Search and Social Innovations List [January 2023]


What’s new in the realms of paid search and social media? Basis’ Senior Vice President of Paid Search and Social Amy Rumpler compiles all the latest news, trends, and resources each month for easy access.

As a result of the full-contact spectator sport that was (and continues to be) Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, the platform is likely to lose more than 30 million users by 2024. However, several bright spots remain across social media: New product and ad features abound, and better automation tools aim to drive performance. This report from eMarketer also features predictions for each platform in the calendar year.

Anyone else spending more time on LinkedIn than ever before? Here, Tomer Cohen, LinkedIn’s Chief Product Officer, shares some new and innovative plans on the platform’s 2023 roadmap. These include efforts to make the platform more accessible (cheers to that!), ways for users to explore career opportunities more “casually,” Product Pages to help business professionals make smarter purchasing decisions, and the ability to schedule posts in advance.

With the 2023 advertising environment shaping up to be, let’s say, “tricky” to navigate, Search Engine Land compiled a few quick tips to help guide 2023 search strategies. In summary: take a heightened and deeper look at performance relative to campaigns and tactics, balance the power of automation with other data inputs, and consider alternative platforms outside of Google that can help increase market share.

Snap’s new “Virtual Try-on” partnership with Amazon gives its 363 million daily active users the ability to try on products from eyewear brands including Maui Jim, Person, and Oakley, all from the comfort of their own homes. The partnership pairs Amazon-powered 3D Asset technology and Snap’s Lenses to dynamically update shoppers with real-time product details, availability, and try-on experiences. Both companies plan to expand the partnership into additional categories, in hopes of tapping into the $142 billion AR and VR technology market.

Speaking of AR: A new Meta-commissioned study with GWI recently found that 64% of early e-commerce adopters still prefer the in-store experience, saying that finding the right product online is time-consuming, and reviews aren’t a great substitute for experiencing a product live and in person. (We feel you, half-size shoe wearers.) Fortunately, AR is helping brands meld online convenience with in-store experiences in a way that’s shaping e-commerce for the better. Brands like Walmart, Wendy’s, and Coachella have embraced this technology and seen impressive results.

As the ad industry migrates away from third-party cookies, advertisers like Albertsons are exploring ways to bring their own first-party data and Pinterest platform data together in a secure (i.e. private and anonymized) environment. Neither party’s personally identifiable sales and campaign data are visible to the other, but crucial metrics like Return on Ad Spend can still be monitored and reported on. This is the first partnership in a program that Pinterest says will expand to other Retail Media Networks in the future.

Based on recent survey results from more than 300 marketers and agency executives, Marketing Dive says 49% of advertisers are looking to work with more social platforms in 2023. More than half of respondents also said they increased their social media budgets in Q4 as a result of the macroeconomic environment. Only 15% paused or reduced spending on the channel—an improvement over Q3 when 29% reported pausing or reducing social spending. Also among the top platforms on marketers’ radars in 2023: BeReal.

Speaking of BeReal, the app garnered more than 72.1 million downloads in 2022, according to Sensory Tower. This opinion piece discusses what led BeReal to gain so much attention last year, and how its effort to reinforce more authentic connections (by, you know, being real) may reshape social media in 2023. Side note: In case you missed it, Instagram released a new feature called “Candid Stories” to compete with BeReal.

Here, eMarketer covers key trends on creator marketing from 2023’s CES event. Top themes include the influence of AI in augmenting creator-led content, what tools and technologies will help brands and creators to build stronger connections, and the importance of sharing data with creators to help them craft more impactful stories that connect with consumers. “The world of the creator economy is just the new economy,” said creator Samir Chaundry, reflecting on the stat that 1 in every 4 U.S. consumers aged 16-25 say they plan to be a social media influencer in the future.

Also showing up in a big way at this year’s CES event were Pinterest and Reddit, with both companies sharing their stances on content moderation and the role their users play in keeping these platforms out of controversy. With Meta and TikTok facing challenges surrounding privacy and brand safety, eMarketer believes these other platforms have room to gain market share.

Here’s some tea with GaryVee: 2022 data from VaynerMedia shows that CPMs on TikTok video advertising are almost half that of Instagram Reels, a third less than Twitter, and 62% less than Snapchat. Engagement rates and other KPIs aside, with CPMs on other platforms rising or comparatively higher, it makes sense that advertisers are looking more seriously at TikTok as part of their 2023 plans. 

With many analysts still pointing to social commerce as an opportunity in 2023, Instagram’s recent announcement that the Shop tab will be removed from its main navigation bar in February seems surprising. After all, Meta leaned heavily into social commerce in 2022, with several new feature releases and ad units aimed at making it easier for users to discover and purchase products within the app. But, with revenue on the decline in recent quarters, this may mean that Meta will focus on monetizing its more mature offerings.

The latest annual wrap report from App Annie reveals key trends across social apps last year. BeReal was specifically called out (again!) as a “popular social sensation,” although it didn’t crack the list of top downloads overall in most regions. And TikTok was highlighted in 2022 as having generated the most in-app revenue of all major platforms covered. Most of that revenue came from in-app coins, which lets users donate money to buy items in-stream and to support creators.

ChatGPT has been all over the news for a variety of reasons, but when it comes to search, analysts say there’s a very good chance Microsoft will soon get a return on its $1 billion investment in ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI by integrating it into its search queries engine. In essence, ChatGPT would return actual responses to search queries instead of showing users a list of links where answers might be found. Also of note: Google is reportedly exploring development of an AI engine of its own (Instagram’s BeReal-ish Candid Stories, Google’s own AI engine… what’s next, music on the radio?!).

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