Will Short-Form Video Take a Back Seat in 2024?

Challenges advertising in private-sharing channels prompt platforms to return to long-form videos.

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No-Fluff Marketing Industry News & Insights

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VIDEO • Is Short-Form Video On Its Way… Out?!

Didn’t think I’d see this coming, but one respected industry watcher says the social media platforms’ obsession over short videos will cool down a bit next year.

eMarketer says the sites may talk a big game, but they’re still trying to figure it all out.

Reports hint that Meta is struggling to convince advertisers that Reels can drive performance. In Q3 earnings, Meta suggested it will pivot its strategy from Reels to video more holistically.

Meanwhile, Alphabet’s Q3 earnings implied that YouTube Shorts had trouble growing beyond the 2 billion users it announced in Q2.

Even TikTok is toying with 15-minute videos. And by ending its Creator Fund, the app will pay creators only for videos longer than 60 seconds—another sign of short-video monetization problems.

eMarketer

So what will be on the upswing?

The continued shift to closed circle sharing — specifically group chats.

Videos are still getting shared, but increasingly via DMs. That’s a problem for advertisers, since there’s not really a video stream to interrupt — videos shared privately are usually just watched on their own.

Where do you put an ad? Before they watch? No, they’d hate that. After? No, they’d just turn it off.

eMarketer suggests this might be why Meta is prioritizing its business messaging tools in WhatsApp and its other messaging apps.

In the end, they think longer form videos could get more attention next year than short-form.

Platforms, advertisers, and creators would all benefit: Longer videos mean greater time spent, more ad space, and fewer excuses not to share ad revenues.

But this isn’t the first time the platforms have tried.

TikTok’s attempt at 10-minute videos was deprioritized, and IGTV and Facebook Watch were abandoned.

Plus, the platforms must contend with the reality that consumers still love short videos, many short-form creators will have a learning curve in a pivot to longer-form content, and viewers are already starting to max out on social video time.

eMarketer

They have a report called Top Trends to Watch in 2024 if you’d like more information.

TRIVIA • What unexpected trend emerged on TikTok in 2023, involving everyday objects and mundane tasks?

Click to vote and see the answer!

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SOCIAL MEDIA • Threads + Mastodon, Together

There are a bunch of apps vying to fill the hole left by Twitter.

And soon, the two most popular will be connected and interoperable.

Mastodon uses a protocol called ActivityPub that lets independent servers share content. For instance, there is an independent version of Instagram called Pixelfed, and both Pixelfed and Mastodon use ActivityPub. That means you can follow someone’s Pixelfed even if you didn’t have an account there. You’d follow them and see it in your Mastodon account.

To translate, imagine if you could get YouTube Shorts from your favourite YouTuber while scrolling through your TikTok feed. Or subscribe to a Reddit post’s comments and get updates in your Messenger app of choice.

That’s ActivityPub. A bunch of platforms used by marketers already support it — most notably, Wordpress, which powers most of the web sites on the planet.

And now, Threads will hook itself up to the growing protocol as well. This is something Meta announced when they launched Threads, but — I’ll be honest — many people expected this to be something they’d just drop.

But today, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said they’re already testing it.

Here’s how it would work.

If your brand has a Mastodon account, people on Threads will be able to see your content, follow your account, engage with your posts, and see your profile.

Which should you choose?

Honestly, if you’re still on the fence about where to start a post-Twitter personal account, I think Mastodon is the place. There are no ads, you get a true chronological feed without any of that “Suggested posts” nonsense, there are lots of different apps you could use, and it has an API that’s supported by some third-party platforms like Buffer.

Most importantly, you have account portability. On Meta’s platforms, if an AI enforcement bot bans your account, well you’re probably never getting it back. On Mastodon, you can pick up your account and move — with all your followers — to another account.

But regardless of where you choose, having the two platforms become interoperable is a win-win for everyone.

POLL • Does your brand have an account on any of these platforms?

