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Step aside Google, there’s a new top domain around the world according to the annual rankings of most popular domains globally from Cloudflare. For 2021, TikTok is the top site based on internet traffic.

The full list of the most popular domains in 2021 is:

  1. TikTok.com
  2. Google.com
  3. Facebook.com
  4. Microsoft.com
  5. Apple.com
  6. Amazon.com
  7. Netflix.com
  8. YouTube.com
  9. Twitter.com
  10. WhatsApp.com

This is a big jump from 2020, when the newly popular social network ranked in just 7th place overall, while Google (which includes the variety of services under the Google umbrella, such as Maps and News) seemed safely in the top position. 

Cloudflare’s Year in Review report details TikTok’s rise to dominance over the course of the year:

“It was on February 17, 2021, that TikTok got the top spot for a day. Back in March, TikTok got a few more days and also in May, but it was after August 10, 2021, that TikTok took the lead on most days. There were some days when Google was #1, but October and November were mostly TikTok’s days, including on Thanksgiving (November 25) and Black Friday (November 26).”

What Does This Mean?

To be clear, this is only based on traffic. This does not necessarily mean that TikTok is now the biggest social media platform around the world, let alone the site with the most users.

When looking at the number of distinct users on each platform, most estimates still place the upstart platform behind both Facebook and Instagram – let alone Google.

It is quite clear, though, that TikTok is quickly growing into a force to be reckoned with online. If it isn’t already on your map for your marketing plans in 2022, perhaps this report will cause you to reconsider.

Read the full Cloudflare Year in Review report, which includes stats on the top social networks, e-commerce sites, and streaming sites from the past year, here.

TikTok is introducing new ways for pages to monetize their presence on the platform via digital “gifts” and tips.

Notably, these tools are exclusive to individual creators or entrepreneurs through the Creator Next monetization suite, which is not available to brands on the platform.

In a way, this makes sense as the new monetization features are designed to be direct ways for other users to reward creators for sharing great content. Let’s talk about exactly what these new features are.

TikTok Tips

TikTok now allows users to send money directly to creators as a “tip”.

The feature is managed through Swipe and requires an account with that service to be eligible to receive tips. 

Although creators will receive 100% of the value of the initial tip, TikTok will apply a service fee to generate revenue from this feature.

Signed-up profiles will include a new icon on their profile, which will allow users to send $5, $10, $15, or custom tips up to $100.

By default, others will be able to see when you send or receive a tip, unless you specifically choose to make your tip anonymous.

To prevent misuse, TikTok limits users to $500 total or up to 100 transactions per day.

TikTok Video Gifts

TikTok’s new Video Gifts blur the line between Reddit awards and its tipping system. It allows users to pay to reward content they love with specific gifts, which are shown to other viewers.

The big difference between this and something like “Reddit Gold” is that recipients can then exchange their rewards for actual money via a virtual currency called “diamonds”.

Interestingly, gifts come with some very unique benefits, including a boost in the platform’s algorithm:

As the announcement says:

“… a key metric that TikTok uses to assess the popularity of a video is the number of Gifts sent to a creator’s content.”

Are You Eligible?

Users interested in utilizing these monetization features must:

  • Be 18+ years old
  • Have at least 1,000 video views in the past 30 days
  • Have at least 3 posts in the past 30 days
  • Be in good standing regarding TikTok’s community guidelines
  • Reside in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, or Spain

If your account meets these requirements, you will be able to opt-in to the Creator Next suite.

For more, read the announcement here.

Instagram is finally giving almost all accounts a new way to share links with their followers through Stories, after previously limiting the feature to verified or influential accounts.

Before now, the only way for most accounts to share links on Instagram was on their profile page. This made it difficult to use the platform to drive traffic to a website or online store. Often, brands were forced to resort to third-party tools to share links with their content, typically to lackluster results. 

This all made Instagram a tricky prospect for brands considering marketing their products or services on the platform. 

While this is bound to be a step in the right direction, Instagram is yet to allow links to be shared in feed posts – a common feature on most social networks.

Here’s how to start sharing links on your own stories.

Adding Links To Your Instagram Stories

Sharing links in your Instagram stories is still a fairly unique process. Rather than just copy and paste your link into a description, the platform is introducing “Story Stickers”. These function like any other sticker, except you can add a destination link that sends users to the desired page when tapped.

To add Story Stickers with links to your stories, follow these steps:

  1. Record or upload your story content
  2. Select the sticker tool from the bar at the top of the screen
  3. Select the “Link” sticker and add your desired link.
  4. Tap “Done”
  5. Customize and place your sticker.

Who Can’t Use This

Although this makes sharing links possible for a great number more users than before, there are still some restrictions. Specifically, Instagram notes that Story Stickers are not available to “brand new accounts.” 

Presumably, this is intended to prevent spammers from creating fresh accounts to share low-quality or malicious links on the platform, though it is unclear exactly what constitutes a “brand new” account. 

Additionally, the company says that accounts found to repeatedly post hate speech, misinformation, or other content that violates Instagram community guidelines will have access to link stickers revoked. 

If you’d like to find out more about the new linkable Story Stickers, check out Instagram’s announcement here.

LinkedIn is launching new ways for brands to publish content on the platform, including a long-form content format called Articles for Pages and new ways to stream live events.

The new long-form content format provides the first chance for companies or organizations on the social network to publish content that is not restricted by character count while the updates to live streaming better integrate the platform’s streaming features to provide a simpler, more accessible, and more sharable.

Let’s explore these updates a bit more. 

Articles for Pages

While individuals have been able to publish long blogs and articles on their personal accounts for some time, company pages have been restricted to shorter content by arbitrary character counts.

