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Reels vs. TikTok 2021: The Social Showdown

In the world of social media, trends, features, and even platforms can seemingly become a phenomenon overnight. One night, you go to bed after scrolling your Instagram feed, and the next morning you wake up to a brand new, intriguing yet unfamiliar app called TikTok. It doesn't take long for this app to surpass all others as the most downloaded app of all time with over 1 billion active users across the world.  Flash forward to the present day where Instagram - and almost every other popular social platform, for that matter - are scrambling to keep up with this new app. So, what makes TikTok so attractive, and can Instagram compete with their look-a-like competitive feature, IG Reels? Well, let’s dive in!    Why is short-form video so popular all of the sudden?  Before we talk about Reels and TikTok, let’s first address why the short-form video nature of both platforms caught on so quickly. For a long while, social media marketers have strategized their content around the fact that the attention span of our followers is short- and we mean short. According to Facebook, marketers only have 0.25 seconds to capture a user’s attention before they keep scrolling.  With that in mind, snackable video content became the name of the game for brands and content creators and opened the door to a scrappier style of content - especially for brands who had typically seen video content as an expensive, high-production-value ordeal.  The lower production value required for a high-performing Reels or TikTok video was key for brands. That, paired with the fact that these platforms became widely popular during a pandemic when creative teams were developing content out of their own homes. Additionally, it opened up a new door for brands and content creators to turn out quick-hit, entertaining content.    What’s the difference between Reels and TikTok?  Now that we’ve covered why short-form video content is so popular across both Reels and TikTok, let’s discuss the key differences between these platforms that have affected how they’ve been adopted by social users.    Reels TikTok The Takeaway The User Experience To navigate to Reels, users must first open the Instagram app, where they will be shown their regular feed from accounts they follow. Then, they will select the Reels icon from the bottom menu to start viewing Reels in a TikTok-esque feed of content that’s been curated for the user by Instagram’s algorithm.  When a user opens the TikTok app, they are immediately shown a curated feed of TikToks the platform’s algorithm has chosen - AKA the “FYP” (for you page). The full screen and vertical swipe feed create a frictionless user experience that makes it as easy as possible to enjoy the app.  TikTok’s unique user experience puts short-form video content curated just for you at the center stage, creating a seamless and simple way to enjoy content. On the other hand, Reels is only a feature of Instagram among many others.  Music & Video Editing Tools Due to copyright concerns, Instagram business accounts only have access to Reels’ library of royalty-free tracks, while content creators have access to a larger library full of popular copyrighted music. While Reels does offer video editing tools, they can be tricky to navigate and their filters and effects are not very extensive.  Music and sound are the cornerstones of a TikTok video, and the app has nailed this feature with its extensive library of music and user-generated sounds available to content creators and brands alike. On top of that, TikTok’s video editing features are user-friendly, and they offer a wide variety of filters and video effects.  TikTok is the clear winner when it comes to music and video editing tools given their extensive music and sound library and editing capabilities.  Platform Purpose   Instagram, home of Reels, is a network-oriented app, where users are used to seeing content from people they are familiar with and have chosen to follow. However, in the Reels section of the app, it takes on a content-oriented approach, serving users content from people they don’t know.  At its core, TikTok is a content-oriented app. It normalized the experience of seeing content from people you don’t know in your feed based on your usage history and learned preference.  While both platforms' short-form video features are content-oriented, Instagram is known for being a network-oriented app. Instagram has offered a similar user experience through their “Explore” page since 2012, so this balance between content and network orientation is something they’ve been teetering for a while.  The Algorithm  Instagram has been less transparent about the Reels algorithm, however, it has provided a few best practices for success. For example, Instagram recommends that Reels content is entertaining, fun, and inspiring, uses the app’s creative editing tools, and leverages the music or sounds provided. Instagram has also shared that content that is visibly recycled from other apps (e.g. contains a TikTok watermark) will also be deprioritized by the algorithm.  Beyond all of the features listed above, TikTok’s arguably largest advantage is its algorithm. The platform’s parent company, ByteDance, has been very transparent about the large investment they made to design the app’s algorithm that picks up on users' personalized interests in record time, contributing to the effortless and enjoyable nature of consuming content on the app.  Overall, TikTok’s algorithm is the first of its kind and unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the social space, which ultimately contributes to its success. We don’t know as much about Instagram’s Reels algorithm, but we can assume it attempts to mimic the TikTok experience while staying true to the app and attempting to keep Reels content unique.     How Brands Can Be Successful on Reels and TikTok To be successful on Reels and TikTok, brand content shouldn’t feel like brand content. Brands need to get scrappy and creative to grab user’s attention and not stand out like a sore thumb among the style of content shared by individual creators. With that in mind, both Reels and TikTok require a unique content strategy within the brand’s larger social strategy. However, that inevitably requires extra time and effort. To decide which of these platforms to begin focusing your efforts on, ask yourself these two questions:  Which platform is your audience on currently?  Which one can you commit to doing consistently?  While there are many benefits of TikTok as discussed above in our comparison of the two platforms, many brands have already established themselves and have grown a following on Instagram, and therefore beginning to utilize Reels has a low barrier to entry. While cross-posting between the two platforms is an option we’ve seen numerous brands take, a carefully thought out strategy for each channel your brand has a presence on is more important than simply having content out there. When it comes to a brand’s social presence, quality is always preferred over quantity.  The social world is ever-evolving - and at the end of the day, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which platform is best - the answer is unique to your brand’s priorities and your team’s bandwidth to thoughtfully manage the channels on which your brand appears.  

