Vanity Metrics #7

Must-not see (IG)TV, get ready for a lot more Tik Tok ads, and Selfies might be in decline.

I wasn’t sure there’d be time/content enough for a newsletter this week, but here we are! Thanks again to all for taking the time to read. Short and sweet this week, let’s get to it.

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The Big Stuff

Narrator: it is not. Image:

IGTV received a downgrade this week.

The IGTV icon is gone from the newsfeed. This is right after it began pushing pop-up notifications to encourage use. It looks like IG is simply reading the writing on the wall, and cleaning up the front end of its main app.

Total fail vs Tik Tok. Less than 1% of IG users downloaded IGTV’s standalone app…

Important note: this affects the standalone IGTV app, not IGTV itself, which lives on in a second screen within the IG app. IGTV isn’t going away, but I wouldn’t be surprised if testing an integrated newsfeed isn’t far off. Facebook has been spotted testing a horizontal newsfeed in the past, and Zuckerberg has stated he sees the newsfeed moving to a Stories-like format as inevitable.

A lot more ads are coming to Tik Tok.

  • Tik Tok has emerged as the world’s most valuable startup. It’s dwarfing all other social platforms in the last two years, sitting at 400 million daily users. Its staggering growth has even captured the attention of Apple’s Tim Cook and the adoration of Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel. Interesting to note, as part of Tik Tok’s global growth plan, it spent huge amounts advertising on rival networks, including Instagram and Facebook (who famously passed on buying Tik Tok predecessor company, then snatched up by ByteDance).

  • To that end, self-serve ads are now mostly open on the platform and there are already early reports on performance for early adopters. It’s working for many brands globally (though no confirmation on multiple agency accounts) but some key metrics and targeting details are still absent (this was a common complaint around the launch of ads on Instagram and Snapchat). Ads with popular hashtags and recognizable Tik Tok influencers seem to perform best (platform appropriate content)…

The Small Stuff

  • The fascinating story of the unintended consequences of social media from its first baby steps: meet the Stanford class of 2007 that used psychology to create the formula that drove modern phone addiction. It wasn’t on purpose.

  • A recent US study shows that selfie filters may be moving past their time in the sun. Selfie portraits with no social cues: professional indication, luxury goods, vacation destinations, seem to be performing worse than those with context. Additionally, those selfie portraits with face filters, like the well-worn dog faces or floral crowns, performed even worse. The authors urged that much more research is needed, and couldn’t confirm it’s a reaction to negative self-image reinforcement or simply filter fatigue.

  • Spotify is testing stories for social media influencers on the platform. The stories will accompany public playlists and will feature videos and song previews. Given Spotify already has music integration to IG Stories (not fully live in Canada yet), expect to see a future option to share directly to your Stories on other platforms.

  • Platforms continue to integrate features content creators have frequently turned to 3rd party software for, and here’s another: Instagram is unveiling an option to allow easy resharing of mentions from other stories into your own. A potential time-saver for brands that focus on UGC, the tool can be found in the “Create” tab.

  • Pinterest continues to be the dark-horse of social, surpassing Snapchat as the 3rd largest (userbase) US app in 2019. Is Pinterest part of your platform mix?

Pinterest’s users are more evenly represented across all age groups as a percentage of the general population, while Snapchat’s are much more skewed in the younger age groups.

Bonus for your phonus

Very apropos, here’s a great episode from the Geekout with Matt Navarra archives featuring an interview with Pinterest’s Colleen Stauffer, looking at the “often misunderstood platform, how it can help digital marketers and social media managers, and she shares her views on the future of digital marketing.” Check it out!

See you next week! As always, if you liked what you read, please share it with someone you think might too.


Ryan LaFlamme has worked in social media marketing and advertising for longer than the job had a title. He formed the independent social consultancy Hub and Spoke in 2016, and can be found hanging out on Twitter @ryanlaf Now accepting new clients and speaking engagements.