What Social Media Platforms Unveiled at IAB NewFronts

Edition #61 - TikTok, Meta, YouTube, and Snapchat announce new ad solutions

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) NewFronts event wrapped up a few days ago. The annual event brings together brands, agencies, media buyers, and technology providers to learn about and present the latest media buying solutions. As has been the case for the past several years, social media platforms were a focal point for sharing the latest and greatest ways they are helping brands and advertisers reach audiences across their platforms.

Here's a breakdown of what some of the platforms announced, what they mean, and why they matter:

TikTok

Source: TikTok

TikTok is expanding its contextual advertising solution, TikTok Pulse, which allows brands to place ads alongside top creator content. With the introduction of Pulse Premiere, a new version of this solution, brands can now serve ads alongside content from publishers such as BuzzFeed, Condé Nast, Dotdash Meredith, NBCUniversal, Vox Media, WWE, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and others. Similar to creators, publishers will receive a 50% split of the ad revenue.

TikTok is also adding new offerings for the Pulse program with Pulse Seasonal Lineups. Brands can now run ads next to trending videos around specific tentpole moments such as Thanksgiving and holiday shopping.

What it means and why it matters:

This presents brands with a fresh opportunity to engage with audiences through brand-safe and premium content created by publishers. This shift reflects the growing trend of social media platforms focusing their attention on publishers, following an increased emphasis on building relationships with creators.

Platforms like TikTok are now offering monetary incentives, such as guaranteed payments and revenue-sharing deals, to encourage publishers to invest in their platform, as demonstrated by Pulse Premiere. In the past two years, platforms have prioritized catering to creators, but now they appear to be prioritizing both creators and publishers, recognizing their significance to long-term success and the broader ecosystem.

Meta

Source: Meta

Meta announced the integration of augmented reality into Reels Ads and Facebook Stories, enabling brands to create more engaging ads using AR tools. Reels ads are also getting a series of interactive features, such as a larger call-to-action button that includes an ad thumbnail, headline, and other relevant information like the URL it leads to. Additionally, users can pause video ads and preview where the URL will take them. Multi-destination product ads, featuring several product images in a carousel that can be swiped through while the Reel plays, are also being added.

What it means and why it matters:

Meta's latest updates demonstrate its commitment to enhancing its advertising solutions by refining and optimizing them. By offering AR in more experiences, it provides brands with a more effective way of reaching Gen Z, who respond well to these types of tools. The more noticeable call-to-action buttons and link previews are expected to encourage viewers to take action and click through, resulting in higher click-through rates for advertisers.

Meta also shared that it will have more product updates and announcements around AI in the coming weeks to help brands build better connections with people and grow their businesses.

YouTube

Source: IAB

YouTube focused mostly on Shorts, which has been difficult to monetize. To address this, YouTube is expanding Shorts into its Video Reach campaigns, which use Google AI to serve viewers the best combination of ads and formats that optimize towards an advertiser's desired performance. Additionally, through YouTube Selects, brands have the option to run ads alongside the most popular and relevant Shorts content. YouTube also announced First Position on Shorts, which gives brands the ability to be the first ad a viewer sees when they open up Shorts.

What it means and why it matters:

These provide brands with the flexibility to leverage ads across both their short-form and long-form video formats to drive performance, with the option to leverage premiere placements like First Position on Shorts. With $50 billion daily views across Shorts, advertisers are expected to start experimenting more with placements in its growing short-form video feed. This, in turn, will help YouTube lessen the blow that short-form videos have had on its ad revenue business.

In its latest earnings report, it earned $6.6 billion in ad revenue, a 2.6% drop year over year, but more concerning, the third quarter in a row where ad revenue decreased. Increasing its ad revenue isn't just a benefit for the company, but will also help creators, especially those who are creating Shorts. A stronger ad revenue means better payouts through the YouTube Partner Program, which has been available for Shorts creators for the last few months.

Snapchat

Source: Snapchat

Snapchat announced several major updates just weeks ago at the Snap Partner Summit and had even bigger announcements at IAB NewFronts.

