80% Of Consumers Say Brand Awareness Makes Them More Likely To Buy On Social

Retail social commerce sales in the US are projected to more than double 2020 levels at $56 billion by 2023 and will reach $80 billion by 2025, according to eMarketer

According to Sprout Social’s latest research, 65 percent of shoppers have already made purchases directly through social media. The firm surveyed 1,000 US consumers to understand their motivations for buying on social media, as well as how brands can remain competitive as they start investing in the new frontier of social commerce.

Brand Awareness: Key To Driving More Social Media Purchases 

This year saw 71 percent of consumers spend more time on social media than they did in 2020. Of those Sprout Social surveyed, 34 percent reported using social media to learn about brands, products and services.

Many consumers turn to social channels for a quick and easy resource to learn about a brand and conduct product research, which is one reason why maintaining a consistent and prominent social presence (and reputation) is imperative for brands.

The research also shows that to earn a greater ROI on social, brands should prioritize discoverability by incorporating paid and organic strategies. That’s because 80 percent of consumers state that brand familiarity (i.e., knowledge of the brand) makes them more likely to buy on social. In addition, Sprout Social’s data found a positive correlation between time spent on social media and purchase likelihood based on familiarity with a brand.

It turns out audiences are very receptive to paid media as respondents ranked in-feed ads as the most common method of finding new products to buy, followed by discovery pages and story ads.

Consumers Use Social Commerce To Treat Themselves

Social commerce provides users some respite from reality, according to Sprout Social. Seventy-one percent of consumers are most likely to resort to retail therapy when on social media while 16 percent are more likely to shop for family when buying directly from social media. Only one percent reported shopping for friends via social media.

Many US consumers are now shopping for the lifestyle they envision for themselves post-pandemic. Of the products that consumers are most likely to purchase through social commerce, apparel (45 percent) tops the list followed by media (26 percent). Apps subscriptions, books, food and beverages and jewelry and other accessories are tied at 23 percent followed by cosmetics at 22 percent. Men are less likely to shop for arts and crafts, cosmetics and jewelry, but more likely to shop for app subscriptions and electronics.

Rethink Product Listings

Sprout Social found that user-generated content (UGC) is the most effective method of converting prospects into customers. Viewing a product in action is the second-most effective approach, followed by pricing information, polished photography and coupons and promo codes.

According to the data, Facebook (75 percent) is the platform consumers are most likely to buy from, followed by Instagram (41 percent), YouTube (40 percent), TikTok (21 percent) and Pinterest (21 percent). Of the platforms included in the survey, Twitch (6 percent) was the one that consumers are least likely to use for social commerce. 

Facebook and YouTube’s shoppable live video formats help brands disseminate an engaging home shopping experience for consumers in the modern age. Brands can rethink product listings by repurposing existing social content to make it more shoppable while also producing higher quality complementary resources that can be engaged in the future.

Gen Z’s Weekly Usage Of TikTok Surpasses Instagram

Weekly TikTok usage is surging among young Americans while the group’s weekly usage on Instagram declines, according to new Forrester data.

The Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics US Youth Survey 2021 shows that TikTok usage among US Gen Z jumped from 50 percent to 63 percent year-over-year whereas Instagram weekly usage declined from 61 percent last year to 57 percent this year. Snapchat remained stagnant at 54 percent.

Forrester asked parents to find out from their 12 to 17-year-olds what about TikTok they enjoy more than other social media platforms, and it came down to these three factors:

Entertainment Value

Respondents frequently used the word “fun” and “funny” when discussing TikTok, with one saying TikTok “has funnier videos.”

Short-Form Variety

Given the platform’s endless scroll of short clips, US-based Gen Zers view TikTok as a fun way to pass the time.

Positive Self Expression

Several Gen Z respondents cited the “positivity of TikTok” and emphasized their ability to freely express themselves on the app, some of who are aspiring creators.

Still, Forrester’s data show that YouTube is the top social media app among Gen Z in terms of weekly usage, with 72 percent of respondents saying they use the platform at least weekly, marking a three-point increase from 2020.

Twitter Announces New Live Shopping Platform With Walmart

Walmart is celebrating one year of livestreams with its first shoppable livestream on Twitter, making it the first retailer to try the platform’s new ecommerce feature, Live Shopping on Twitter. Walmart has spent the last year investing in live shopping through events across social platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Beginning at 7 p.m. EST on November 28, Walmart’s Cyber Deals live event will begin, allowing users to watch a live broadcast while shopping featured products and engaging in conversation with tweets. Users will not only be able to shop on Twitter, but also on other platforms like Walmart.com, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. 

The event, which Twitter is using as the initial test of its new Live Shopping on Twitter in the US, will be hosted by musician turned creator Jason Derulo, who’s also the 12th most-followed creator on the platform. Derulo will be introducing the audience to deals on electronics, seasonal decor, home goods and apparel during his 30-minute variety show, complete with surprise special guests.

