ShopifyTop 5 Trends in Social Media and Influencer Marketing | September 2021

Top 5 Trends in Social Media and Influencer Marketing | September 2021

In order to retain and grow their audience and keep up with the ever-changing social landscape, platforms have been announcing new and innovative tools and features every day. Surprisingly, newer channels with a younger demographic like TikTok are emerging as strong contenders against dominant players. Here is your monthly recap of the latest trends and updates in the world of social media and influencer marketing. 

1. TikTok and YouTube compete for users’ average watch time – TikTok takes over in the US and the UK

TikTok continues to make the headlines for consistently being one of the top players over the past couple of years—this time, for overtaking YouTube in the US for average watch time, according to a report published by app analytics specialist, App Annie.  

This is especially surprising for the market considering TikTok’s rocky relationship with the US, where the Chinese-owned platform was banned just a year ago. The average watch time takeover first occurred in the US in August 2020, and as of June 2021, American users watched over 24 hours of content per month, compared with 22 hours and 40 minutes on YouTube. 

There is more of a contrast in the UK, with TikTok having overtaken YouTube in May 2020, and now TikTok users watch up to 26 hours of content each month, as compared to less than 16 hours on YouTube.

While the report is based on Android usage only, it still shows that users seem to be more engaged with short-form video content (on TikTok, videos can last up to 3 minutes), as compared to longer videos (YouTube’s content average about 10 minutes in length).  

However, YouTube is still ahead in terms of time spent on the app overall (excluding TikTok’s version in China, Douyin), thanks to YouTube’s 2 billion users—compared to 700 million or so on TikTok.

2. Twitter is working hard on a phased revamp, this time allowing users to charge for Tweets and developing in-app shopping tools

Twitter is on a roll! The platform is testing and developing several features to possibly see what will stick. In September, the platform announced shopping tools enabling purchases in-feed, as well as a new feature called Super Follows, allowing users to create subscriber-only content,. 

‘Super Follows’ was first announced in February and allows creators to charge for their tweets by sending their content to “Super Followers” instead of their regular feed. The feature is currently only available for a test group of users in the US and on iOS. 

Creators are able to charge up to $9.99 a month, and can earn up to 97% of subscription revenue after third-party fees. When they reach the cap of $50,000 USD in monetization from the platform, they will then be able to earn up to 80% in revenue. 

Like to try it out for yourself? You can apply for a waitlist via the app’s monetization tab if you have at least 10,000 followers, are at least 18 years of age, have tweeted 25 times in the last 30 days in the US, and comply with Twitter’s Super Follows policy.

In their overall monetization strategy, Twitter has also added a “Purchases” tab and has started testing in-app shopping tools. Their latest ecommerce test is meant to tie in product listings to business profiles—allowing users to save listings and also make purchases at the same time. 

This is a welcome addition to their ongoing testing of their shopping module back in July 2021, which will allow users to “scroll through the carousel of products and tap through on a single product to learn more and purchase—seamlessly in an in-app browser, without having to leave Twitter”. Previous research has shown that 74% of Twitter users follow brands to stay up to date with latest product news and changes, hence shopping in-app might be a natural fit, but only time will tell. 

3. Reddit debuts unique offering for advertisers

Reddit is also jumping on the advertising bandwagon, launching their new “Conversation placement” feature. ‘Conversation placement’ allows advertisers to participate in Reddit discussions by inserting their messaging as the first comment on the thread.

This is a unique offering that brands might not be able to get elsewhere, with a possibility for organic engagement and direct connections with people. Reddit has already been testing this out with more than 600 partners over the past year, with brand such as HBO Max and experiencing an aggregate 9% increase in click-through rate, a 10% higher conversion rate and 23% lower cost per click when pairing conversation and in-feed placements such as Home, Popular and Community.

Stressing brand safety, Reddit assures that Conversation Placement will be subject to the same contextual intelligence protections as its other ad inventories, something of particular importance to brands wary of Reddit’s reputation as a haven for vaccine misinformation

4. Annual Met Gala features its first “meme correspondent” in partnership with Instagram

Are memes the new way to receive information moving forward? Well, it sure will be a lot more fun…

Instagram introduced a new “meme correspondent” to this year’s famed Met Gala: Sainthoax, who has almost 3 million followers on the platform and is followed by notable people such as politician and activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

The anonymous influencer was hired to make memes live, during the event’s red carpet event and to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at one of the biggest nights in the fashion world.

Alongside Saint Hoax, there was also a community of “meme-fluencers” at an Instagram watch party creating similar content using a live feed of the carpet and the hashtags #ReelMetIcons and #MemetheMet.

Saint Hoax’s popularity is largely due to its refreshing approach on sharing global news by making repetitive pop culture references as well as viral clips, such as Canadian President Justin Trudeau’s recent “LGBTQ+” mishap

According to Saint Hoax, “For anyone who follows my work, they’ll be familiar with the idea that I try to find the sweet spot between politics, celebrity culture and social justice issues with a satiric angle. So, I’m excited to see how all those come together on Monday night with a side dish of high fashion.”

5. The new ‘YouTube Theatre’ will host a range of IRL events

YouTube no longer wishes to remain only in the digital world. This month, the platform announced the opening of YouTube Theater—its physical 6,000-seat theater located in Inglewood, California. 

YouTube notes that the venue includes live-streaming capabilities built into the infrastructure—“so performers can livestream their events to billions of YouTube viewers around the world”. With this new physical venue, YouTube will be looking to host a range of live events, including concerts, theater performances, award shows and eSports competitions.

It will be interesting to see how livestreams will be orchestrated and how the clips will translate into YouTube content. 

Theater officials plan to announce the venue’s first “artist residency” later this year. Officials said the residency would feature “one of today’s most popular music groups.” 

Could this be where hybrid experiences are headed in the future?