Report: How Gen Z Social Search Changed Product Discovery

As Gen Z increasingly embraces social search to discover new products, marketers are finding new opportunities to leverage data and create new organic paths to purchase.

‘Passive’ Product Discovery: How Data Creates A New Path to Purchase

Social commerce is experiencing a boom despite consumers’ concerns over inflation.

According to recent findings by Influencer Marketing Hub, social market value is expected to hit a historic $1.3 trillion in 2023, representing a 30.8 percent increase from 2022, when social commerce sales worldwide added up to an estimated $958 billion. Central to social commerce is targeted advertising relevant to the real-time content and conversations consumers engage with. It places brands within an intimate context of social interactions where interest drives engagement and curiosity in the new is at its peak. Social commerce can create astounding results, as demonstrated by Chinese influencers Viya and Li Jiaqi, selling over $3 billion in goods in a single day.

Social commerce works because it integrates easily into content discovery without feeling like an interruption, per a recent report by GWI.

“As users scroll, they see numerous ads that reflect their shopping preferences,” the report reads, describing TikTok social commerce. “You can even be watching a non-ad related video, and TikTok will pick out keywords for a user to be taken to different results.” According to the report, about 46 percent of Gen Z and millennial TikTok users make an impulse purchase online every 2-3 weeks.

The report shows that most social media users on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok also use the platforms to discover new products. That’s critical for brand marketers seeking to reach Gen Z.  According to a 2022 report by Salesforce, 56 percent of Gen Zers want to hear messaging about new products and services, and 76 percent are interested in sponsored digital experiences from brands.

Yet connecting with Gen Z consumers through content means marketers need access to the right data—insights that help marketers interpret trends and translate them into content or ad experiences Gen Z may want to seek out rather than avoid.


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Marketers Will Increasingly Look To Lifestyle And Demographic Data

According to recent consumer data from Experian, retail marketers are going back to basics and focusing on gaining insights from data that allows them to understand what drives consumer interest (listed as “Modeled Lifestyles” in the chart below) and how those demographics typically behave. This represents a shift in marketers’ use of highly segmented custom audience data last year. As consumers tighten their belts and become more judicious in their purchasing, impulse buys may become less frequent. That makes a deep understanding of consumer interests and priorities essential to understanding where to direct marketing spend.

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The Takeaways:

Brand marketers should focus on what works in social—relevance, intimacy, originality—and match campaigns to the best examples of successful engagement.

Social platforms are gold mines of user-generated content. Tailoring content or ad experiences requires granular insights into demographic behavior, but it also follows some basic common sense.

Social commerce works well because of the social graph—when something works well, tastes good, or makes us feel great, we naturally want to share it. Brands on social should share value, not simply messaging. Products that solve problems, offer new value in an original way or present an experience relevant to trending themes found through social listening tend to resonate as authentic with users. Focus on:

  • Personalization: Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook provide personalized content recommendations based on user behavior and preferences—the invitation to engage doesn’t require any work on the part of the consumer, it just scrolls into view. Marketers can leverage that data to connect with consumers in an organic fashion by ensuring that products or content shared are relevant to the audience’s current needs and interests, as well as to the moment.
  • Authenticity: Gen Z wants to keep it real. Connect with their desire for authenticity by presenting products and experiences like a friend would. Offer content that answers questions, solves problems or presents products that deliver a new flavor of delight that is surprising, unique and relevant to the moment.

‘Dead Space’ Campaign Taps Into World-Building And Social Challenges

Coinciding with the return of EA’s beloved ‘Dead Space’ franchise, Nightcap, the team behind the new tie-in social campaign @TheBench, chatted with us about introducing the world of Dead Space to new audiences while connecting with a long-dormant—but dedicated—community. EA and Nightcap wanted to create a campaign that matched how gamers interact and share content organically, inspired by the Dead Space ethos: a compelling story told in a progression of puzzles. This led the team to build a series of immersive and collaborative content experiences, tailored to the way audiences discover content across multiple platforms and devices.

An Organic Approach To The Campaign—A Focus On Community Building

Leveraging technology to support community building was key to engaging new audiences and long-time Dead Space fans. According to research from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), most people game at least once a week and are motivated by a desire for a sense of community, in addition to the entertainment value games provide. According to a recent report from the ESA, 83 percent of players state that video games create a feeling of community, and playing games “can introduce people to new friends and relationships.”

In addition, the ESA states that gamers reported playing video games helped them develop cognitive skills (88 percent) as well as creative skills (86 percent) and collaboration abilities (86 percent).

Knowing this, Nightcap developed a campaign tailored to gamers, connecting their interests in immersive storytelling with their aptitude for collaborative, fast-paced problem-solving.

How The Campaign Began

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“EA came to us to develop a social media program and corresponding rollout strategy for the remake of Dead Space that would allow our core franchise fans to participate in digital actions to earn rewards and attract the gaming community’s attention,” said Miranda Feneberger, Senior Strategist at Nightcap. According to Feneberger, EA let Nightcap take the reins to develop a unique approach to reintroducing the franchise to a new generation of gamers.