The news comes on the heels of TikTok’s recent launch of TikTok Shopping, a set of advertising tools that will allow brands to engage with customers in a more meaningful way, perhaps as Twitter fights to remain viable in the ever-changing social-meets-ecommerce space. 

While TikTok recently surpassed 1 billion monthly active users (MAU), Twitter is trailing with 211 million global monetizable daily active users (mDAU) and 330 million MAU (before the company discontinued reporting on the metric), according to Statista.

Nevertheless, Walmart is taking full advantage of Twitter’s new livestream shopping platform along with any other shoppable platform available. It hosted its first shoppable livestream in December 2020 via a TikTok partnership on its Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular event. That was after its plans to invest in the video app fell through after courts blocked Trump’s executive order that would have forced a sale of TikTok’s US operations.

Still, the event delivered Walmart 7x more views than it had anticipated and grew the account by 25 percent, marking a huge success for the retailer. Walmart ran a second event a few months later. To date, Walmart has hosted more than 15 livestream events across five major platforms including its own website.

The new Live Shopping on Twitter platform builds upon Twitter’s existing shopping products and livestream capabilities, as well as upon its previous tests of a Shop Module. It will feature a live broadcast that streams atop a Live Event page, a Shoppable Banner and Shop Tab. Users can switch between the “Latest” and the “Shop” tab as they view products during the event. And when set to purchase, users will be directed to the retailer’s website within the in-app browser as the livestream continues uninterrupted. In Twitter remaining loyal to its roots, the new live shopping platform will also feature a textbox so that users can tweet about the livestream with a suggested hashtag.

Twitter’s Shop Module, launched earlier this year, offered brands and retailers the option to showcase products directly on their profiles. This feature tested whether there would be demand for shopping on Twitter with Gamestop and Arden Cove, among others.

Walmart’s Twitter livestream strengthens its continued venture into live shopping through the 2021 holiday season. According to the retailer, it has over 30 shoppable livestream events planned on platforms like BuzzFeed, Facebook, Youtube, IGN and more.

Social Media Marketing Trends To Watch In 2022

Marketers aren’t clairvoyant but they can keep a finger on the pulse of trends. To help brands stay ahead of the competition, HubSpot Blog surveyed more than 1,000 global marketers from B2B and B2C brands and a handful of industry experts to create a 2022 marketing trends guide, covering privacy and AI to social media and SEO. Ahead we break down HubSpot’s findings on social media marketing trends.

As HubSpot notes, 79 percent of Americans have some type of social media account while there are 3.7 billion social media users worldwide, making it a regular part of people’s lives and a critical tool in enhancing any marketing strategy.

Live Content Will Be A Leading Social Media Format

Among the social media marketers HubSpot polled, 68 percent reported that audio chat rooms such as Clubhouse are the most effective social media content while 59 percent report the same for live video.

Ninety-six percent of those investing in live audio content intend on spending the same amount or more on it through 2022. Live video, on the other hand, is reported by 9 percent of respondents as driving the largest return on investment (ROI) of all social media formats. These formats enable brands to connect directly with audiences in a meet-them-where-they-are context while discussions range from current issues and events to the brand’s stance on those issues to the products and services themselves. 

The authenticity and dynamic nature of this format can’t be matched as heart-to-heart conversations may be interspersed with expert opinions, Q&A-style discussions, how-tos and entertainment.

TikTok Will Continue To Gain Brand Interest

TikTok began to go viral roughly three years ago, sparking a new medium through which brands can connect with audiences without sounding sales-y. The social media app now boasts 1 billion global users and caters to a vast array of audiences. Having recently launched a number of advertising and marketing features for businesses and creators, TikTok has positioned itself front-and-center in the race to secure the highest quality content, the highest number of users and creators and brands that will continue engaging with it for marketing purposes.

Sixty-seven percent of marketers intend on increasing their TikTok investment in 2022 and 10 percent of marketers who employ some sort of social media into their overall marketing strategy intend on investing the most in TikTok throughout 2022.

Most Marketers Will Concentrate On Three To Five Social Media Platforms

Of those social media marketers polled, 64 percent use three to five platforms, 11 percent use one or two, and 7 percent use seven or more. Managing three to five platforms allows brands to expand their reach to a variety of audiences while allowing for their marketers to engage with each one without exhausting their bandwidth or producing low-quality content.

In order for a brand to determine how many platforms to be on, i.e., how able a social media marketing team will be at building an effective and engaging strategy, HubSpot suggests answering the following:

  • How many social media marketers are on your team?
  • Which social media platforms have audiences that best align with your brand’s targets?
  • How much time will it take to master a strategy on each of the platforms?
  • Which platforms, if any, will not benefit the overall marketing strategy right now?
  • Which platform’s content, if any, can be easily repurposed? (such as TikTok and YouTube Shorts)

Influencer Marketing Will Evolve From Trend To Common Marketing Tactic

When HubSpot asked global marketing professionals which trends they planned to invest in for 2022, 34 percent said influencer marketing, ranking it first and above other trends like mobile web design and short-form video marketing.

