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Know Your Platform Guide 2023

Social media platforms are part of our daily lives, and how we interact with them is constantly changing, writes Justin Harper

Back by popular demand. Welcome to our fourth annual Know Your Platform guide. It has changed significantly over the years as the world of social media has developed at breakneck speed. Some friends of Campaign have suggested we do a guide every month, given the high level of updates and changes social media companies make to their platforms.

Social media platforms have undergone significant changes since their inception and continue to morph outside of their traditional social media realms. They have got bigger in terms of their user base, and sites like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have billions of users worldwide.

The content they offer has also dramatically changed beyond text-based updates. Now images, videos and live-streaming are proving the most popular types of content. Short-form video content is the king of content right now and TikTok and Instagram are proving to be the platforms of choice.

This content is becoming scarily personalised as platforms increasingly use algorithms to understand users’ likes and interests. Artificial intelligence is making this content even more personalised and targeted. 

From a marketing point of view, brands are now woven into the social media platform fabric and e-commerce
has gradually been integrated into them. This means you can buy products and services directly from a platform in a seamless transition. 

With their rise in popularity and users, social media platforms had come under increased scrutiny for their impact on mental health, the spread of fake news and their role in political campaigns. But it seems that big tech and social media firms have moved out of the spotlight, and now the banks are being targeted by regulators instead.

So, where is social media heading? On the next few pages, we give some insights from the platforms themselves on what new functions and features they have up their sleeves. Beyond that, we could start to see more interactive and immersive content. With the rise of augmented reality and virtual reality, social media platforms may allow users to experience events, products and services in a more engaging way.

What is more likely, though, is the continued integration of e-commerce as social media platforms continue to integrate functionalities such as in-app purchases and shopping features, allowing users to buy products without leaving the app or site.

While our Know Your Platform Guide will remain annual, we have started summarising the key changes of social media platforms on a regular page imaginatively called ‘Social media updates this month’. This highlights the most important changes made to your favourite platforms, in case you missed them. Perhaps give us a thumbs up when you get a chance.