Video ads are coming to TikTok’s search results if a recently spotted test is to be believed.

David Herrmann, president of Hermann Digital, pointed out the ads earlier this week in a tweet that shows a clip with a small “Sponsored” label at the top of TikTok search results.

Based on the location in the ad – above the “Others searched for” section, it seems safe to assume the ads will typically appear within the first few search results shown. 

Unfortunately, information about this ad test is extremely limited. According to Herrmann, the ads currently can’t be targeted by keyword, though he implies the ability to do so is coming soon. 

Instead, the best way to ensure your videos get shown as relevant ads in the current iteration is to create video “how-to’s” aimed at solving specific problems. 

“Make your ads solve problems, don’t just sell. Drive them to advertorial pages,” Hermann tweeted. “This is Pinterest 2.0, but better cause people buy.”

Another detail that is unclear is how brands might get access to this ad experiment. With no official word about the ads from TikTok, the assumption is that you must be a brand with an established presence on the app and have a managed advertising account.

Once running these ads, brands will receive a list of search terms driving clicks on their video ads, helping them generate more focused and better-targeted content and ads in the future.

The ads are obviously in an early form and will likely be expanded before they are widely accessible to brands on the platform. At the same time, they show how TikTok is working to provide new ways to monetize your presence on the app and reach new audiences with high purchasing intent. 

Given that TikTok’s users already seem uniquely primed to buy products they discover through the app, this looks to potentially be a major upcoming advertising opportunity for many brands.

Inspired by the popularity of TikTok, Google is working to find new ways to include short-form videos in search results. 

Google Product Manager Danielle Marshak revealed this during a recent episode of the Search Off the Record podcast with hosts Gary Illyes and Lizzi Sassman from Google’s Search Relations team. 

Why Google Is Interest In Short-Form Videos

Though the entire episode is more broadly focused on discussing how Google handles video content in search results, the conversation eventually turns to the most popular video format of the moment – short vertical videos less than 5 minutes in length. 

Beyond their popularity, the Google employees agree there is a lot of interest in short videos because they are easily digestible and can contain a lot of information in a compact package.

As Marshak says:

“And this format, it’s really cool because as I mentioned, it is very concise. You can get a lot of information in a short period of time, and you can also get a loot of different views and perspectives…

“So we think this kind of content could be useful for a lot of different types of search queries, and we’ve been experimenting with how to show it to users more often.”

Could TikTok Videos Appear In Search Results?

Since TikTok is practically synonymous with this specific type of short video, it was only a matter of time before the social video app was brought up. 

Interestingly, Gary Illyes explained that the unique way TikTok works makes its content much easier for the search engine to crawl and index compared to others like Snapchat or Instagram.

Since every TikTok video has a unique URL and can be opened directly in a web browser, Illyes says there is a chance the videos could be directly indexed and shown in search results:

“You can actually open it on the laptop and you will end up on a web page and you can actually watch it on the web page. You don’t have to have the TikTok app for watching the video.

“So I imagine that if they allow crawling – I haven’t checked – then we can probably index those videos as well.”

Other Ways Google Is Integrating Short Videos Into Search

When asked about other types of short video content that Google might include in search results pages, Marshak mostly focused on educational or informational content, such as recipes:

“So let’s say, again, you’re searching for some new ideas to make banana bread. And right now, you might see traditional recipes, you might see longer videos, but you could also see short videos, which could just give you a different style or perspective.

“And people’s preferences are different. Some people might prefer to read; some people might prefer a longer video; some people might prefer short videos.

“And so we want to offer a lot of different options to get that type of information, in the format that is most useful for you. So that’s one example.”

From what was said, it seems the ideas are still in their early stages but the episode makes it clear that Google is taking TikTok and its popular video format very seriously. You can expect to see much more of it in search results sooner, rather than later.

Listen to the full episode of the Search Off the Record podcast here.

YouTube is previewing its latest upcoming features for users, creators, and brands in a new blog post shared by the company’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan.

While Mohan was light with actual details – likely because these features are still in development – the post teases new shopping features, ways to share content, and more coming to YouTube this year.

New Ways To Shop On YouTube

YouTube is preparing to double down on its shopping features with a dedicated section and a number of new partnerships and features. 

For example, Mohan says the team is currently working on making videos across the platform more shoppable through user-created tags in existing content. 

YouTube Shopping Preview

The company is also testing Live Shopping, which mixes the experience of the Home Shopping Network with a livestream hangout. For an idea of what to expect when this goes live, Mohan suggests looking to the weeklong Holiday Stream and Shop event hosted on the platform last November. 

Updates to YouTube Shorts

Unsurprisingly, Mohan says the company is planning to focus on expanding its popular Shorts format. Following the smash success of TikTok in 2021, social networks are rushing to establish their own versions of the short-video format. 