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INSTAGRAM • Spam Tools, Video Notes, & Going Live

It’s already been a busy week at Instagram with three updates to report today:

Spam Fighting

First, they’re rolling out new tools to catch and stop spam.

They say they’re getting better at detecting what’s spammy and the automated filters in your brand’s Instagram account will become a bit more accurate.

They’ll also be more granular, introducing a new “Potential Spam” bucket you could check in on from time to time.

Video Notes

Second, they’re updating their Notes feature to let you post videos.

Notes are tiny little status updates you can put on your profile photo. Until now, it’s only been text or emoji, but now you can post a two-second looping video. Of course, it’s not meant to be a video people would watch that would give them any info about your brand — think of it more like an easier way to put an animated GIF in. Plus, you can’t upload a video — you have to use your phone’s front-facing camera.

Definitely more a user feature than a marketer feature, though I’m sure the clever among you will find a way to use this.

Live Streaming

And third, they’ve made a big update to livestreaming. You can now use popular third-party tools like OBS or Streamlabs to send a live feed to your Instagram channel.

If your account can go live, you’ll find a special code called a Key in your settings; you give that key to the third-party app, and then you can use it to broadcast live on your Instagram account.

This lets you add things like text boxes, images, overlays, videos, and all sorts of extra items to make it much more of a polished broadcast.

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CRIME • Former Meta Executive Embezzled Millions

A former Meta executive this week pled guilty to embezzling millions from the company.

Barbara Furlow-Smiles worked there from 2017 to 2021.

Furlow-Smiles diverted more than $4 million from Facebook by linking payment apps to her Facebook credit card and paying out charges to fake vendors…

She'd submit the charges as false expense reports, then have the "vendors" give her the money in cash or by transferring funds to her husband's account.

[Prosecutors said:] "Associates paid cash kickbacks in person and by Federal Express or mail, sometimes wrapping the cash in other items, such as T-shirts.”

Among those part of the scheme: friends, former colleagues from a previous job, a hairstylist, and even babysitters.

She is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

X • The Fail Whale Returns

If you’re still posting on X and have some links to your store or web site or something, you may have noticed those links weren’t working earlier today.

Any time users tapped a link, they got a page that read: I scream. You scream. We all scream... for us to fix this page.”

Which they did after about an hour.

TechCrunch had some context about this:

If this sounds familiar, it’s because something similar happened in March, taking down links and images across timelines for around an hour.

Twitter blamed that on an “internal change that had some unintended consequences” before Platformer reported the bug occurred because of a mistake by the site’s single remaining site reliability engineer, who was operating solo after Elon Musk instituted massive layoffs.

TechCrunch

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AI • Guys, Uh, Is ChatGPT Depressed?

If you’ve been using ChatGPT for some of your marketing tasks, you may have noticed it’s been getting — I don’t know… lazier? More uptight?

(We noticed it here. For a while we had it give us some ideas for titles for our newsletter issues, and then one day it just refused to do it. Until we typed in “try again,” and then it was fine.)

At some point late last month, say some users, ChatGPT 4 starting refusing to do tasks, or outputting oddly linked or simplified results.

So what’s causing this?

Some people believe the AI has some kind of seasonal affective disorder — a low-grade depression brought on by the winter months.

How would an AI get depressed? Remember, all these bots are trained on millions of documents and posts from around the web. Maybe somehow, in its vast reading, it’s learned that people tend to slow down this time of year. Maybe it’s the dark days. Maybe it’s close to the holidays and people are taking time off.

But is it possible that ChatGPT has gotten to know us humans so well, that it is emulating us right down to our moods?

After all, some people have tested very human-like inputs with it and found that GPT responds.

One guy tested telling GPT that it would get a tip if it did well, and he discovered that GPT4 did indeed give longer responses when it thought it was going to get a gratuity.

One fellow shared his favourite prompt on social media. It reads: “You are very capable…. Many people will die if this is not done well. You really can do this and are awesome. Take a deep breathe [sic] and think this through. My career depends on it.”

Where’s that link for the waiting list to colonize another planet again?

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