The TwoSix team is back and ready to share what’s On Our Radar for February so that you can stay ahead of the always-evolving digital marketing landscape. This month the TwoSix team discusses the importance of original TikTok sounds, Meta CAPI, social media usage trends, and more! Keep reading to find out what we’re keeping On Our Radar for February 2024.

We’ve always stressed the importance of having an updated and well-monitored Google Business Profile if you have a storefront tourism-related business, but with the growing presence of Generative AI, it could be imperative for future visits to your business.

Google Maps is piloting a new feature powered by generative AI to enhance how users discover new places. This feature leverages large language models to analyze details on over 250 million locations and insights from 300 million users to provide personalized recommendations.

So when you are in a new city, instead of just searching by keywords, users can ask natural language questions like “places with a vintage vibe in Detroit” and get results categorized by type (clothing stores, vinyl shops) with photos, reviews, and explanations for the suggestions. The feature even allows for follow-up questions, like finding a restaurant matching the same vibe, for a more comprehensive and tailored exploration experience. This is perfect for tourists visiting new locations who are trying to find a tailored experience in that destination at a given moment. It is currently available to a select group of Local Guides in the US, with broader user availability planned in the future.

There are quite a few TikTok accounts scrambling due to the removal of all Universal Music from the sound library. Those impacted accounts will have the audio removed from their content (sometimes going years back) and have a message labeling the sound as not being available. This can be a crushing blow to TikTok accounts that have relied heavily on trending sounds that feature popular music. 

While this is disappointing, it offers an opportunity to reiterate something we’ve been talking to our clients about quite a bit. Skip the trending sounds and lean into the human voice and environmental sounds. Not only can you insulate you from issues like this Universal Music removal, but you will also make more compelling content with much more context. The human voice can add much more context as to what the viewer is seeing. Similarly, environmental sounds can give a glimpse of what an experience would actually be like. Admittedly, this can add another step to your content creation process, but at the end of the day, you’re positioning yourself for long-term success and overall better content that engages and informs.  

Universal Music removing their sounds from TikTok could be just the tip of the iceberg regarding music licensing in the future on social media apps. This issue with trending sounds can cause all kinds of future headaches. Are you sure that TikTok sounds are also approved on Reels? Are you sure that you can freely use a song from one network to another? In the past, we’ve dealt with copyright issues on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram when it comes to crowdsourced images and videos. These can sometimes come with significant payouts. I sense that there is going to be a period coming soon where music and sound licensing experience a similar opportunity for litigations.

Let’s face it, using trending sounds or generic music beds can be a bit of a lazy move. We should be putting just as much time into the audio portions of our content as we do the visuals. Don’t cut a corner on these aspects. Remember, that users only remember 30% of that they see. They only remember 20% of what they hear. They remember 70% of what they see and hear. These trending sounds likely aren’t helping you that much anyway. They are in a sense, generic. Take the time to develop both aspects of your content to not only insulate yourself from issues like what is going on with Universal Music, but also to ensure that you’re delivering the very best content that you can by taking more control of the final output. 

If you’re anything like us, Meta ad representatives call you all hours of the day to talk to you. And it’s usually about their Conversion API, or CAPI. They always ask you to set it up but are light on the details on what it actually is and how to actually set it up. Meta CAPI Gateway is a new evolution that makes installation a lot easier. It’s the Ryan Reynolds of tracking pixels.

What is Meta CAPI?

To put it simply, Meta’s CAPI is a server-side Facebook pixel. It’s best explained with a metaphor: a phone call. The phone call is a website, your phone is a browser, and your mobile network is the server. You can screen a call, but T-Mobile will always know who called and from where. Meta’s CAPI operates via the mobile network.

To stop Meta’s Conversion API from tracking, you would have to block “the phone call” all together — in other words, you couldn’t visit the website. The tracking is riding the same wave as everything else that makes the website load (text, images, videos, etc.). Scary thought, I know, but that’s why Meta is so gung-ho. Tracking that can’t be blocked, even by Chrome going cookie-less, is extremely valuable to the company.

What is Meta Conversion API Gateway?

I know, I know. You just figured out what CAPI is. Well, CAPI Gateway is basically the same thing, but via “The Cloud”. That ambiguous phrase really clear things up, right? Going back to our metaphor, the CAPI Gateway is kind of like a “Mint Mobile”. It piggybacks off T-Mobile’s network to redirect the call. No one should notice a difference, but now Ryan Reynolds is in the mix and knows what’s happening.

