Social Media Roundup of 2022 

2022 has seen some big changes in the world of social media, from the addition of new features on the major platforms to Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. We’ve also seen an increase in overall usage worldwide. Read on to learn more about these changes and what that means for social media marketing as we head into 2023.  

Growth in Social Media Usage

Here are a few statistics to summarise the growth in social media this year:  

  • 59.3% of the global population are now using social media – that’s around 4.74 billion users (this figure doesn’t consider individuals aged 13 and under – taking this into account, the true figure is more than 75% of global population that are able to use social media.  
  • 190 million new social media users have joined over the past year 
  • Social media video ad spending grew in 2022 by 20.1%, reaching $24.35 billion 

Not only does this growth give marketers a wider reach, but it has also led to an increase in the amount of data being collected, making insights potentially more accurate.

Elon Musk’s Acquisition of Twitter

The biggest social media news story of the year is the turbulent acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, which was finally completed in October after months of lawsuits. Concerns about outdated security practices and the number of spam and bot accounts on the platform were behind the delay, but the $44 billion deal has been closed and Musk has since laid off a large volume of employees including several key executives.  

Musk has said he wants to transform the platform into an “everything app” such as WeChat. WeChat is used by more than a billion people in China for taking care of everything from shopping to ordering a taxi to paying their bills. 

In the short-term, he intends to introduce the capability to host longer videos on the platform, as well as develop ways to monetise content, which will require the introduction of a payment processor. 

Some marketers are optimistic about the acquisition while others are looking for replacement platforms in case Musk’s plans do not go as intended or render Twitter unsuitable for their purposes. 

Make Instagram Instagram Again

Millions of users think that Instagram should stick to its purpose – with the platform becoming more and more like TikTok, the ‘Make Instagram Instagram Again’ campaign was born. It began with an individual user posting about how Instagram should ‘stop trying to be like TikTok’ and evolved into a petition that gained almost 200,000 signatures (the original post had more than two million likes).  

BeReal

The BeReal photo sharing platform gained traction in 2022, providing users with a way to share filter-free photos to their network. Currently, we can consider it an app for the user, not for businesses. It is more like the early social media platforms – it has no infinite scroll feature and user feeds are limited to the content their network has shared. The platform is also free of ads. 

Some businesses are already using the app, but in many cases, it doesn’t appeal due to the above limitations. There is also a limited number of followers allowed for each account.  

On the other hand, there is a “discovery” feed where users can view unlimited posts from the wider audience, and they can opt into using the discovery to show their posts to the audience beyond their network.  

Time will tell as to whether this feature becomes more useful for digital marketing purposes; for now, many marketers are watching and waiting to see what happens rather than making plans to use this platform right away. 

Changes in Existing Social Media Platforms

The past year has seen a number of changes in all the major platforms. Some of the highlights are below.   

Facebook

It’s not just Instagram that’s copying Twitter – Facebook has been following suit with changes that transform the user experience, making it more about consuming content than the social experience it was built for. However, Facebook users are being given more control over their feed through the ‘show more’ and ‘show less’ buttons – so, while they are bombarded with immersive content in a TikTok-like experience, at least it’s the type of content they want to see.  

A key announcement in September informed us of other new Facebook marketing features including click to messenger ads, allowing consumers that are most likely to buy to engage in a dialogue with the brand. Another option is for users to be directed to a form instead. There is also the Advantage Customer Audience – this is like the Lookalike Audiences feature but potentially more effective.  

Instagram

The most recent changes that improve Instagram marketing include the following:  

  • Updates to Account Status: This feature now assesses whether your content is eligible to be recommended to non-followers. It also helps you fix any content problem, in cases where content does not meet the community guidelines.   
  • Music: It’s now possible to add music to Instagram Feed posts. Posting photos with music can be helpful for branding purposes, and it’s also a good compromise in keeping Instagram true to its purpose (which many users want) while providing an engaging experience.   
  • AR ads: It’s now possible to add AR elements to ads on both Instagram and Facebook, creating an immersive experience that encourages users to interact with your brand. 
  • Updates to the Creator Marketplace: New features such as bulk messaging and improved discoverability makes collaboration more efficient.  