Expanding the Dead Space universe via immersive reveals over time is integral to the series’ marketing legacy, beginning with No Known Survivors in 2008. The original website promoted the first Dead Space release by introducing viewers to a playable immersive experience that unfolded over nine weeks, delivering two four-chapter stories that established the Dead Space world. Comprised of audio logs, video, and interactive 3D components, the two-story sequence, “Misplaced Affection” and “13,” launched with users clicking on one of nine floating body parts, which landed them in the Ishimura’s (the starship setting for Dead Space) Organ Replacement Lab. From there, users could explore the character profiles of workers on the Ishimura through audio logs and undergo a risk assessment test to assess their chances of survival.

For the new Dead Space release, EA and Nightcap reimagined the campaign’s interactive storytelling to leverage social media’s collaborative nature in a way that made world-building more immersive and connected to game lore. Cryptic messages began appearing on Twitter to invite fans to solve a QR-code-based puzzle. As fans collaborated to solve the puzzle, they shared their results on Twitter, Instagram, Discord, and Reddit. When solved, fans were rewarded with a link to an unlisted YouTube video showing footage from inside the Ishimura, and clues to access additional content, eventually unveiling the date of the gameplay reveal.

“EA gave us the gift of creative freedom, allowing us to design a program with a unique narrative that existed in the periphery of game canon,” said Alex Tafet, Creative Director at Nightcap. “We took this baton and sprinted with it, investing the creative time and energy into defining a compelling, unique narrative that existed within the larger world of Dead Space.”

Per Tafet, the campaign is an “Apocryphal Prequel” to the main game, existing alongside the larger story of the game, adding detail and nuance but not directly impacting the events the players will experience. Nightcap proposed a central protagonist for the journey, and EA provided a name: Chief Engineer Ariel Rousseau. 

“Rousseau is a character who exists in the game by way of audio logs, which are discoverable lore-builders that can be found throughout the game,” Tafet stated. “We were given the keys to the Rousseau kingdom and fleshed out a compelling backstory for the character, which defined the thematic and creative direction for our program.”

Rousseau’s story unfurls through a series of chapters published on the game’s official in-world Instagram account, @TheBench. Players who follow @TheBench receive urgent messages and cryptic clues from Chief Engineer Rousseau aboard the USG Ishimura.

Players then become members of the Comms Relay Crew to solve puzzles, decode data, and uncover hidden information to save Rousseau, the ship, and humanity. 

According to Tafet, the creative experience of The Bench was named after the player customization workbench in the game and is derived from Dead Space’s node map mechanic. In the game, Nodes are collectible items that can be exchanged for upgrades at the workbench. The Nightcap team used the Node Map design to inform the structure for the advocacy program’s visual language and functionality.

Fan response has been enthusiastic to the trailer, released in November, garnering 2.5 million views on the Official Dead Space YouTube channel and launching numerous sidebars on Reddit.

From super fans displaying new tattoos acquired in honor of the upcoming release to first-time players posting about their new interest in the game, the campaign stoked engagement through direct replies to posts and clues shared across multiple platforms.

Dead Space will launch on January 27. Watch the official trailer here.

State Of Mobile 2023: Social App Usage Soars, US And TikTok Top Consumer Spending

A new report from reveals that American consumers and TikTok lead in average revenue per user (ARPU), but is the platform delivering results for marketers?

TikTok Leads In Average Revenue Per User

Last year, according to’s State of Mobile 2023, Android users spent over two trillion hours on social apps, representing 17 percent YoY growth over 2021. That tracks with findings earlier this year showing a rise in consumer hourly usage of social apps in key global markets such as the U.S. and the U.K., with users averaging between four and five hours actively engaged with social platforms per day.

While time spent on Facebook and Chinese platform Tencent QQ declined, TikTok, Snapchat, WePlay, and Zhihu showed strong user growth globally, per the report. TikTok has shown almost uninterrupted growth in user acquisition since 2018 and now leads other apps in another key metric, average revenue per user. That’s helped to contribute to its 215 percent boost in brand value over the last year.

“The US passed Japan in 2020 and China in 2021 to rank as the top market for consumer spending for social apps (though it’s worth noting that China is iOS only as Google Play is not available there),” per the report. “While growth slowed in 2022, top apps like Discord, Facebook, and TikTok have managed to maintain high consumer spending from the gains seen early in the pandemic.”

“TikTok made us reimagine how high consumer spending in apps-especially outside of mobile games-could reach,” the report states. “TikTok’s US average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) is well above its top social competitors at 85 cents per user. Snapchat is second at 5 cents per user with its recently launched subscription.”

Why TikTok Stole The Show In 2022

According to a recent HubSpot survey of more than 1,600 marketers, influencer marketing was central to the strategies of more marketers than any other approach to driving growth. Mobile-friendly web design and short-form video content came in second and third among trends marketers were leveraging most in 2022—all areas where TikTok marketing excels.

