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Six social media players to watch in 2023

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Latest News, Marketing

Ever heard of Mastodon or Weare8? These are just two of the social media platforms you need to pay attention to in 2023. 

Okay, TikTok might still be the most important social network for marketing. But the social media landscape is changing fast. The takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk and the rise of socially conscious consumers has led to a new breed of social media platforms. And they’re growing fast. 

So which social media platforms should marketers pay attention to in 2023?

Here are our top picks:

  1. Twitch

Twitch is a video streaming platform where users stream live content to their audiences and interact in real time. 

Gaming enthusiasts were the first audience of Twitch when it launched in 2011. Players can record themselves playing games, like Fortnite and Minecraft, while other users watch and comment. 

While games still dominate the platform, streamers now create all kinds of content, from cooking shows to makeup tutorials and interactive live performances. 

How brands can use Twitch

Brands can engage with audiences through Q&As, behind-the-scenes content, and more. Twitch is especially useful if marketers are looking to leverage influencer marketing because influencers can endorse brands to their loyal following. 

Brands can also choose from a variety of ad placements on Twitch, including homepage carousels and live broadcast integrations. Sponsoring streamers is also an option. 

Twitch Facts:

  • Operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.com
  • 140 million monthly active users, with nearly a quarter of all users located in the United States (Backlinko, 2022)
  • 65% of Twitch users are male, 35% are female (Backlinko, 2022)
  • Dominated by younger audiences – 73% of Twitch users are aged under 35 years (Backlinko, 2022)

2. Discord 

Discord is known as the “Slack for Gen Z“. When it first launched in 2015, Discord was popular with gamers who wanted to stream games and connect with the gaming community. 

Discord announced plans to expand beyond the gaming community in 2020 and raised $100 million in funding.

Now it is a chat app for anyone who wants to talk with their friends and communities. 

So how does it work? 

The platform operates on servers, aka community groups that allow video, audio, and text chatting. Individual users can build their own server or join servers created by other members – just like with WhatsApp groups or Slack teams.

How brands can use Discord

Discord doesn’t sell ads, but brands can have a presence on the app through creating their own channels or servers. 

To be successful on a platform like Discord, brands need to know their audience and be willing to play the long game. The emphasis is on genuine connection and conversation which gives brands a chance to build deep relationships, develop trust and loyalty, and gain valuable customer insights. 

Discord Facts

  • More than 150 million monthly active users, with 79% coming from outside the United States (Statista, 2022)
  • 78% of users say they use Discord mainly for non-gaming or equally across gaming and other activities (CNBC, 2022)
  • Users between the ages of 25 to 34 years are the biggest share of Discord users worldwide, making up over 42% of the platform’s audience (Statista, May 2022)
  • Younger users aged between 16 and 24 made up 22.2% of the user base (Statista, May 2022)
  • Over 64% of users on Discord were men (Q1 2022)

3. Caffeine

Caffeine is a platform built by ex-Apple designers that allows you to create live broadcasts for friends and followers, similar to Twitch. 

Launched in 2018, the platform is a possible competitor to the older platform Twitch. Broadcasts show up in a feed where viewers can engage by giving an emoji reaction or commenting. You can stream your computer or TV screen as you play games, and like Twitch, it offers you money for high views and subscriptions.

Caffeine has launched a monetisation program that rewards broadcasters with the most engagement. The platform is gaining traction amongst celebs and influencers – in 2021, musician Drake and the Ultimate Rap League used Caffeine to stream a battle rap event for his birthday. 

How brands can use Caffeine

Just as with Twitch, marketers across a range of industries can use the platform to spread awareness of products and engage with audiences through behind-the-scenes content and live Q&As. 

If marketers have an idea for a live stream that seems too left of field for Facebook or Instagram, Caffeine could be a great place to test it. 

Caffeine is also planning to launch video ads in 2023, starting with a select group of creators before the full roll-out. 

Caffeine Facts

  • 64% male and 36% female audience
  • The largest age group of visitors are aged 25 to 34 years
  • On track for 10 million users by end of 2022 (Tubefilter)

4. BeReal 

Built by ex-GoPro employee Alexis Barreyat, BeReal is one of the only photo-sharing platforms, with other social media platforms moving to video. 

Created in France in 2019, the founders had a mission to create “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are”. 

Every day, BeReal sends you a notification prompting you that it’s time to be real. You then have two minutes to take a photo of whatever it is you are doing using your phone’s front and back cameras. So, you are sharing your real everyday life using a static photo – no videos. 

