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TikTok Highlights the Key Brand Campaign and Product Trends of the Year in the App

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As we head into the final days of 2021, TikTok has shared a look back at the growing influence of the platform as a commerce and promotional channel, by highlighting some of the key brand-lead trends of the year, which could provide some guidance as to what might work in your own TikTok marketing approach.

And no doubt many brands will be looking TikTok’s way in 2022. According to estimates from App Annie, TikTok will reach 1.5 billion users next year, which would make it the second-biggest social media platform in the world, trailing only Facebook. And that’s without India, where TikTok is banned, and where Facebook has some 349 million users.

Increasingly, at its current growth trajectory, TikTok is becoming the key app of focus for many users in many markets – which is why this listing of brand hits and hashtags from the year provides valuable marketing insight.

First off, TikTok notes the growth and influence of the platform as a brand and product awareness driver.

“The impact of #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, the hashtag with 7B+ views, and the movement clearing shelves across the nation, extends far beyond the platform – to bookstores, coffee shops, TV commercials, and everywhere else. When products became beloved by the community, brands continued to show up to amplify these same #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt moments that had the entire community talking and shopping this year.”

TikTok highlights Clinique’s ‘Almost Lipstick’, which saw a big rise on the back of TikTok clips, and Bissell’s ‘Little Green Machine’ carpet cleaning device, which gained huge exposure due to the #CleanTok community.

The #littlegreenmachine hashtag has now lead to more than 69 million cumulative video views, and that exposure has more than doubled sales of the device for the year.

The breadth of trends attached to the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt movement underlines the rising opportunities, in many sectors, via the app, which likely extends beyond what you might expect. TikTok’s no longer just about dance trends and memes, as its audience grows, so too does the range of content and comversations available, which has lead to major opportunities for many marketers.

Maybe, there’s already an active trend relating to your products.

TikTok also highlights products that were inspired by the platform, including GAP’s brown hoodie, which the company re-added into production after a viral TikTok clip showing the vintage item, and Isle of Paradise’s ‘Self-Tanning Water’.

As explained by TikTok:

“The [Isle of Paradise] trend caught on so quickly, it caused the Self-Tanning Water Refills to sell out at Sephora within 24hrs. Immediately picking up on the trend, Isle of Paradise developed their own branded Pro Glow Spray Tan Kit, launching it within 3 months of the first viral video. It’s the brand’s very first crowdsourced product and a successful one at that, with the Kit already a best-seller at Sephora.”

Smart brands are paying attention to the latest shifts on the platform, and working to align with trends when opportunity rises. And again, with TikTok on track to reach 1.5 billion users next year, it’s worth all businesses establishing a monitoring process, at the least, to keep track of product trends and movements, as a means to inform your own approach – both on TikTok and in your overall marketing process.

TikTok also highlights participatory brand trends, like the #JifRapChallenge, which saw Jif partner with Ludacris to call on users to share a clip of themselves rapping with a spoonful of peanut butter in their mouth.

The challenge utilized TikTok’s Duet feature to promote engagement, while also expanding Jif’s brand messaging. Videos using the hashtag have thus far been viewed more than 7.2 billion times.

There are also brands that have jumped into organic trends, like the NFL partnering with the truly great Emily Zugay for several creative re-branding projects.

Zugay, who’s quickly become world-famous for her design skills, has also worked with McDonald’s, and even Facebook on its Meta re-brand. With the NFL, her branding work for the Detroit Lions even lead to a popular line (get it) of new merchandise.

The expanded reach and resonance of such campaigns further highlights the opportunities of the platform, and while brands can (and do) get it wrong, and miss the trend as a result, those that can get it right can glean major exposure and association benefits.

There’s a heap more insights and highlights in TikTok’s full branded content overview, which you can check out here. And while not all businesses will be able to see the same level of success as these top initiatives, the listing could help provide some guidance for a more effective platform approach.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Cheeky branding wins (and missteps)

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Cheeky branding wins (and missteps)

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Branding and rebranding is getting more fun, here we look at some of cheekiest brands that have caught our eye – for the right and wrong reasons.



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Google Outlines Ongoing Efforts to Combat China-Based Influence Operations Targeting Social Apps

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Google Outlines Ongoing Efforts to Combat China-Based Influence Operations Targeting Social Apps

Over the past year, Google has repeatedly noted that a China-based group has been looking to use YouTube, in particular, to influence western audiences, by building various channels in the app, then seeding them with pro-China content.

There’s limited info available on the full origins or intentions of the group, but today, Google has published a new overview of its ongoing efforts to combat the initiative, called DRAGONBRIDGE.

As explained by Google:

In 2022, Google disrupted over 50,000 instances of DRAGONBRIDGE activity across YouTube, Blogger, and AdSense, reflecting our continued focus on this actor and success in scaling our detection efforts across Google products. We have terminated over 100,000 DRAGONBRIDGE accounts in the IO network’s lifetime.

As you can see in this chart, DRAGONBRIDGE is by far the most prolific source of coordinated information operations that Google has detected over the past year, while Google also notes that it’s been able to disrupt most of the project’s attempted influence, by snuffing out its content before it gets seen.

Dragonbridge

Worth noting the scale too – as Google notes, DRAGONBRIDGE has created more than 100,000 accounts, which includes tens of thousands of YouTube channels. Not individual videos, entire channels in the app, which is a huge amount of work, and content, that this group is producing.

That can’t be cheap, or easy to keep running. So they must be doing it for a reason.