For those marketers who embraced TikTok in 2022, many were pleasantly surprised with a significant improvement in status quo ROI, according to a recent Nielsen report with TikTok.

“US paid media ROAS for TikTok was 14% higher compared to all digital media models, while ROAS for paid media was 64% in Europe,” the report states. “Moreover, sales efficiency was two times higher than the digital media average in the US.”

What it means for marketers:

TikTok offers a powerful combination of access to influencers and short-form video content in a mobile-first format. According to the Nielsen-TikTok study findings, TikTok can deliver high ROI consistently. That means developing a long-term TikTok strategy that leverages creators’ powerful influence on consumer spending on social can optimize marketing spend even when budgets remain flat.

“In-feed video is the most effective ad type for increasing audience response in TikTok campaigns,” according to the YouGov post. “Advertisers can enhance ad placement in the app to boost performance and enhance weekly in-feed impression volume by 50%, going by the US model.”

Read more about TikTok and social commerce.

Why ‘Account Of The Year’ Estee Lauder Chose TikTok To Reach Gen Z

Estee Lauder is a legacy brand often associated with older generations—that’s changing as the brand engages Gen Z with a TikTok-focused strategy.

TikTok was recently named Estee Lauder Account of the Year, an honor that reflects the company’s embrace of the platform as a tool to introduce the 76-year-old brand to a new generation. The platform boasts one billion monthly active users spending an average of 850 minutes daily on the app, and is beloved by Gen Z.

But Estee Lauder didn’t buy ads and hope for the best, which was vital to their success, as Gen Z loses interest in ads—even the engaging ones—after 1.3 seconds, according to a recent report.


Why Estee Lauder Chose TikTok 

Gen Z is now more likely to look for products on TikTok or Instagram than Google. According to a recent survey, 72% of Gen Z consumers follow influencers on social media, and 52% trust influencers’ advice on the products and brands they should use.

Estee Lauder’s TikTok campaign was launched in 2021. The campaign collaborated with TikTok creators such as Liane Valenzuela and Mireya Rios, who have a combined following on the site of 14.8 million.

In an interview with Digiday, the social media and content manager for Estée Lauder Lubna Mohsin, stated the brand chose TikTok to reach new audiences in the highly competitive EMEA market because it gets the brand in front of a prized demographic: Gen Z.

“Whilst Instagram is key to engaging our core audiences and deepening our relationship with existing and new consumers, we wanted to push the boundaries in new ways and reach new people,” Moshin stated in the interview. “Naturally, we looked beyond what we were already doing. In TikTok, we saw a unique opportunity to recruit a new, larger audience with a younger demographic.”

TikTok’s Engagement Data Reveals Its Impact

According to Kalindi Mehta, Vice President of Consumer Foresight and Predictive Analytics, Enterprise Marketing & Data at The Estee Lauder Companies, brand marketers need to be careful to recognize foresight when looking at campaign results. What’s working now may not work in the near future – and that can be a challenge when translating insights into strategy.

“You can’t just go by data,” Mehta stated in a Forbes article. “The more rigor you put into building foresight by linking data to meaning to wider [cultural] influences, the more depth you bring to your foresight, the more likely you are to head in the right direction.”

When campaigns go well, it can lead marketers to stick with what they know, rather than looking at new options that may perform better.

“Because we get digital results so quickly, marketers become addicted,” she said. “We see immediate feedback in terms of clicks or short-term sales, so if you’re a marketer who’s nervous about spending your money, and you’re seeing that it’s working right now, you tend to keep your focus there.”

While brands may initially lean into Instagram, newcomer TikTok may actually deliver greater engagement through influencers, per an Upfluence study. While Instagram is highly effective, TikTok is a challenger that’s delivering on Gen Z engagement, said Mehta.

According to  Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok soared above other social media platforms for per post user engagement. 

  • Micro-influencer engagement rates: 17.96% on TikTok, 3.86% on Instagram, and 1.63% on YouTube.
  • Mega-influencer engagement rates: 4.96% on TikTok, 1.21% on Instagram, and just 0.37% on YouTube.

TikTok’s popularity is predicted to continue rising among Gen Z, per Statista. And that means that legacy brands like Estee Lauder will likely continue shifting spend to the platform.

View Estee Lauder’s TikTok account here.

Twitter’s Day Of Reckoning: Why Earned Media Value Matters More Than Ever

As some of the world’s biggest companies—like General Motors and Dyson—halted their advertising campaigns citing concerns about brand safety, other brands and influencers, like Balenciaga and Gigi Hadid, have left altogether. With 92% of Twitter’s 2022 revenue derived from advertising, new owner Elon Musk has warned employees that the company could face bankruptcy. What’s a social media-focused marketer to do when a client or agency hits pause or delete on a specific social media platform? Look at earned media value.

What is earned media value – and why should it guide marketing decisions?

