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In the Know: Your Weekly Marketing Digest

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Welcome to Aspire’s weekly marketing digest! 

In today's fast-paced digital landscape, staying ahead of the curve is essential for marketers. But with the marketing landscape constantly evolving, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends and developments. 

That's where we come in. 

Each week, we’ll deliver a quick breakdown of the most significant news and insights in the world of social media and brand marketing — all in one convenient resource. Check back every Friday to stay in the know!

May 2024

Week of May 13, 2024

  • YouTube’s booming business: At its annual Brandcast event, YouTube shared that it’s dominating over traditional TV, with viewers watching over 1 billion hours of content on TV screens daily and holding the top streaming watch-time share on American TVs since February 2023. Highlighting the critical role of creators in the future of entertainment, the platform also announced the expansion of YouTube Select “Creator Takeovers,” which will let advertisers buy out the inventory on channels representing top 1% of content on the platform.
  • The pros and cons of virtual influencers: Virtual influencers, or digital personas used instead of human influencers, offer unique opportunities and challenges for brands. Among some of the benefits are lower production costs as compared to human influencers, more flexible scheduling that can cater to brands’ timelines, and full control over the virtual influencer’s content. On the other hand, virtual influencers also come with higher tech costs, a lack of authenticity, and potentially damaging impact on human influencers’ rates. 
  • Snapchat snaps back: Snap’s ad business has been steadily growing for the most part, reportedly raking in nearly $1.2 billion in Q1 2024, following the $1.36 billion it brought in during Q4 2023. Now, Snapchat is actively courting advertisers by offering incentives and discounts alongside its enhanced ad offerings in an effort to sustain its recent growth.

Week of May 6, 2024

  • TikTok fights back: On Tuesday, TikTok filed a lawsuit aiming to block the US law that would ban the video app in the country unless it is sold by its Chinese parent company. In the filing, TikTok called the act an "extraordinary intrusion on free speech rights" of the company and its 170 million US users. 
  • Universal Music Group 🤝 TikTok: TikTok and Universal Music Group have signed a new deal that will see Universal-backed music from household name artists such as Adele, Harry Styles, and Drake returned to the social media platform.
  • New Instagram Story features: Instagram is adding a handful of new Story features to give users more creative ways to share content and boost engagement. Now, creators can kick off music trends, create their own custom stickers from photos or videos, post a secret story, and more.
  • Gen Z’s changing purchasing behavior: Gen Z's economic pessimism is leading them to be more frugal and prioritize brands offering high value for money. Many are tightening their budgets, opting for cheaper brands, and reducing non-essential purchases. To connect with Gen Zers, brands need to have competitive pricing, with exclusive offers and discounts targeting Gen Z communities.

April 2024

Week of April 29, 2024

  • Updated Instagram algorithm: Instagram is introducing new changes to its content ranking system that will give smaller creators more distribution, replacing reposts with original content in recommendations, adding labels to reposted content, and removing content aggregators from recommendations. For tips on how to “beat” the Instagram algorithm, check out our blog post.
  • Lessons from India’s TikTok ban: When India banned TikTok in 2020 following a border conflict with China, Instagram and YouTube ultimately dominated the short-form video market. However, these platforms failed to replicate the diverse and hyper-local content that defined Indian TikTok. This loss of cultural diversity could also be a consequence of a potential TikTok ban in the United States, affecting niche communities and content creators. However, TikTok’s response to the potential US ban differs from its approach in India, as the company vows to challenge the legislation in court.
  • Gen Z post-purchase marketing: To continue to engage with young consumers, brands must seize the immediate post-conversion window to reinforce perceptions, tell compelling stories, and create branded experiences. Prioritize community-building to foster a sense of belonging and loyalty, with a focus on user-to-user connections, and embrace transparency to establish more meaningful relationships with consumers.

Week of April 22, 2024

  • TikTok bill: On Wednesday, President Biden signed a bill that included the sell-or-ban of TikTok in the United States. The provision gives ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, 9 to 12 months to sell the app to a government-approved buyer or face a national ban. TikTok plans to challenge the statute in court, citing that a forced sale would violate users’ First Amendment rights. For more information on this topic, check out our blog
  • Current influencer marketing trends: A recent Glossy study analyzed influencer impact through the Influencer Index, focusing on engagement, brand prominence, and audience impact. The study revealed that still images and carousel ads receive more attention than Reels when it comes to sponsored posts on Instagram, and long-form video performs better than short-form video on YouTube, among many other key findings.

