Autumn social media round-up: the latest developments to keep tabs on
If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that social media is always evolving, and this autumn has already seen lots of new developments
- Meta has continued to extend the reach of Threads.
- TikTok is experimenting with longer-form video and text-only content.
- Snapchat has released a report explaining how it’s uniquely differentiated from other platforms.
- And Google admits that search itself is threatened by the rise of social media across younger audiences.
This week, we explore all of this and more in our five-minute round-up of social media essential news.
1. TikTok launches ‘out of phone’ feature
Something that caught our eye is TikTok creating a new ‘out of phone’ feature which could enable your institution to use TikTok content at events, and in outdoor ad spaces such as digital billboards and cinemas.
The move extends TikTok’s reach beyond mobile and provides more advertising opportunities for institutions and brands.
2. Meta’s Twitter clone ‘Threads’ the most downloaded app in Q3
A recently released report has revealed that Threads was the most downloaded social app this quarter.
The simple sign-up process combined with Meta’s gigantic network enabled it to reach 100 million profiles created in the first five days, and it’s continued to skyrocket since then.
The question now is whether Threads can continue to dominate and bring even more people to the Threads experience, or whether Instagram has artificially grown the user base for Threads, with many users simply curious to take an initial look.
Threads also looks to be developing its own direct messaging service, and more tools for users to create dynamic posts with voice options, GIFs, and polls.
3. Nearly 40% of young audiences prefer using TikTok and Instagram for search over Google
According to Google’s own internal data, nearly 40% of Gen Z prefer social media platforms as their go-to for search.
The threat to Google’s business isn’t just limited to YouTube, apparently.
Google’s core services, including Search and Maps, are also being impacted by a growing preference for social media to be the first point of discovery for younger browsers.
In response, Google is changing features in Search and Maps to try to attract a younger audience.
Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan, who runs Google’s Knowledge & Information department, referenced the popular social apps stating:
“Almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search, they go to TikTok or Instagram.”
4. YouTube overhauls its creator ad controls by cutting out features
Creators will still be able to choose whether their ads run before or after a long-form video, but from November, you’ll lose the right to select whether they are ‘pre-roll, post-roll, skippable, or non-skippable’.
YouTube defended the decision by saying: “We’re optimizing creator revenue and taking the guesswork out of which ad formats to use, by removing individual ad controls”.
They also explained that the decision was in response to feedback from users.
5. TikTok experimenting with 15-minute uploads
The formerly short-form video app has begun experimenting with a new 15-minute upload option continuing its trend to extend video limits to allow for more long-form content.
Rewinding the clock, it’s worth remembering that the original time limit per clip was just 15 seconds before being extended to 60 seconds, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and landing on 10 minutes in 2022.
Douyin, the Chinese version of the app, led the way by expanding its upload limit to 30 minutes per clip last year, which has presumably been popular with both users and advertisers on the platform.
University of San Francisco reserves its TikTok channel for a prospective student audience.
It will be interesting to see what they can do with longer videos
6. Snapchat highlights it’s unique audience positioning
Snapchat has released a new report highlighting why its services to audiences are unique.
The research in the report states that 16 to 24-year-olds are aging out of legacy platforms like Facebook, Twitter(X), and even YouTube to a certain extent.
The implication of Snapchat is that the platform fosters genuine communication and self-expression and is uniquely differentiated from other social media channels.
The platform is used by over 750 million people every month and nearly 400 million people each day worldwide.
7. VTubers on the rise
Short for Virtual YouTuber, the phrase encompasses all creators portrayed by character avatars to capture real-time movement.
The trend originated in Japan but is quickly becoming an international phenomenon, and over 49,500 VTubers now stream actively on Twitch and YouTube Live.
The most popular VTuber is Gawr Gura. As of October Gawr Gura passed 4.4 million subscribers on YouTube placing her firmly ahead of the competition.
With developments happening at pace in the Metaverse this could be an interesting format to keep tabs on going into next year.
8. Expressing creativity with TikTok text
TikTok has added text-only content options to the platform.
The text-only post on TikTok allows users to publish 1,000 characters, compared to 500 on Threads and 280 on Twitter(X).
TikTok has said this is just another format for users to express their creativity.
9. Instagram testing new polls feature in comments
Instagram has developed a new tool enabling users to create polls in comments and is now testing it with users in beta.
When it launches, the new feature will enable you to create interactive polls in comments on feed posts and reel clips (remember you can already run polls in stories and direct messages).
Once released, this could be another good way to gather feedback or boost engagement with your institution.
10. TikTok rolls out ads on its search results pages
The latest update enables advertisers to target users who are searching for related products and information and already this is proving successful.
Clinique, for example, saw a 441% increase in conversion rates, and nearly three-quarters of other brands have reported an overall reduction in cost per acquisition too.
The update also means you can add ‘negative keywords’ to each ad group and avoid being associated with search terms that don’t align with your institution’s values or culture.
P.S. TikTok has also created a superb resource called the TikTok Creative Jumpstart: A Beginner’s Handbook, which is well worth a quick read.
What do you make of the social media developments emerging this Autumn?
And what trends are you most excited to see early next year?
We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or, of course, on social media.