LinkedIn has decided to invest in audio, launching its own pilot podcast network called LinkedIn Podcast Network, which includes 12 in-house shows from the platform’s news team, career influencers and executives in an array of industries.
The ad-supported shows are geared toward the platform’s audience of professionals and students and focus on topics like new tech, the hiring process and mental health.
Among the hosts LinkedIn has tapped for its podcast shows include co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman, who will be spearheading a podcast about personal entrepreneurship called The Start-Up of You. Other hosts include Morra Aarons-Mele with The Anxious Achiever show, Rufus Griscom with The Next Big Idea and Winnie Sun with Yes Factor.
The LinkedIn Podcast Network comes on the heels of the success of Hello Monday, a podcast produced by LinkedIn News in which host Jessi Hempel covers the ever-changing nature of work and its impact on people. The shows are ad-supported and Verizon is the initial sponsor.
According to eMarketer, the US leads the world in podcast listenership across every category. In 2021 alone, almost 118 million Americans could be considered to be ‘monthly podcast listeners,’ representing 40 percent of all internet users. The firm’s research predicted that global podcast listeners would reach 424.2 million this year and exceed 500 million in 2024.
The company’s foray into podcasts is part of its ongoing effort to entice professional creators to its platform. It launched an incubator-style Creator Accelerator program and pledged to invest $25 million to help up to 100 US-based creators build their audience and amplify their voice.
It’s also a sign that the future of social platforms might be audio. In July 2021, Facebook launched Live Audio Rooms and podcasts in the US. Around the same time, Instagram added the ability to search for audio within the app’s search tab—making it easier to tap into trends based on music clips—and Twitter opened Spaces, its live audio conversations feature, to all accounts with 600 or more followers on the platform.
Snapchat just announced a new way for its top creators to earn extra money. In the coming months, the platform will introduce mid-roll advertisements in the Stories of Snap Star accounts. These are public figures or creators with a large following who deliver entertaining content and have been verified by Snapchat, as indicated by a gold star next to their username.
The new feature offers creators a share of revenue generated from ads within their public Story, marking the first time Snapchat will split ad revenue with creators through Stories. A select group of Snap’s Star users in the US is currently testing it and Snap said it will make the feature available to all Snap Star users later this year.
The amount of revenue Snap will give creators will be based on a formula that takes into consideration metrics such as engagement and posting frequency. The company believes that placing ads within a Snap Star’s public Story allows for a more streamlined path to earning an income on the app given that “Stories lower the barrier to content creation and engagement,” it said.
The mid-roll ads are a win for creators and advertisers alike. For the latter, they present yet another opportunity to reach the Snapchat community with high-value placement. Snapchat users already view ads between Stories and in the Discover section, though the new creator-focused ad offering is a first for Snap.
According to Snap, “Snap Stars give their audiences unprecedented access into a diverse and global set of interests, including the arts, beauty, news, gaming, music and more. Snap Stars are eligible to have their content featured in Snapchat, and are indicated by a star.” These users enjoy unique updates, tools and in-app analytics that simplify engaging with their subscriber base.
To become eligible for a Snap Star upgrade, Snap considers five factors. A creator’s account has to have a large and engaged audience; they have to create and share stories with the general public on a regular basis; the account has to be authentic and represent a real person; it must also be highly searched for or culturally relevant; and the content shared must be original, safe and meet Snap’s community guidelines.
The news comes on the heels of Snapchat’s acknowledgment of users’ move toward a more TikTok-like experience over Stories as they have spent less time viewing and posting Stories and spent more time watching content on Spotlight, which is the platform’s TikTok equivalent.
The new feature is one more way to entice creators to stay on the platform. In 2021, Snapchat announced Spotlight Challenges, which, throughout the year, paid over $250 million in cash prizes to users that created top-performing videos using certain topics, Lenses or sounds.
The future of social commerce is here. Sprout Social’s latest social shopping study found that 68 percent of consumers made at least one purchase directly from social media in 2021.
In December last year, the firm surveyed 1,000 US consumers about their social media habits and their thoughts on social commerce as social media constantly redefines how we communicate, learn, connect and now: shop.