Twitter

Aside from the changes associated with Musk’s acquisition, Twitter have been improving video search functionality as well as the viewing experience.  

The testing of CoTweets was another development. CoTweets allow users to collaborate on shared tweets, which helps each party to easily expand their reach. When one of the CoTweeters posts a tweet, it appears as a re-tweet on the other’s account.  

Twitter has also removed newsletters from the revue app, reinforcing its purpose for short-term content only.  

TikTok

TikTok have launched a number of new features, including: 

  • Focused View: This is an improvement on the Video View campaign in the ads manager. With Focused View, you only pay when users voluntarily watch an ad for at least six seconds, or when they interact with the ad within the first six seconds. Using engagement as a condition for charging has the potential to increase your TikTok marketing ROI.    
  • TTCM Match: For those looking to work with creators, this feature provides recommendations. It quickly and automatically generates lists of creators based on your input. In addition, the Open Applications Campaign feature allows brands to post about upcoming campaigns so that creators on the TTCM platform can apply.  
  • Content anchor: This lets creators pin a link in the comments section to direct users to learn more about the product or service in the video. 

Improved reporting and searching are some other examples of TikTok developments we’ve seen over the past year.  

YouTube

This year, YouTube introduced handles, making it easier for creators to drive traffic to their channels. Handles are unique identifiers, unlike channel names which can be duplicated. Each channel will also have a URL containing their handle.  

The YouTube Studio App has also been improving, for better ease of use. They have made it possible to view more metrics through the mobile version, and have improved navigation, among other features. 

Social Media Trends of 2022

The Rise of Influencer Marketing  

Influencer marketing has gained more traction over the past year; in 2021, the market was worth $13.8 billion and in 2022, its value increased to $16.4 billion. Influencers have become such an important part of marketing strategies as they are able to reach a wide audience and create authentic content that resonates with their followers. With TikTok finding more ways to facilitate collaboration all the time, this trend is likely to continue.   

Video Content  

The rise of video has continued, with many platforms seeing an increase in the amount of video content being uploaded. According to one survey, 55% of people watch videos every day, 88% of users spend more time on websites that have videos, and 52% of marketers agree that video content brings the best ROI. So, while video may take more work to produce, at least marketers know that users are likely to engage with it, especially in the case of live streaming which is allegedly six times more engaging than other types of video. The most popular category is music videos, followed by comedy, meme or viral videos 

Live streaming is another popular choice, allowing users and businesses to broadcast their activities in real-time, creating a more personal connection with followers. Using features such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live let businesses showcase their products or services in action, creating an opportunity to really sell their features.   

Social Media as a Search Engine 

Search queries on various platforms – especially TikTok – have risen. Users can enter queries such as ‘best restaurants in Birmingham’ and the results are returned in video form. Again, this reflects the growth of video content, especially among Gen Z. Brands are now making their content more searchable through hashtags and keywords, and sponsored content is also an option.  

Stories 

Social media stories have also had a major impact, with platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat all introducing their own versions of “stories”. This has allowed users to share short-form content that disappears after 24 hours, providing a more transient way of sharing.  

Social Media as a Customer Service Tool 

The use of social media as a customer service tool has also become an important trend, helping businesses respond to queries almost immediately, thus providing a better customer experience. The Facebook messenger chatbot can be integrated to help automate the process. Any businesses looking to do this should make sure their social media staff are properly experienced/trained in customer service.  

Wrapping Up

Social media use has seen overall growth this year and all the major platforms have released many new features. As expected, video content has continued to dominate and consumers are using some platforms as a search engine, meaning that business need to make sure their content is searchable. The use of influencer marketing has also grown, and more and more businesses are using social media as a customer service tool. 

Perhaps the biggest game changer will be what happens in the world of Twitter marketing as Musk moves ahead with his plan to create an ‘everything app’. It will be interesting to see how it affects competing platforms.  

If you need assistance with your social media marketing or any part of your digital marketing strategy, please get in touch – my team and I would be happy to help.   

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