Let the (Social Media) Games Begin

The Olympic Games are officially underway (congrats to the Canadian swimmers and divers leading the way with Canada’s first two medals and our first gold medal 🎉). But in the competition that is social media, you might be a bit shocked about the platforms either starting to take the lead, or making serious gains. 

THE GOLD GOES TO…

And the 🥇 goes to: TikTok! If you read last week’s newsletter, you already know that it’s the first non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion downloads globally. That, in itself, is a feat of strength. It’s also a leader in music and culture, according to a recent independent study commissioned by TikTok. You can read the full results here, but they all resonated with me (yes, I associate music with TikTok; yes, I have tried things I learned on TikTok; and yes, I like it when brands embrace trends). And finally, consider how other platforms are trying to compete. For example, YouTuberecently hosted a dance challenge featuring K-Pop sensation BTS in a bid to promote YouTube Shorts — a TikTok copycat. And just a few weeks ago when Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri admitted that competition from TikTok is part of the reason the platform is embracing video.

IN SECOND PLACE…

The 🥈 goes to: Snapchat 👻. While the platform faltered for a few years after a failed redesign, and an exodus to Instagram when the Facebook-owned platform copied its look with “Stories,” the platform just had its best quarter in four years, according to TechCrunch. Snapchat’s Q2 revenue in 2021 hit a new high of $982 million. That’s 116% higher than one year ago. Why?

  1. Snapchat embraced creators with a new Spotlight feature (aka: its TikTok clone). It distributes $1 million per day to creators, and says daily time spent on that part of that app has grown by 60%, according to Forbes.
  2. Snapchat’s focus on augmented reality. “More than 200 million Snapchatters engage with AR every day on average, and over 200,000 creators use Lens Studio to build AR Lenses for our community,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said in an earnings call last week. There are also plans to use AR to support try-ons for online shopping (which Pinterest has said many times helps encourage purchases). 

#WINNINGTHEBRONZE

And the 🥉goes to: Twitter! It’s not necessarily a “cool” platform when compared to TikTok or Instagram, but Twitter is seeing some impressive gains on Wall Street. The stock is up 30% this year, according to CNN. That’s a bigger bounce than either Facebook or Snapchat. And while it said good-bye to its Stories-like feature, called Fleets, earlier this month, Twitter is working hard to reward creators with: Tip Jars, Super Follows, and  Ticketed Spaces (Spaces is the platform’s audio-only feature, and competitor to the Clubhouse app). And if you are wondering where Twitter is headed — Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently said bitcoin will be a “big part” of its future.