The broader implication, which has been noted by various other publications and analysts, is that DRAGONBRIDGE is potentially being supported by the Chinese Government, as part of a broader effort to influence foreign policy approaches via social media apps. 

Which, at this kind of scale, is a concern, while DRAGONBRIDGE has also targeted Facebook och Twitter as well, at different times, and it could be that their efforts on those platforms are also reaching similar activity levels, and may not have been detected as yet.

Which then also relates to TikTok, a Chinese-owned app that now has massive influence over younger audiences in western nations. If programs like this are already in effect, it stands to reason that TikTok is also likely a key candidate for boosting the same, which remains a key concern among regulators and officials in many nations.

The US Government is reportedly weighing a full TikTok ban, and if that happens, you can bet that many other nations will follow suit. Many government organizations are also banning TikTok on official devices, based on advice from security experts, and with programs like DRAGONBRIDGE also running, it does seem like Chinese-based groups are actively operating influence and manipulation programs in foreign nations.

Which seems like a significant issue, and while Google is seemingly catching most of these channels before they have an impact, it also seems likely that this is only one element of a larger push.

Hopefully, through collective action, the impact of such can be limited – but for TikTok, which still reports to Chinese ownership, it’s another element that could raise further questions and scrutiny.

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The Drum | Trump’s Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say

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The Drum | Trump's Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say

While the reinstatement of Donald Trump’s Twitter account in November had some advertisers packing up in protest, many will strike a different tune with Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, experts predict.

Meta Wednesday announced that it’s lifting the ban on a handful of Facebook and Instagram accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump – who was suspended nearly two years ago following the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol.

In a blog post yesterday, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, explained the reasons for the company’s decision, saying that it “evaluated the current environment” as it pertains to the socio-political landscape and security concerns and determined that “risk has sufficiently receded.” As a result, the company will welcome Trump back onto Facebook and Instagram.

The former president will be expected to comply with Meta’s user policies, but, considering his past violations, will face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses,” Clegg explained.

While it’s unclear whether Trump will become an active user on either platform following the decision, media and marketing experts are already sounding alarm bells at his potential return.

In particular, experts are cautious considering recent developments at Twitter. Elon Musk’s turbulent takeover – which has included mass layoffs, dramatic platform changes and the decision to reinstate the accounts of controversial figures like Trump and Kanye West (whose account has since been re-suspended) – has led to an exodus of advertisers. Could Meta’s decision to reintroduce Trump invite a similar fate?

‘Fear, frustration and protest’ could catalyze drawback

Concerns regarding brand safety and suitability on Facebook and Instagram are piquing among marketers. Trump’s presence on social media has long proven to exacerbate the spread of misinformation online. The risks of a potential recession, paired with new political tensions spurred by the 2022 midterms and the anticipation of the 2024 presidential election, may only up the ante.

“Misinformation on Meta’s platforms was an issue prior to Trump’s ban, during the ban and will likely continue to be an issue, even with the new [policies that] Meta has put in place,” says Laura Ries, group director of media and connections at IPG-owned ad agency R/GA. In light of this fact, Ries says, “Advertisers will need to continue to consider the type of content they’ll show up next to when evaluating whether or not to advertise on the platforms, especially as we march toward the 2024 election.”

She predicts that Meta may see some advertisers leave Facebook and Instagram “out of fear, frustration or protest.”

Others agree. “I suspect advertisers will not be pleased with this move and might make reductions in spend as they have done with Twitter,” says Tim Lim, a political strategist, PR consultant and partner at creative agency The Hooligans.

Although some advertisers are sure to pull back or cut their investments, the number will likely be low – largely because the scale and reach promised by both Facebook and Instagram will make it hard for most advertisers to quit. Smaller brands and startups in particular often rely heavily on Meta’s advertising business to spur growth, says Ries.

A ripple, not a wave

Most industry leaders believe Trump’s reinstatement won’t cause anything more than a ripple in the advertising industry. “Marketers who advertise on Facebook and Instagram care about their own problems, which generally [entail] selling more products and services,” says Joe Pulizzi, an entrepreneur, podcaster and author of various marketing books. “If Meta helps them do that, they don’t care one bit about brand safety – unless this blows up into a big political issue again. It might not, so marketers won’t do a thing.”

The sentiment is underscored by Dr Karen Freberg, a professor of strategic communications at University of Louisville, who says: “Facebook and Instagram are key fundamental platforms for advertisers. Marketers may … be aware of the news, but I am not sure if it will make a drastic change for the industry.” She points out that Twitter’s decision to lift the ban on Trump’s account in November caused such a big stir among marketers advertisers that Meta’s decision to do the same may come as less of a shock.

Trump’s return may even benefit Meta’s ads business by giving the company new opportunities to serve ads to Trump devotees, says Pulizzi. Ultimately, he says, Meta “needs personalities like Trump,” who, whether through love or hate, inspire higher engagement. “With Facebook plateauing and Instagram now chasing – and copying – TikTok at every turn, Trump’s follower base is important to Meta, which is hard to believe, but I think it’s true.”

But while some users may be energized by the former president’s return to Meta platforms, others may be outraged – even to the point of quitting Facebook and Instagram, points out Ries. In this case, she says, “advertisers will need to follow them to TikTok, Snap or other platforms where they’re spending their newfound time.”

R/GA, for its part, which services major brands including Google, Samsung, Verizon and Slack, will work on “a client by client basis” to address concerns about Facebook, Instagram or any other platform, says Ries. “R/GA recommended pausing activity on Facebook and Instagram after the insurrection and won’t hesitate to do so again if another incident occurs.”

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