PROCUREMENT

Platform Confusion: What Social Media Platform Updates Do Consumers Really Want?

Apr 02, 2024

Social Media Marketing News

Platform Confusion: What Social Media Platform Updates Do Consumers Really Want?

Everyone laughed at Elon Musk when he claimed he wanted to transform X into an “everything app”. 

It seemed ridiculous that he would attempt to expand the app beyond its niche, and dabble in forms of content that other platforms had become famous for. 

Yet, now it seems that no one is laughing. In fact, they are all following suit. 

Over the past few years, we have seen a wide array of social media platform updates, with platforms making major changes to both their algorithms and the forms of content that they offer. 

From TikTok offering up long form videos when it made its millions on short clips, to Instagram unveiling its Twitter-esque Threads, social media platform updates are popping up left and right. 

What has caused this seemingly spontaneous obsession with social media platform updates? Are we on our way to a future where all social media apps look the same? 

Read on to find out more. 

THE BIG SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM UPDATES

Social media platform updates: shift to long form content 

@misscarolineflett

🤩3 examples of longer videos that get more engagement: 1. Tell a transformation story of one of your clients/customers (or of yourself), with all the difficulties and triumphs. 2. Share a news story in your industry and break down the main points and ask for people’s opinion 3. Show a visual tutorial or how-to video of something your audience wants to know about #contentcreatortips #tiktokalgorithm #tiktokgrowth #tiktokgrowthtips #tiktokforbusiness #tiktokstrategy #tiktokupdate

♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose

One of the major changes currently wreaking havoc on the social media landscape, is an industry wide shift towards long form content. 

Whilst platforms such as TikTok and Instagram became known for their short, snappy videos – especially TikTok – in recent months both apps have begun to promote longer content. 

TikTok opened itself up to longer form content by allowing users to upload videos up to 10 minutes long; although, they cannot be filmed in app. The platform has also attempted to encourage users to watch for longer by allowing the upload of landscape videos. 

The platform has claimed that its users are spending more than 50% of their time on the app watching content that is longer than a minute. On top of this, viewership of these longer videos has grown by almost 40% in the last 6 months. 

Clearly, users seem ready for this long form content. TikTok has also introduced its Creative Rewards Program, in a bid to encourage creators to create longer videos. The program gives creates financial incentives when they upload lengthy video clips. 

@tammytheblackprepper

The TikTok Creator Rewards program is designed to financially compensate creators for their popular content on the platform. Creators can earn money through various avenues such as ad revenue sharing, virtual gifts from viewers, brand partnerships, and participation in sponsored campaigns. TikTok evaluates creators based on engagement metrics like views, likes, comments, and shares to determine eligibility and payout amounts. This program incentivizes creators to produce high-quality content and fosters a vibrant creator community on TikTok. #CreatorRewardsProgram #creativityBetaProgram #influencer #influencertips #JustTammy #greenscreen

♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Instagram, too, has joined in on the long form content train. The platform has recently announced that users will soon be able to post 3 minute and 10 minute long videos. 

After following in TikTok’s footsteps by creating Reels, Instagram has once again taken a step in the TikTok direction through its release of long form videos. Much like TikTok, the platform is hoping that this longer content will encourage users to stick around on the app for longer; bringing in more ad sense and higher engagement. 

Yet, do creators really want this longer content? 

@kathleentydrich

rare win for IG today🙌🏼 #instagramupdate #instagramfeatures #microinfluencertips #microinfluencertiktok

♬ original sound – Kathleen Tydrich

Many have said that whilst the long form content is exciting and new, it is unlikely that they will make it a part of their long term content plan. This is largely due to the feeling amongst creators that long term content has a lower chance of achieving virality. Short, quick, videos are viewed as a far safer option for creators seeking fame and popularity. 

Brands share this mindset. Whilst platforms are angling for long form content to be the new normal, brands are consistent in prioritizing short form content. This is primarily due to financial issues, as longer content is far more expensive for brands to sponsor. On top of this, users are notoriously anti-long sponsored videos, as they come off akin to infomercials. 

As such, even on platforms such as YouTube where longer videos are the norm, brands stick to encouraging creators to simply mention their name; as opposed to sponsoring the entire video. 

However, TikTok users have proven time and time again that long form content can go viral. The most recent example is a 50 video, 6 hour long series called “Who TF did I marry?” by user Reesa Teesa. The monologue’s beginning video alone has over 37 million views.

Social media platform updates: TikTok Photo app 

@acalltothrivedm

Tiktoks new app, posting photos on tiktok?

♬ original sound – Aimee Montgomery

Reports have come out just this month that the back-end code of TikTok now references a new app called TikTok Photos. The code suggests that users will soon be able to share their images to the app in photo posts. 

The move may seem strange, but given that TikTok has already made several social media platform updates. Such as space for photos with its photo mode, and has been urging users to engage with still photos more. These social media platform updates are likely spurred on by Xiaohongshu, the Chinese alternative to Instagram, generating more than 500 million net income in 2023 due to e-commerce on the platform. 

Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has also made social media platform updates towards photo posts as an attempt to generate the same amount of financial success. 

social media platform updates

WHAT’S NEXT? 

Social media is, and always has been, an ever changing landscape. 

Platforms shift and change dramatically at the drop of a hat, trying to morph themselves to suit consumers desires. Yet, is there a line? 

Is it possible that we could be nearing a photo where platforms like Instagram and TikTok are technically the same? It seems unlikely. 

Yes, these platforms are drawing closer together, but they will always have different bones and will be used by consumers in different ways. Consumers perceive platforms in specific ways, and will always view TikTok as a comedic, short-form platform even if it becomes intelligible from Instagram.

Ultimately, the driving force behind what content is popular is users. Platforms can try all they like to predict what content will drive up engagement, but users will always be the ones with the final say. As shown through the Reesa Teesa case, even in the midst of short form content being popularized by brands and influencers, users still hold the upper hand in deciding what goes viral.

Many users have even begun to express dismay at the sheer number social media platform updates. It is incredibly difficult to keep up with what app’s now offer, and which app is best for your needs. From a social media marketing stand point, staying on top of what’s what is becoming increasingly more complex; yet also increasingly more important.

All in all, the power to decide what platforms should be offering lies in the hands of consumers. The social media industry, much like the fashion and beauty, is now operating on a bottom-up model; platforms, brands and influencers all respond to the needs of users.

To stay on top, and win over the favour of your audience, brands and the like need to follow one simple rule; listen to consumers.

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.

@sociallypowerful

Author

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Ella Proctor

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