Consumers are increasingly turning to TikTok Shopping, Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shops when embarking on their purchase journey, a trend that seems to be picking up speed. This year, 98 percent of consumers said they plan to make at least one purchase through social apps or influencer commerce, found the report.
Social media apps have evolved into a “digital mall” where connecting with friends, like-minded individuals, influencers and celebrities are just the beginning. Now, users can socialize while they shop and even get guidance from influencers while doing so—just the way they’d receive advice from a Google search or a rec from a friend.
As a result, brands play an even bigger role in guiding customers through their shopping journey. Where once consumers had to email or call a brand about questions, now they can direct message them or interact with them during a live shopping event. Sprout Social’s research found that more people discover a product directly from the brand that sells it than they do through their own research, peers and influencers.
Finding the perfect purchase while using social media is as seamless as it seems. The most common ways consumers are finding those products are by seeing a targeted ad (49 percent), organic post by a brand (40 percent), doing research on social media (34 percent), seeing a friend’s post (34 percent) and hearing about it via tags and direct messages (22 percent).
Sprout Social also found that in 2022 consumers intend on shopping through the social platforms where they feel most comfortable and spend the most time. Gen Z social shoppers are most excited when it comes to visual-first social networks like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. Baby boomers are more inclined to use Facebook to make purchases while women look forward to shopping on TikTok and Pinterest. Men will be spending their social shopping time on Twitch and Twitter. Don’t be surprised at not seeing Facebook at the top of any of these cohorts’ lists—only those above age 57 anticipate using it to make an online purchase this year.
When people shop via social, they turn to friends for recommendations—especially those aged 18 to 40—consider comments or product reviews, assess their familiarity with the brand and consider their significant other’s recommendation – in that order.
During lockdowns, Gen Z, millennials and Gen X started trusting influencers as much as they trust their friends. According to associate professor of marketing at Loyola University Chicago Dr. Jenna Drenten, these “parasocial” relationships between consumers and influencers have grown to be a key driver of purchase intention, especially given influencers often cultivate communities of trust and shared passions.
Baby boomers haven’t incorporated influencers into their decision-making the way they have friends and family. For all cohorts of consumers, a lack of established trust may be why strangers’ product reviews and crowdsourced comments have such little impact on purchase decisions.
Inclusivity is another important driver of social commerce. As much as 60 percent of consumers report being more likely to buy from a brand with inclusive marketing. Inclusivity is particularly important for Gen Z (73 percent) and millennial (72 percent) shoppers while consumers over the age of 41 are more likely to remain neutral about the extent of which inclusivity matters.
The features that consumers use currently and expect to use more frequently into 2022 include watching live streams (61 percent and 53 percent), in-app shopping (41 percent and 46 percent) and commenting and engaging on livestreams (35 percent and 33 percent). Only 16 percent of respondents reported using virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) through 21 percent hope to use it more this year.
Livestreams are the most popular feature on social media platforms. About 71 percent of livestream watchers have bought something on social while 48 percent expect to buy more through in-platform features in 2022.
Note that audience matters here – 61 percent of Gen X shoppers and 44 percent of Gen Z shoppers expect to watch livestreams this year. Additionally, 45 percent of shoppers are excited about buying directly via their favorite social platforms. That number rises to 52 percent for Gen Zers.
Early adopters of AR and VR are prepared to spend more, with 85 percent of consumers who currently use AR and VR saying they’ve already started social shopping.
By 2025, social shopping is set to become a $1.2 trillion channel. Brands seeking to capitalize on the trend should prioritize a streamlined in-platform shopping experience.
As of this week, Saks has officially expanded its influencer marketing strategy into TikTok. To start, the luxury ecommerce platform has teamed with a mix of five mega- and micro-influencers to showcase party accessories, shoes and loungewear via a branded “shoe flip” challenge.
The brand’s inaugural TikTok features actress Larsen Thompson—who has 1.1 million followers herself—transforming from daywear into an evening gown with the toss of her shoe. Saks also enlisted fashion influencers Everett Williams (259,000 followers), Chanel McKinsie (60,000 followers) and Maddie White (2 million followers) to create their own rendition of the challenge as sponsored posts on their respective TikTok accounts.
