With the world firmly catering to digital-first marketing, there's obviously been a massive demand for digital content creation. Apps like TikTok and Instagram are the driving platforms for sales and advertisements in 2022, but what content performs the best? Most people would immediately say that professionally shot content should be the goal when advertising on social platforms, but with the rise in popularity of TikTok, less may be more.
Lately, there has been a big push for apps like IG to move towards a video-first format to compete with social giant TikTok. Due to that shift to video-first posts, we're seeing a big shift in communications tactics, and the online climate in general. Gone are the days of needing to spend thousands on ad campaigns when some of the best content driving sales are coming from viral videos from the average app user, and influencer marketing. These content formats are homemade, authentic, and most of all - converting. In fact, 35% of TikTok users have purchased products seen on the app. Due to popularity and user willingness to purchase items they see on their FYP and Reels homepage, brands need to be willing to let go of the highly polished, big production product shoots and create homemade, authentic and imperfect content. We've moved away from the need for full-length commercials, so it's about time to get with the times.
Perfect content is dying, here are three signs that its days are numbered.
Gen-Z wants authenticity, not overhyped marketing communications.
Often when a brand begins its journey into the video-first space, they often feel pressured to have perfect content. However, online advertising is becoming more nuanced due to our always-online lifestyles; Gen-Z specifically is a great way to consider how to market a product. Especially knowing that 50% of the Gen-Z population has purchased a product simply because they saw it on TikTok.
Gen-Z is the first generation to grow up with the internet being readily available at their fingertips, and with that comes a wealth of educated young adults who expect more. In fact, most members of the generation are focused on quality and authenticity, not marketing hype.
Additionally, they've become attuned to what works and what doesn't when it comes to digital marketing. They are the first to speak up when an ad is out of touch or cringe. This is the difference between a brand hopping on a TikTok trend relevant to them with lightning speed, or a brand posting months-old memes as if they're still viral. With an estimated $300 billion in buying power, they have become one of the most coveted demographics to sell to. But how do you sell to a generation who rejects traditional advertising and turns up their nose to targeted marketing attempts?
The general consensus has become the mentality of if you can't beat them, join them.
Micro-influencer marketing is key to reaching the younger generations.
After years of high-production video content and commercial advertising, the market is oversaturated. People are tired of being outwardly sold to by faceless corporations. So, with that in mind how can companies still have a finger on the pulse of 2022 marketing? A big player in the game right now is the shift from celebrity endorsements to influencer marketing. But, what does influencer marketing have to do with perfect content?
Due to the parasocial relationship that they have with their favourite content creators, Gen-Z, for example, is much more likely to trust an endorsed product by them than they would a celebrity. A simple product placement or casual mention in a video from a favourite creator can increase a product's sales exponentially. However, in 2022 the name in the influencer game is micro. These are individuals who have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on social media. They're much more niche than your typical influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers, but have a well-established fanbase and a dedicated online speciality.
These plugs from fan-favourites are often casual, talking-head style videos usually shot in-app on a smartphone. Not in a studio, not with thousand-dollar budgets, just at home. Due to fast turnarounds for these types of sponsorships, it really is in the best interest of the brand to allow influencers to do their own thing instead of funnelling everything they've got into a big production. Particularly because of the casual tone which lends itself to word-of-mouth marketing, like how 78% of people rave about their favourite recent experiences to people they know at least once per week.
Unfiltered content is back in a big way.
In 2020, 81% of surveyed people using Instagram admitted that they refuse to post a picture without touching it up. Throughout the pandemic years, we've seen a big shift towards totally unpolished, in-the-moment formats. If you've been on Instagram at all lately, you've likely seen this trend unfolding in real-time with users posting photo dump carousels that feature a seemingly casual, unrelated collection of images throughout the month. That's right, a whole month.
It isn't solely an Instagram trend, either. Photo dumps have become popular on TikTok whether with a trending format or just images to the beat of the creator's favourite song. With unedited and timely image-capturing apps like BeReal gaining 28 million downloads in 2022 alone, there is a definite emphasis on being unfiltered online.
With no end to the wave of imperfect content in sight, there needs to be a massive departure from high-production content for brands hoping to stay relevant on social media. When put against apps where people are becoming more and more unfiltered, it makes those overly produced advertisements stick out like a sore thumb.
In this new age of digital content, the key message is authenticity. People are moving away from wanting highly idealized, sometimes unrecognizable, versions of themselves and into being unedited. The era of social media notoriety being tied to expensive cameras and curated selfies is over, leaving room for folks to finally be themselves online. It's important to ride the wave rather than try to swim against it. Connecting with audiences in a genuine way will lead to more trust, a sense of community, and better sales. People have the entire world on their phones, they aren't ignorant of how the divide between ads and marketing is becoming more out of place in our growing social media spaces. If your brand needs an extra boost in managing your social footprint, reach out to us and we'll get you back to where you want to be.
On the hunt for a social media partner? Super Duper Studios is a digital branding agency in Toronto. We specialize in game-changing visual identity, websites that make sense, and double-tap worthy social media content. Nice to meet ya! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat.
Community Manager at Super Duper Studios.