December 2, 2020

What are key social platforms planning for 2021?

What a crazy year 2020 has been! Covid-19 has taken the world by storm and businesses across the globe have had to adapt with the new norm that is working from home.
Despite all that’s going on, tech companies and especially video content tech companies, have had an amazing year in terms of revenue and viewership. With people spending more time at home, we’ve seen a sharp rise in viewers consuming video content and using social media more and more.
Christos Constantinou
Christos Constantinou

Director of Operations

YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat showcased this year’s successes by releasing stats including big increases on their revenues in Q3. YouTube has seen a 14% increase (The Verge) in their ad revenue from the year before and we at Brave Bison have felt that increase with seeing fill rates and playback CPMs rising since May.

We are seeing figures alike to those back in 2015-2016 before brand safety was deemed to be a priority in social spaces. Facebook, even though they have seen a drop in users in some key markets (US and Canada), have seen their advertising revenue increased by 22% with the overall daily active users increasing by 12%. Lastly, Snapchat have seen a 52% increase year on year (Forbes) and as a business, who have launched four discovery shows with Snapchat, we have too seen the increase in viewership, revenue and all the strides that the platform has made to make it a priority for advertisers again.

How do we see 2021 shaping up? What are the platforms going to be doing next year?

This year, we have seen advertisers spending more money on social media as they begin to reduce TV ad budgets and pump more into the digital world. Next year will be a very strong one for the platform’s revenue but where do we think the focus will be.

YouTube

YouTube Music has been a huge focus for the platform for a while now and Music as a category, is one of YouTube’s top performers, so it only saw fitting for YouTube to start competing with the likes of Spotify and iTunes, amongst other music streaming platforms. YouTube have been making strides towards updating their YouTube Music app with new updates being released nearly once a month or even twice a month (YouTube blog). YouTube have also been working with labels and companies like Brave Bison, in order to deliver our wide music catalog onto the YouTube Music platform itself.

YouTube now have over 30 million music and premium subscribers (Verge) and with all the new updates that we have seen this year, we expect that next year even more countries will gain access to the app and YouTube Music will position themselves as an even bigger competitor to other music streaming platforms.

YouTube Shorts is where we predict YouTube to pump most of their cash and efforts next year. So far, YouTube shorts has only released in India and initial indications show that the feature looks very promising and in 2021 we’ll see the beta program open up to other key markets. As we discussed in a previous article, YouTube is of course looking to retain viewers’ watching time and Shorts will be well integrated within the YouTube app that will allow users easy access to creators and their content.

eCommerce has become more and more integrated with all social media platforms and YouTube have been working hard to integrate eCommerce opportunities into their own systems too. Creators are starting to incorporate eCommerce into their own strategies and will want to sell more merchandise in 2021. YouTube’s collaboration with companies like Teespring have helped influencers, and companies like Brave Bison, to build strategies to sell products as easily as possible. It’s likely that YouTube will be looking to integrate more platforms like Teespring into their roster soon, to take advantage of creators and publishers that already have existing shops.

Snapchat

Video, video and more video from Snapchat. In the past 2 years in which Discover Shows launched, the company has seen big increases in their user numbers and also revenue.

Snapchat has been very clever with creating a unique business model for video by curating every single publisher and making sure that they keep to 100% Brand Safety rules. This has worked really well for the platform and they’re expanding teams and numbers in order to bring more content to the platform but more importantly, more localised content specific to each region and key markets.

Spotlight is the name of the TikTok competitor coming in hot from Snapchat. It was announced last week that Snapchat will be releasing their new AI product, Spotlight, that will take the best snaps from all the platform’s shows and then bring them together into a TikTok feed. The product will have its own place in the app and will look pretty much like TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels.

Snapchat has to build tech to make this work as the content already exists on their platform. Discover Shows consist of 6-12 second snaps in a consecutive order to make a 4-10 mins video. So we know that the smarter the tool, the better success it will have. Creators and publishers don’t have to change their strategy at all to benefit from this update; they just have to continue creating good Snap content which was already their goal!

Instagram

Reels will be a huge focus for Instagram in 2021. As we are not really sure of IGTV’s long-run success, reels is where video can make a difference for a platform like Instagram. As a photo first social media platform, it is very hard to change user behavior to bring long form video into the mix hence why before reels were added, feed videos that are less than 60 seconds had more engagement.

With Reels in the mix now and the algorithm clearly favoring the format we see a bigger push on the app that would see its own space and users following. If Instagram play their cards right, it could be the answer to their video strategy.

Marketing for Brands will be a big thing moving into 2021. With 90% of users following at least 1 brand on Instagram (Sprout Social), we have seen Brands increasing their efforts on creating a social first Instagram account. These are services that Brave Bison provides for brands as well and is where we see brands investing more in 2021.

Having your own followers on the platform means that you don’t need to rely on influencers and publishers as much as you the Brand becomes a publisher. And with the great functionalities that Instagram provides for in-app shopping the brands will start flocking your feed.

Facebook

Facebook Watch has been a test and trial for the past 2 years since its launch. Facebook is trying to bring more long form content into the platform in order to create intentional viewing and has been working with publishers like Brave Bison to build new strategies and adapt to all the changes video has gone through on the platform for some time now.

We predict Facebook will increase their video marketing efforts by encouraging more people into accessing “Watch” (a separate part of the platform) where they have the ability to run pre-roll ads and increase the fill rates.

eCommerce has been a focus for most platforms in the past year but even though Facebook has the functionality, it has surprisingly not actually been a huge focus for this platform in the past year. With more publishers and influencers getting on the eCommerce bandwagon, we expect Facebook to incorporate it more so in their 2021 strategy. The platform will make it much easier for users to buy products with ease, just like the front runner in eCommerce, Instagram.

TikTok

Advertising is the big focus for TikTok in both 2020 and 2021. They have brought huge audiences to the platform and have revolutionised influencer marketing. In order to generate revenue and ensure the platform operates in a profitable and self-sustainable way, TikTok need to begin to sell to their users through advertising campaigns.

It’s unlikely to happen in 2021, but TikTok have already invested in personnel that are actively seeking big brands to join the platform and work with companies like Brave Bison to become experts in successful campaign creation. So in 2021, prepare yourselves to see a lot more “Sponsored” content on your TikTok feed.

eCommerce will also be a huge focus for TikTok next year. As all the platforms are competing for influencers and creators, and with TikTok not being able to provide ad revenue to them, the platform’s focuses have to lay with selling products to users through eCommerce.

This can of course create revenue for the creators, that would make them want to stay working on TikTik and continue to publish and create content exclusively for the platform.

2021 is going to be a big one. Stay tuned.

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