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Monthly update: November’s social and digital trends

Catch up on November's live monthly update featuring the latest news and trends from the world of content marketing.

Katie
25th November 2021

What a year 2021 has been for social media! We started the year under various lockdown rules that made social media the main communication and entertainment channel for most of us. As restrictions eased, people began to return to offices and face to face meetings started to feel normal again - social media retained its position as the preferred choice for promotional and emotional connections for more people than ever before. And there are no signs of it slowing down for 2022.

So for the last time this year, here is everything you need to know about changing trends, breaking news and general updates from across the world of social media. Delivered, in partnership with The Content Marketing Association and Luan Wise.

As usual, the update is divided into sections so you can head down to what matters most to you - or read them all to be a true social media expert:

  1. Overall usage & spending trends
  2. Organic trends
  3. Paid trends
  4. New features and platform changes

You can watch a replay of the live social media round up session here. It’s about 45 minutes long but you can change your playback speed settings to 1.5 to save some time (just listen closely because there is a lot to cover).

Let’s start with Gen Z and the fact that TikTok usage has surpassed Instagram for people aged 12 - 17 years old! This means any brands looking to target the younger age groups, or start building customers of the future cannot afford to ignore TikTok.

Screenshot 2021-11-25 at 16.01.17

And seeing as it’s the season for shopping - let’s talk about the fact US social media purchases are forecast to hit $36.6 billion in 2021! But YouTube is growing tired of the fact it’s users find products on the channel and then move over to Amazon to make the purchase. This has kickstarted a YouTube live streaming holiday event called Stream and Shop. It gives social media starts the chance to sell their merchandise and branded goods directly on the platform over the coming weeks.

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Screenshot 2021-11-25 at 16.01.54

Emplifi has launched a new report that shows the difference in engagement levels between Facebook and Instagram posts has stabilized. The first half of the year showed a widening engagement gap between the two platforms, but Q3 and Q4 showed the same gap of around 6x more engagement for Instagram posts.

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When looking at the individual engagement levels of posts on Facebook, live video is seeing 3 x more interactions than any other posts on the platform:

Screenshot 2021-11-25 at 16.03.22

But, according to social insider, adding a link to a Facebook posts actually halves the level of engagement:

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For Instagram, it is carousel posts that are coming out on top and winning the engagement battle:

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A question we frequently get at these sessions - and many of the other virtual events we hold - is how many hashtags should posts include for optimum reach, and that question has finally been answered! New research shows it's good to aim for 20 hashtags to achieve maximum reach.

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The big headline here is that ad spend is up a huge 43% year on year! For most regions and industries, social media ad spend looks poised to grow into 2022 as marketers adapt their efforts to reach consumers in a growing, digital-first economy.

Screenshot 2021-11-25 at 16.05.59

Advertising costs kept trending upward in Q3 2021, with cost-per-click on Facebook and Instagram reaching its highest level since late 2020. At the same time, the click-through rate has held mostly steady, with only minor fluctuations. The stability of CTR points to the resilience of paid social media marketing.

Screenshot 2021-11-25 at 16.10.15

It’s not just more the social media user that may be feeling a tug on the purse strings due to more ad competition and increased CPC. Social media apps including Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube lost a combined $9.8 billion in the past two quarters following the changes in Apple’s app tracking policies - which are now more transparent than ever. But, while that sounds like a lot of money (it is, undoubtedly a lot of money) it is a lot lower than the 50% drop in revenue that Facebook predicted to see across its audience.

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New features and platform changes

facebook

Facebook

If you haven’t heard the news, or seen the new logo on the login screen - where have you been? Facebook has rebranded to Meta! But that’s not all that’s new…

  • Facebook has announced that it is shutting down it’s facial recognition program and deleting all of its facial recognition files. This means it will no longer be able to identify people in pictures. This decision is partly down to ongoing legal disputes, and partly down to the rising costs of maintaining the software, versus the value it actually offers
  • Plans to overcome the current 30% cut that Apple takes from fans subscriptions, as well as other in-app purchases, are in place to help creators earn more. A new re-direct process has been launched to guide subscribers to sign up outside of Facebook to circumnavigate this
  • The 2021 Facebook community summit was held on November 4th and saw the launch of new groups tools, including custom backgrounds for posts and default emoji settings
  • The summit was also used to launch a new series of Facebook community awards

Other announcements from the summit included a lot of Facebook group additions:

  • The launch of sub-groups for main Facebook groups
  • Chats and recurring events for groups
  • Longform content for groups
  • Shops are being added to groups - as well as product recommendations
  • Facebook ads can be used to live stream shopping to groups

And… Facebook feed posts can be shared to Instagram. You can enable this feature in ‘settings > Accounts Centre’ on either Instagram or Facebook

Instagram

insta

  • Instagram launched ‘add yours’ stickers, following in the footsteps of TikTok! This stickers encourage viewers to respond to stories with their own shareable content, increasing engagement across the platform
  • Another TikTok replication for Instragm is the addition of text to speech option in the Reels
  • A new series of shopping based broadcasts takes Instagram further down the e-commerce path, and will incorporate future product launches and influencer recommendations
  • Instagram links can now be shared on Twitter! These will appear with preview cards and encourage cross platform interaction

Twitter

  • Twitter’s search function has finally been rolled out to all users
  • A new analytics design has also been launched - making metrics much easier to view and understand

TikTok

  • Record growth is continuing across the platform, and TikTok is now on track to hit 1.5 billion users
  • Lead generation ads have been launched on TikTok to encourage more business to use the channel with purpose
  • TikTok gaming could be on the horizon with early experiments in play with mobile gaming giant Zynga

YouTube

  • YouTube rolls out ‘new to you’ feature to help users discover personalized content
  • Dislike counts have been hidden on the platform in an attempt to reduce creator harassment
  • YouTube is also joining the ecommerce community, starting in the US with shoppable videos and livestreams

LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Clubhouse

linkedin

  • LinkedIn has launched a new freelance marketplace, where you can search for services and creators to help complete your projects
  • Pinterest TV has been announced - which will be a shoppable, live stream series
  • Snapchat is evolving AR try-ons, letting you see how clothing items will look on you, without having to order them first!
  • Link pinning, replays and live captions are all now available on Clubhouse

In summary

It seems paid media ads performance and overall social strategies are not aligned. If you are intending to include paid ads in your 2022 strategy, it’s worth joining one of our strategy planning sessions and/or really taking some time to decide how your paid strategy can interlink with your organic strategy.

As organic reach is still seeing a decline across multiple channels, maintaining growth in 2022 will require a tightly united multichannel approach - and an element of paid or syndicated content to support your own audience reach.

Social Commerce is driving social media direction and looks set to continue to do so, more shopping links, live streams and buying options are undoubtedly on the way.

Partnership with creators and communities will be crucial across all channels.

Get ahead on your 2022 content and join one of our free strategy sessions packed with tips and resources.


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