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Social Media

The old form of social networking may be dying. But our forecast shows people spend more time on social platforms, so marketers need to be aware of what the new era of social media looks like. Gen Z and TikTok certainly dominate social media headlines, but Meta maintains a stronghold, even as it struggles to make new endeavors like Threads take off.

US-TikTok negotiations restart after ultimatum: A potential agreement could grant government unmatched oversight, altering app's autonomy.

Banks keep getting better about social selling: An ABA survey looks at how social media campaigns are helping banks and credit unions turn anonymous institutions into friendly, approachable community members.

US Influencer marketing spending will pass $2 billion on Instagram in 2024, while spending on TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook will each pass $1 billion, per our forecast.

TikTok integrates Wikipedia snippets into search: A move towards broader search capabilities amidst rising competition with Google.

A multidimensional influencer strategy calls for the integration of affiliates and ambassadors. However, it also begs the question: How can marketers effectively work with influencers in the affiliate channel?

TikTok Shop became available across the US last week. The social video platform has a lot to gain in retail and ad revenues, but it risks facing the same challenges Meta has had with social commerce on Instagram—users' reluctance to actually complete purchases in app. But with sister app Douyin setting the blueprint for TikTok’s social commerce endeavors, the platform isn’t starting from scratch. Here’s a look at TikTok’s social commerce strategy and potential in five charts.

On today's podcast episode, we discuss how advertisers should adjust their plans based on social video time's slowing growth, whether people will spend more social media time on connected TVs, and the ratio between ad spend and time spent on social networks. "In Other News," we talk about whether TikTok can become a more traditional social network and getting paid to watch ads on a new socially conscious social media app. Tune in to the discussion with our analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

Key stat: 82% of US creators will earn income from sponsored content this year, down from 91% in 2021, according to Mavrck.

TikTok is rolling out its Shop feature to all 100 million US users (per our May forecast), using a tab on the home screen to drive users to the marketplace and allowing videos directly containing purchase links, in order to drive in-app ecommerce traffic.

TikTok and Meta still struggle with content moderation: Threads has blocked search terms related to COVID-19, while TikTok cast too wide a net reining in Qanon.

On today's podcast episode, we discuss whether YouTube Shorts are cannibalizing long-form content, Instagram and Facebook users potentially being able to pay to avoid ads in Europe, how Netflix's password crackdown is getting on, whether serving multiple ads at once is a good idea, the impact of the Digital Services Act's arrival, how long it would take you to drive around every road in the US, and more. Tune in to the discussion with our forecasting writer Ethan Cramer-Flood, analyst Bill Fisher, and forecasting analyst Zach Goldner.

“[Meta] has become more profitable for sure, but it is a leaner, meaner, and hopefully more efficient company,” our analyst Debra Aho Williamson said on a recent episode of “Behind the Numbers.” The company’s 21,000 jobs cuts certainly helped boost its margins. “I think that this sets Meta up for a much better second half of this year.”

Spending on sponsored content will rise 3.5 times faster than social ad spending will this year. Social ad spending, including YouTube, still dwarfs influencer marketing spending, at $83.72 billion versus $5.14 billion in 2023, per our forecasts. But the different spending patterns are a clear indication that creators aren’t tied to social media. The trend holds true on every platform, as marketers continue to shift more budget into influencer marketing, particularly video.

On today's podcast episode, our vice president of Briefings Stephanie Taglianetti hosts a mock-debate-style analyst showdown on Meta versus TikTok. Analyst Debra Aho Williamson and director of Briefings Jeremy Goldman go head to head, advocating on behalf of Meta (Debra) and TikTok (Jeremy) to prove which social platform is the bigger threat in three areas: getting people to spend time on each app, meeting advertisers’ needs, and AI innovation.

While Meta, Google, Apple, and programmatic display are all investment areas for M&C Saatchi Performance, the agency is shaking up some approaches for 2024. “We’re investing in all the tried-and-true performance basics,” said Jonathan Yantz, managing partner at M&C Saatchi Performance. “But we’re most excited about the CTV [connected TV] and influencer/creator spaces, since both are so dynamic now.”

Competition in the VR/XR ecosystem is heating up, and strategic hardware-software alliances could accelerate competition for Apple's premium products.

Effect House by TikTok rolls out: As TikTok broadens its AR horizon, creator incentives play a pivotal role in its evolving digital strategy.

Key stat: US influencer marketing spend will grow more than three times faster than social ad spend in 2023, and it will remain ahead through 2025, according to our forecast.

Meta's strategy to bolster Threads: Given Threads' declining user base, Instagram's promotional push could be a double-edged sword in the engagement game.