While 57 percent of respondents that currently leverage influencer marketing say influencer marketing is effective, 46 percent of them plan to increase their investments in 2022. Additionally, 11 percent say influencer marketing is the top ROI-generating trend they’ve tested.

More than 56 percent of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with micro-influencers, according to HubSpot.

Video Marketers Will Keep Content Short

HubSpot found that short-form content is the second most effective trend marketers are currently utilizing. Short-form content requires less bandwidth and aligns well with the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences in a variety of demographics. 

More than 31 percent of global marketers currently invest in short-form video content, 46 percent of them consider the strategy effective when it comes to performance and engagement. In addition, next year 89 percent of global marketers plan to continue investing in it or increase their investment.

Permanent Social Media Posts Could Overtake Ephemeral Content

Brands have observed that permanent social media content—namely standard posts, videos and live events that live on a platform’s feed and can be viewed again days later—might be more effective than ephemeral content such as Instagram Stories and Snapchat.

HubSpot’s survey results show that 44 percent of global marketers plan to increase their investment in permanent social media content, while 8 percent say it generates the most ROI compared to other marketing strategies they leverage. Meanwhile, 25 percent of respondents cited ephemeral content as the “least effective” trend they invested in.

Lastly, 37 percent of marketers said they plan to decrease their investment in ephemeral content.

However, HubSpot cautions against writing off ephemeral content completely as it can still provide other brand awareness benefits and unique content experiences.

According to Kelly Hendrickson, a social media marketing manager at HubSpot, Instagram Stories’ fleeting design and fun editing options give brands a new strategy for producing content that varies from their other social media content.

“Instagram can organically serve up a wall post across a wide span of time, so there’s less of an opportunity for brands to be timely (who wants to see New Year’s post when they’ve already given up on their resolutions?!). Since Instagram users are more active on weekdays, during the standard workday, it seems users are looking for a break,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson urges marketers to remember that the combination of a running clock and a lively audience presents a big opportunity for brands to lean into quick, in-the-moment content that showcases the light-hearted side of their brand, adding that succinctness and clarity are key in content.

YouTube Expands Test Of Cross-Platform Shorts Function

YouTube is aiming to bolster its TikTok rival Shorts with the expansion of a cross-platform function that gives users direct access to the short-form video experience. YouTube has been testing the function globally with a small percentage of mobile iOS users and recently said it’s preparing to extend the test to Android.

For those in the experiment, closing the YouTube app while watching Shorts will drop them into the Shorts player when they reopen the app, the company explained. If they exit the YouTube app while watching any content other than Shorts, they won’t be directed right into Shorts the next time they open the app.

YouTube is giving those selected to be part of the experiment the option of providing feedback about the cross-platform feature via the “send feedback” button via the Shorts player’s three-dot menu. 

According to YouTube, the experiment will hopefully provide insight into whether users find it helpful to start from where they left off the last time they used the app. It also helps determine YouTube’s outlook on TikTok and the overall shift to short-form video. 

The experiment applies only to those who engage with Shorts, YouTube’s answer to TikTok, which now boasts a reported 1 billion monthly active users and recently ventured into gaming through a Zynga partnership that’s bringing a new single-player music runner game called Disco Loco 3D to select markets exclusively for TikTok.

Despite the fact that TikTok is the short-form vertical feed format champion, it has been offering features that creep into YouTube territory, namely increasing the maximum video length from 60 seconds to three minutes back in December. At one point, TikTok also reportedly tested five-minute videos.

YouTube Shorts was initially launched in India in 2020 before being released in the US in March and globally in mid-July. The short-form video platform enables users to create up to 60-second videos with music, original audio or “remixed” content sourced from other YouTube videos unless creators have chosen not to allow their content to be repurposed in Shorts.

Along with TikTok, Instagram’s Reels and Snapchat’s Spotlight, Shorts content can be uploaded into or filmed directly in the app. Its editing components also allow for adjusted speed, a green screen effect, setting a timer and combining clips, among others.

Testing of direct access to Shorts comes at a critical stage in Shorts’ timeline given that usage is on the rise. YouTube parent company Alphabet announced that Shorts had surpassed 15 billion daily views in Q2, more than double what it had seen in Q1. Though that the increase may be due to market expansions and not to heightened demand.

YouTube has been engaging in a number of strategies to strengthen Shorts’ ability to compete with TikTok. In October, it announced a partnership with musician Ed Sheeran to host previews of his latest tracks exclusively in Shorts. The activation gave users access to over a dozen new songs ahead of their October 29 release date in addition to the ability to create their own #SheeranShorts takes for every track.

Then there’s the $100 million Shorts Fund, which offers select creators up to $10,000 per month for creative and engaging content. Shorts reaches out to thousands of creators each month who have uploaded at least one eligible Short to award them money. Eligibility is based on level of engagement and compliance with the app’s Community Guidelines, and is available to creators within and apart from the YouTube Partner Program. The fund, which launched in May, is available in the US, the UK, Japan, Russia and more countries. YouTube is also developing a long-term payment model for Shorts, but no word on the progress just yet.