5 Predictions for Digital in 2014

It's that time of year to reflect on 2013 and predict what's to come in 2014. As a full-service agency, AMP knows a lot about a lot of things. We asked the experts to share their predictions for 2014. Read their insights below. Content Marketing: Content Strategy We've known for years that content is king, but it looks like the landscape is shifting from a bunch of 'cowboys'? (bad poker reference) at the forefront of content development to a full house of brands saddling up to jump into the content marketing mix. Recent data from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketingprofs shows that 90% of B2C marketers are already using content marketing in some form with 72% producing more content than they did one year ago. The scary/exciting part of the story? Only 39% have a documented content strategy. As Content Marketing budgets continue to rise (see below chart), 2014 will be the year that content marketing strategies become core to a brand's overall marketing approach. Key to this evolution will be an increased focus on leveraging audience insights to identify relevant content themes, delivery channels and formats. Search: Content Creation  In 2014, search marketers will work even closer with content creators, video producers, and infographic designers in order to help brands grow their library of interesting, shareable content. Content will be focused on answering questions that consumers care about while helping brands gain additional visibility within search engine results. Search marketers will utilize measurement tools such as Google Analytics to measure: Site search: to see what searchers want to learn about when they're on the site Landing page visits: to see what types of content drive the most traffic Social shares: to see what types of content leads users to sharing on social media In addition, search marketers will be focused on creating tactical content sharing campaigns which utilize Social, PR outreach, and perhaps even Email, to expand the reach of new content. In 2014 brands will have to ask themselves ' what is the most exciting content for my industry? Display: Programmatic Buying Due to its cost efficiencies, targeting capabilities, and transparency, Programmatic spending is estimated to grow year over year to $4.66 billion in 2014 (38% growth over 2013) and up to $9 billion by 2017 according to an eMarketer study (eMarketer, Dec. 2013). Some challenges with programmatic spending in 2014 include: Continued education to advertisers and publishers Cross device targeting Cookie deletion and the affect on first and third party data points Inventory quality and viewability Social: Mobile. Visual. Content.  The three words of 2014. Mobile. Visual. Content. Social Media has evolved into an inherent part of the marketing mix. While most brands have adopted social in some form, the challenge in the coming year will be how brands can reach the right audience and make an impact. The answer lies in providing content that's accessible and contextually adds value to consumers lives. Quick-hitting ,highly-visual, mobile content will be what resonates with consumers and provides positive brand experiences. Measurement & Analytics: Integrating the Data Measurement will continue to move towards integrating different data sources, both offline and online. We have seen this with the two web analytics leaders, Google Analytics and Adobe Marketing Cloud, being no longer just limited to website behavior. Where ever there is a consumer touch point, these solutions will seek to integrate that data as marketers try to make sense of the digital ecosystem. Additionally, there has been an increasing push to acquire offline data to deliver a complete picture of product research and purchase cycle. For example, Google has stated that they will be moving users from the old ga.js Google Analytics code in favor of the new Universal Analytics code, which enables integration of offline data including point of sales data at the user level. This has big implications considering that over 62% of the top 10K sites on the web utilize Google Analytics in some form. All these tools will become more user friendly as analytics vendors make their products more accessible and less technical skill intensive. Tag management tools, which allow the capturing of data across touch points, are becoming less tech intensive and more user friendly - empowering marketers to edit tracking on the fly without the need to edit code. All these advances will allow analysts to spend less time gathering data and more time analyzing data. Keep checking back to our blog in 2014 to see our analysis of these predictions as they come to fruition. Blog Post Contributors include: Michelle Gilbert, Christina Wong, Andrew Ricker, Rachel Lawton and Matt Jacobs.   

