The Social Situation with Sarah
I’ve been obsessed with social media since I coded my first layout on MySpace around 2003. I’ve dabbled in them all, from Xanga and AIM to Vine and Tumblr. I met my best friend on Instagram six years ago and even created a Facebook group that now has almost 30k members. It only makes sense that I wound up at a job that advertises on these platforms.
Because of this, and because of personal interest, I keep an eye on the ins and outs of the social media world. In case you’re not up to speed, let me give you a brief overview of three newsworthy social networks.
Where Things Stand & Where I Think They’ll Go
Ever since Twitter was bought by a polarizing tech billionaire, it’s been a mess. From controversial statements to staff layoffs, Twitter has been turned upside down, and clients have dropped advertising on the platform at an increasing rate. This may be hurting advertisers, but I think it’s especially hurting the app itself.
In fact, as of February 2023, more than half of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers have stopped spending on the app. This means Twitter is losing millions, maybe even billions of dollars in ad revenue. The advertisers have no incentive to return to the platform, as it could majorly hurt their brand if they are seen as aligning with some of the outrageous remarks made by the CEO.
My prediction is that this will keep happening unless there is a major change in ownership of the platform. Personally, I don’t think that’s likely to happen anytime soon. I agree with the advertisers, get out while you still can.
One of the most popular social media platforms right now, TikTok also created problems for advertisers. In fact, the governor of Texas “ordered all Texas state agencies to ban the use of TikTok on any government-issued devices as the threat of the Chinese Communist Party gaining access to critical U.S. information and infrastructure continues to grow.”
In addition to Texas, North Carolina and Wisconsin banned TikTok on government devices recently due to mounting security concerns. And at least 25 other states have already issued some sort of restriction on the app on state devices.
I suspect this app prohibition will continue to occur in most other states throughout the year. With TikTok as a leading influencer monopoly, it will be interesting to see which advertisers are affected by it. Will agencies air on the side of caution and step away? Or will they continue relying on the massive amount of revenue that can be gained from TikTok despite the consequences?
While I am not currently on BeReal (too much pressure to post selfies at any moment), it gained a lot of popularity and momentum last year. Currently, using the app for advertising is prohibited in the terms and conditions. However, brands can use the app to grow their online presence organically. They can post pictures of behind the scenes content or new products, sans being able to promote or boost the post.
In my opinion, this is a breath of fresh air. And I say this as someone who works in the industry. The biggest draw I have to potentially signing up for the app is the ability to not be constantly bombarded with ads.
However, my guess is that as the app grows and evolves, we’ll start to see ads on BeReal. I do hope the app will keep its structure and encourage advertisers to lean into the format. It would be a great way for small businesses, specifically, to showcase their brand and face of the company.
Things are always developing and changing in the social media world. Instagram just allowed users to buy verification badges (we saw how this went on Twitter…), video content is now bigger than ever across the majority of platforms, and you can pay B-and-lower-list celebrities to record shout outs for you on Cameo. In general, advertising on these platforms can be amazing for your business. I encourage companies to continue using social media to expand their reach and grow their following. Just keep in mind the safety and well-being of your brand. And if your favorite platform starts creating more stress than satisfaction for your brand, maybe bail.