Happy New Year! The TwoSix team is back and ready to share what’s On Our Radar for January so that you can stay ahead of the always-evolving digital marketing landscape. This month the TwoSix team discusses what ever happened with Threads, YouTube Shorts new mobile capabilities, 2024 digital marketing strategy suggestions, and so much more! Keep reading to find out what we’re keeping On Our Radar for January 2024.

Everyone wants to capture engaged audiences on their social media channels, but sometimes, just finding the right copy to generate a click via an organic post or social ad could be a daily challenge.   The following article offers a treasure trove of 110 social media hooks designed to captivate your audience. These hooks spark curiosity, ignite conversations, and transform passive scrolling into active engagement.  It’s done all by posing intriguing questions, sharing bold opinions, revealing exclusive sneak peeks, and dropping surprising statements. Remember, social media isn’t just broadcasting; it’s a vibrant dialogue, and these hooks provide the perfect opening line to turn your followers into enthusiastic participants.

Two additional notes that I feel are so important when working with hooks like the 110 of them listed in the article – be relevant in terms of timing and context related to your travel product.  For example, Fun fact: Did you know today is _______ [quirky holiday]?  If you go with National Cheeseburger Day, be sure that you either serve cheeseburgers in your food outlets or have a section of partner locations that do and feature multiple photos of cheeseburgers that will make your mouth water and tag the locations.

And one hook that is working very well with our client – Frankenmuth, Michigan – is using the word “hack” in the copy of the social post and the extended article post on their website – “5 Frankenmuth Winter Hacks for You, Your Family and Friends“. It creates intrigue with the user, teases a sneak peek or behind the scenes content and motivates them to explore more, resulting in a click and additional engagement.

So, scroll through the list, find your favorite hook or “hack”, see if it applies to your efforts, and get ready to reel in a captivated social audience!

Earlier this year, YouTube rolled out an incredible feature. It was one of the most exciting and logical updates I had seen in a while. I might even call it brilliant, the ultimate TikTok killer, or even a miracle of human ingenuity and progress. When YouTube made it possible for content creators to leverage Shorts and connect their Shorts to their existing long-form content, I was so excited about the possibilities. 

One problem. The feature wasn’t available on mobile. What!? You create Shorts on mobile, you upload them from a mobile device. You do everything from mobile when it comes to Shorts. To use this new and amazing feature you had to log into your YouTube Studio account (on a laptop or desktop, pffffft) to manually connect Shorts to videos existing on the Channel. Ridiculous. My heart was saddened. 

Luckily, during the holidays, a miracle occurred, other than the birth of Jesus. YouTube had come to its senses and a new option appeared on the YouTube mobile app. It says, add a “related video” to your newly created Short in the upload settings. This may seem like a small thing, but it is incredibly important to be able to work as efficiently as possible on the world’s 2nd largest search engine. 

With this final piece of the puzzle in place, YouTube has now given us all the tools we need to lean on our past content efforts. DMOs have a huge advantage due to the amount of money we’ve spent over the last decade on high-quality content! You’ve probably got more than you could ever need. It’s just sitting there! You simply need to repackage it as a series of Shorts. 

It’s now easier than ever. You can literally do it all from mobile in a matter of seconds:

  1. You can edit your existing long-form content into Shorts by using the “Remix” tool on the mobile app. 
  2. You can then optimize that old horizontal video for a vertical space by using their new “Layouts” tool. 
  3. You can add all the text and titles (AKA directional language) that you want. Just be sure to pay attention to the safe zones
  4. You can schedule and upload the short-form, vertical video from your mobile
  5. Finally, you can link to the source video on your Channel (or any video that makes sense) as a “Related Video”, all from the mobile app. 

The best part, YouTube Shorts is the most user-friendly content creation app that there is. Way easier than Reels or TikTok. Don’t believe me? Try it. Creating Shorts in this manner will take you less than a couple of minutes. 