Saks’ foray into TikTok comes about a year after it was split off from the Saks Fifth Avenue retail business by parent company Hudson’s Bay Company and venture capital firm Insight Partners in March 2021. The move established Saks’ ecommere unit asa standalone entity known as Saks.
At that time, Saks’ ecommerce business was valued at $2 billion. Since then there’s been discussion of an IPO taking place in the first half of 2022 with a targeted valuation of $6 billion.
After Saks saw a boom in online sales during the pandemic, it closed on a syndicated $350 million, asset-based five-year revolving credit facility and a $115 million senior secured term loan. A portion of the financing is available to Saks for general corporate purposes or growth initiatives.
As it continues growing financially, Saks is bolstering its online presence. In February, it launched a digital-first spring 2022 campaign starring Lupita Nyong’o with unique content across Saks-owned channels and partner platforms. Other campaign elements include interviews and videos on the retailer’s social media channels and main homepage, a dedicated email campaign, an exclusive feature in the Saks editorial hub “The Edit,” a spread in the March issue of Vogue and custom content on harpersbazaar.com.
During the 2021 holiday season, Saks launched live virtual events and shoppable content. The “Saks Live” virtual events platform will also feature lifestyle, shopping and fashion advice from industry influencers as hosts engage with viewers and guide them through their shopping journey.
Pinterest has launched a new augmented reality-based function that enables a “try before you buy” furniture shopping experience for US mobile users.
“Try On for Home Decor,” powered by Pinterest’s Lens camera, allows you to virtually place items from US retailers like West Elm, Crate & Barrel, CB2, Walmart and Wayfair in your space.
The feature is now live across more than 80,000 shoppable Pins, which will include product information and direct shoppers to the checkout page on the retailer’s site.
According to the app’s research, nine out of 10 Pinners use Pinterest for research and inspiration during their home decor shopping journey. “Try On for Home Decor” marks Pinterest’s second virtual shopping experience. Its first was “Try On for Lipstick and Eyeshadow,” which is available across 14,000 shoppable Pins.
With this latest AR initiative, Pinterest is trying to bridge the gap between virtual commerce and reality especially given the path to purchase isn’t linear when it comes to furniture shopping. As visual search continues to grow on the platform, Pinterest has seen success with its beauty “Try On” feature, saying that Pinners are five times more likely to purchase from Try On-enabled Pins than standard Pins.
In addition, Pinterest Lens camera searches increased year-over-year (YOY) by 126 percent, and “Try On” for beauty usage by Gen Z and Millenials has increased by 28 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
The AR home decor experience is rolling out in the US on iOS and Android apps and will be available globally in the future.
The average age of Facebook users has started to decrease yet teens continue to leave the platform—a trend it won’t be able to reverse this year, according to eMarketer.
Between 2020 and 2025, the firm estimates Facebook will lose 1.5 million teen users. Among internet users between 12 and 17 years old, only 35.3 percent will use the platform this year. Less than a third of this group are anticipated to use it in 2024.
By 2023, there will be 34.7 million Gen Z and just 33.1 million baby boomers who use Facebook in the US—a gap that is and will continue to widen through 2025. Aging, eMarketer notes, is the key driver here: as Gen Z grows up, some will join (or rejoin) Facebook while baby boomers are also growing older and aging out of social media.
Regardless of how Gen Z and baby boomers interact with the platform, its main users are millennials and Gen X users, who together now account for more than half of the platform’s user base.
Facebook will have gained roughly 9 million users in the US between 2020 and 2025—more than enough to counter the platform’s loss of teen users and maintain its penetration rate among internet users into 2025.
This week in social media news, TikTok and Instagram have started testing support for paid subscriptions, YouTube shuts down original content group, Meta announces new artificial intelligence supercomputer and more.
TikTok Tests Support For Paid Subscriptions
As part of its latest creator monetization effort, TikTok is examining the option for creators to charge subscriptions for their content through a series of limited, temporary tests.
