The purpose of a debate is fundamentally to create a dialogue about the Pro’s and Con’s of an incentive, product or opinion which are then discussed in an open and attentive way. Helpfully, a lot of these key debate attributes align with the core values that The Kite Factory’s culture revolve around, including Thinking Freely, Staying Smart and Aiming Higher.
Our final two fundamentals; Winning Together and Getting Involved circle around teamwork – something a group debate would also nicely encompass. It made sense therefore (in our minds at-least) to engage in a debate during this month’s Digital Department meeting. The Topic: “What will be the most important digital marketing platform in 2 years?’ time”.
Four teams formed, each backing a different platform for discussion, with very different approaches, all to be judged by our Head of Search, Niki Grant. Following the debate, we’ve asked each team to write up their argument – see if you can guess the winner!
Team 1 kept it short and sweet as to why Meta (previously Facebook) will continue to reign supreme:
- Since 2018 Meta Platforms revenues have doubled
- Meta is a major force in digital advertising currently and is expecting a 7% growth in revenue for 2022
- The number of users for Meta’s social networking apps continues to rise. The monthly active users of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other apps increased 9%, to 3.59 billion, in the quarter from a year earlier
- Facebook is the most used social platform worldwide, it’s also the one with the highest potential ad reach
Beyond what we already know, exciting Investments in new products keep Meta innovative and ahead of any competition:
- Meta has been investing billions on its Metaverse division tasked with creating AR and VR hardware, software, and content
- According to theverge.com “Zuckerberg is spending billions a year on building devices and software for the metaverse, a concept he thinks will eventually be as big as the mobile internet.”
And to call out the platform’s closest in competition, there is simply no comparison when you look at the figures:
- TikTok is projected to reach $11.6 billion in advertising revenue in 2022, better than Snapchat and Twitter combined. However, Meta’s advertising revenue across all its platforms was $115 billion in 2021
Team 2 made the case for Amazon, with arguments backed up with data, data and more data:
When thinking of marketing platforms, Amazon doesn’t immediately spring to mind, mainly because Amazon is best known for being the world’s biggest online retailer. But it’s rapid accession from humble garage ‘start-up’ to becoming global a household name makes the case for how it is primed (pardon the pun) to make a similarly quick ascent to leading marketing powerhouse.
In 2021, Amazon’s total revenue was $469.8bn and in January 2022 alone, Amazon saw 2.7bn web visits worldwide – a formidable combination of both capital and data. Additionally, there are currently over 200m Prime subscribers worldwide contributing to Amazon’s vast logged in data reserves which only continues to grow. 1st party data is King, especially with a cookieless world on the horizon, and with all this online and real-world data, Amazon Marketing Services allows us as agencies and advertisers to collect and leverage it all, in numerous different ways.
Like consumer numbers, Amazon itself continually grows and adapts with consumer habits. Amazon has multiple arms to the overall business, well beyond just being an online retailer. They are now tapping into all aspects of daily life and reaching consumers at multiple touchpoints, that work as two-way streets to deliver both relevant and targeted ad content in engaging and novel environments, but also collect information about the interacting user. Just some of the touchpoints outside of Amazon’s owned and operated site include, Amazon Prime, Fire TV, Audible, Amazon Music, Fire Tabs and Kindles, Alexa and Echoes, Amazon Fresh and Delivery, Amazon Live (curated shops), and Twitch.
Twitch is a particularly interesting aspect, and sees an average of 31 million daily visitors, who collectively watched 1.3 trillion minutes of streams in 2021. 75% of Twitch users are aged between 16-35, so despite gaming and streaming’s perception of being a niche industry, it solidly represents the next generation of consumers, that brands aim to nurture, begin to build awareness and favourability amongst and develop into loyal customers to sustain long term business growth.
Global sport is another market in which Amazon is stepping into. As a result of their considerable capital, they have won the rights to broadcast several rounds of football and NFL fixtures, which affords even more opportunities for brands to deliver high impact TV ads to millions of users, as well as incremental users that current broadcast giants simply can’t reach. In May 2021, 27% of Premier League fans used BT Sport, 30% used Sky Sports, but 38% used Prime.
Connected TV and the ability to buy ad space programmatically is a huge opportunity in the world of ad tech. With Prime TV and all its 1st party data, Amazon have the growth potential to dominate the space. From standard pre-roll and mid-roll ads right through to Programmatic Product Placement in big budget films (think James Bond’s Heineken beer being replaced in real time with Carlsberg or Corona depending on the user), Amazon have the capacity to dictate how the channel is used for brands in the coming years.
At TKF, we have self-serve access to Amazon’s Demand Side Platform, which allows us to analyse, build and target audiences through programmatic technologies to deliver relevant ads efficiently and at scale on behalf of our clients. It is a hugely powerful platform and as mentioned above, with cookieless next year, the fact that Amazon is almost akin to Google in terms of 1st party data collection, it stands the once small bookshop in great stead to change the way we plan, target, buy and deliver media.
