For the internet’s 2021 superlatives, social media platforms had a strong performance, with TikTok beating out Google for the “Most Visited Website” of the year title. Not only that, but the main nine social platforms ranked within the top 100 list for most popular domains for the year, these being (ranked in their order popularity): TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
And this may seem impressive, but what does it mean?
Of course, TikTok beating out Google doesn’t mean that all advertisers should go flock to that platform in ad spend or that TikTok is the new Google; the two websites offer completely different experiences to users and advertisers. What it does signal is a shift in consumer desires.
It’s clear that the last two years have been hard on us all, and the rise of social platforms is indicative of where our attention is. We have craved entertainment more than anything else.
The growth of TikTok shows that consumers are not slowing on their desire for entertainment and their search for connection. The algorithm on many social media platforms creates a community that people can get lost in. This shows us that the new consumer desires entertainment along with personalization and is something advertisers should be keeping in mind for their 2022 campaigns.
Advertisers should be hyper-focused on the experiences they are delivering to their clients and how their ads fit into online communities. This is especially true on social media platforms but a good standard across digital ads as a whole.
This usurp of Google’s long-standing place as #1 comes at an interesting time for advertisers as social platforms make ad buying and creation easier – TikTok made its ad platform more accessible in 2021– and Google is making this more difficult with the removal of third-part tracking looming in 2023.
We can see that social platforms are gathering more attention as they increase their uses outside of entertainment. The entertainment piece draws consumers in through their desire for connection, but they are increasingly spending more time on these platforms for personalization.
“The global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce.” This is a direct result of users preferring the enhanced experience that social platforms are delivering to them.
We can expect that in 2022, social platforms will continue to offer new experiences and hinge these on personalization. To fuel their growth they are likely to make ad buying more accessible to businesses as TikTok has and create new ways in which advertisers can reach their audiences.
Advertisers can prepare by knowing their audience and anticipating how they will change in the next year and remaining focused on how to create personalized experiences.