Another great benefit is that because Shorts are minimal on design elements and options, they are easily repurposed to your other social media outlets like Instagram Reels and TikTok. You can add more customizations on each of those if you feel so inclined, but start with YouTube Shorts. It’s WAY easier. Oh, and ditch the music and trending sounds. Go with narration tracks or environmental sounds. That way you avoid any copyright infringements. You can thank us later. 

A solid plan for 2024 is to create 3, 15-second Shorts from one long-form video on your Channel per week. Schedule those out throughout the week. Link those Shorts to the long-form video. If you do this, you will gain organic views like you have never seen before. You will also begin to grow your subscribership on YouTube. If you take the time to optimize your descriptions with links, you can even start to drive traffic too. 

Give it a shot! The worst thing that could happen is that you get motivated by success and then start to take YouTube seriously for your destination marketing organization and in turn, make it a pivotal piece of your overall marketing strategy. What a bummer, huh? 

With this privacy-focused future, is the foundation of targeted advertising for digital marketers crumbling? Let’s dive into why it’s not all doom and gloom.

Google Chrome Cookie Announcement

It’s finally happening. Google just released: “As of 4th January 2024, Chrome has started restricting third-party cookies by default for 1% of Chrome browsers.” The plan is to then ramp “up to 100% of users from Q3 2024.” We’ve been talking about this for a while, and Google has kept pushing it off, but this deadline feels real — especially since the adoption of GA4 was bulldozed on us in July last year.

Why Marketers Care About Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are the backbone of highly targeted advertising. They allow marketers to track user behaviors between websites, and then serve them ads based on their interests and activities. You know, like how a Facebook (Meta) Pixel tracks user activity on your website and then you can retarget them. As Chrome is the most popular browser, this is very be problematic.

Is All Meta Pixel Tracking Going to be Gone?

Of course not! It’s not like Meta would suddenly allow $33.64 Billion in advertising revenue to disappear. Marketers have known about this for years. Most notably, by default, the Meta Pixel is actually both a first and third-party cookie. While it’s not exactly clear what data is going to be lost when the third-party cookies are gone, Meta has come up with sly workarounds. For instance, CAPI, which relies on server-side tracking, so a web browser like Chrome can’t do squat about blocking it.

What About Other Platforms?

The programmatic platform we use for Display, Native, Audio, Out-of-Home, and ConnectedTV ads tracks users in other ways that can’t be blocked, such as device IDs. TikTok, like Meta, has an option for first party cookies. And, naturally, Google certainly tracks users, too, for its $220+ Billion in ad revenue. At TwoSix Digital, we doubt Google will block itself.

What Should Marketers Do?

Well, like we’ve said for years, really pushing for first-party data will be crucial. Lead generation campaigns, such as for e-newsletters sign-ups, are something to look into no matter what. The adaption period is still likely to be a rocky one and user lists are going to save you a lot of heartache. As it’s still not completely clear what will happen with Meta’s pixel, consider server-side tracking with Meta CAPI. Start the conversation and see what you can do to navigate this period!

Happy 2024! As we wrap up 2023, it’s time to start planning for the new year. There are a few things to consider when planning for your digital efforts this year including short form video. We’ve been preaching it for a while now and it’s really starting to pay off, we’re seeing great results from YouTube Shorts and TikTok. Creating short clips to showcase a destination, a business, a product can really help campaign efforts. Even taking a long form video and snipping it up into clips to take advantage of both long and short form video can do wonders.

Another thing to consider is trying a new platform. If you’ve been curious about TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn or other platforms, give them a try. Start organically and then decide if you want to lean into something paid. Reaching people on multiple channels is a great way to build awareness and interest in your destination.

AI is everywhere and can be a great tool for getting a blog started or helping with the editing or revision process. Play around with AI more and see how it can help you and your destination.

Lean into messaging more, build a personal connection with your followers. Be sure to monitor your posts and respond to messages to build that human connection.

Set out to learn more about AR. Although, this is still in the early stages, AR, VR and the metaverse are all becoming increasingly immersive and at the forefront of the digital space. There may be a time soon where destinations are able to benefit from these new developments.