Earned media value is a metric that adds context and quantifiable value to social media content. It’s key to making decisions about what platform to use or abandon. Earned media value looks at more than clicks—it also examines results—the performance of content within the context of marketing and revenue goals. Earned media value’s data is exceptionally relevant because it looks at opt-in engagement, users voluntarily interacting with content in multiple ways beyond a simple click or a passive scroll-through. When looking at engagement rates on one social media platform or another, it can be helpful to have data-driven insights—or a tool like an earned media benchmarking index that can deliver real-time contextual data—around the clicks and comments that delivered the best results.

Each user interaction is assigned a value based on external, real-world insights through an earned media benchmarking index. This information can be used to guide short-term ad spend strategy pivots as well as long-term social media marketing plans.

Graph displaying values in fluctuation from’s Earned Media Value index. Source: Unmetric

Why earned media value matters more now

Despite Elon Musk’s recent efforts to calm skittish advertisers during a town hall, marketers have been vocal about their concerns about brand safety and Twitter’s future. That makes access to deep audience insights about social engagement performance critical to decisions about campaigns on new platforms and choices about pausing or ending Twitter media spending.

We spoke with the VP of Insights and Analytics at Ayzenberg’s marketing science division, Jocelyn Harjes, about the Twitter debacle.

“At Ayzenberg, we’ve believed in the power of social since the beginning,” stated Harjes. “As a practitioner, key moments in time have stuck out to me – Shoes (Kelly Song), Planking in 2012, and the Harlem Shake in 2013, Mark Zuckerberg testifying to congress explaining what Facebook was, and most recently Corn Kid + The Gregory Brothers bringing us the 2022 song of the year. Social media is a force that can be used to drive good or malice.”

The change in Twitter has been stunning, according to Harjes, and something that begs scrutiny.

 “As Elon took over Twitter, we’ve seen the platform quickly succumb to trolls, as anyone could buy Twitter Blue and impersonate brands. Sure it was funny as the meme-makers utilized the Captain Phillips meme where the hijacker tells the captain that he’s Tom Hanks now. Still, it quickly became something to watch as an impersonator handle of Eli Lilly announced that insulin was going to be free.”

Twitter’s rollercoaster is now no laughing matter for brands and their marketers, according to Harjes. “Through this one tweet, we now have a quantifiable impact that social can have on the value of a company. Additionally, Eli Lilly lost billions of dollars in market cap due to one Tweet, only further supporting the need to understand your Earned Media Value and optimize your marketing efforts through its application.”

For marketers seeking to alter or pause a Twitter campaign, we’re sharing four tips to keep in mind below.

Focus on people, not platforms

Brands on Twitter or any other social media platform are looking for ways to connect with consumers when they are talking about or searching for information that might lead to a conversion. Since consumers search and discuss products and services on multiple platforms, marketers looking to reallocate budgets can look to platforms that deliver content or immersive experiences that spark these social conversations or searches. Platforms like Twitch, for example, can provide new opportunities to engage consumers through influencer content and high-impact video ads and present valuable social listening data that can inform future strategies. While social media platforms may evolve or disappear, social content will still be the most powerful way to create brand ambassadors and build brand awareness.

Deliver utility, not just content

Twitter’s core utility for consumers and brands is connected to its announcement functions—it can broadcast to millions, opens up conversations to a global audience, and provides real-time engagement data in a way that’s hard to duplicate. When it goes wrong—such as the recent faux free insulin announcement by a blue-check account that was not connected to the Eli Lilly company, results can be catastrophic for brands and marketers. Regardless of the future of Twitter—consumers will go where their digital experiences deliver a specific utility that they can’t get elsewhere. For marketers, that means a shift from “Here is what we want to tell you” to “Here is something you can use.” That engagement offer may take the form of a live stream with live comments or a metaverse event that delivers access to reusable downloadable content.

Rethink old ideas about audience segments

As Twitter’s ongoing challenges are causing marketers to rethink social media as a marketing channel, the audience may also merit a rethink. Consumers interact with Twitter for conversation and news, and creative brand marketers can deliver the same type of utility wherever there is an opportunity to engage with them; that means finding audiences wherever they are and learning how to connect with them in more efficient and enduring ways—beyond limited audience segments tied to a single platform. This may entail gleaning insights from new platforms and looking beyond traditional audience segments to broader cultural shifts, such as gaming.

Successful brand messages are really about values

Consumers are not leaving social media, even if its old format has evolved well beyond what it looks like today. Audiences congregate, interact and shop based on values—in every sense of the word. Marketers know how to craft messages to match what consumers care about on a heart level and a wallet level. Decoupling that skill from a single social media channel means translating that expertise into a new model of what social media is and may become. A consumer may be on Twitch while scrolling TikTok on their phone—they may voice search a product from Alexa and they won’t care where the content that delights and surprises them comes from. Marketers who understand the need for balance in messaging, frequency, and context will be able to find them and engage with them based on their old-school skills: wrangling data, creativity, and a deep understanding of their brand to connect—with or without that pesky blue check on their brand profile.