What is Pheed? And Should You Care About It?

It seems like since they emerged, we've been vigilant to find the Facebook killer or the next Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube. While we have been introduced to countless promises of "the Instagram of video" the "Twitter of audio" or any other combination of "the ____ of ____," the truth is that many of these apps and platforms come and go and the Colors of the world far exceed the successes. That being said, let's get all excited over the next big thing before we realize that it doesn't have a business model, shall we? So what is the thing that everyone has been talking about? Pheed (of course it's spelled that way). And guess what; it has a business model, and a pretty interesting one at that. In a nutshell, Pheed creates A SUPER EASY way for users to share text, photos, videos, audio tracks, voice-notes and live broadcasts. Then it gives them the option to place all of that content behind a paywall ranging from $1.99 - $34.99 per view or per month. The application is free, and you don't have to charge for your content, but the thinking is that if you do charge a premium price, you will be forced to create premium content. That's slightly concerning because one thing that the Internet hates is paywalls and one thing that the Internet loves is creating way more awful content than "premium" content. Despite these two potential deal breakers, right now Pheed holds the #1 spot in the App Store's Social Networking category and is currently #17 on the Free Charts. And unlike the growth of Vine last month, Pheed's success doesn't appear to be from porn; at least we don't think so at the moment. In fact, the majority of its recent growth can be traced back to a few popular teens. What may be even more interesting to users is that in a world of encroaching privacy policies and debates over who owns the content posted on sites, Pheed makes it abundantly clear that all uploaded content "is owned by the user, Pheed retains no rights or ownership toward it." The app even gives you the options to copyright or watermark each of your posts. Those two very un-Facebook-like moves  should at the very least make Mark Zuckerberg and friends stop to think about the future of content sharing. Even if it's just for a second (which we all know is about a second longer than they actually will). So is it going to be the next Twitter or kill Facebook? Most likely not. However, our passion for creating and sharing content has never been hotter and any platform that looks great and allows people to do it easily has a chance. Fortunately for Pheed, it succeeds at both of those things. So what are others saying about Pheed? Here are some of the best recaps we've read: Huffington Post - "It's now the No. 1 free app in Apple's App Store under the Social Networking category" BostInno - "Once [college students] cope with the fact a group of teenagers beat them at making something 'cool,'? they'll likely jump on the Pheed bandwagon, too" Forbes - "its Twitter-with-a-business-model approach stands to seriously impact the social media game" So what do you think? Does Pheed stand a chance to make an impact on the social space? Or will a two-week media love fest followed by obscurity continue to be the norm with new social platforms?

Measuring Brand Esteem through Social Media, Insights Lab Episode 2

Hear the AMP Insights Lab perspective on social media metrics and measuring what matters. AMP Agency presents Videos by the Insights Lab- a think tank dedicated to uncovering, understanding and leveraging the best way to connect brands with consumers via the latest technology. To learn more about these metrics, download the Psychology of Social whitepaper at http://bit.ly/z0OQvX

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