Unskippable Instagram Ads, Consumer Update, TikTok Creator Search Insights (Week 19)

NY Tech Week in Focus!

Coming to you live from American Airlines Flight 2310 en route to NYC.

Welcome to the FINAL month of Q2! 🤯

Jam-packed week coming up, would love to connect with anyone in town. Here’s what I’ll be up to:

  • Wednesday: Speaking at FounderMade Executive Summit (9am - 6pm)

    • If you’re a DTC brand doing >$5M in annual GMV, I can get you a free ticket. Respond to this email and I’ll hook it up!

  • Thursday: Avenue Z x FERMAT DTC <> Tech Event @ Rally Museum

    • 7pm-10pm; RSVP HERE

    • We’re already at 400 RSVPs, spots are limited

    • What to expect:​

      💥 NFT Collectibles Exhibit w/ NFT Creation Station

      💥 Custom Portrait Creation Station

      ​💥 Networking, Drinks, more…

      ​💥 Live Podcast w/ the legendary Rabah Rahil & more?

Hit me up if you’re around!

1. Instagram Testing Unskippable Ads 👀

Yesterday, Instagram confirmed rumors that it’s testing unskippable ads. Sound familiar? Yep, the YouTube experience for non-paying users.

If you click the info icon next to the ad break, you’ll find a message that reads: “You’re seeing an ad break. Ad breaks are a new way of seeing ads on Instagram. Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you keep browsing.”

We all know how miserable the unskippable ad experience can be. We all know that feeling on YouTube when watching a compelling video or listening to a hot track and the dreaded unskippable ad pops up. Most of the time you sit through it, sometimes though your patience wears thin and you bounce.

Listen, social platforms have a balancing act to achieve:

  • Drive value for users without sacrificing overall advertiser experience

  • Drive value for advertisers without sacrificing overall user experience

Ideal advertiser scenarios are often at odds with ideal user scenarios.

Before taking this out of Beta, Instagram will be looking closely at unskippable ad watch rates and testing if overall time on platform for users without skippable ads is significantly different than users with skippable ads in the experience. I’m sure they’ll also be testing frequency in which a typical user will see skippable ads and how it will impact their overall time on platform and bounce rates.

This is an interesting development that certainly will favor advertisers if/when it rolls out successfully. We all know ad performance has been rocky in 2024, so this could be one of those tricks Meta pulls out of its sleeve.

2. Bad News on the Consumer 🚨

Consumer Sentiment Index (as tracked by U of Michigan)

Sound the alarm bells. Consumer Sentiment tanked 10% in May to the LOWEST rating in 6 months.

Factors impacting Consumer outlook:

- Personal finance confidence muted

- Labor market concerns

- Personal income concerns

- High interest rates

CSI is still 20% higher than where we were 12mo ago and 40% higher than the lowest rating in June 2022, reflecting how much consumer views have improved as inflation eased.

But for those who think we're in the clear, we aren't.

Things had been getting better, but that momentum has clearly reversed.

As interest rate cut hopes fade, so does consumer sentiment. We go as the Fed goes.

Merchants are directly impacted by this.

As we near presidential elections, the economy will almost certainly be a top 3 factor going into voting decisions.

3. TikTok Creator Search Insights 💡

Now we’re going to chat about the most underutilized and perhaps least talked about feature on TikTok for content creators and brands alike… TikTok Creator Search Insights.

It launched a couple months ago but has been a huge part of our research and content ideation strategy for organic, affiliate, and influencer content.

To find Creator Search Insights in the TikTok app, you just need to search “Creator Search Insights” and voila, it appears. Then click “View.”

Now you arrive on a screen with two tabs: Suggested and Trending.

  1. Suggested Tab

In the suggested tab, you will find two subcategories: Content Gap and Searches by Followers.

In the Content Gap section you’ll find content topics that TikTok has identified as high potential. Meaning: high search volume with low video content available on the topic.

In the Searches by Followers tab, Once you have more than 1k followers you’ll be able to see the highest searched topics by your followers. You’ll have an idea for the type of content your existing followers want to consume.

Incorporating these two suggested types of content into your creative mix will increase engagement rates and thus increase your chance of going viral.

  1. Trending Tab

In the Trending tab, you will find the most trending topics on TikTok at large. You can also niche down and see what topics are trending within specific topic categories like Fashion, Food, Sports, etc.

Leverage topics in this tab to increase your chances of creating engaging content that is performing well on the platform.

Through incorporating both suggested and trending content into our organic content strategy and affiliate content briefs, we’ve been able to increase our chances of generating content that will perform.

This type of insight is gold. TikTok gives you this info for a reason, they want user time on platform to increase. They’ll reward you when you contribute to that.

Work smarter, not harder. Don’t throw sh** against the wall until something sticks. Be strategic and control what you can to elevate your chances of going viral and immediately changing the trajectory of your business.


Am I Old? Or Does Mainstream Music Just Suck These Days?

Opened up Spotify on the plane just now and went to the Top 50 to discover some new stuff. I don’t listen to the radio, I’m very picky with my music.

My immediate reaction when I opened Spotify:

I don’t know (or care to know) any of the Top 10 songs in the US.

Does this mean I’m getting old?

Or is mainstream music these days just straight trash? 🗑️

Personally, I think it’s the latter. Where has the good music gone in this world?

Did social media kill music? Feels like it to me.

For REAL music, give the below mix a listen.

What I’m Listening to 🎧

Beats of the Week: Kiko Franco on a Boat in Sunny Isles, FL

This might be Kiko’s second appearance on my newsletter, but he just put out a great live mix in a time when little new music is being published. We’ve been in the ordinary lull of the transition between spring and summer. All DJs are gearing up for a big summer and the music airwaves have been tangled in the quiet before the storm.

Nonetheless, this is an incredible 150 straight minutes of vibey, melodic music taking place on a boat in Miami.

Throw this up on your big screen while you’re working and you might just feel like you’re out on a boat in Miami.

I honestly just might as I touch down in NYC shortly.

Until next week ✌️

I welcome all feedback. Good, bad, everything in between.

Hit reply, and let’s hear it! 👂

📧 Share your thoughts or what you want me to cover next!

Yours truly,

Jonathan Snow

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