Reaching Today’s Consumers Means Understanding Twitch

Much like film, television and social media, gaming has transformed culture and become part of consumers’ lifestyles. With most adults and youth gaming at least once per week, brand marketers are waking up to the potential of reaching consumers on the gaming platforms they love, like Twitch. However, matching brand messaging to the moment and developing the right long-term strategy to connect with consumers can be complex, even for seasoned marketers. For game publishers, a long-term Twitch marketing strategy is essential—long before a game moves from ideation to development. As a game develops, publishers need access to granular insights on shifts in consumer preferences and gameplay behaviors—insights that can be difficult to glean without access to a powerful analytics suite.

Helixa, an audience intelligence platform, has partnered with Ayzenberg to deliver a webinar on Nov. 16 on how to understand what motivates audiences on and off Twitch, as well as how to build a powerful marketing strategy—or game—that engages consumers and meets their expectations.

Ahead of the meeting, we sat down with Laia Pescetto, VP of global marketing at Helixa, and Alex Lawson, senior research analyst, to hear some of their thoughts on why Twitch is central to audience engagement for brands and game publishers.

Gaming is not just a pastime anymore—it is as essential to our lives as texting or social media. So how did gaming shift from a pastime to a cultural force and lifestyle?

Laia Pescetto: Film, TV and music all had a way of reaching large audiences almost from conception, and with the rise of streaming platforms, we’ve seen an insane increase in content consumption and creation, providing pockets of niche interest to the most passionate audience segments.

Gaming has had the direct inverse journey, starting with a smaller niche and siloed audiences, with no way to easily connect with other gamers at scale. Not to mention the various gaming categories drew extremely loyal fanbases, people identified via the types of games they play, whether first-person shooter or fantasy, etc. The expansion of the gaming universe into online gaming and streaming platforms provided the scale that made it possible to connect with other gamers from anywhere in the world.

Platforms like YouTube and Twitch also allowed gamers to make themselves part of the cultural zeitgeist by playing games for an audience. Combining that with the ability to host esports and game tournaments in a public space like a stadium has made gaming a true cultural force by making it easier for like-minded individuals to connect and share their passion. Now brands have caught up and are creating relevant experiences via partnerships or their own products to connect with this audience that is growing in influence by the day.

What can brands and marketers learn from looking at gaming insights, and what might those insights tell us about how people will relate to media and/or advertising in the future?

Alex Lawson: Product placement has been popular in film, television and advertising for a long time now. For example, many of us remember the iPod commercials and how the songs featured in them would often reach the top of the charts. So if you look at another massive cultural phenomenon in the FIFA games, you can use insights to know what genres of music that audience loves, and if you’re managing talent that would resonate with this audience, it would be a great platform to be included in next year’s game.

The same approach is true for the gamers that stream on Twitch and YouTube as well as the esports teams that play in front of crowds of thousands. Esports teams like FaZe Clan are rebranding themselves as creators and doing brand partnerships that live outside the constraints of digital gaming. We can now do this with everything ranging from what clothing brands our characters could be wearing to what beer should be on the tap heads in a game’s bar to furniture brands in home-building games. The options are nearly limitless for partnerships between game developers and brands/marketers.

We can use those insights to inform campaigns relevant to the passion of every segment under the gaming umbrella. Deeper audience intelligence can also inform game design and marketing to develop new gaming experiences.

The Nov. 16 webinar will cover:

  • Who are Twitch users?
  • Twitch users’ interests, lifestyles and favorite videos games
  • How Helixa can assist with game design and development

Click here to learn more and register for the webinar.

Takeaways From Elon Musk’s Live Twitter Q&A

As Twitter boss Elon Musk faces advertiser flight and brewing controversy over his layoff of thousands of Twitter employees, including 15% of its Trust and Safety staff, he took to Twitter Spaces to respond to questions and deliver his take on the last few weeks. We’re sharing six takeaways based on participants’ questions below.

Musk knows that his personal brand is co-mingled with Twitter’s—and that it can be an issue.

“Twitter cannot simply be some extension of me because then anyone who doesn’t agree with me will be put off. So, Twitter must be as a platform as neutral as possible. That doesn’t mean I am. But it is important to have broad acceptance, and the platform be neutral and as inclusive as possible to the widest demographic possible. That is the only path to success”.

Brands want scale, relevance, brand safety, suitability and the ability to measure ROI: Twitter has got some serious work to do in these areas.

“I think we’re probably not doing great on any of them. We’re doing okay on some (of these); we’re terrible at relevance. And one of the ways we’re going to address that is by integrating ads into recommended tweets. So the relevance of recommended tweets is much better than the relevance of the ads. Because they’re two different engines, we need to have them be the same software stack. So I’ve reorganized Twitter software from having three different software groups to having one, that’s occurred just in the past week. So we really need to improve the relevance of the ads. If an ad is highly relevant and timely, then it’s really information. Like, it’s something you might actually want to buy when you want to buy it, that’s great. But if it’s something you’d never want to buy, then it’s annoying. And it’s spam. And that doesn’t serve the advertiser or the user. So that’s incredibly important to improve that. So that’s a major priority. And I think you’ll see that get way better in the coming months.”