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery – and TikTok recently launched a BeReal-inspired feature called TikTok Now. 

How brands can use BeReal

With ad restrictions on the platform, brands need to create content that is native to the platform.

One example is the American chain of fast food restaurants, Chipotle. In April, the brand uploaded a photo of a Chipotle paper bag with the code “FORREAL” written with instructions explaining the code would be valid for 100 unique uses and allow customers to claim a free entree. The code had been used within 30 minutes and the brand’s account gained 2000 new friend connections. 

BeReal Facts

  • 30 million installs on iOS and Android as at mid-2022 
  • Usage increased by 315% in a year and its downloads increased by over 1000% in 2022 (Yahoo)
  • Number 1 download in Apple’s app store in July 2022 (Yahoo)
  • 73.5 million monthly active users with 20 million accessing the app daily (Business of Apps)
  • Age groups are split almost equally between 16- to 25-year-olds and 25- to 44-year-olds, very few users over the age of 45 

5. WeAre8 

The world’s first sustainable social platform, WeAre8 encourages you to spend just eight minutes a day on the platform consuming feel-good content while also paying you to watch brand ads. Users can use this money to ‘do good’ and donate to a charity of their choice, or deposit it into their connected PayPal account.

Launched in August 2022, the new kid on the social media block claims to be “free from hate, good for the planet, puts money in your wallet and celebrates the good in life in just 8 minutes a day.” Created by Aussie entrepreneur Sue Fennessy, who has never had a Facebook account, WeAre8 considers itself the world’s only carbon-negative social media platform

On the platform, users can follow different creators globally or become a verified ‘8Creator’, which allows you to contribute your own meaningful content to the platform. 

How brands can use it

The app gives brands a simple way to communicate their sustainability stories to audiences, however far they have progressed on their journey. 

In Australia, advertisers already include big hitters such as Suncorp, SBS, Dove, Rexona, Omo, Virgin Australia Airlines, Nature’s Own, Coles, and Telstra. 

Because users get paid for watching the whole video, brands get guaranteed fully completed video views and higher click-through and engagement rates versus traditional paid social ads. 

Weare8 Facts

  • On track to hit 8 million users in the UK by the end of 2022 and expects similarly strong numbers from Australia (AFR)
  • Opt-in rates for ad viewing are above 80% and click-through rates are 2-10x standard digital ad campaigns (Forbes)
  • Just under 50% of people pay a percentage of their earnings to a charity of their choice (Forbes)

6. Mastodon 

Mastodon allows users to post, follow people and organisations, and like and repost other users’ posts.

It’s just like Twitter, except instead of tweeting, you toot. 

You have up to 5000 words to express yourself, and can add GIFs, videos, images, and hashtags.

Since the takeover of Twitter, thousands are migrating across to Mastodon in what has been dubbed the #TwitterMigration and #TwitterExodus

That’s because one of the biggest pros of Mastodon is its extensive content moderation. 

Here’s what makes it different: it is not a single platform. Instead, it is a federation of independently operated, interconnected servers

If you don’t like what someone is doing or saying on one server, you can move to another server while keeping the relationships you already made. So you don’t have the fear of missing out that might otherwise lock you into a server with other user’s bad behaviour.

Another benefit of Mastodon is privacy. On Twitter, everything you tweet can be seen by all users unless you change your settings to protect your posts for followers only. 

But on Mastodon, you join a server, and your posts are only visible to people within that server, or servers with policies compatible with the one you joined.

How brands can use it

Volkswagen is one of many brands that have moved to Mastodon in recent weeks. Mastodon is ad-free for now. If a user is going to see an ad, they have to see it coming directly from the brand account. 

However, there’s an opportunity for organisations to run their own server and create a recognisable social presence. The trick is not to see Mastodon as another Twitter, but as a new exciting space to explore. 

Mastodon Facts

  • The day Musk took over Twitter, Mastodon gained 70,000 new users
  • Mastodon founder Rochko tooted that there were over 1 million monthly active users of the service on November 7, 2022
  • Audience is 66.41% male and 33.59% female (SimilarWeb)
  • Largest age group of visitors are 25 – 34 year olds (SimilarWeb)

When it comes to social media, marketers should never put all their eggs in one basket. As the Twitter takeover showed this year, things move quickly, audiences move, and trends come and go. So it’s worth marketers paying attention to where their target audience is and finding an authentic, trustworthy way to connect with them on that platform.

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