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Know Your Platform Guide 2022

After two years of being central to our interpersonal relationships, social media brands are continuing to transform, writes Austyn Allison.

Welcome to our third annual Know Your Platform Guide. We started this feature just after Covid-19 began spreading, and it has proven to be a great place to take stock of the rapid changes that have happened since then.

Social media platforms weren’t exactly stick-in-the-muds when it came to evolving and developing new features, but the pandemic supercharged their rate of change. Take a good look at the sections where we ask the platforms what new features they have added in the last year and what they are working on for the next.

Are you listening? To radio, podcasts, streaming music? Join us in our next Online Briefing, Audio 2022 to discuss all things aural. Join us on Thursday, April 14 to debate all things aural.


One interesting shift is that while 2020 and 2021 saw a focus on social commerce, now new features are back to helping build communities – often with a marketing element, helping brands better form communities out of their consumers.

As restrictions around socialising in person continue to ease, social platforms will no longer be the sole means of personal interaction. This means they must realign their offering to complement our social lives rather than fully enabling them as they have done over two years of unprecedented growth.

While they have lost their monopoly on our interactions, platforms are bound to be more central to how consumers interact than they were before Covid. In this month’s Industry Forum, we asked a cross-section of industry experts if they felt this year’s Ramadan marketing would be more digitally focused than last year’s. While there was some concession that we will be seeing more of our loved ones face-to-face, the consensus was overwhelmingly that digital and social’s share of marketing voice will continue to grow, regardless.

Social media complements traditional channels. Take Adidas’s Liquid Billboard, for example, a billboard filled with water on a beach in Dubai, which people could swim in. In the dark ages before Facebook, that would only have been seen by the handful of people who walked past while it was up. But it’s not designed only to be seen so much as it’s designed to be shared. Which is why it picked up a lot of Lynxes at this year’s awards.

Platforms are constantly reinventing themselves. Campaign has partnered with Twitter to run a weekly Spaces session in the month before Ramadan, as that platform pivots from text to video and audio. Anghami’s stock market floatation is testimony to the growing popularity of podcasts and other audio. Snap is doubling down on AR, and Instagram is starting to follow suit. Facebook’s rebranding as Meta last year signals its commitment to the Metaverse, which will change the game again in coming years.

I suspect that in a few years the concept of Know Your Platform might have become outdated, as the companies listed transform beyond recognition. But right now there has never been a more interesting time to keep abreast of all that is happening in and around the dynamic world of social media.