Musk sees brand safety as a key driving factor in advertisers’ willingness to work with Twitter.

“When I hear brand safety, what I think I’m hearing is that we need to make sure that the brand overall is protected reputationally in the long term. So that, you know, there may be something that drives short-term sales, but it’s next to hateful content. And that may drive short-term sales, but it’s ultimately detrimental in the long term. So if I would put myself in the CEO / CMO position of any advertiser, I’d say, ‘Well, I want to make sure we do drive sales in the short term, but we’re also not doing anything that damages our reputation in the long term.’ So we obviously need to address both shorter and long-term factors.

Video is a key area that Musk plans to develop on Twitter and eventually connect to verified profiles

Video is definitely an area where Twitter has been historically weak, and it is an area that we’re going to invest in tremendously. I did ask people what (they thought) about Vine, not that we would want to resurrect Vine in its original state, but just would they want a ‘Vine-like’ thing, but reimagined for the future. And people were excited about that,” Musk said.

He continued on the topic of increasing video length for verified Twitter users: “There are a bunch of fundamental tech technology architecture changes needed at Twitter to support significant video. So, we’ve got to make those core software upgrades and server upgrades to support a large amount of video, but we are going to do that. It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

Musk envisions Twitter as a future ecosystem for content creators to monetize their content and manage earnings easily

We also need to enable the monetization of content for creators. And if we provide creators with the ability to post what they create on our platform, and to monetize it, at a rate that is at least competitive with the alternatives, then, of course, creators will natively post their content on Twitter; why not? So those are, those are kind of no-brainer moves. Then – tied to paid verified accounts from someone who has been authenticated by the sort of conventional payment system. Now we can say like, okay, you’ve got a balance on your account. Do you want to send money to someone or money to someone else [on] Twitter? And maybe we pre-populate the account and say, ‘Okay, we’re gonna give you 10 bucks, and you can send it anywhere within Twitter. Then if you want to execute, get it out of the system, then, okay, well, now you send it to bank accounts, attach an authenticated bank account to your Twitter account, then the next step would be this offer an extremely compelling money market account to get an extremely high yield on your balance, then why not move cash into Twitter? And then add debit cards, checks and whatnot. And I think it will just basically make the system as useful as possible. And the more useful and entertaining it is, the more people will use it.

Musk sees Twitter as a future hub of one-click social shopping

We’ve got a lot to do on the software side, I can’t emphasize that enough. So we’ve got to write a lot of code here. And we’ve got to change a bunch of the existing code base. We want advertising to be highly relevant and timely. How do we get the ad to be as close to content as possible? I mean, if you are shown an opportunity to buy something that you actually want when you want it, that’s great. That’s content. Then from a commerce standpoint, if you’re able to buy things quickly, you know, effortlessly on Twitter, with one click, that’s like—that’s great. Like, the more we don’t want to make buying things inconvenient or require, you know, going through many steps, the easier it is to get to obtain the product or service that you want, the better it is for the user.

TikTok Made Me Play It: Four Takeaways From TikTok’s First Gaming Webinar

TikTok recently hosted a webinar to showcase the platform’s most successful use cases in game discovery. The webinar, introduced by TikTok’s Blake Chandlee, president of global business solutions, highlighted TikTok’s success as a game discovery platform as well as its ability to provide new collaboration opportunities for brands. Other hosts included:

  • Assaf Sagy, Head of Global Gaming, Global Business Solutions, TikTok
  • Julia Victor, Head of Brand – The Sims, Electronic Arts
  • Naor Itzhak, Senior Director of Creative Marketing, Playtika
  • Sami Thessman, VP of Global Marketing, 2K
  • Ioana Hreninciuc, Chief Product Officer, Homa Games
  • Vincent Tan, Senior Marketing Manager, VNG

Below, we’re sharing four key takeaways from the event.

Cultural Shifts Have Transformed The Way Game Marketers Launch And Promote Games

According to Chandlee, TikTok is benefiting from game publishers’ desire to create more impactful marketing campaigns by taking a different view on how to approach gamers.

“Leading publishers are completely changing the way people discover and play their games,” Chandlee told attendees. “They’re building mainstream culture through entertainment. They’re innovating and finding new players for their games through organic and paid [search] and running live event campaigns.”

“Gaming is now mainstream entertainment. They’re not only about playing anymore; they’re about engaging with culture,” Sagy said. “This shift in consumer behavior also drove evolution in our industry. Leading publishers have elevated their strategies. They’re now focused on launching games [to a] mass market. They’re targeting very broad audiences. They’re building cultures around their games as entertainment brands. With TikTok, you can build the hype required for a successful launch and can engage with mass audiences rapidly. You can design a culture around your game driven by the power of the community and generate performance results in the next few minutes.”