2024 is sure to be another great year for digital advertising and be sure to keep these five things in mind as you build your digital marketing plan!

Get ready for a celestial spectacle in the Midwest in 2024! On April 8th, a full solar eclipse will mesmerize the region, accompanied by the sun’s 11-year peak in solar storms, promising brighter and more frequent aurora borealis displays until fall. These natural wonders aren’t just marvels of nature; they’re golden opportunities for Midwest tourism.

Following the buzz from the October 2023 eclipse, cities in the direct path will sell out months in advance, creating a rush for prime viewing spots. But don’t worry—there’s a wide band of viewability to the north and south, offering a chance to witness a thrilling partial eclipse. With spring as a shoulder season, it’s the perfect time to promote tourism, especially for those seeking unique experiences.

The real excitement goes beyond the eclipse—the peak in northern lights events. While less predictable, the allure of these displays, seen in the tourism boom in places like Iceland, is undeniable. This year, even cities farther south can expect to witness the northern lights. The unpredictability might make advertisers hesitant, but it’s a rare opportunity adding refreshing variety to seasonal promotions.

Mark your calendars for a year of celestial wonders in the Midwest. Whether you’re chasing the eclipse’s shadow or hoping for a glimpse of the dancing northern lights, 2024 is the year to be in the Midwest.

Instagram’s “Add Yours” feature has increased the ways your destination can engage with its audience. This new story sticker invites users to respond with photos to prompts set by the original creator- which could be you! This can create dynamic and collaborative threads of content with very little effort.

Imagine a stunning location like the Pictured Rocks leveraging this tool for destination marketing. They could design an “Add Yours” template, prompting followers to share their unique perspectives, such as “My Pictured Rocks POV.” Followers would then have the opportunity to click this button and share their POV of the Pictured Rocks! This not only fosters a sense of community but also showcases the diverse experiences associated with the destination.

In a world where engagement is the supreme metric of social media success, the “Add Yours” sticker serves as a simple yet powerful tool, encouraging users to share content related to the destination and creating a visually appealing, interconnected narrative. Each thread links back to the brand, ensuring heightened exposure and fostering a stronger connection with the audience. Destinations should seize this opportunity to utilize the “Add Yours” feature to increase engagement with their current audience and reach some new people with minimal effort required!

Last July was an eventful time for social media. Twitter was rebranded as “X,” to the chagrin of many. Meta launched Threads, which broke records for the fastest-growing social media platform, reaching over 100 million users within just a week. Threads was slated to wedge X out of the market and become the go-to app for real-time happenings.

But then within a month, the “Twitter Killer” lost nearly 80% of its daily active users. It quickly became evident that the app launched half-baked. It took until late August for Threads to be available on the web. Then it was discovered that users who wished to delete their Threads account would have to delete their Instagram account as well to accomplish this. Most users, myself included, quickly lost interest in what Threads had to offer.

Threads seemed like it was slowly unraveling, until in mid-December, when the app launched in the EU. It’s not yet apparent how many users Threads acquired during this launch, but within the same month it was reported that, X still maintained over 100x more web traffic than Threads.

Then we rang in the new year, and Fidelity disclosed “it had marked down the value of its shares by 71.5% since Musk’s purchase.” Fidelity currently values X at $12.5 billion, while the company was purchased by Musk in 2022 for $44 billion.

Currently, it seems like neither app is truly coming out on top. While X has steadily lost value over the last year, it still boasts a significantly larger share of traffic. Threads, however, has the advantage of time. Meta is playing a waiting game now, hoping for Musk to continue to fumble his acquisition of Twitter. Meta has the resources to keep Threads alive, even if it’s not currently turning a profit. Should X fail, Threads will be primed and ready to scoop up users looking for the Twitter experience.

I say “Twitter” here intentionally. Failure for X doesn’t mean shutting down its servers and filing for bankruptcy. If the platform changes to a point that it is no longer comparable to what Twitter was, Threads could seem more enticing to users, and the migration away from X could begin in full swing.

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 January 2024. Have any questions? Contact us! We’re here to help. 

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