YouTube is working to improve its own take on the format with new effects, improved editing tools, better viewer engagement features, and even monetization options. The monetization features mentioned range from implementing BrandConnect with Shorts, expanding the Super Chat feature so users can stand out on live chats, and adding the ability to shop products directly from a Short.

Other Updates

Mohan also hinted at a number of other features and improvements coming to YouTube this year. 

For creators, the blog post says that new insights are coming which will help not only understand your current videos’ performance on the platform but also help “generate concrete content ideas for upcoming videos.”

Channels will soon also be able to establish their own guidelines for community interaction, letting creators set the tone for the conversations occurring on their channel.

Meanwhile, brands may be excited to try out Collaborate Livestreaming, which allows multiple creators or partners to go live together – rather than hosting independent streams on their own channels. 

More To Come

The blog post is just a taste of the many features and updates YouTube is working on and anything previewed by Neal Mohan today could change significantly before they reach the public.

Still, these features give a clear idea of the company’s priorities for the upcoming year, including how it plans to address the continued growth of TikTok.  

After suffering a massive drop in stock values earlier this week, Facebook is planning to pivot more towards being a short-form video platform. 

The shift in focus was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a company-wide virtual meeting with Facebook employees shortly after the stock crash, which was triggered by a devastating quarterly earnings report from the platform’s parent company – Meta Platforms. 

In its latest earnings report, Meta disclosed that it had lost money throughout the quarter as well as seeing the first-ever decline in daily active users. By the end of the quarter, the company says more than half a million users had stopped using the platform on a daily basis. 

All of this then caused investors to panic, leading to the company’s stock price dropping by over 200 billion dollars in a single day – the largest single-day stock drop in history.

Why Is Facebook Losing Users and Money?

As Zuckerberg laid out to employees, he sees three major contributing factors to the unflattering quarterly earnings report. These are a recent wave of investments from Meta to establish Metaverse, difficulties with advertising after the of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature and Android’s take on this information sharing feature, and TikTok.

The first issue is easy to believe. After the company’s hugely publicized rebrand to Meta, it has been spending a lot of money to establish its Metaverse platform – which has yet to pay off. Given the mixed-to-negative reception the Metaverse has received, it is also possible investors are nervous about the potential for eventual revenue from the platform.

Facebook is also seeing a notable loss in money from advertising, largely because the largest mobile operating systems have both implemented new features which give users more information and control over how their information is being used. 

On one hand, this is a benefit for users because they can now easily opt-out of being tracked online. On the other, it makes it much more difficult – and even potentially impossible in some cases – to target relevant ads for users. This leads to less interest in ads from users, which translates to less engagement, and thus less revenue, 

What About TikTok?

After surviving challenges from Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, Facebook may have finally met a competitor it can’t afford to ignore.

Mark Zuckerberg told employees that part of the company’s poor quarterly performance was an “unprecedented level of competition” from TikTok.

As such, Zuckerberg plans to directly focus on promoting its short-video-related content and features across both Instagram and Facebook.

As he told meeting attendees:

“People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly. And this is why our focus on Reels is so important over the long term.”

While both of Meta’s social networks have increasingly prioritized video in recent years, this underscores a renewed emphasis on video content – especially short, easy-to-share clips like those found on TikTok. As such, brands hoping to reach their audiences on these platforms should be prepared to similarly focus on creating video content that connects with their potential customers.

As part of its ongoing effort to expand its video capabilities and be “no longer a photo sharing app”, Instagram says it is introducing new ways to promote and remix videos on the platform. 

Specifically, the company is rolling out new ways to build interest for scheduled live streams using banners, and the ability to remix any recorded video.

These updates seem positioned to make Instagram more competitive with both TikTok and Twitch, which are extremely popular with younger viewers and creators.

As Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, explained in the announcement:

“We’re focused on building for teens and creators, and in the spaces of video and messaging. And these are within those themes.”

Below, we’ll explore both of the new updates in more detail.

Promote Scheduled Live Videos With Banners

When scheduling live videos on Instagram, streamers can now choose to highlight these upcoming streams using a special banner. When clicked, the banner also lets users set reminders for the live videos.

As Mosseri says:

“Creators have been able to schedule lives for a while now, but now, you can separate scheduling a Live from creating a feed post, or even now a story post, about that live. You also get a little badge on your profile that’s lets followers know, or anybody know that goes to your profile, that there’s a Live coming up and they can subscribe to be reminded.”

Notably, these banners can be used to promote one-time-only events and recurring streams on a channel.

Remix Any Video You Want

Instagram is expanding its ability to “remix” content to all videos on its platform.

Similar to TikTok’s video reactions, these remixes allow users to take existing videos and add their own reactions or to rework them into something entirely new.

Originally, this feature was limited solely to Instagram’s short Reels videos. Starting now, though, users can do this to any public video by tapping the three-dot icon in the right corner of videos and selecting “Remix this video.”