TikTok Is A Must For Game Publishers Seeking New Audiences

According to the company, TikTok has produced some exceptional metrics in game discovery and game brand engagement:

  • 75 percent of TikTok gamers discovered new gaming content on TikTok.
  • 41 percent of TikTok gamers co-created on TikTok.
  • TikTok mobile gamers are 70 percent more likely to talk about games on social media.

TikTok Users Are Active Gamers Who Convert Frequently

TikTok users game frequently and respond to messaging around gaming well. According to data gathered by the social media giant’s research partner, marketers who employed TikTok as a component of their marketing strategy saw high conversion rates:

  • 41 percent of users downloaded the game.
  • 26 percent purchased to play.

There Is A Shift From Long-Form To Short-Form Content, And Game Publishers Are Owning It

TikTok boasts one billion users and those users have helped the platform amass billions of hours of gaming content views. Game publishers and gamers are dominating on TikTok. It’s not just because gaming lends itself to quick and addictive Let’s Plays, but because TikTok users see the platform as a place to discover new brands and engage with them. According to the company:

  • On average, TikTok’s gaming audience follows 12 Business Accounts.
  • 61 percent of TikTok users see brands more favorably if they create or participate in a trend on TikTok.
  • TikTok followers are 191 percent more likely to like or comment than non-followers.

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Twexit: Why It May Be Time To Rethink Social Channels (But Not Run Away)

Like Brexit, very smart, professional people have convincing arguments for abandoning Twitter or staying on board and riding through the (possible) storm. The dustup is causing brand advertisers are rethinking their platform strategies. But shouldn’t everyone?

What The Little Bird Already Told Us

As he famously requested by carrying a bathroom sink into Twitter headquarters, corporate America let Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter sink in, and then some brands jumped ship—or put their Twitter strategy on hold. It isn’t just that Musk says and does a lot of controversial things or that—as in the case of General Motors and Ford—he also runs a direct competitor to their businesses. The concern is what could happen to Twitter, according to at least 12 major brands that requested their agency of record to pause their Twitter campaigns, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Many brands and influencers have voiced concern about Twitter sliding into questionable territory with respect to fringe politics. To Twitter’s credit, the company already admitted many of its issues, ranging from algorithmic bias to audience measurement, long before Musk bought the company.

In October 2021, the company told the BBC that its algorithms were causing the platform to surface some content in users’ feeds based on political alignment. After reviewing millions of Tweets sent in 2020, Twitter’s researchers presented evidence that its algorithms automatically promoted content with specific political leanings in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.

Twitter has also made no secret of its issues with audience estimation. In August, the company revealed that 23 million accounts, representing 8.5 percent of its user base, were bots. The company also stated in September that it had overstated its audience by nearly two million since 2017, according to the Financial Times. This is not a huge percentage of its total user base, but it matters. Also, Twitter’s heavy tweeters, which account for less than 10 percent of users, generate 90 percent of the platform’s content and half of its revenue. According to Reuters, an internal report states that heavy tweeters have been in steady decline since 2020.

Then, there is the issue of problematic ad placement. Just last month, Coca-Cola, Disney, Dyson, Forbes, PBS Kids, and others found their ads next to tweets soliciting child pornography and subsequently paused or canceled their campaigns. The issue isn’t due to a lack of vigilance on Twitter’s part, however. It appears to be an issue of scale. If Twitter, or any other social media platform, is unable to identify and block inappropriate content, algorithms simply do their work and place ads where they are likely to find an interested audience.

According to The Verge, a research team assessing Twitter’s ability to detect exploitative content at scale consistently admitted the platform currently lacked the tools necessary to launch its version of an adult content business with a paywall, as it was still struggling to manage its existing filtering efforts. According to The Verge, which quoted an internal Twitter report, Twitter’s efforts to filter out offensive or illegal content—the type of posts the platform bans in its terms of service—sometimes fail, and if these failings continue unchecked, it may place Twitter at “legal and reputational risk.”

But that’s the kind of risk that social media platforms and brands with their own online communities face constantly. Twitter’s issues are social media issues: A change in Twitter’s leadership may make those posting inappropriate content feel like it may be easier to fly under the radar; there’s no place that will be friction-free for brands.

Fleeing Twitter won’t solve fundamental technical and human resource problems that make it difficult for social media platforms to keep ads and inappropriate content apart. That’s also true for other problems like audience measurement and algorithmic bias: they are everywhere and brand marketers must do the work—monitoring and calling out inconsistencies in brand safety policies or performance reporting—wherever they land in social media. Considering a Twexit? Here are three things to keep in mind:

It’s Time To Decouple Audience From Platforms

It may be wise to rethink social media strategy and decouple a pursuit of audience from a specific platform. Your Twitter audience is also likely elsewhere on social, so focus on content and the value that your messaging will bring at that moment. Your messaging should be relevant to your audience wherever they are. If your audience leaves Twitter, your marketing strategy should be agile enough to adapt quickly.

