Gary Knight, CEO at WOLF, explains why marketers need to prepare for the second generation of social media apps
Social media is a huge part of everyday life for people across the world; currently over 4.8 billion people use a variety of social network sites globally. But the landscape is changing.
How we use and engage with platforms is evolving and brands must prepare for a wave of second generation apps to take the spotlight.
Much like the evolution of television, social media is offering us more and more channels to choose from. Whether we decide to share photography, engage with like-minded communities, enjoy online entertainment or reconnect with networks, the social media ecosystem has transformed our lives.
And with so many social media apps – although TikTok considers itself an entertainment app – it’s important for businesses to understand which platform can best help engage target audiences, build brands, and ultimately, generate revenue. Businesses should target their niche audiences using platforms that will satisfy users’ needs and wants. And, importantly, remember that the audience is extremely discerning.
So, what should marketers be aware of to drive opportunities for 2023 considering the rise in popularity and expected growth of this second generation of social media apps? And from the other perspective, how should the original social apps recognise it is time to evolve to hang on to their users?
I believe that brands with an engaged social media community will be the winners in 2023; connecting and engaging with your target audience is paramount. Social commerce should become part of a brand’s marketing strategy sooner rather than later. Understanding what is driving your audience, and what will be of interest to them tomorrow, should be a continual focus to keep them engaged.
Interestingly, it could be that the social media apps also become the catalyst for the decline of search engine use. In 2022, Google’s Senior VP of Knowledge and Information said “almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, don’t go to Google Maps or Search, they go to TikTok or Instagram.” Youngsters seem to favour visual-rich results instead of text and this seems to be the trend going forward. Reels and videos are what users want to see; capturing all the necessary data in a short, fun and enticing way.
What’s more, short-form video gives the highest ROI and will see huge growth in 2023. Unsurprisingly, TikTok will continue to dominate. The short-form videos of under 10 minutes that TikTok champions will be replicated on many social media platforms this year. That said the video length of between 15-60 seconds will remain the most popular for quick, easy consumption to capture attention.
Unsurprisingly and continuing to grow will be virtual and augmented reality, with reports that Instagram, Snapchat and Google are all planning to use AR more, to increase their advertising revenue whilst refreshing marketing offerings.
The focus on niche audiences with specific, targeted content is the way the second-generation apps are going to grow and retain users going forwards, stealing ever more market share from the likes of Meta. Maybe the lesson to be learnt for the first generation apps is to understand what today’s and tomorrow’s audiences want and evolve and improve to deliver it quickly.
A great example of this is our app WOLF, which offers an immersive audio, virtual world of entertainment communities, built specifically for Arabic users. Much like TikTok, WOLF doesn’t specifically fit the social media mold, but offers a niche entertainment platform with incredible choice.