Week of April 15, 2024

  • The power of TikTok’s comments section: Brands are discovering the untapped potential of TikTok's comments section as a vibrant platform for engagement, often rivaling the For You page in terms of visibility and interaction. By strategically commenting on popular videos, brands like Starry, American Eagle, and Duolingo are not only participating in internet trends but also gaining significant exposure and engagement.
  • TikTok Notes launch: TikTok has started rolling out its Instagram rival photo sharing app, TikTok Notes, to test in Australia and Canada. In a tweet announcing the launch, TikTok shared a few sneak peeks of the new app, including a homepage that is reminiscent of Pinterest as well as the ability to include a headline for posts.
  • Bama Rush students to Hally Hair influencers: Over the past two years, Hally, the Gen Z-focused hair color brand, has been engaging with the University of Alabama’s sorority community, amid the rising cultural phenomenon of Bama Rush. To promote its latest Lighten Up Lightening Spray, the brand invited 10 select members from the University of Alabama’s sorority community — who are also Hally’s top customers — to the “Hally House” located in Aly’s Beach, Florida, to enjoy a weekend of roundtable talks, yoga, and beachside meals, in exchange for authentic content from the students. Within 12 hours of the weekend’s events, the brand saw a 200% increase in its ambassador program applications. And throughout the weekend, it netted 500,000 social impressions.
  • Soaring digital ad revenue: Despite economic concerns, digital ad revenue in 2023 surged to $225 billion, marking a 7.3% increase from the previous year, according to the latest IAB report. The report also predicts channels with privacy-focused solutions will outpace the market, emphasizing a permanent shift in advertising practices. Looking ahead, the report highlights the rise of generative AI to replace third-party cookies and stresses the continued integration of social commerce and influencer marketing by social media platforms to enhance engagement and conversions.

Week of April 8, 2024

  • TikTok’s latest Instagram competitor: TikTok is reportedly developing a photo-sharing app that may be named TikTok Notes, which will allow sharing of photo posts, with the option to opt out.
  • Instagram ads > YouTube ads: New details regarding Instagram's significant advertising revenue have emerged, which showed that Instagram’s ad revenue surpasses even that of YouTube — and it has for several years.
  • YouTube Shopping: YouTube announced on Tuesday that it’s launching new Shopping features that allow creators to curate shoppable collections, better plan their shoppable videos, quickly monetize older videos and more.
  • The rise of Substack: Creators are flocking to Substack, not only because it offers them a sense of community and engagement similar to the early days of blogging, but also because they can monetize their content directly through subscriptions (typically priced between $5 and $8 per month).and affiliate links. Brands are also recognizing the potential of partnering with Substack creators, as endorsements within newsletters can significantly impact sales.
  • La Dolce Velveeta: With its latest campaign, cheese brand Velveeta is reinventing the company as a lifestyle brand focused on pleasure and indulgence, most recently collaborating with actress Julia Fox to resonate with young consumers.

Week of April 1, 2024

  • The death of the marketing funnel: Archrival conducted a comprehensive research study to understand the evolving purchasing behavior of Gen Z and millennials, revealing that social media serves as their primary marketplace, entertainment center, social hub, and learning platform, blurring the path to purchase. The study highlighted that consumption for this generation isn’t a linear top-to-bottom journey, but rather a continuous loop of inspiration, exploration, community, and loyalty.
  • X’s uncertain future in the creator economy: Two months after Elon Musk acquired Twitter, he engaged with creators to improve the platform for them, seeking advice on how to attract and retain creators similar to YouTube's approach. However, more than a year later, the strategy for creators on Twitter (rebranded as X) remains unclear, with some expressing concerns about inconsistent payments and a lack of clear revenue-building pathways.
  • Influencer marketing for legacy industries: Despite initial reluctance due to regulatory constraints and creative control, businesses operating in traditional industries such as finance, healthcare, and insurance are beginning to tap into influencer marketing to reach younger demographics on social media.

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