Leaving A Platform Means Leaving Its Unique Context—And Its Potential For User Engagement

According to Hootsuite, 65 percent of Twitter users lean toward or identify as Democrats, 42 percent hold college degrees, second only to LinkedIn, and 30 percent are women. While only 0.2 percent of Twitter users use the platform exclusively, your messaging may miss a vital context for specific audience segments. When building brand awareness, be just as audience-aware as you are context-savvy. Deliver a message that makes sense for your potential audience and for how they tend to interact with content or ads on Twitter as opposed to other platforms.

Be Vigilant: Don’t Leave Your Brand’s Safety To An Algorithm—Anywhere

Keep up with brand safety standards (like Twitter’s) and, if possible, keep tabs on the keywords users employ to arrive at content that appears next to your ads through your ad manager. While Meta is introducing a new tool to show brands where their ads appear in users’ feeds and allow them to block post content types on a more granular level, Twitter’s new boss has promised to help keep brands safe but offered no specifics. That may change, but brands can protect themselves best by maintaining and keeping watch over ad placements and ensuring that marketing strategy plans include trusted brand-safe environments that can accommodate campaigns if (or when) a Twitter-exit becomes necessary.

TikTok Amps Up Brand Appeal With Ad Tech Tools

This week in social media news, we’re looking at the launch of TikTok World, Kanye West’s new social platform purchase aspirations as well as a new brand activation in Roblox from Invisalign.

Welcome To TikTok World

TikTok launched TikTok World, its global product summit, on October 13th by presenting a slew of user engagement features and ad performance monitoring tools designed to make the platform more appealing and user-friendly to brand marketers.

The Details:

TikTok announced a new performance monitoring tool called ‘Focused View’, which will charge advertisers based on user attention and engagement rates. Advertisers only pay when users interact with an ad or watch an ad for six seconds. This may help advertisers get better insights into their ad spend and craft their campaigns around unique user behaviors (like rapid swiping past ads) that can make it harder to judge true engagement. The company also added new customization capabilities to its lead generation forms, a ‘Showtimes’ ad unit for movies that allows users to see showtimes and buy tickets in-stream, and new search options its creator marketplace that may help brands find the right influencer more easily.

Why It Matters:

Boasting more than 1 billion monthly users, with an average 80 minutes per day of viewing by the average American viewer, TikTok earned more ad revenue than Twitter and Snapchat combined in 2022. But the platform has recently experienced controversy over the possible influence of its ownership by China-based ByteDance and even a high-profile misfire—such as the ultimately reversed effort to expand TikTok Shop, the company’s live e-commerce feature in July after lackluster customer engagement. Many brand marketers see an immense opportunity in TikTok, but many remain hesitant: About half of the world’s biggest brands have no TikTok presence. TikTok may hope to change that by enhancing its ad tech tools. 

Kanye West Wants To Purchase Parler

After Kanye West was pilloried for recent anti-semitic comments and a denial that George Floyd was murdered and banned from Twitter and Instagram, the performer announced that he is following Elon Musk and intends on purchasing a major social media platform. 

The Details:

Parler, which billed itself as a home for social conservatives, was briefly shut down by Amazon Web Services after the Jan. 6 attack on the capital for doing too little to monitor and report messages and posts promoting violence. The company, once valued at $1 billion, has struggled to regain followers after its shut down by Amazon web services.

Why It Matters:

Parler’s downloads increased ten-fold in the aftermath of January 6th before the website was shut down. Whether those users were simply joining out of curiosity or seeking like minds, a divided country appears to be developing an equally divided social media universe. The increased attention social media companies are devoting to influencers making inflammatory statements post-Jan. 6 means that more unpredictable influencers may be creating their own echo chambers in the near future.  

Smart Shopping App Karma Offers Single Checkout, Multi-Brand Shopping

Smart shopping app Karma has launched a single-swipe checkout option for shoppers. Once consumers enter their payment details, they can shop at multiple stores and websites and choose their payment options, ranging from credit and debit to installment plans.

The Details:

Pay With Karma allows consumers to pay the lowest price and choose from a range of payment methods without paying separately at each store.

Why it Matters:

Simplified payment options make it easier for brands to lead consumers from engaging with deals-focused content to a purchase. This also means that price-conscious consumers will have more options to comparison shop, making the “other” motivations for conversion, like customer service and brand affinity, important components of a successful campaign. 

Social Campaign Spotlight: Invisalign In Roblox’s LiveTopia 

This August, Invisalign created an “interactive dentist office” in Roblox’s Livetopia.

The Details:

The campaign, created by Publicis Groupe, Starcom and IF7, makes a dentist’s office an explorable open world with examination rooms and two mini-games. The games allow users to play through the challenges of traditional braces and explore the benefits of the Invisalign product by chewing gum, eating popcorn and corn on the cob, and then joining a football game. Since its launch, 2.1 million users have interacted with the “Invisalign Confidence” experience.

Why it Matters:

Brands are becoming more creative in the way they leverage the unique features of virtual space. Instead of simply relying on banner-like branded content, the most successful campaigns are making metaverse experiences that feel native to their environment because they enhance or add features to the experience consumers want.