March 2024 Influencer Marketing Roundup

March was another busy month in the world of influencer marketing and the creator economy. From Instagram’s slurry of carousel news (they are getting longer with comments specific to frames), to the possible TikTok ban (It’s not a ban just a question of ownership), to YouTube testing the ability to skip to the good parts with AI. We have all the top stories, best brand influencer campaigns and reports worth reading for you below.

Top Social News:

TikTok:

US Senators Raise New Push to Ban TikTok + TikTok Calls on US Users to Oppose Latest Proposal to Ban App

TLDR: The House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would ban TikTok from U.S. app stores unless its Chinese parent company, Bytedance, divests and sells TikTok to a U.S.-based company. If approved, the bill would impose a penalty of $5,000 per active user per day on app stores that have TikTok available to download. This obviously isn’t the first ban threat, and while this feels like a never-ending saga, it’s unquestionably the most serious threat yet.

TikTok adds new influencer audio clips to its commercial sounds library

TLDR: The idea is that you’ll be able to use more recognizable voices in your TikTok promotions using audio clips from TikTok creators. It’s part of their “Sounds for Business” library which means you can in fact use them for branded content!

TikTok’s Reportedly Testing a New Instagram-Like Photos App

TLDR: In the back-end code of the current TikTok app, some new references to “TikTok Photos” have appeared within the code strings. The code appears to suggest that TikTok users will soon be prompted to share their still images to the new app. China’s own version of Instagram is the Tencent-backed Xiaohongshu, which has seen big success of late after incorporating eCommerce features. But how that success will replicate in markets where Instagram exists, and amongst renewed TikTok ban conversations is a big question mark.

TikTok Adds Creator Search Insights to Better Inform Content Strategies

TLDR: Creator Search Insights on TikTok will reveal trending topics to help creators create content that resonates with their audience’s interests. It’s another great data release from TikTok which combined with the creative center puts a lot of power in the hands of brands and creators. You should be experimenting with all of it!

META

Instagram Tests Option To Comment on Specific Frames Within a Carousel Update

TLDR:This new option enables users to @mention the number of an image within a carousel to append their comment to that specific image or video, which could be another way to drive more focused engagement, and encourage more interaction around each element.

Instagram’s testing longer Reels to maximize engagement

TLDR: Some users are now seeing an option to post Reels up to 3 minutes long. They’ve also been prompting users to upload Reels longer than 30 seconds to boost engagement. With longer videos being the trend of the moment on TikTok, its not surprising that Instagram is following suit.

Instagram rolls out ads with promo codes

TLDR: Instagram advertisers can now grab the attention of shoppers with promo codes listed in the caption, which will then be automatically applied in the checkout process. This provides another way to drive sales from your IG promotions while also giving you another way to track IG sales directly based on the promo code entered.

Instagram’s Experimenting with More Frames Within Carousel Posts

TLDR: Instagram is experimenting with longer carousel posts, with some users now able to add up to 20 images and videos to their IG carousel uploads. Is this essential or excessive? It depends on the brand, so don’t treat it like a photo dump treat it like a new medium to tell even deeper stories.

YOUTUBE

YouTube is Testing AI That Will Skip Over Boring Parts of Videos

TLDR: YouTube is testing an AI system that would let YouTube Premium subscribers automatically skip forward to the most important part of a video. As Google hopes, this new feature will help you skip over long parts not relevant to what you are looking for, which means brands need to pay even more attention to value-added content vs. being the boring sponsored parts of the longer YouTube videos.

YouTube launches AI disclosure requirements

TLDR: YouTube creators are now required to disclose when they upload realistic-looking content that’s been made with AI tools. When disclosed, a marker will be shown on your video clip, letting the viewer know that it’s not real footage.

THE OTHERS

LinkedIn Will Now Enable Brands to Sponsor Any Organic Post in the App

TLDR: Up till now, brands have been able to use Thought Leader ads to convert posts from verified employees of their organization into promotions. But now, businesses will also be able to promote non-employee posts as well, making LinkedIn creators a much more viable channel for brands who understand the importance of media amplification.

LinkedIn is experimenting with a TikTok-like video feed in its app

TLDR: We can now add LinkedIn to the list of short-form video platforms. They are experimenting with a Video button, which brings you into a vertical feed of short videos that you can swipe through. You can like a video, leave a comment or share it with others. The company didn’t share details about how the feed determines which videos to show users, and we are hoping that this isn’t another place where brands and users syndicate their TikTok videos.

Florida Governor Ron Desantis signs a bill that bans children under 14 from social media

TLDR: The new regulations stop all users under 14 from accessing social apps and 14- and 15-year-olds to get parental consent. Social media platforms will need to terminate the accounts of people under 14 and those of people under 16 who do not have parental consent (It requires them to use a third-party verification system to screen out those who are underage). Supporters say this will help with teen health issues stemming from the harmful effects of social media, while Critics say the bill violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections for free speech and that parents, not the government, should make decisions about the online presence of their children of all ages.

Roblox will pay Creator Fund recipients a minimum of $500,000 upfront

TLDR: Roblox has renamed its Game Fund as the Creator Fund and promised $500,000 grants for “approved participants.” Roblox has a unique twist on their monetization program: rather than paying out awards based on the number of plays a game receives, they’re paying recipients upfront to fund their projects during the development phase. It’s not the most leveraged platform for influencer marketing, but it’s making itself hard to ignore with moves like this.

Musk Says That X Will Soon Remove the Like, Re-Post and Reply Buttons In-Stream

TLDR: Only view count and post time will be shown in the future, with the goal of a cleaner feed for all. Regular post metrics will still be accessible by tapping individual posts, they just won’t be displayed in the feed. We saw Instagram do a runaround on this topic over the last couple of years, so let’s see if X actually gives it a go and how that impacts usage, especially with creators.


BRAND INFLUENCER HIGHLIGHTS


REPORTS & DATA WORTH CHECKING OUT

Report Finds No Correlation Between Social Media Engagement and Content Readership

TLDR: Social media apps are gradually becoming more valued as entertainment sources, while actual interaction shifts to smaller, enclosed chats and communities. This means that engagements may not be the best way to judge social performance, and how people watch, read, and take action are all becoming more important considerations.

TikTok can suss out your interests (and everybody else’s) in under two hours.

TLDR: A new study from researchers in the U.S. and Europe has found that between 30% and 50% of the first 1,000 videos fresh TikTok accounts are recommended are based on what the platform has learned about their interests.

New eMarketer survey finds YouTube is the social platform most Gen Zers use as a search engine.

TLDR: Nearly 60% of Gen Z respondents said they’d used YouTube to seek out tutorials, recipes, product recommendations or other content in the past month, according to eMarketer’s report. TikTok and Instagram are Gen Z’s preferred platforms for social shopping and product discovery, however, with 52% of survey respondents saying they’d used TikTok for shopping or to seek out products in the past month and 50% saying the same of Instagram. Additionally, nearly 30% of Gen Zers called TikTok their “go-to” platform for shopping and product discovery, compared to just over 8% who referred to YouTube as their “go-to” destination for social shopping.

Teens use YouTube on a daily basis more than TikTok

TLDR: 71% of teen YouTube users use the platform at least once per day, while 58% of teen TikTok users do the same on TikTok. Although adult US TikTok users will spend more time with TikTok (54 minutes) than adult US YouTube users will spend with YouTube this year (51 minutes).


That’s it for this month. See you next time, and don’t forget to listen to the Influencer Marketing Roundup podcast to get all of this information delivered straight to your ears. Happy marketing!

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