Why it matters: The popular short-form video app says it’s seeking new ways to “bring value to [its] community and enrich the TikTok experience.” Should the new feature become widely available, TikTok will effectively increase its competitive advantage over Twitch, the only other major social media platform whose streamers regularly receive a substantial portion of income via paid subscriptions.
The new feature may also prove beneficial given that several of the other key players in this space such as YouTube and Instagram pay content creators out of the companies’ own pockets—something TikTok also began doing in 2021 with a $200 million fund.
The details: Not much is known about the new trial period or how it may eventually be implemented given that TikTok declined to share additional details. News of the trial run comes shortly after the platform confirmed itstesting of an in-app tipping feature that allows creators to accept money from fans outside of TikTok Live streams, and just one day after Instagram launched subscriptions in the US with a handful of creators who are now able to offer subscribers exclusive Live videos and Stories. Both TikTok’s and Instagram’s new subscription features follow Twitter’s September launch of “Super Follows” – its own version of a paid subscription service.
YouTube Scales Back Originals Division As Susanne Daniels Exits
YouTube has announced it will officially stop producing original shows. According to chief business officer Robert Kyncl, the decision came as a result of global head of original content Susanne Daniels’ resignation and the fact that YouTube’s rapid growth has brought with it new investment opportunities elsewhere, for example with the Creator Shorts Fund, Black Voices Fund and Live Shopping programming.
Why it matters: YouTube Originals was the platform’s attempt at venturing into the subscription-streaming business. After pivoting in 2018 and selling or killing off a number of original shows and movies, YouTube began to focus more on unscripted fare. Now, it will have the ability to invest in other initiatives that can make a greater impact on even more creators.
The details: YouTube has been producing originals for about six years. With Daniels stepping down from on March 1, Youtube will only be funding programs that are part of its Black Voices and YouTube Kids funds.
According to Kyncl, YouTube’s Partner Program has seen tremendous growth for ad-revenue sharing with 2 million participants. This opportunity to invest in other creators and ventures that show promise is more valuable to YouTube than its original shows and movies have proven to be.
Meta Announces New Artificial Intelligence Supercomputer
Meta (Facebook) has revealed its new supercomputer, the AI Research SuperCluster, the result of a two-year joint effort between Facebook’s AI and infrastructure teams and the company’s partners, including Nvidia, Penguin Computing and Pure Storage. Meta said it’s currently using the invention to train AI models in natural language processing and computer vision for research.
Why it matters: Jerome Pesenti, vice president of AI at Meta, said the supercomputer is being used for research purposes, with the objective of feeding it troves of data to build AI models that can think like a human brain and understand subtleties. This will come in handy as Meta builds a 3D multi-sensorial experience for its metaverse, which will require AI agents in the environment that are relevant to users, and as Zuckerberg told WSJ, “enormous compute power.”
The details: According to Meta, its new AI supercomputer houses 6,080 Nvidia graphics-processing units, putting it fifth among the fastest supercomputers in the world. And by mid-summer, when the AI Research SuperCluster is fully built, it will house about 16,000 GPUs, becoming the fastest AI supercomputer in the world.
Pesenti said products won’t likely arise from AI Research SuperCluster for years.
Instagram Launches Test Of Creator Subscriptions In US
As part of an initial test, Instagram’s latest monetization feature, Subscriptions, will be available to a handful of US creators who will be able to set a monthly price of their choice, unlock a “subscribe” button on their profile and offer a variety of benefits to their subscribers.
Why it matters: In 2020, Facebook launched Subscriptions and based on strong creator feedback, Meta said it’s ready to bring the model to creators on Instagram, enabling them to earn a recurring monthly income by giving them access to exclusive content.
The details: Among the benefits creators using Instagram Subscriptions can offer followers are Subscriber Lives, where creators can broadcast exclusive Lives and allow subscribers to engage more deeply. Subscriber Stories will enable creators to create content solely for subscribers, allowing them to share exclusive content and to use interactive story stickers with their most engaged followers only. Subscriber Badges will place a badge next to comments left by subscribers to enable creators to easily identify them.