However, people who share videos must opt-in to having their content remixed by others.

For more, check out the video from Mosseri on Twitter:

YouTube is testing out a new feature that would improve synergy between brands and creators by automatically inserting visual links to businesses mentioned in videos. 

The feature, which is being called Places Mentions, was revealed during a recent video on the Creator Insider channel.

At the moment, the feature is limited to just Android and iOS devices using the YouTube app to watch content related to food or drinks.

The goal behind it is simply to streamline the process of finding out more about places mentioned in a video, such as in a review of a local eaterie. 

Before, creators had to manually add a text link if they wanted to direct people to the locations they mention in their videos. By automating this process, YouTube is making it easier for content creators to spread the word about your brand without having to establish a formal collaboration.

As the announcement says:

“This new feature, within the video description box, will give users an easy and engaging way to find out about places mentioned in a video.”

While the initial test is limited to food and drink videos, the company says it plans to expand the feature to more categories soon.

The announcement did not provide a specific date that we can expect to feature appear in search results, but it is safe to assume it will roll out for testing any day.

For more, check out the full Creator Insider video below:

YouTube recently revealed new ways to see what search queries are leading viewers to videos, including both videos on your own channel and across the wider YouTube audience through an experimental new feature called Search Insights.

Additionally, Search Insights can help creators identify content gaps where users aren’t finding content ideal for their searches, to plan your future content around.

What Is YouTube Search Insights?

As detailed on the YouTube Creator’s Insider channel last week, YouTube Search Insights allows users to explore search data across the platform from the past 28 days, provided there is enough data.

The feature is split across two tabs. The first tab focuses on your channel and how users find your content, while the second shows keyword data from thousands of topics on the platform.

Along with the expected query data, such as search volume and high volume search topics, YouTube is also experimenting with identifying “content gaps”. This is when a viewer can’t find the content they were looking for with a query.

Do You Have Access?

As an ongoing test, YouTube has not opened these new features to all users. 

To see if you have access to Search Insights, first, log into YouTube Studio and select “Analytics” from the menu on the left.

Within the Analytics tab, look for a section called “Research”. If you have access to Search Insights, you will then see three tabs: “Your viewers’ searches”, “searchers across YouTube”, and “saved searches.”

While the new feature is in its early stages, YouTube says it will have more information in the future when it expands access to more users or you can watch the full announcement below:

YouTube announced it will no longer be showing the number of dislikes videos received after experimenting with the idea earlier this year.

Though the dislike button will still be available to help users customize their feed and recommendations, the company says that removing public dislike counts helps prevent group harassment like “dislike attacks”.

As YouTube explains in the announcement:

“As part of this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button. But because the count was not visible to them, we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count. In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior.”

This will presumably help provide creators with a more accurate view of how their community is responding to videos without interference from non-viewers. This information will still be available to creators in YouTube Studio, along with their other channel analytics.

YouTube does say the test wasn’t popular with everyone, and they expect some negative response to this decision. Still, they believe this change will be best for the site as a whole.

“We heard during the experiment that some of you have used the public dislike count to help decide whether or not to watch a video. We know that you might not agree with this decision, but we believe that this is the right thing to do for the platform.”

The number of likes a video receives will still be publicly viewable for those who previously used dislikes to decide which videos to watch.

The company says this is just one of many steps it is planning to help ensure the platform is a positive space for discussion and creativity for everyone:

“We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves. This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment. Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here.”

For more, you can watch the video explaining the decision below or read the full announcement here.

In the past, YouTube and its parent company, Google, have played very coy when it comes to its search and recommendation algorithms. Instead of explaining how it choose which videos to suggest, the video platform has preferred to simply offer tips for increasing a channel’s visibility.

Now, the company’s VP of Engineering is opening up, with what is likely the most in-depth explanation of how the company chooses and ranks which videos appear on users’ home screens. 

In a blog post and corresponding video Q&A,  Cristos Goodrow aims to provide specific answers about what signals matter, which don’t, and how the YouTube recommendation system works under the hood:

“We want these systems to be publicly understood, so let me explain how they work, how they’ve evolved, and why we’ve made delivering responsible recommendations our top priority.”

The Goal of YouTube Recommendations

First and foremost, Cristos lays out that the company recognizes the immense influence of its recommendation algorithm and works intensely to deliver videos that will make each viewer satisfied across their huge range of tastes and interests.

As Goodrow says, “there’s an audience for almost every video, and the job of our recommendation system is to find that audience.”

How Watchtime and Retention Affect Recommendations

Both overall video watchtime and retention rates are widely believed to factor into how likely a channel’s videos are to be included in users’ recommendations. What is much less clear, is whether raw viewing times or retention rates matter more. 

Unfortunately, Goodrow can’t provide much clarification here because the answer varies on a case-by-case basis. 

