Virtual Marketers' Monthly Mashup: September 2023


From TikTok and Google thinking about working together and Snapchat's surprising growth to Elon Musk considering making Twitter a paid service, and Google really stressing the importance of quality in how they decide what to show you when you search, it's all here in our monthly digital marketing mashup.

Senior Marketing Manager
September 23, 2023
  (NZDT - GMT +12)

Welcome to the Virtual Marketers digital marketing mashup for September 2023. Our first one in fact! In this handy piece, we bring you five of the latest developments in the ever-evolving world of digital marketing. Some of them you may have heard in your travels across the internet, some you may not, either way we hope you learn something new and interesting today!

1. TikTok and Google's New Search Partnership

TikTok, the popular short-video platform, is exploring a potential partnership with Google, according to a report by Business Insider. This partnership could integrate Google search prompts and, potentially, search results into TikTok's own search stream. Users have already started seeing an option to search the same query on within the TikTok app, leading to an in-app browser displaying Google's search results.

While this feature is currently in testing and not an ad unit, it has the potential to substantially boost traffic and ad revenue for both TikTok and Google. It's a strategic move for both companies to tap into younger audiences and adapt to evolving search behaviours. This development comes at a time when Google is facing a trial against the US Justice Department over its search monopoly allegations, as well as fearing the TikTok giant taking over for the younger audiences. Last year, a Google executive said its own studies had found almost 40% of young people would search for a lunch spot would do so on TikTok or Instagram first over Google Search or Maps.

For TikTok, integrating Google search could enhance its user experience and data collection capabilities, particularly as it expands into e-commerce. This partnership reflects how anything can happen when it comes to digital marketing!

Reference: Business Insider

2. Changing Consumer Expectations on Social Media

Despite the world returning to “new” normal post-pandemic, social media usage continues to rise. A Sprout Social report reveals that 53% of consumers report higher social media usage over the past two years. As consumer habits evolve, so do their expectations from brands on social media.

The report highlights that 68% of consumers primarily use social media to stay informed about new products and services. This highlights the potential for brands to engage with their audiences effectively on these platforms. Additionally, consumers want access to exclusive promotions and deals, indicating opportunities for more marketing strategies on social channels.

However, the report challenges the notion that brands need to align with social issues to be memorable. Only 25% of consumers believe this is necessary. Instead, responding to customers and creating original content are seen as more effective ways for brands to leave a lasting impression.

This data emphasises the importance of aligning social media strategies with consumer expectations, focusing on quality content, responsiveness, and unique offers.

Reference: Marketing Dive

3. Snapchat's Impressive Growth in 2023 (who saw that coming?)

Snapchat, despite being smaller than giants like Facebook and Instagram, is poised to become the fastest-growing social media platform in 2023. Data indicates a 13.4% user growth, putting it ahead of competitors like TikTok and Instagram.

Snapchat's growth is attributed to its constant innovation and unique features, such as Stories, Spectacles, Spotlight, and more. Its popularity among younger generations, especially in the US, contributes to its steady rise.

This growth presents opportunities for marketers to reach a rapidly expanding audience on Snapchat (don’t be afraid!) As it continues to evolve, understanding the platform's features and its user base can be crucial for effective digital marketing campaigns.

Reference: Marketing Tech News

4. Elon Musk's Plan to Make Twitter a Paid Platform

Elon Musk, now at the helm of what he refers to as "X" (formerly Twitter), has announced plans to transform the platform into a paid service for all users. This move is aimed at addressing the issue of rampant bot activity on the platform.

While the exact pricing and features of the paid service have not been disclosed, Musk believes that requiring users to pay even a small monthly subscription fee can deter the use of bots. This transition could potentially lead to a higher-quality audiences for advertisers, and fewer issues related to bot-generated interactions.

However, there is a downside to this strategy. Some users may opt for free alternatives, potentially reducing the platform's user base and, consequently, the reach of advertisers on X.

Another development in the ongoing battle against bots in the digital marketing landscape and the creative approaches being taken to combat them.

Reference: Search Engine Land

5. Google Emphasises Quality in Search Indexing

In a recent discussion between Google's John Mueller and Gary Illyes from the Search Relations team, it was reinforced that quality plays a pivotal role in various aspects of search, from crawling and indexing to ranking.

Quality content significantly influences how Google interacts with a website. The crawl scheduler uses quality signals to prioritise URLs for crawling, and indexing decisions are heavily influenced by quality. However, having high-quality content does not guarantee top rankings.

Quality can vary across different parts of a website, and Google's crawling behaviour is responsive to this variation. For example, user-generated content can have varying quality, impacting how Google crawls specific sections of a site.

The discussion also clarified common SEO misconceptions, such as the role of duplicate content and affiliate sites. It highlighted that affiliate sites can produce quality content if they provide unique and valuable information.

This reinforces the importance of maintaining and improving the overall quality of a website to positively impact its search presence.

Reference: Search Off the Record Podcast

What a busy September it has been! With some interesting developments in the digital marketing landscape, from potential partnerships between TikTok and Google to Snapchat's impressive growth, to Elon Musk's plans for X/Twitter, and Google's emphasis on quality in search indexing. It’s hard to stay on top of all the new things happening, so we’ll do it for you! 

Stay tuned for more updates from VM in the dynamic world of digital marketing!

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