I have been working on Social media advertising for almost the last 10 years and in that time I've seen new platforms be born, grow, evolve and become quite unique from their competition. They all felt quite different and unique and above all, they had purpose on their own. These platforms kept innovating and added distinct features in order to make their solutiuon the best it could. Audiences were drawn to certain platforms, because there was something unique about them.
What do we have today instead? A hodgepodge of new and copied features everywhere. Innovation killed social media!
This is just an example of Tiktok, Instagram reels and Youtube shorts. Feel any difference?
If you didn't know what the interface looked like, could you tell which video belongs to which platform? Is there a point in trying to distinguish these platforms to begin with? There seems to be a push toward uniformity in the way we use social media and the way we consume content.
I believe this is happening because the market is dominated by huge corporations who above all, want to monopolize the market they operate in. The irony lies in the fact that these mega corporations, happen to be American.
Innovation took us here
It seems like a long time ago, but the "Story" format was not always with us. It was Snapchat who created this solution and added it to their platform, making it unique. However, this format was only popularised after Facebook "borrowed" it. By adding it to Instagram (and later everywhere) they immediately took a strenght from their competition and turned it into an asset for them. Companies nowadays seem to just want to go for the lowest hanging fruit, rather than coming up with genuine ways of getting better.
The “tiktokification” of every social media platform is just the latest stage in this process towards uniformity and the biggest problem it carries is that it does not incentivise innovation, especially among the smaller players. Why would I put the effort and resources into creating something new if Facebook, Google or Apple are going to copy it rendering my original idea useless?
The other main issue here is precisely how uniform and "souless" everything becomes for a user. If one creator is making the same content for each platform, then we have to ask ourselves, do we need three different ones? Would we not be better off with just one?
As marketers, we keep telling our customers that social media plays a part in the customer’s journey. Each platform should have its own strengths and should be used for a specific purpose. However, the current state of things seems to have the opposite effect, as advertisers are not encouraged to create diverse content, but rather to simply make more.
Tiktok has taken the world by surprise and became the market's disruptor. Social media was suffering from stagnation and a major change was definetely a good thing, especially for users. However, when that disruption gets absorbed and everyone does the same thing, are we not directed to the a new stagnation point?
We should be wary of corporations who above all aim at keeping control on the market they operate in. Companies so wealthy that would rather copy what works in order to retain the user base at all cost.
We live in the illusion of having so much to choose from, but the reality is do you really? The algorithms keep showing us the same things over and over and they do so regardless of which platform we're in. Do we really have that much of a choice?
Watch the episode about this subject here!