How is Meta CAPI Gateway Different? Why’s it important?

With cookies on their way out, the old way of tracking things, via the pixel, might not be an option. However, if you ever tried to installed the vanilla CAPI, you might have noticed something — it was very confusing to set up and very expensive. You could rack up hundreds of dollars in costs a day with Amazon Web Services or other hosts, depending on the amount of traffic to your site. Oof.

Meanwhile, the Conversion API Gateway via Stape takes just a few clicks and starts at $10/month after a 7-day free trial. Still having precision targeting, optimization, AND audiences after cookies are banned? Count me in.

What next?

Try out Stape or maybe another provider! The cookie-less future is already here after the web browser Chrome blocked 3rd-party cookies for 1% of its users starting in Q1 2024. Feel to reach out to us if you want it implemented!

Pew Research has released a new report detailing where American adults are spending their time online. The data stretches from May – September of 2023, providing an excellent snapshot of what social platforms people are using most, and where advertisers should be spending their time and money.

The most dominant social platform is now YouTube, with 83% of respondents report visiting the site. In the last year, TwoSix Digital has seen a lot of success in driving clicks and profile engagement from YouTube Shorts. Compared to other video types and platforms, Shorts can see a lot of success while feeling very user-generated, less polished, and commercial-like. This makes it easier and less time consuming for companies to enter the space. According to the survey results, everyone should begin looking here to reach and attract consumers.

Facebook and Instagram were the next two most-used social platforms, with 68% and 47% of adults using the platform, respectively. Meta isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, though these numbers are lower than seen in similar surveys in previous year. It’s important to stay connected and active on these networks, but also important to maintain a presence elsewhere.

In terms of growth, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok have seen the largest increases in usage from 2021. That being said, only 1/3 or less of adults reported using TikTok and Pinterest. When deciding where is best to spend ad budgets and bandwidth, consider how you can reuse resources you already have. Videos make for YouTube shorts can easily be recycled as Reels and TikToks, for example.

As we navigate the digital terrain, the latest Pew Research report underscores the importance of leveraging YouTube’s dominance, maintaining a presence on Facebook and Instagram, and adapting strategies for the growing TikTok and Instagram platforms to guide effective marketing in 2024.

X formerly known as Twitter has been expanding it’s advertising options and now includes vertical video. Ads will be displayed in the dedicated video feed as the user taps through in stream. If you’re wondering how many people are actually watching videos in the app, the answer is surprising. According to X, the platform is becoming a video-first experience with 4 out of 5 users now focusing on video content instead of or in addition to the main feed. X may be starting to test how the app will be laid out in the future as the app doesn’t open to the video feed like other apps. It’s been observed that users are 7 times more likely to interact with an ad in vertical video than one in the main feed. It’s interesting to see how this platform continues to change and if what they’re claiming is true could potentially create another avenue for advertisers to reach people that they haven’t in the past or reach them again from another platform. Overall, it will be interesting to see if they continue to lean further into video as other platforms have or if they’ll revert and stick to what they know. It does seem that the need to add video is becoming the standard among our main social platforms and that’s another reason this should stay top of mind for businesses and advertisers alike.

For email marketers, personalization has been the big buzzword lately. Across all marketing platforms, users show more interest in content that is specific to them or closely related to their niche. Campaign Monitor reported that personalized emails have about a 30% average open rate which is up 10% from the current industry average. Also, Hubspot claims they receive 200% better conversions after replacing standard buttons with personalized ones.

Our suggestions to start increasing your email personalization in 2024 are personalized subject lines, experimenting with segmentation, and keeping your eyes out for more personalization features:

-Try including the names of your contacts in the subject lines or email introductions. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than those without.

-Spend some time with segmentation this year. If you have been using email link segmentation tools on your email platform, start to harness this data and send some personalized messages to your various segments of subscribers. Relevancy is your secret weapon! Don’t guess what your subscribers are into- put that data you’ve been collecting to use.

-Lastly, look out for incoming personalization tools from your email marketing platform! This is an up-and-coming trend that a lot of marketers are talking about. Keep your eye out for new tools to make personalization more accessible as a marketer and subscribe to our newsletter for updates on email marketing trends and much more!

With the ever-changing digital marketing world, we are here to keep you informed of new digital trends and what we are keeping on our radar for February 2024. Have any questions? Contact us! We’re here to help. 

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