Pinterest Launches Pinterest TV With Live, Original And Shoppable Creator Shows

Pinterest is entrenching itself deeper in the social commerce arena with the announcement of Pinterest TV, a collection of live, original and shoppable shows on the Pinterest app. Set to debut on November 8 in the US on iOS and Android, the episodes will star creators from Pinterest and cover a different topic each day, including beauty, fashion and food, to name a few.

Pinterest TV episodes will air Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. PDT and will be recorded and available for Pinners to view on-demand later. Products will drop in a live shopping setting every Friday where Pinners can save on brands like Allbirds, Crown Affair, Melody Ehsani, Outdoor Voices, Mented and more. 

In addition, during Pinterest TV episodes, creators will be able to showcase and tag products that Pinners can then purchase on the retailer’s own site—a feature that will help propel the livestream shopping category to $25 billion in US sales in 2023, according to Coresight Research.

Pinterest TV hosts will also have a “shopping toolbox” with a “product drawer” that includes product prices, details and drops in addition to collaborations. The drawer also displays how much time/inventory is left and features a limited-time-offer module to offer discounts.

Among the most-anticipated shows on Pinterest TV: Christian On with American fashion designer and Project Runway alum Christian Siriano, Unfail My where director and screenwriter Monica Suriyage and other Pinterest foodies attempt to “rescue” holiday dishes from around the US and Tom Tries where Olympic diving gold medalist and knitting guru Tom Daley learns new skills from grandmas and grandpas.

In addition to Pinterest TV, the platform is launching a virtual studio where Pinterest producers can work directly with creators to develop unique content, provide “backstage” A/V support and go live themselves. The creators that have hosted Pinterest TV episodes during the pilot phase have increased their following on the platform dramatically, with some more than doubling their followers after a single live episode, according to Pinterest.

Accessing Pinterest TV is simple: a TV icon in the upper left corner of the app takes you to the episodes where you can interact with hosts, ask questions via chat and get answers in real-time.

The launch of Pinterest TV comes on the heels of Pinterest’s announcement that it’s investing $20 million into a Creator Rewards program—its first in-product creator monetization program and an expansion of its $500,000 Creator Fund.

Instagram’s New Partner Discovery Feature Gives Creators Priority With Brands

This week in social media news, Instagram announces a new creator discovery feature and dedicated inbox folder for partnership messages, Pinterest debuts its first-ever in-product monetization program and an original content series for creators, Snapchat shares tips for optimizing mobile ads on the platform and TikTok reflects on its community’s positive response to longer videos.

Instagram’s New Branded Content Features Help Creators Get Discovered By More Brands

Instagram is testing a handful of new branded content partnership features that aim to help creators and brands connect and partner on the app, including a partner discovery feature for brands, a dedicated inbox folder for partnership messages, branded content Reels ads and more.

Why it matters: Instagram continues to amp up its creator monetization tools in an effort to help creators “make a living doing what they love while helping brands drive business outcomes by tapping into new trends and audiences,” it said. 

The debut of its new branded partnership features comes as TikTok just launched its inaugural “Discover List,” highlighting 50 TikTok stars across five categories. In July, TikTok also rolled out the ability for all users to publish videos up to three minutes in length, giving creators the ability to break up videos into two- and three-part series.

The details: First up, Instagram creators can now add participating brands that they’re interested in working with to their preferred brands list using Instagram’s ‘Partner Discovery’ feature. This gives the creator priority when brands are searching for creators to work with.

Instagram has also debuted a new folder within Instagram DMs exclusively for messages regarding brand partnerships. With the influx of message requests creators receive on a daily basis, this feature will help creators easily identify and sort through opportunities as these messages skip the requests folder and get priority placement.

For brands, this new update means they can use data and unique filters to find and select the right creators for their campaign, then organize shortlists to manage multiple campaigns at once.

Instagram is testing the branded content features with a small group of US creators and brands including e.l.f. Cosmetics, Eva NYC, Dr. Dennis Gross, Hawthorne and Keys Soulcare.

In addition, Instagram is letting brands create branded content Reels ads. With this, creators can enable trusted brand partners to create branded content ads from any of the creator’s tagged feed posts, Stories and Reels featuring the brand.

For the first time, Instagram will let creators boost branded content posted in feed, Stories and Reels right from the app to help expand their content’s reach. Instagram says this feature will roll out globally in the coming months.

Lastly, Instagram is giving creators who are part of its affiliate US test the ability to add a digital storefront to their Instagram profile where they can spotlight all the products they recommend in one place. This digital storefront will appear via the “View Shop” button on their profile which will earn them a commission for the purchases they drive.

