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Geometric Pattern

The day social media became, well, just media.

July 15, 2021

“We are no longer a photo-sharing application, or an application to share square photos”

These words from Instagram’s Head, Adam Mosseri, officially killed social media.

Well, as you know it now. 

Unroll those eyes, this is NOT another one of those “the sky is falling” posts that makes you rework your whole marketing plan. In fact, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are thriving, and since they deliver entertaining content, they will continue to thrive. But the SOCIAL part of them is dying, and if we’re honest, it has been for awhile. They’re entertainment platforms now. 

Facebook and Instagram no longer want to be applications where regular folks share photos of their vacations to 200 friends. They’re angling to be an application where a few folks share videos of their vacations to their audience of 1 million. And while TikTok never even pretended to be a social platform, Mosseri’s announcement marks Instagram’s official transformation from social network to entertainment platform. 

It makes sense. In 2021, the Facebook/IG app now sits on your phone next to Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+, ESPN+ and whatever other entertainment company wants to add “+” next to their name. The lines between TV, laptop, tablet and phone have disappeared. You can watch ESPN on your phone and Youtube on your TV and advertisers can reach you in both of those places. This is what Instagram is competing with, and running ads next to your cousin’s gender reveal party video can’t really compete with Addison Rae, The Frozen franchise, or live sports.  

What matters now is what you do with this information. So here’s our take on the top five takeaways: 

  1. Ad formats will expand. Facebook has long prioritized video content. We know that every move FB/IG makes is to increase ad revenue. Will there be new video ad offerings? How much will boosting video increase your reach in comparison to boosting static content? What will happen to engagement, and will people even comment anymore?
  2. You need more video. In your ad content and your feed. Feels like this is a sentence we’ve said a lot over the past 5 years but it continues to be true. People want video content, creators like creating video content, these platforms like promoting video content. And not always big production style! Without question, snackable video (30 seconds and under) and user-generated style videos will continue to dominate Instagram and TikTok.
  3. Videos will get longer, because the platforms want them to. Remember, it’s all about making money for the platform. More time on their app means more ad dollars for them. TikTok is already up to 3 minutes. This is a trend we are cautiously watching. Whether users will really come to these platforms over YouTube for long-form content remains to be seen. But if the algorithm promotes longer videos over shorter videos, they might be able to force the issue. For now, 15-30 second videos are a safe bet.
  4. Influencers continue to be essential. Expect to see a premium attached to the creation of video content. Great content creators are gonna be very important, and the ability to tap into their audiences will be vital. But if you only rely on influencers, instead of building out your own channel, you will quickly see your media dollars disappear. Use influencers, but not to the detriment of  building your own channel.
  5. Content creation MUST be done differently. Agencies and Brands MUST start to create content differently in order to thrive in this new environment. If you are still producing and reviewing content like it’s 2019, you are way behind. If you have a five person crew to make a TikTok, we need to talk about efficiency. The old process of pitch, notes, new pitch, more notes, new pitch, approval, shoot, edit, notes, more editing, more notes, editing and then releasing it 3 months later has to end. Brands must trust their agency and partners to create content with less oversight when it comes to these platforms. Key takeaway: set your strategy up front, align with whomever you have creating content for you and trust them to execute.

We just control+F’d the word video in this blog and it’s up to 16 so we think our work here is done. We’ll throw in one more for good measure: VIDEO! Start making some, get it live, and see what happens.