It is expanding its line of takeover ads with First Story. Brands can reserve the first ad that Snapchatters see in Friend Stories and potentially reach 50 million people daily. Ads are also coming to Spotlight, its TikTok competitor. Brands will be able to serve ads in the feed and reach the 350 million people consuming content in its short-form video feed.

Snapchat became the first social platform to integrate ChatGPT and shared that it is starting to test relevant sponsored links in MyAI, its chatbot. For example, a user can ask the bot what to eat, and it may respond with a sponsored link from a food delivery app or local restaurant.

Lastly, Snapchat has revealed Snap Star Collab Studio, an end-to-end solution for brands to discover and partner with creators for sponsored Stories and content assets for paid media, with help from a few different digital agencies.

What it means and why it matters:

After proving that it has a strong ecosystem of creators at its summit, Snapchat's latest updates look to help advertisers capitalize on the engagement happening across the app by creators, their fans, and everyday users. The suite of ads will make it even more attractive to brands who want to allocate more dollars to Snapchat to reach a younger audience but saw limitations.

The Snap Star Collab Studio will be something to watch out for as creator-brand collaborations on Snapchat are currently rare compared to its competitors. However, with more ways for creators and brands to come together, there is a chance that there will be an uptick in creator marketing on the app, which is beneficial for creators, brands, and Snapchat itself, as it will likely see an increase in ad revenue as advertisers try to amplify that organic content to a larger audience.

The Big Themes

At last year's IAB NewFronts event, contextual advertising was a major focus. The emphasis was on helping advertisers place their ads in experiences where users spent the most time on the app. This year's theme is similar, but it focuses on ads across short-form video experiences, which have become a core feature across most social media platforms.

YouTube, Meta, and Snapchat have a stronger foundation for creating and consuming short-form videos. As a result, they are more comfortable promoting the value of these ad formats, which could potentially take dollars away from TikTok in the future.

As expected, AI played a notable role in the conversation this year. However, I anticipate AI will dominate next year's event, especially for social media platforms. By then, each platform will likely have more generative AI features, which will enable them to expand their advertising solutions to take advantage of one of the most exciting technological developments currently happening.

Overall, advertisers have a wide range of ad solutions that they can use to reach their audiences across digital experiences. This includes inserting ads into short-form video feeds, aligning themselves with trending content from creators and publishers, being the first thing users see when they go to consume short-form videos, and finding creators to pitch their products and services through sponsored content.

For advertisers to effectively learn which of these ad formats would be the best, they should test quickly, learn faster, and iterate the fastest.

Upcoming Event: Influencer Marketing Show New York City (June 20-21, 2023)

The first wave of speakers and sessions for Hello Partner's Influencer Marketing Show conference (June 20-21, 2023) in New York has been announced. I'm excited to share that Mavrck CEO, Lyle Stevens, and I will be speaking during sessions at the event. Details about our respective sessions are provided below, but you can check out the full agenda and register here. If you plan on attending, let me know!

Closing the Creative Gap for Optimal Influencer Marketing Success

Panelists: Jim Tobin, CEO at Ignite Social Media, Johanna Voss, CEO, Founder & Talent Manager at Johnna b. voss Agency, Jason Falls, EVP of Marketing at CIPIO.ai, and Lindsey Gamble, Associate Director of Influencer Innovation at Mavrck

June 20, 2023 | 4:20 PM EST | Influencity Stage

Creator First: Unlocking the Power of Authentic Storytelling to Drive Impact and ROI

Presenting: Lyle Stevens, CEO and Co-Founder at Mavrck

June 21, 2023 | 1:40 PM | Influencity Stage

What I’m Reading

  • How influencer marketing is embracing affiliate marketing tactics* (Ad Age)

  • Why Gen Z content creators were a key part of the NFL Draft (Digiday)

  • The Future of Creator Commerce Report* (Throne)

  • American Influencer Council Creator Economy Trend Report (AIC)

  • TikTok's Secret UGC Program Pays Creators Thousands (ICYMI)

*Includes quotes from me