Pinterest Debuts Inaugural In-Product Monetization Program And Original Content Series For Creators

At its second annual Pinterest Creators Festival, Pinterest creators helped the app debut a suite of new creator and Pinner products and experiences, including a new “Watch” feed viewing experience, a new product tagging tool via Amazon, an original content series called Creator Originals and a $20 million Creator Rewards program—its first-ever in-product monetization program for creators.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s new “Watch” tab enables a feed viewing experience akin to TikTok where the full screen is populated by one video at a time. As per Pinterest:

“Providing both a “watch” and a “browse” option puts the power in users’ hands to choose how they’d like to get inspired. The new experience will be available to Pinners in markets where Idea Pins are available on iOS and Android starting today.”

Pinterest’s other new products are aimed at bolstering its creator community. Its new Creator Originals content series will feature over 100 creators across 10 countries who “represent the best of Pinterest.” 

At the same time, a new monetization option will allow creators to make their Idea Pins automatically shoppable by enabling shopping recommendations on their Idea Pins. Pinterest research shows shoppers who visit Pinterest weekly outspend non-Pinners by 2x every month and have an 85 percent larger basket.

The details: Pinterest is investing $20 million in its new “Creator Rewards” program and other initiatives to support creators. The program is currently available in the US through the app’s all-new global Creator Hub, where creators can manage their Pinterest presence with tools, tips and insights. In addition, Pinterest is providing micro-grants for projects that creators are passionate about or want to bring to life—for example funding a new beauty look or starting a community garden.

On the shoppable Pins front, Pinterest is expanding its product tagging tool to include the Amazon Associates Program so that US creators can add affiliate links from Amazon and earn commission on qualifying purchases.

Pinterest has also integrated Idea Pins with AR Try on, its augmented reality beauty try-on feature. This new capability will enable creators to tag their Idea Pins with a new ‘Try on’ sticker to add lip products.

Creators can also now make their Idea Pins automatically shoppable by enabling shopping recommendations on their Idea Pins. According to Pinterest:

“The ‘shop similar’ feature uses Pinterest’s visual search technology to recommend Product Pins that are visually similar to the content within the Pin, giving Pinners the ability to shop what they see. With this new feature, Pinterest is enabling visual search on video content for the first time.”

Pinterest is also rolling out a few new tools to help enhance creator community engagement and users’ watching experience. The app’s new “Takes” feature offers a new way for users to respond to a creator’s idea with their own Idea Pin. Pinners’ responses will link back to the creators’ original Idea Pins, and creators can also highlight top takes from Pinners. This feature is available on iOS and Android for Pinners and creators globally.

In redesigning its home feed, Pinterest has also launched the option to “browse” or “watch” content on the app. Its new “watch” tab is a fullscreen feed of Idea Pins users can scroll through while its “browse” tab shows multiple Idea Pins at a time. Starting today, this new feature is available to Pinners in markets where Idea Pins are available on iOS and Android.

Snapchat Offers Best Practices For Optimizing Mobile Ads On The Platform

This year, 67 percent of all ecommerce sales will come from mobile. To help brands capitalize on mobile shopping, Snapchat has shared seven tips for running mobile ads on the platform.

Why it matters: As Snapchat notes:

“Snapchat Ads enable your business to connect with Snapchatters in a way that’s conversational and feels organic to the platform. So when our 293 million daily active users3 who spend an average of 30 minutes every day on Snapchat4 come across your ad, it’s in a way that feels non-intrusive and natural to the way they experience the platform.”

The details: Snapchat’s first best practice for running mobile ads on the platform is optimizing site speed and mobile responsiveness, namely reducing the number of plugins, optimizing site images and transferring your site to a more reliable host.

Next, it advises measuring, optimizing and building audiences for your mobile Snapchat ad campaigns with Snap Pixel. This is a piece of JavaScript code placed on your site that allows you to track the actions Snapchatters take across devices.

Snap also suggests choosing the correct ad format to achieve your business goal: select Story Ads to build brand awareness, Collection Ads to showcase your latest products, or Single Image or Video Ad to boost app installs.

In terms of creative best practices, brands should display their products front and center and include a clear call to action that drives people to the desired landing page. Goal-Base Bidding on the platform is another way to optimize ads toward a specific action that a Snap user is most likely to take, whether it’s swiping up or completing a purchase.

After running mobile ads on Snap for a few weeks, increase engagement by broadening your targeting by Snapchatters’ demographics, geographic locations and interests. Lastly, brands should make data-driven decisions by leveraging tools including Snap Pixel, Split Testing and Audience Insights.

TikTok Shares Takeaways From Expanding Video Length Limit To Three Minutes

In July, TikTok expanded its video length limit from 60 seconds to three minutes. Today, TikTok videos longer than one minute receive up to over 5 billion views globally. To understand what drives the popularity of longer videos, including vlogs and day-in-the-life videos, the app is sharing some insight into the phenomenon from social psychology expert Dr. Shira Gabriel, associate professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo.

Why it matters: According to Dr. Gabriel:

“Entertainment is very personal – what one person finds interesting and inspiring may be very different to their friends or family. Yet vlogs seem universally popular. When we watch vlogs featuring celebrities and personalities, we feel connected to them as we’re getting a peek into their day-to-day lives. By mimicking real-life interactions, video is a powerful tool to help form bonds and relationships. It makes us feel like we belong.”