The 10 creators who will be part of Instagram’s early test include: @alanchikinchow, @sedona._, @alizakelly, @kelseylynncook, @elliottnorris, @jordanchiles, @jackjerry, @bunnymichael, @donalleniii and @lonnieiiv.
Pinterest Finds Men Plan To Spend More In 2022
According to Pinterest’s latest study, men are setting big goals for the new year and are actively planning to invest the time and money necessary to achieve them. Its research shows 75 percent of men will spend more this year to bring their goals to fruition.
Why it matters: Pinterest’s research found that men are highly brand conscious and willing to spend more on brands they know or trust, so it pays to reach them early and often. They convert quicker too, conducting fewer searches before making a purchase. More than any other factor, finding the right item is the top reason men say they had a successful shopping experience, said Pinterest.
The details: Eighty-five percent of men who use Pinterest say the platform feels personalized to them and 80 percent say shopping on the platform leads them to something unexpected that surprises and delights them.
To connect with these shoppers, Pinterest suggests brands plan their strategy for reaching men around pivotal times in their lives including seasonal holidays, cultural events and big life moments. It also recommends showing how your latest products can help them try new hobbies or have more fun in 2022.
Do you know what color best represents your personality? Using two of its guiding principles—collaboration and innovation—Ayzenberg set out to answer that question, utilizing its Soulmates.AI technology to create myCOLOR, a tool that illustrates what the ‘color’ of a person’s personality reveals about them.
Developed by Dr. J. Galen Buckwalter, the myCOLOR quiz was developed to provide deeper insights into your personality traits as well as how to interact more effectively with others. As the quiz notes, having a better understanding of your quirks can lead to greater compatibility with co-workers resulting in more effective teamwork and collaboration.
Tasked with creating content for a myCOLOR social media campaign during the summer were Ayzenberg and space.camp creative interns, including Jennifer Chocolate and Olivia Gutierrez who we caught up with after the conclusion of their internship. The two worked together to develop TikTok content that drove back to the myCOLOR site. We spoke with Chocolate and Gutierrez about their learnings from the project and their advice to incoming Ayzenberg interns, including how they pivoted their internship into full-time positions as staff. We also talked with Ayzenberg VP of human resources Sara Michelson to find out how the agency nurtures interns to help build their careers and its response to the Great Resignation.
Profile: Jennifer Chocolate
Growing up in South Florida, Chocolate developed a passion for Graphic Design after discovering her Photoshop skills in high school. She went on to major in Graphic Design at the University of Central Florida, and later won the 4A’s 2021 Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) Creative Fellow of the Year and later secured a spot as a 2021 FUTURE for the ADCOLOR Conference and Awards. She notes that all her hard work led to her becoming first a Creative Intern at Ayzenberg, then an employee.
Other than pitching ideas for videos on Xbox’s TikTok, Chocolate spent a great deal of her Ayzenberg internship developing myCOLOR-related content for TikTok. Despite not having previously used the TikTok app herself (Gen Z plot twist!) Jennifer absorbed everything she could find about the app’s algorithm, ideal posting times, proper tags to use and how to edit videos for the best results for the medium. The amount of creativity she was able to summon while developing videos according to the respective colors of the myCOLOR quiz was her favorite part of the internship.
Chocolate had to ask herself what a “purple” personality, for example, dresses like and spends their time doing. Chocolate and the other interns were the first to create TikTok videos around myCOLOR, also known as @TheColorOfMyPersonality, so they allowed their creativity to run wild. There was no precedent or creative blueprint to follow.
Chocolate’s main takeaway while interning at Ayzenberg: the realization that she would get the most out of her time there if she embraced the fact that she doesn’t know everything, a mindset that made her open to anything.
Chocolate isn’t sure what her professional goals are in the near term but she’s on the road to becoming a Creative Director. In the long term, Chocolate looks forward to potentially teaching as a professor and inspiring young creatives of color and women. In the meantime, she started freelancing for Ayzenberg as a Social Media Coordinator before accepting the same full-time position there. Most recently, Chocolate and her ADCOLOR team won the 2021 ADCOLOR Futures Hackathon, where teams have eight hours to come up with a creative solution to a critical issue that they thereafter present to a panel of judges.
