From The rebrand of Twitter, to the launch of Threads, July was a busy month in the world of social media and influencer marketing. Lets take a deeper look at the top stories, standout brand campaigns, and research reports worth reading.
Top News and Stories
TLDR: As Musk gears up to build the everything app, Twitter is officially a thing of the past and the newly minted X is here. The rebrand was pretty much a disaster, with the platform still using the Twitter handle before finally confiscating the “X” handle from its owner with no warning or compensation. Will this be the right long term play for Musk, time will tell. But one thing is certain, he just lit fire to billions of dollars worth of brand equity and seems pretty giddy about it.
TLDR: The honeymoon period is over for Threads, and now the app needs to prove that it can retain users. Zuckerberg said he considered the drop-off “normal” and expected retention to grow as the company adds more features to the app, including a desktop version and search functionality. Those will undoubtedly help, but are they unique enough to keep people engaged?
TLDR: Expect the lines between the creator economy and traditional entertainment to blur further. Striking writers and actors will uplevel their social game to reduce reliance on studios, some creators will get recruited into the studio content game, and SAG is using their power to try to limit influencer activity related to entertainment – telling creators that any non member seeking future membership who performs covered work or services for a struck company during the strike will not be admitted
TLDR: The restrictions are based on whether or not you pay for Twitter Blue (1,000 posts/day for unverified accounts, 10,000 posts/day for verified accounts). This is a confusing move for Musk as the platform needs to turn around their ad business, and that is heavily predicated on showing growth in the same numbers that these restrictions will limit. On the other hand, Threads also implemented a rate limit, just in a much more friendly way. Both platforms say the reason is to combat bots and scraping, which will ultimately benefit the user experience. Questionable.
TLDR: This is the first update since 2009 and included an expanded definition of endorsements to include virtual influencers, fake reviews/reviewers, and free product, and stricter rules on disclosures meaning relying solely on a platform’s built-in disclosure tool might not be sufficient. The 80+ page document wasn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it shows that the FTC has its eyes set on the influencer industry.
TLDR: To be eligible you need to be subscribed to X Blue or be a Verified Organization, have at least 15M impressions on your cumulative posts within the last 3 months, and have at least 500 followers. But there is no disclosure on how the platform determines the value of its payouts, and so far it would appear that most high earners are right wing personalities (as reported by Taylor Lorenz who happened to join the Creator Economy Podcast for a fascinating discussion on this exact topic after her musk scuffle).
TLDR: Swipeable from the main screen, some users are now seeing a third ‘Shop’ tab in the app alongside the usual ‘Following’ and ‘For You’. TikTok is offering some creators cash to post videos that drive orders on its shopping feature. The platform is experimenting in every way possible to try and get commerce right, and we are here for it.
TLDR: Rather than needing to upload a video, users can now upload a post with only text, and add stickers, hashtags, sounds or background colors. It’s quite timely given the launch of Threads in the same month – TikTok wants part of the action.
TLDR: The Commercial Content Library shows information about TikTok’s paid ads including the advertising creative, dates the ad ran, main parameters used for targeting (e.g. age, gender) and number of people who were served the ad. Having access to this data can give marketers a better understanding of campaign performance and the TikTok algorithm, and will help reveal what creatives work.
TLDR: It was one of the most requested features following the apps launch, and a welcomed addition to make the user experience less of a rolling billboard and more of a curated feed of your actual connections posts. More features will follow as Threads moves toward parity with the Twitter user experience, but parity will likely not be enough if they want to succeed long term.
TLDR: X is offering heavy discounts to lure back advertisers, while also warning brands that they will lose their verified status unless they reach certain spending thresholds. It’s like offering a kiss and a slap in the same breadth. The discounts are enticing though, including 50% off any new bookings of video ads in the explore tab.
TLDR: The Discovery Feed will allow users to scroll through a variety of clips and short-form content, promoting new streamers and spotlighting smaller creators. Streamers will also be able to export clips to YouTube and TikTok to help amplify their reach. Stories are coming as well, blurring the lines for yet another social app amongst its peers.
Quarterly earnings for social media platforms spell a possible rebound
TLDR: YouTube broke a streak of three straight revenue declines (revenue rose 4% to $7.67 billion), Snap continues to decline (revenue declined 4% to $1.07 billion) – although daily active Snap users ticked up 14% to 397 million over the same period, and Meta stays red hot reporting second-quarter revenue up 11% to $32 billion.
Brand Influencer Highlights:
Reports & Data Worth Reading:
impact.com and Adweek Branded surveyed 150 creators on payment preferences
TLDR: 58% of creators are asking for a blended payment approach of fixed fee + commission the first time they work with a new brand. It’s only after the first brand deal that creators get more comfortable with a commission-only model, jumping 21% once they know they’ll generate sales for the brand & money for themselves.
Influencer spending is growing faster than overall digital spending, according to an Aberdeen Research & Strategy study.
TLDR: A survey of more than 200 respondents in April found spending rose 7.9% on influencer marketing over the past 12 months, compared to 7.3% on digital marketing overall. We know total marketing budgets are contracting, so that show how much share digital is taking from other channels.
TLDR: Linear TV’s share of total TV viewing has dropped by 12% in the last two years and will soon slip below 50%. We are clearly in the age of streaming, and with the SAG strike ongoing that will only accelerate.
TLDR: Report shows Gen Z and millennial consumers would buy a product from a new creator-led brand—even if they already have a favorite product in that category. The founder behind a brand plays an increasingly important role in purchasing decisions—56% of Gen Z respondents considered a brand’s founder being someone they “trust or admire” to be “extremely” or “very” important, and 63% of millennial respondents said the same.
TLDR: According to Insider Intelligence, With 13.4% YoY user growth in 2023, Snapchat will briefly overtake TikTok (12.7%) as the fastest-growing social media platform worldwide, according to our forecast. TikTok will likely regain the title come 2024.