Social Media Apps: What’s hot and what’s not as 2023 draws to a close?

Dec 18, 2023


At a Glance...

Successes for Pinterest, TikTok & Meta.
While X, Threads & Mastadon suffer from dwindling engagement.

In a year marked by the breakthrough of AI, machine learning and Musk’s new venture with ‘X’, there’s been an influx of new competitors and updates to well-known players within the social media landscape. Which platforms have made their mark? Who has fallen behind? And who should marketers keep an eye on for 2024?

Senior Performance Manager, Kate Lindars, takes a look back at trends in 2023 and gives her predictions to help plan social media strategies for the year ahead. 

On the up


Whilst technically a visual search engine rather than a social media platform, and often overlooked in a typical marketing channel mix, Pinterest is certainly not to be underestimated. With 482 milllion users each month, brands can benefit from substantial reach across a range of verticals and global audiences. What’s more, 97% of top searches are unbranded, which means it’s fair game for winning over new users with a propensity to spend. One of the most notable strengths of Pinterest is their understanding of both their audience and advertisers. At the start of each year, they publish their own trend report for the upcoming year based on global Pinterest data – here’s 2023 – which proves to be accurate year on year. Meanwhile, tech giants in Wall Street have been snapping up shares as the company shows an impressive 8% growth. All in all, Pinterest will be a major player in 2024. 


Despite scepticism on the longevity of ByteDance’s TikTok, as well as ongoing doubt over the company’s limitations with Chinese security laws, TikTok has gone from strength to strength, sealing itself as an essential in any marketers repertoire. We’ve all heard brands muse that TikTok isn’t for them, won’t suit their audience and is an unsuitable platform. Yet it’s hard to deny the successes of an evergrowing list of diverse and surprising brands on the platform, including: Liverpool FC, The Washington Post & HP. Currently sitting at 1 billion active users worldwide and as the fastest growing social media app, TikTok has in fact accomplished in just 4 years what it took Meta to do in 10  not bad. With a whole host of support for large and small businesses alike, if you haven’t already, take a look at what’s possible here. 


2022 was a tough year for Zuckerburg’s Meta, with major revenue declines resulting in over 21,000 staff being let go. Yet the company has since bounced back with an impressive 23% surge in revenue this Q3, doubling profits to more than $11.6 Billion. Meta makes more than 95% of its revenue from advertising, which explains why it continues to evolve its platforms to keep brands on board with new features and opportunities to connect with customers. The company has also heavily invested in AI in the form of automating tasks, personalising experiences and improving campaign performance. For an example: Meta Advantage, which ensures they don’t get left behind in the AI landscape and ultimately helps marketers to be more efficient and data driven. Meta maintains its title as one of the best places to start for small businesses looking to scale or even start advertising.  

Going down


With over 368 Million monthly users back in 2022 at the peak of its popularity, Twitter has faced a steady decline in engagement over the years. Numerous factors have contributed to this trend including growing competition, especially among younger audiences, quality of content and misinformation, a lack of appropriate moderation of content, and a lack of innovation. However, the most obvious reason stems from Elon Musks acquisition and subsequent rebrand to ‘X’. Whilst X championed free speech, this only led to user confusion and uncertainty, amplifying the platform’s decline. On the marketing side, many major advertisers were quick to pause spend on X, and are either now listed as ‘fully paused’ or ‘at risk. In the US alone, advertising was down by nearly 60% this year. It’s certainly not a positive outlook for X in 2024, will we in fact see the eventual death of the platform? Or will Musk make a miraculous comeback? 


Zuckerberg’s Threads certainly turned heads when it surfaced, back in July. Most notably, for its resemblance to the micro-blogging platform Twitter. The initial numbers were promising10 million signups in its first seven hours of launching, then reaching 100 million users at an unprecedented rate, even faster the OpenAI’s ChatGPT. However, it’s been plagued by serious privacy concerns over its data collection practices, with a ban from the EU until very recently. Another striking downside of Threads is that despite strong signals from developers early on, ads still aren’t available, making the app redundant to brands who’ve now had their ‘moment’ posting humorous, and ultimately fruitless threads in-platform. Reflected in the numbers, average time in the app has dropped from 21 minutes to 3 minutes since launching, with a 79% decline in daily active users.  


Mastodon, a lesser-known decentralised social media platform, surged in popularity earlier this year around the very same time Musk acquired Twitter. With concerns over the future of Twitter, many people sought alternative platforms, which was where Mastodon then came in. Being ‘decentralised’ caused problems, whilst it’s a unique selling point, many struggled with the fragmented nature of the platform and lack of cohesion across content etc. Overall, the platform’s lack of technical aptness, such as integrations, chipped away at its appeal and ultimately popularity declined from its initial peak due to its failure to attract a wider audience than those ditching Musk and ‘X’. And as with Threads, there are no ads on the timeline, making marketing only possible from an organic perspective.  

As the marketing landscape continues to evolve, 2024 is shaping up to be a year of significant change. It’s now as important as ever for marketers to embrace trends and audit current strategies in order to position themselves for success for next year and beyond. 

Chat to us if you have any questions on your digital strategy for next year.

Kate Lindars, Senior Performance Manager

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