“For me, it’s not really a matter of making revolutionary work or reinventing the wheel. I know that I will have fulfilled a part of my purpose if I can inspire any person who has ever been told that they can’t, or that there’s no way. If they’re able to see me or look at my work and that helps them get to whatever goal that they’re reaching, then that’s more than enough for me,” said Chocolate.
Profile: Olivia Gutierrez
A University of Oregon graduate, Gutierrez was a digital production intern at Ayzenberg for about four months, one month longer than anticipated so that she could work on the myCOLOR TikTok campaign.
Working alongside several other interns including Jennifer Chocolate, Gutierrez helped create the myCOLOR social campaign’s strategy brief, developed content ideas, pitched and finalized ideas, conducted research and gathered content for creation. She also produced TikTok videos, wrote copy for captions and posted final videos. Once the videos were uploaded, Gutierrez would monitor traction and engagement. In a nutshell, she learned how to be a creator on TikTok.
Gutierrez recommended that Ayzenberg assign a dedicated team to the myCOLOR project given that, according to her, consistency is key to any social media campaign. Any lapse in posting inevitably leads to irrelevance and potentially unfollows. Her favorite part of the internship was having total creative freedom to create the type of TikTok videos she felt would be most effective at building awareness and education.
When asked to identify a brand she thinks is killing it on social, Gutierrez named athleisurewear company Set Active, noting the company does “an amazing job at community engagement” via daily content posted to its Instagram story—from product drops and behind the scenes through the lens of its employees to “ask us” series and takeovers.
While Gutierrez doesn’t yet have a preference or specialty, she’s doing a little of everything within social media to find out her end goal. Her dream company for the past two years though? Ayzenberg. The agency hired her to work on a few projects as a freelance social media coordinator, including posting and managing content across several social media platforms for Ad Council’s ‘Sound It Out’ social campaign. In September, she accepted a full-time role at the agency as a production coordinator working mostly within the ‘a.OS’ group, or in-house video production studio.
“Some advice I would give incoming Ayzenberg interns is to get to know your intern group. They truly are incredible individuals and they will remain your friends even after your internship ends. You will also learn a lot from them. Secondly, work as hard as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions and get to know the full-time senior workers in the office. They will have a lot of advice to share,” Gutierrez told AList.
Sara Michelson, VP Of Human Resources
Interns are an important recruiting tool for the agency, according to Sara Michelson, Ayzenberg vice president of human resources.
“Our people are our most important recruiting tool and make up who we are. So when we have an intern join, they become a part of the team and never feel like a typical intern. Team members treat them as equal team members,” Michelson told AList.
While the pandemic has widened the talent pool available to Ayzenberg and allowed it to hire people from all over the world, Michelson says the agency isn’t exempt from the Great Resignation, the ongoing trend of US employees quitting their jobs beginning in spring 2021. According to the latest JOLTS report, a record number of 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September.
“Our greatest asset is our people so when we realized that they wouldn’t be going back to the office immediately, we started building programs to enable connection, help retain employees and enhance their experience. We’re thinking of creative ways for people to gather so everyone can meet each other,” she said.
For example, for every new hire during COVID, Michelson says the company hosted an on-site tour and lunch, which it will start doing every three months for new hires. New hires are also being paired with someone on a senior level so they have access to someone who’s not on their team to show them the ropes. According to Michelson, this is a boon to retention because if a new hire wants to move around in the agency, they can discuss the possibilities of doing so with that colleague.
Ayzenberg is also enhancing its orientation to have follow-up sessions, or deep dives to ensure the new hire is settled in and understands the different teams that comprise the agency. In October, it also hosted food trucks every Friday, which it will continue to do. More recently, an event at Dodger Stadium was hosted to encourage interaction among new hires.
“We’re experiencing what every company is experiencing but we’re not having trouble recruiting people. So while we’re feeling the impact of the Great Resignation, we’re also really excited about all of the amazing talent we’ve brought on and we’re pleased how many people are excited to talk to us and join the company,” Michelson said.
