The TwoSix team is here to share what’s On Our Radar for September so that you can stay ahead of the always-evolving digital marketing landscape. This month our team discusses new YouTube Shorts features, GA4 Channels, TikTok Search Ads, and so much more! Keep reading to find out what we’re keeping On Our Radar for September 2023.
It’s been reported that Instagram is internally testing longer-form videos, including a 3-minute and 10-minute format. This would fall in line with TikTok, which recently expanded its video length to 10 minutes, but it also falls in the range of YouTube – which is traditionally videos in the 3-minute plus format.
So, is short form now going long form? I’m not 100% sure about that, but it is moving in that direction. This trend is very interesting, as online video viewing originally went from long-form with more of a television-like format to a quick clip format with options like Vine and Stories. Now, we are seeing mid-length and long-form videos grow.
The most logical reason for this, IMO, is that it will allow for more options related to monetization along with AI and machine learning. The longer you engage in specific content, the easier it is for the applications to send additional content with similar context your way – creating more time within their application. And, in terms of educational and instructional videos, learning is optimal in less than 20-minute bites, with the optimal time coming in the 3-6-minute range.
Let’s celebrate! YouTube has given us a massive opportunity to resurrect our sad YouTube Channels. We’ve been pushing the benefits of Shorts for a while now. Last week, an entirely new reason to use Shorts arrived. Get this, you can now link your Shorts to existing long-form content on your YouTube Channel. If you create a Short about a particular theme, you can now link a “related video” within the video settings. The link to the video appears on the Short itself so that users can quickly view the full video or linked video. All you have to do is make sure to add some directional language within the Short as you develop it to draw users into using this new tool.
Don’t forget, that you can also make Shorts from your existing long-form content on your Channel. Just hit the Remix button! Chances are, most DMOs have a whole slew of content that is begging to be rediscovered. Shorts, related video links, and editing our old content into Shorts is the ticket! Give it a try. Set a cadence. Start leveraging YouTube in a meaningful way. There’s really no excuse not to at this point.
Oh, and you need a little help from AI. You might want to check out tools like Klap. Inspired yet?
Check out this step-by-step here about leveraging the related videos on Shorts. Unfortunately, you need to add these links via desktop at this time. It’s definitely worth taking the time to do!
Introducing Session Default Channel Group
In any case, you’ve probably seen the “Session default channel group” under Traffic Acquisition. These Channels can be confusing, especially if you’re more used to “source / medium”. You probably expect to see “google / organic” and “facebook.com / referral” rather than “Organic Search” and “Organic Social”.
What are Channels?
Channels are simply a way of grouping those various “source / medium” items, making them easier to understand at a glance. For example, “Organic Search” is comprised of Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc..
What do each Session Default Channel Group mean?
Google has a great resource that gives you descriptions of each one, in alphabetical order. They’re pretty self-explanatory, although some are a bit more granular.
Why I Like Channels
They’re just such an easily way to get a broad overview of what’s happening with your website traffic. Instead of listing out all the different Facebook source / mediums (m.facebook.com, lm.facebook.com, etc.), you just see Organic Social is up 20%. So simple!
The Tricky Part: What You Need to Do
While Google Analytics automatically groups these sources into the default channels, it’s important that you follow a UTM structure that ensures each gets funneled into the proper category. I’ve already written about this subject, so be sure to check out my top tips. Google has definitions that tell you what UTM source and what UTM medium help to constitute each channel.
TikTok is now bringing ads into search queries. This is great news for advertisers, as your ads are seen in one more place and may be put in front of more relevant users! Your ad will be clearly labeled as sponsored so users know it is an ad, but it still is a cool new feature! I poked around ads manager to see how simple it was and if you are setting up a lead generation or a sales campaign, it really is as easy as just toggling on or off in the placements section of the ad group.
According to the article the toggle will be on when you enter that section as I can confirm mine was during my test, so if you don’t want to use this feature just be aware to turn it off. For businesses that are interested in trying a lead gen or product sales campaign this may help reach high intent users and boost campaign performance.
When we think of social media advertising, Reddit is not one of the platforms that comes to mind right away. The link-aggregate site has made moves in recent years to add more social-media elements to the platform, like profile avatars and posts. Simultaneously, Reddit has introduced ads to the site, but has yet to see the popularity among advertisers that other social media sites boast.
Last week, Reddit announced that it will increase the number of interest categories for advertisers from 66 to 156. According to the site, interest targeting is the most popular way for advertisers to reach desired users, so this expansion will have a large impact on the platform. But before you add the site to your advertising plan, it’s important to take note of the ways users on Reddit differ and stand out from those on other platforms.
According to an article from Gitnux, ¾ of Reddit’s audience identifies as male – one of the most extreme gender skews of any major social media site. Reddit also stands out in audience education levels, with 63% of users possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher. These are important statistics for any advertiser to keep in mind/compare to your own web statistics when deciding whether to include Reddit in ad spending.
While the new interest targeting will make it easier than ever to reach interested users, it’s important to think about how those users would engage with your content.
Meta’s Threads has officially launched a web version, furthering its competitive edge against its rival, X, formerly known as Twitter. By releasing a web version, Threads now hopes to attract professionals and media users who primarily engage with social media from their computers during work hours. Only time will tell if this update allows Threads to regain traction after dropping in engagement rates since its initial debut. Previously, Threads was only accessible as a mobile app on iOS and Android devices, and the Threads team plans to continue enhancing the web experience to eventually match its mobile counterparts in the coming weeks.
Elon Musk’s platform, X, continues to dominate Threads as a platform for news and commentary, its effectiveness has diminished due to disruptions since Musk’s involvement. According to Similarweb, Threads’ Android version experienced a drop in daily active users from 49.3 million to 10.3 million. During its launch, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the app’s need for stabilization before focusing on community growth. We will stay tuned and keep you updated on the progression of Threads as a social media platform as we await its potential introduction of ad placements.
Canva and ChatGPT have come together in a new plugin, available for ChatGPT Plus subscribers. As if each tool on their own wasn’t powerful enough, the new plugin makes the process of generating graphics even easier. To use the plug-in, all you’ll need to do is install it, and then prompt ChatGPT to create a graphic. The AI will then have access to Canva’s large built-in library of licensed stock images, design templates, fonts, and more, and use these resources to create a graphic based on your input.
ChatGPT plugins have been around for a while, relatively speaking, of course. KAYAK and Expedia both have plugins for ChatGPT that give the AI access to their search engines and essentially turn ChatGPT into a robo-travel agent! The Canva plugin is a much more significant step for ChatGPT though, as it’s the first plugin to enable the production of images and graphics. According to Decrypt, these graphics aren’t all that special, which is a bummer, but with the rate at which AI is improving across the board, I’m confident this feature will improve dramatically in the coming months.
Admittedly, I’m not a subscriber to ChatGPT Plus yet, but additions like this are starting to sell me on the $20/month subscription fee.
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 September 2023. Have any questions? Contact us! We’re here to help.
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