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  • Melissa Harvey
  • 6 min

Social in Six 79

1. TikTok is set to up its commerce spend 10x in 2024 

The story:

  • Bloomberg reports that TikTok’s aiming to “grow the size of its US e-commerce business tenfold to as much as $17.5 billion this year”. 
  • This comes after a Data.ai report that said in-app spending is up 15% year-on-year, as well as the news that TikTok will increase its seller commission fees from 2% to 8% from April.  
  • The move is modelled after TikTok’s Chinese counterpart Douyin, where e-commerce thrives, and makes up the lion’s share of the app’s income. 

So what?

While TikTok shopping has been slower to catch on in Western markets, users are showing a growing willingness to spend on the platform – which is good news for merchants. As opposed to shoppable livestreams, which are huge on Douyin, TikTok’s approach in the West has been creator-led in-stream ads. So if you want to stand out (and avoid ad fatigue), differentiate yourself by making your branded content’s creative and your tactics as far removed from theirs as possible.  

2. Google has taken the first step to phase out third-party cookies  

The story:

  • In its efforts to phase out cookie tracking completely by the end of the year, Google is now testing Tracking Protection, its privacy-friendly data tracking process, with 1% of Chrome users (which works out at 30 million).  
  • Tracking Protection limits sites from using third-party cookies to track users as they browse. Instead, Google will anonymise and categorise users according to topics, based on their browsing behaviour. 
  • Users in the test group are selected randomly. They’ll see a Tracking Protection popup appear in their URL bar when they load up Chrome on desktop or Android. 

So what?

Google wants this process to be super gradual, and brands and marketers have been preparing for a world without cookies for some time now – so this shouldn’t be too much of a shock.

It does mark a pivotal shift, though, because “1% of Chrome users” works out at 30 million people. With third-party cookies gone, you’ll no longer be able to use tracking data to create ultra targeted ads. But like we said, we all knew it was coming, and we know interest-based targeting is key to the future of effective advertising – even if that means a little more work.

3. Instagram Reels are reportedly outperforming TikToks

The story:

  • A new report from customer engagement platform Emplifi puts Instagram Reels on top for driving views, based on an analysis of more than 1,300 brand Instagram and TikTok sister profiles. 
  • Emplifi found longer Instagram Reels (over 90 seconds) generated more than double the number of video views, on average, compared to TikToks. Yet brands still need to catch on – they favoured posting a Story five times more than a Reel from May-October last year. 
  • Over on Facebook, Reels saw more than three times the number of average views as other video content on the platform. 

So what?

Of course, brands shouldn’t place all their importance on views as a success metric. And this definitely doesn’t mean cutting your TikTok output. But there are some nuggets of advice for brands here. 

For instance, Reels over 90 seconds long outperformed all other Reels lengths for views. The shorter and snappier the better? Maybe not.  

And what about Stories? They are less heavy lifting – but the data says Reels are where it’s at, so it’s worth putting in the time and effort to up your Reels posting.  

4. TikTok’s AI chatbot Creative Assistant could help advertisers banish creative block

The story:

  • TikTok has introduced new Creator Centre tools for marketers, including testing a redesigned UI for enhanced analytics insights.
  • A web screenshot shows a new full-screen layout, making it easier for Business users to monitor content performance on desktop.
  • TikTok is also rolling out Creative Assistant, a conversational chatbot that helps brands see what’s trending, brainstorm creative ideas, write ad scripts, or otherwise banish their creative block.

So what?

This is a feature aimed at creators rather than brands – but anyone with a Business account can access it, so don’t let that stop you from trying it out.  

As with any AI content writing tool, the quality of the output is only as good as the input. Even then, will it give you the most original ad script you’ve ever seen? Probably not. But it could be a great starting point if you’re out of ideas.  

Aside from that, the new analytics dashboard format should make monthly and quarterly reporting a lot easier for social media managers.  

5. You’ll soon be able to publish on Threads through a third-party platform

The story:

  • After its EU launch in mid-December, Instagram head Adam Mosseri says Threads will soon get a write API, which would allow third-party publishing to Threads. Mosseri first hinted at an API in October last year.  
  • The feature is already in live testing, with the Threads team building on this by expanding testing to partners and independent developers. 
  • At launch, the write API would enable you to write, schedule and publish Threads on a social media management platform, but that probably won’t include analytics – yet. 

So what?

This is a promising update for Threads, and it’ll make your life that bit easier if you already use a social media management tool for your other platforms.  

Building an API for third-party partners and developers is no mean feat – remember how long it took to be able to schedule and post Instagram Stories non-natively? – so don’t expect analytics to be here any time soon.  

And if you were sceptical before, Threads getting third-party support suggests brands are finding success on there. Do some platform research and have a play.

6. Here’s how to end up on YouTube’s best-performing ads list in 2024 

The story:

  • Activations from Apple, Pepsi and Louis Vuitton were among the best-performing YouTube ads last year, according to the platform. 
  • Other brands highlighted include Reese’s, with its creator-led #ReleasetheReese activation that drew 73k likes; and Google Pixel’s playful series called #BestPhonesForever, which amassed 313M views.    
  • YouTube’s betting on AI-powered ad tools in 2024 too, claiming “AI-powered Video Reach Campaign mixes on YouTube earned an average return on ad spend 3.7x higher than manually optimized campaigns.” 

So what?

YouTube’s ads roundup is useful because it tells you exactly what will fare well on the platform in the coming year. In 2024 that’s creators, AI, long-form storytelling and Shorts. Nothing out of the ordinary there – but dig a little deeper and you’ll get more detailed insights. How long is long-form storytelling, for example? Well, in Nissan’s case, it’s a four-hour hiphop listening session.

As for creators, it’s not just the fact that brands are working with them, but how – from product demos and tutorials to behind-the-scenes ads that feel more like content.

Social in Six 79
Social in Six 79 January 2024 (15 min)