instagram is reportedly testing the ability to create Reels that are up to 10 minutes long. Currently, Reels on Instagram are limited to 15 to 90 seconds in length if recorded using the platform’s in-app camera. However, if users upload Reels through third-party scheduling tools, they can be up to 15 minutes long. This move toward longer-form video content appears to be Instagram’s response to the popularity of platforms like TikTok and YouTube, which have both offered longer video options. While these tests are currently internal, if implemented, they would allow content creators to post more in-depth content without the need for splitting videos into multiple parts.
Marketing automation leaders face the challenge of incorporating new technologies while maintaining the quality of older methods in campaigns and customer engagement. Three key areas where marketing automation can help include data quality and consistency, integrating processes with sales, and evolving marketing operations. Data quality is essential for marketing automation, with marketers needing to be agile yet consistent in data management to drive personalization in campaigns. Integrating sales insights with leads can improve the efficiency of sales teams and shorten the learning curve for new account executives. Marketing automation platforms have the potential to bridge silos within organizations, empowering teams with native integrations and AI tools like chatbots.
A recent study by online advertising network, Chitika, underscores the significance of achieving a high ranking in organic search results. The data reveals that the top position in organic search captures 33% of the traffic, compared to 18% for the second spot, with a steady decline in traffic beyond that. Additionally, the study indicates a substantial drop in traffic between the first and second pages of search results, with the first page receiving 92% of all traffic from average searches, while the second page’s traffic drops by 95%. This emphasizes the importance of ranking higher in search engine results for websites reliant on organic search traffic. The findings highlight the value of effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies in improving online visibility and engagement with potential customers.
The advertising industry is struggling with the need for regulation in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) as AI-powered tools and technologies become increasingly essential to marketing efforts. Many experts agree that clear boundaries and regulations should be established to ensure the responsible use of AI in advertising. The absence of boundaries raises concerns about issues like bias, cybersecurity, and the protection of intellectual property. While regulation is seen as essential by many, there is also an understanding that AI can complement human creativity rather than replace it, if AI tools are used thoughtfully and in conjunction with human oversight. Balancing innovation with regulation remains a challenge as the industry navigates the complex intersection of automation and creativity.
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