#3 THERE ISN’T ONE
Team 3 made the case for why there won’t be just one most important digital marketing platform (this received a LOT of objections from the other teams, they know what they did here!):
Whether you’re planning your media or your next social event, the same mantra should be applied – the more the merrier. With constant changes to consumer habits, platform user demographics and updates to policy and tech, how could you confidently suggest a single channel to be the most important within digital marketing?
Back in 2005, there were three main digital channels dominating the online world: Myspace, YouTube, and Reddit. Whilst two of these stood the test of time, by 2010 Facebook had already grown to become the most popular platform, as well as Twitter and Instagram entering the space, combining to eclipse the likes of Myspace. As part of this 5-year shift, people began using a variety of channels to consume media, meaning a multi-channel approach became crucial to consistently reach a desired audience.
Fast forward to 2022 and there are more competitors in the space than ever before. By focussing on just one of these platforms, marketers will not only be missing out on a crucial section of the funnel but will also fail to effectively engage users across different demographic segments. TikTok with its growing user-base of 1 billion+ is well suited to younger audiences, with 10–19-year-olds making up over 25% of their users. Pinterest on the other hand has a strong affinity with 50–65-year-olds, who make up 38% of their user base. To deliver results for clients, it is imperative for marketers to understand these links between each platform and their users, and to employ the right mix to reach their goals.
Whether you’re a brand looking to deliver sales or build a deeper connection to your audience, look no further than a multi-channel approach to your media planning. In this Marketing Week case study, Snickers and Kerrang found that multi-channel advertising produced a significantly greater cut through with their target audience. In response to the statement “Snickers supports new music talent”, audiences who had consumed ads from three or more platforms agreed 84% of the time, compared to the 68% who had only been targeted on a single channel.
As the current digital landscape offers more channels than ever before, don’t obsess over TikTok, and don’t write off Snap just yet. Gaining an understanding of each channel, who their users are and remaining open to testing new entrants will leave you well equipped for the journey ahead.
And last but not least, team 4 pioneered for the newest kid on the block, TikTok:
Whilst Facebook/Meta is arguably the most important digital marketing platform currently, this won’t last. We believe that TikTok will be the most important digital marketing platform in two years’ time for the following reasons:
- Facebook has been a volatile platform recently, with people progressively losing trust in it. The platform is on a downward trajectory, with fewer users signing up and fewer daily users. Younger people barely use Facebook compared to older demographics so in two years’ time, our target audience will be even more limited, unlike TikTok which appeals to all ages.
Now onto the tracking and targeting issues! iOS is making it harder for advertisers to track and optimise efficiently and people are opting out of tracking. Targeting capabilities have been reduced for more generic terms, meaning advertisers are pushed to target much more broadly. Facebook used to be considered a platform with the capability to target niche and granular audiences which now isn’t the case, as it is with TikTok.
- TikTok is the fastest growing platform.
This is no surprise as we’re all guilty of spending hours scrolling due to its addictive nature in delivering content specifically relevant for YOU, including advertisements. The average daily minutes spent on TikTok is 80+ and in 2021 users spent nearly 20 hours a month showing its magnitude, although slightly scary!
Unlike Facebook, TikTok appeals to all demographics with the 35-54 year old audience the highest growing. They’ve also captivated 18-25 year olds where Facebook are seeing their biggest declines, who spend as much time on TikTok as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp combined, highlighting how pivotal the platform is to digital marketers due to a wide targeting pool. TikTok landed its billionth user in 2021, only 4 years after its launch, which is half the time it took Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. It’s forecasted to catch up with YouTube in annual ad revenue of $23.6bn in 2024, despite it launching 12 years later!
- TikTok differentiates itself from social platforms as it’s an entertainment platform. TikTok creators are making content tailored to their audiences’ interests. As a result, engagement rates are incomparable to other platforms, with influencers achieving impressive average engagement rates of 17.96% compared to 3.86% on Instagram, and 1.63% on YouTube. Consequently, marketers can target more efficiently to a more engaged audience (children between the ages of 4-15 are spending an average of 75 minutes a day on the app) leading to higher click through and conversion rates on TikTok in the future.
- TikTok is cost-efficient vs Facebook where CPMs are much higher. Across most of our clients, we are seeing CPMs below the £5 mark and in some cases even closer to the £1.50 mark. This means that as advertisers we can do a lot more with the money for our clients, compared to platforms such as Facebook with CPMs closer to £10 and sometimes exceeding £15. This makes TikTok great for brand awareness, although we’ve also seen CPMs below the £4 mark for conversion campaigns.
- TikTok is built for a cookie-less world. TikTok can use on platform engagement with videos and creators to inform targeting whereas Facebook success is extremely reliant on interest targeting and lookalikes which will be significantly impacted by the phasing out of third-party cookies.
So, there you have it. While all the teams put across cohesive, well researched, and entertaining proposals, Niki decided it was TikTok who edged it to win with the triple threat of Cookie-less builds, cheap costs, and consistent growth in popularity. Did you guess the winner as you read the arguments? Do you agree? Watch this space – as the winning team will be chatting about their opinion more in our upcoming “Unmuddled” Podcast.