He explains that YouTube’s data generally shows that viewers who stick around for a greater percentage of a video are more likely to be satisfied. However, this is not the case for every type of video. 

For example, some types of videos tend to have lower retention rates but are still able to provide viewers with the information they are seeking. 

Additionally, the algorithm considers users’ viewing habits when deciding how to rank videos. How much weight it puts into a video’s watchtime and retention varies entirely based on which factor the algorithm believes is most important to each user.

Why Getting Recommended Takes Time

Newer creators often express frustration regarding how difficult it can seem to be to make it into recommendations. In many cases, it can take months before any of a channel’s videos start getting recommended. Even worse, the videos that get recommended may be months old at this point, making them potentially outdated or irrelevant. 

According to Goodrow, though, this is not intended to occur. YouTube’s recommendation system ideally will start surfacing videos immediately after they are uploaded to ensure the best performance. 

Where this breaks down is in trying to understand and recommend videos from new channels.

Without signals from users, YouTube doesn’t always understand exactly who a channel or video is relevant for. In this case, it may take longer for the system to start recommending the channel’s videos while it gathers more information.

Why Big Channels Dominate The Recommended Feed

Another point of contention for many YouTube users is that the recommended feed seems to favor larger, more established creators who are already well known. Instead, many say they want to see more content from new channels they have never heard of before.

Unfortunately, this problem is a result of the same issues driving the problem detailed above. 

Without information from users about the quality or value of a channel’s videos, it is hard for YouTube to accurately recommend the channel and its content for users. 

Because of this, driving user engagement through likes, subscribes, and comments is crucial for helping smaller channels be included in the recommendations. 


The full blog post and video from Cristos Goodrow go into much, much more detail about YouTube’s recommendation systems and how it selects which videos to highlight. If your brand is using the platform to connect with new audiences, build a loyal following, or drive sales, I strongly encourage checking them out for more when you have the time.

If there is anyone who knows what works on Facebook Ads, it’s probably Facebook. Thankfully, the company is eager to share its data to help advertisers make the best ads possible. 

Facebook Ads did just that this week with a new list of 11 ways to improve your video ads based on their latest data and research.

Why Video Ads?

Many brands and advertisers are still reluctant to indulge in video ads, fearing they may be more costly, less effective, or more difficult to manage.

According to the report, however, none of these are true. In fact, the company has seen that for every dollar invested into video ads on the platform, there is a 39% higher chance to drive sales compared to static social ads.

Even more, the budget, placement, or targeting have less impact on the success of video ads than you may think. According to Facebook Ads, 70% of the potential ROI from video ads comes from how you use the format to get attention and inspire action, while just 30% comes from details like where the ad is shown.

To ensure your video ads are inspiring potential customers to take action, Facebook put together these tips for improving your future video ad campaigns.

11 Ways To Improve Your Video Ads

Facebook breaks this collection of tips into two groups: ‘Best Practice’ and ‘Highly Recommended’.

Best Practice 

  1. Frame For Mobile: Based on user activity, most users will be seeing your video on mobile. Keep this in mind when framing your video with the recommended vertical 4:5 format on Facebook or 1:1 square format on Instagram.
  2. Create For Sound-Off Viewing: By default, your video will be played without audio. If your video ad is going to be successful, it needs to be understandable and engaging without sound.
  3. Focus on the Product: Facebook recommends focusing your creative for video ads directly on a product or feature, rather than your entire business.
  4. Have a Single Message: As with all advertising, it is important to present a single, clear message in any promotion. Trying to do too much in a single ad will just overwhelm or push away potential customers.
  5. Highlight Branding Early: The report recommends placing your branding and message at the start of a video to grab attention and retain potential customers.
  6. Be Straight To The Point: On that note, putting a clear message up front makes it easier for consumers to understand what you’re hoping to accomplish and what you have to offer them.
  7. Use Movement & Faster Editing Early: Having movement or quick edits near the start of your video ads helps grab attention and may motivate viewers to keep watching.

Highly Recommended

  1. Brevity Is Key: People viewing on mobile devices have limited time, short attention-spans, and are quick to scroll away if you start to lose them. It is important to keep your videos short for most impact.
  2. Don’t Follow Old Rules: Traditional ads on TV and radio are structured with the assumption that users will remain tuned in no matter what. This allows time to build up a story to grab interest. Online video doesn’t offer this comfort. Instead, start your videos with a bang to capture attention quickly. 
  3. Don’t Be Afraid of Twists or Surprises: Including more gasp-inducing moments in your video ads can be a good way to hold viewers’ attention throughout your entire video.
  4. Think Visually: Since sound is typically off, it is important to use visually grabbing features like bright colors or product close-ups to keep viewers engaged.

To learn more about what Facebook has learned from its video ads research, read the full report here.