The details: According to TikTok, creators worldwide embraced creative freedom using longer videos, with videos spanning over two minutes on average. Longer videos are most popular in Vietnam, Thailand and Japan while TikTok users in the US, UK and Brazil engage with longer videos the most.

Based on the positive feedback it’s receiving from creators, TikTok says it will continue to enhance longer videos. To kick that initiative off, TikTok has launched “Discover My World,” where it features popular global creators and celebrities who share longer vlogs.

Facebook’s Report Highlights Importance Of Diversity In Advertising

This week in social media news, Facebook publishes a report on the importance of diversity, TikTok’s latest partnerships help brands unlock the power of music and sound on the platform, Pinterest expands its suite of shopping solutions and Snapchat shares how to use audience insights to improve campaign success.

Facebook’s New Report Highlights Importance Of Diversity In Advertising

Facebook’s latest report, ‘Barriers to Representative Advertising,’ highlights the importance of diversity in advertising and the barriers to facilitating greater representation, with recommendations to help address the key elements of inclusion in ads–including assessing the workforce experience of different identity groups and reviewing talent processes for equitable outcomes.

Why it matters: Most brands seeking to maximize engagement and profits must keep up with social trends. In 2021 and beyond, that means aligning brand values with those of the consumer. Ninety-three percent of agency survey respondents reported being very receptive or receptive to guidance and tools around addressing representation and inclusivity in advertising. Making a mistake in this endeavor may produce devastating results given that public backlash is now more active, more immediate and more impactful than ever before. 

The details: In partnership with Deloitte, Facebook carried out a series of surveys and interviews to diagnose the main obstructions to more representative advertising. The study highlights the need for greater representation and points out the five key barriers to diversity. Among them: a lack of a leadership mandate, difficulty valuing long-term benefits and lack of awareness of tools and resources. 

TikTok Announces New Partnerships To Help Brands Build Sound-On Strategies

TikTok has announced the expansion of its TikTok Marketing Partners program and the introduction of six certified Sound Partners who will help brands build sound-on strategies for TikTok.

Why it matters: As noted in the announcement, “Sound is the universal language of TikTok” and is one of the features that allow it to achieve astronomically high engagement levels. Its sound and music elements have triggered and will continue to trigger global trends. Brands utilize the sound-on feature to show their personality, which increases engagement in new ways that don’t feel inherently sales-y. Thus, the new expansion and Sound Partners will drive further innovation and success for brands connecting with audiences on TikTok.

The details: According to a 2020 study from MRC Data, 65 percent of TikTokers prefer content from brands that features original sounds while 68 percent report a brand being more memorable when they feature likable songs in their videos. TikTok’s new Sound Partners will offer solutions in two particular areas: Custom Sound and Subscription Sound. Each will help with an array of campaign goals including producing a “sonic brand identity.” Custom Sound partners create bespoke tracks that stimulate community participation and commotion around Hashtag Challenges and campaigns. 

Subscription Sound partners provide flexible music offerings via monthly, yearly or project-based licensing plans that allow brands to develop always-on strategies.

Pinterest Expands Suite Of Advertiser Shopping Solutions 

Pinterest is now offering more features to facilitate greater reach and conversion rates of shoppers who are primed to purchase.

Why it matters: Individuals who use Pinterest weekly are seven times more likely to report it as the most influential platform in their purchase journey compared to other social media platforms, according to a Pinterest blog post. Additionally, Pinterest shoppers have 85 percent larger carts than shoppers on other platforms and they spend twice as much monthly. 

Shopping on Pinterest is about discovering new products and determining which products the user actually wants. Because of these phenomena, among others, Pinterest has rolled out features that make it easier for brands to reach and convert Pinterest shoppers who are primed to purchase. 

The details: A few of Pinterest’s new features include a slideshow for collections that allows for products to be pulled from brand catalogs and automatically incorporated into a collections ad, the ability for brands to showcase their values on their Pinterest profile such as “Woman-owned” or “responsibly sourced” and a test-run of a paid joint partnership between creators and advertisers called Idea Ads.

Snapchat Releases Guide To Using Audience Insights

Snapchat has offered advertisers a guide on how to use audience insights to improve the efficacy of ads on the platform.

Why it matters: Ads do better when they’re informed by testing and audience insights. Marketing has the biggest impact when ad creative, messaging and calls to action work together to communicate with the target audience. There are several elements brands must understand in order to execute ad campaigns effectively and Snapchat has offered Audience Insight tools to help.

The details: Audience Insights allow brands to examine a wide array of groups on Snapchat, providing them with the ability to learn how Snapchatters are responding to ads, who those Snapchatters are and what they’re interested in. Audience Insights combines data like demographic interest categories with external data from third-party data providers to offer brands a thorough idea of who the audience is and what they’re engaging with on the platform. Snapchat then advises brands to put this knowledge into action by, for example, creating relevant audiences that can be activated with Saved Audiences and adjusting bids by type of device and carrier.