Reddit has launched a new year-in-review feature that gives users a personalized snapshot of their activity from the past year, reminiscent of Spotify’s “Wrapped” compilation tool and Instagram’s recently announced “Playback” Stories feature.
Reddit has in years past analyzed global aggregate data to round up the year’s most popular threads, subreddits and “Ask Me Anything” interviews. This year marks the first time it’s giving users access to a fun slideshow that breaks down how far they’ve scrolled through subreddits—with bananas as the unit of measurement—whether they were among the first Redditors to engage with big trends, frequency of interaction and what niche topics resonated with them.
Additionally, similar to how Spotify’s “Wrapped” feature allocates a badge to premium subscribers based on their listening habits, Reddit will categorize users as a specific type of Redditor by allotting them a “secret ability.” Another similarity: Reddit’s personalized feature doesn’t take into account 100 percent of users’ activity in 2021, just usage between January 1 and November 30.
Redditors can then share these insights across Facebook and Twitter, with the option of showing or hiding their username.
According to Reddit Recap 2021, in 2021 Redditors created 366 million posts, a 19 percent increase year over year. And as of November 9, the platform has seen 2.3 billion total comments, a 12 percent increase YOY and 46 billion total upvotes, a 1 percent increase YOY. The top seven most viewed topics of 2021 were cryptocurrency, gaming, sports, weddings, health and fitness, food and drink, and movies and television.
A recent update to the YouTube app took me by surprise. Instead of the usual recommended YouTube long-form content I’ve been curating since forever, I was taken straight to vertical video content and a new interface that looks like a near-copy of TikTok. YouTube is heavily pushing “Shorts,” which more often than not, is the same content you see on TikTok also, verified by its logo hovering over the video. They’ve even ripped off TikTok’s music functionalities.
And right now, YouTube is providing some pretty big reach to those leveraging the Shorts format.
Over on Snap, one of the pioneers of the vertical video format, Discover is riddled with TikTok compilation-style content. This, however, doesn’t appear to necessarily be an intentional strategy by Snap, just that the same content is leaking over to the app by virtue of it also being vertical video.
The same goes for Instagram, but they have taken cues from TikTok’s interface for how it promotes its Reels format.
Virtually everywhere, I am seeing the same content.
Have product heads at every social app decided that TikTok’s video format is necessarily superior? Because Reels, Shorts, Stories are—let’s call it what it is—copies of TikTok.
The TikTok-to-Everywhere Pipeline
From a content creation perspective, this does go far in simplifying things. If you focus on creating for TikTok — the same rapid-fire editing style cut to music, utilizing fun TikTok-native voiceover effects, it makes creating content dramatically simpler.
Instead of shooting the same concept with different executions across platforms with various aspect ratios and quality expectations, we are now focusing on generating TikTok-styled content and exporting that everywhere else.
For creators who have become experts at making things on TikTok, YouTube Shorts has become a very attractive place with more reliable reach than hit-or-miss TikTok using the same exact content. They’ll go where they will see growth.
But how does this affect the users of these apps? Is this trend dampening creativity that other formats have afforded?
The Reupload Frenzy Begins: Piggybacking Off TikTok Creativity
It is not uncommon now to come across the same video on different platforms these days and users are extremely sensitive to this.
Seeing the same content everywhere is by nature going to make you less engaged with that content. Also, the advantage of TikTok’s For You page algorithm makes content on the platform feel more curated and tailored to the user based on what you’ve been following. This is not true for YouTube Shorts or Instagram Reels which have a heavy-handed approach, at least at the moment.
For users who have gotten used to specific content types across each platform — going to YouTube for longer-form videos, going to Instagram for eye candy — the TikTokification of these platforms is making the reason users choose to open a particular app less intentional.
What is good for creators is not necessarily good for a platform’s users.
What’s Next For Short-Form Vertical Video?
YouTube has a large existing user base it can cull from to generate views in the near term, but will Shorts be sticky for users in the future? Instagram Reels have begun to set itself apart with content geared for an Instagram-focused audience but is still drowning in TikTok reuploads.
Time will tell if users get tired of social platforms ruthlessly copying the app of the moment.
Thank you for your continued support and readership.
-The AList Team
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