Snapchat Offers Marketing Tips To Drive Holiday Sales

Snapchat has shared a list of best practices for brands to get the most out of Black Friday advertising campaigns on the platform.

Why it matters: Black Friday marketing campaigns are starting earlier each year, now as early as October, according to a Deloitte survey. It’s vital that brands employ every strategy necessary to maximize the selling season. On Snapchat, peak purchasing occurs one month before Christmas and 72 percent of Snapchatters intend on shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Snapchat’s tips aim to help retailers get Black Friday campaigns up earlier, boost sales and engage customers natively.

The details: First up, Snap recommends optimizing your website for mobile to increase conversions. According to eMarketer, 67 percent of all ecommerce sales will occur on mobile. Offering a mobile-friendly and responsive website is critical to maximizing Black Friday profits. 

Next, implement the Snap pixel to track, measure and build audiences. Install Snap Pixel to begin building Pixel Custom Audiences, allowing your ads to appear for Snapchatters who’ve previously visited your website, keeping your product which has the effect of reinforcing their intent to purchase. 

Snapchat has included a few creative best practices to help brands stand out by showcasing their products and deals front-and-center. For example, feature your best-selling products with full-screen images and videos, drive urgency with strong language that directs attention to huge deals that generate excitement, and lastly, make the shopping experience as seamless as possible by linking directly to the product or category page you’re promoting.

Reels Launches On Facebook In The US

This week in social media news, Facebook launches reels in the US, a new report finds users are more open to TikTok’s advertising options, Twitch tests a feature letting viewers pay to promote streamers, WPP and Snapchat launch an augmented reality partnership, Pinterest announces its second ‘Creators Festival’ event and more.

Facebook Launches Reels In The US

Reels has launched on Facebook for all of its US-based users after having tested the feature in India since March.

Why it matters: TikTok recently celebrated reaching 1 billion monthly active users—news that further incentivized Facebook to launch its short-form video competitor in the US where it boasts 250 million users on Facebook and more than 1.8 billion monthly users of Groups.

The details: Given that TikTok is banned in India, Facebook took the opportunity to capitalize on the popularity of short-form video there first, before determining whether it would be a viable competitor in other markets. Reels on Facebook allow for music, audio, effects and features like following a creator directly from the video.

Sharing themed Reels in Groups allows group members to create the same, similar, or reaction videos that could spark a new trend within the group. With the allure of internet fame, Reels on Facebook can be viewed in the News Feed along with Instagram Reel recommendations, giving Instagram creators more exposure potential across apps.

Reels on Facebook is in a prime position to compete with TikTok, given Facebook’s cross-app exposure, more solidified monetization system and larger resources to invest into incentivizing Reels creation. The invite-only Reels Play on Facebook bonus program offers a bonus to creators whose Reels reach 1,000 views within 30 days.

TikTok Users Are More Open To The Platform’s Ads

According to Kantar’s latest ‘Media Reactions’ study, TikTok is the preferred advertising environment for both brands and their audiences given the platform’s effective ‘Make TikToks, Not Ads’ ethos.

Why it matters: TikTok’s brand-building campaigns are seven times more impactful among people with high ad equity and consumers favor TikTok ads in 13 of 14 categories.

The details: Kantar’s findings are based on three elements: the Digital Dilemma (maximize consumer engagement without irritations), the “Glocal” Dilemma (balance benefits of scale with local relevance) and the Innovator’s Dilemma (maintain trust while driving innovation). Taking into consideration these factors, TikTok ads are particularly effective on several fronts; their collaborative atmosphere leads to less intrusive and more creative ad campaigns. Additionally, TikTok’s ads scored higher on relevance and usefulness than they did in last year’s reports. 

Twitch Tests Feature Allowing Viewers To Pay To Promote Streamers

Twitch is experimenting with a new feature that allows users to pay money to promote a stream. The feature is being tested on a small number of streamers initially.

Why it matters: The new feature is a paid version of Twitch’s “Boost this stream” community challenge program currently in place. In that program, viewers pool channel points and engage them to promote a creator throughout the platform. With the new feature, creators will have even more opportunities to have their streams be promoted and to be more impactful. 

The details: A notification will appear for 10 minutes randomly during a Twitch stream that informs viewers that the boost option is available. Viewers may then pay for a number of recommendations, for example, 1,000 recommendations for .99 cents and 3,000 recommendations for $2.97.

WPP And Snapchat Announce Augmented Reality Partnership ‘The AR Lab’

WPP and Snapchat’s new AR Lab partnership will deliver innovative and immersive marketing and commerce solutions for brands, fusing Snapchat’s leading AR technology with WPP’s integrated capabilities to help WPP clients connect better with customers on Snapchat.

Why it matters: According to a recent study commissioned by Snap, 94 percent of people are expected to engage with AR for shopping in 2022. Considering that advertisers have found AR campaigns on Snap platforms to be substantial business drivers, the new partnership allows WPP clients access to Snap’s AR technology.

The details: WPP will collaborate with Snap on new products and technology. WPP will also gain access to a custom AR Lab Strategy Guide. Together, the companies will execute a custom optimization scorecard for WPP clients that will offer more effective campaigns and insights into performance for real-time adaptation.

Pinterest’s Annual ‘Creators Festival’ To Showcase Key Trends And Tips

During the next ‘Creators Festival,’ Pinterest will showcase its latest features, highlight key usage trends, feature top emerging creators and executives and provide engagement tips for Pin marketers.

Why it matters: The Festival provides the opportunity for the platform to spotlight what its future has in store. Considering its monumental rise in usage during the pandemic, Pinterest is looking to maximize current engagement through more features and formats. Users can now engage on a more intimate level with one another the way they would on most other social media apps.

The details: Venturing into broader social media usage trends, Pinterest has added Idea Pins, the platform’s version of Instagram Stories. ‘Watch’ mode, which is still being tested, allows users to watch a full-screen, vertical TikTok-style feed. Additionally, the ‘Takes’ feature enables users to provide their own video response to an Idea Pin.

Pinners Turn To Pinterest For Halloween 2021 Inspiration 

Pinners are looking forward to experiencing a more traditional Halloween celebration than they did in 2020. Pinterest has been studying the trends that will define this Halloween season.

Why it matters: “Halloween inspiration” searches were three times greater in August this year as compared to August 2020, according to Pinterest. This year, pinners began planning for the holiday much earlier, with related searches beginning as early as the second week of May. Additionally, such searches increased three-and-a-half times as fast compared to the same time in 2020.

The details: This year’s theme spotlights metallics and vivid shades with ‘fairycore’ and ‘goblincore’ themes. 

“Retro Halloween aesthetic” is the top-trending Halloween term with searches having risen by a factor of 76 while “DIY Halloween masks” searches have increased 64 percent.

Pinterest searches on culturally inappropriate costumes have been prohibited since 2016.

Twitter Latches Onto Rising Interest In NFTs

Twitter is looking to incorporate a more creative way for users to display their NFTs while facilitating a more direct connection with users and their latest digital art purchases.

Why it matters: Twitter’s new focus on NFTs as avatars plays well into the company’s Metaverse concept. There, the NFT digital characters may be used in other online applications as the user’s virtual identity. In another sense, the NFT is a sort of verification for those venturing into new digital trends. Additionally, this step seems like the inevitable and natural next step after the social app announced it would allow for payments via cryptocurrency in September.

The details: One new experimental feature would allow users to connect their digital wallets to their accounts for the purpose of purchasing NFTs. Twitter may then provide a mark of authenticity or ownership on the NFT displayed. Another new feature called the ‘Collectible’ tab allows users to present their owned NFTs to visitors. Twitter’s new display option hasn’t yet launched but will be rolled out soon.

TikTok Launches ‘TikTok Shopping’

At its first-ever virtual, global brand conference TikTok World, TikTok introduced TikTok Shopping–a set of advertising tools that will allow brands to engage with customers in a more meaningful way.

TikTok Shopping includes six features to better facilitate how its worldwide community discovers and shops for new products on the app. 

  • Direct integration will allow merchants to experience a full commerce experience by uploading products and managing everything from shipping to fulfillment and point of purchase. 
  • Partner integration will allow merchants to continue working with their preferred third-party commerce partner such as Spotify, Square, Ecwid and PrestaShop. TikTok expects Wix, SHOPLINE, OpenCart and BASE to join in the near future. 
  • Users can now visit instantly loaded product detail pages when a brand links one or more products directly from an organic TikTok video. 
  • Brands can also connect directly with users in real-time while sharing dynamic links to products and services. 
  • Brands will be able to include custom, swipeable product cards in their In-Feed video ads.
  • Brands can serve users personalized, targeted ads based on their interests.

The new suite of solutions has been 18 months in the making as TikTok has been striving to make its platform more conducive to convenient and effective ecommerce. During that time, TikTok examined what commerce on its platform would look like through partnerships with Levi Strauss & Co. and Walmart Inc. as well as through pilot programs in Europe via Spotify. 

TikTok Shopping comes on the heels of the platform reaching more than 1 billion monthly active users as of September 27, 2021. Prior to TikTok Shopping, the platform’s organic, word-of-mouth style of content inspired shopping as opposed to providing a place to do it–creators discussed products in their videos and viewers responded by purchasing them wherever they could. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, for example, has 5.4 billion views and strengthened TikTok’s commitment to adapting its platform to the future of social commerce. The new features effectively cut out the middleman and streamline the process of discovering and shopping for brands, creators and users.

“It is a fully immersive experience, and we’re fully integrating…the merchant side and also providing the user a very seamless shopping experience on TikTok. It can be [an] extremely safe shopping environment. People can really see what they’re actually buying and also directly checkout in the app,” said Ray Cao, TikTok managing director and global head of product strategy and operations in an interview with WWD.