With the new Articles for Pages, brands are finally free to go as in-depth as they want with their content on the social network, with absolutely no length restrictions. 

Importantly, Articles for Pages also comes with informative audience and engagement insights, including audience demographic details.

LinkedIn Live Events

LinkedIn is uniting its “Scheduled LinkedIn Live” and “LinkedIn Events” features together to make live streaming more streamlined and easy to do. 

Under the new title of LinkedIn Live Events, the platform is making it easier to access all of its live-streaming features while also debuting some new tricks and services. 

With LinkedIn Live Events, brands can:

  • Promote a livestream in advance to a targeted audience
  • Notify registrants and select Page followers when the event goes live
  • Generate views on the event page from anyone on the site, whether they’ve hit “Attend” or not, during and after the show.
  • Share the replay of the live content for further reach and engagement
  • Access LinkedIn Live with fewer followers than before
  • Use expanded registration forms for Events to better suit your needs
  • Manage leads with integration with Zapier.

Together, these new features open the door for brands to connect with their audience and promote their products and services in exciting and helpful ways which have been proven to drive leads. They are definitely worth considering if your brand serves professionals or entrepreneurs.

To find out more about LinkedIn’s latest announcements, check out their recent blog post on LinkedIn Pulse.

Facebook shared a new report this week which lists the hottest trends on its platform and Instagram in recent months. 

The latest edition of the Facebook and Instagram “Topics to Watch” report shines a spotlight on the top three topics from both platforms in the second quarter of this based on year-over-year data. 

Importantly, that means these are not the topics that had the most engagement overall. The report shows the trends which specifically showed the growth patterns most likely to lead to long-term popularity on Facebook and Instagram. This helps filter out flashes in the pan which become all the rage for a week and then fizzle out. 

The Topics to Watch On Facebook from Q2 2021

Wedding Receptions

  • 1.57x year-over-year growth
  • 1.20x month-over-month growth

Many couples are deciding now is the time to tie the knot after a year of delayed receptions or spending a year social distancing together. As such, interest in wedding receptions has shot up in recent months across Facebook and its platforms.

However, the impact of the pandemic is still clear since data suggests couples are still opting for smaller gatherings with less than 50 guests or even virtual ceremonies. 

Pop-Up Retail

  • 3.59x year-over-year growth
  • 1.02x month-over-month growth

Pop-up shops have been an increasingly popular trend for retailers in recent years, and recent events have only made them more appealing for both brands and consumers.

As Facebook explains, “Pop-ups can last anywhere from a day to a few months and offer an element of surprise and exclusivity for consumers” while allowing retailers to connect with new customers in untapped markets.

“As some people begin to feel comfortable shopping in-person again, pop-ups provide opportunities for consumers to enjoy a new type of retail experience and learn about all kinds of brands.”

Pet Sitting

  • 1.60x year-over-year growth
  • 1.25x month-over-month growth

After a year of their owners being home to give them constant love and affection, many pets may be experiencing loneliness or feelings of abandonment as companies return to in-office work and social events resume.

To help make the transition back to a regular work schedule easier on their fluffy family (and themselves), pet owners are increasingly seeking pet sitting services. At the same time, some who are looking for more flexible job options post-pandemic are showing interest in pet sitting as a fun way to help bring in more revenue.

Specifically, Facebook users are looking for more modern pet sitting services which allow pet owners to stay informed about their pets throughout the day, helping both pet and owner adjust to the time apart. 

The Topics to Watch On Instagram from Q2 2021

Family Reunion

  • 3.03x year-over-year growth
  • 1.69x year-over-year growth

In an effort to kill two birds with one stone, many are combining the desire to reconnect with family and make some new memories with destination family reunions. Not only does this give people a much-needed chance to get out of their homes, this approach also presents the chance to share the experience with your entire family. 

Of course, not everyone is planning a destination reunion. Data shows that more traditional reunions are also experiencing a rise in popularity on Instagram.

Car Rental

  • 1.81x year-over-year growth
  • 0.97x month-over-month growth

Continuing the theme of getting away from home, Instagram data indicates that car rental demand has grown since the removal of lockdown policies across much of the country. 

The issue has been made even worse (and helped drive interest in the topic) as the availability of rental cars has become limited and costs have shot up due to a microchip shortage slowing the production of cars. 

Drag Shows

  • 1.84x year-over-year growth
  • 1.41x month-over-month growth

Whether it’s related to the growing mainstream popularity of Ru Paul’s Drag Race or the need for excitement and new experiences post-lockdown, Instagram is seeing a surprising rise in interest in drag shows.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the report describes a drag show as “a gender-bending art form put on by drag artists, or people who dress in clothes and makeup that amplify a specific gender identity, usually of the opposite sex.”

Notably, the report says that many drag shows have continued to be broadcast digitally to account for those who are uncertain about public events due to Covid and bring a feeling of unity or connection to those feeling isolated because of their identity or social distancing.

To see the full report, including even more data and analysis, click here.

Getting “verified” on Facebook or Instagram serves as a badge of honor, signifying your place as a notable brand or individual on the platforms. However, it isn’t always clear who counts as ‘notable’ and who will be denied the blue checkmark – especially as Facebook and Instagram have recently updated their guidelines for who can be verified. 

To make it clear who can be verified, how to get verified, and what comes with the special badge, Facebook recently shared an in-depth post about the verification process on the Facebook for Creators page.

What Is Verification?

One thing that Facebook wants to make very clear is that being verified is not an endorsement from the platform.

It will not help your rankings or visibility in users’ feeds or earn you favorability in any other way on the platform.

Being verified is just a signal of notability and authenticity – nothing more.

What Is Needed To Apply for Verification?

Along with a typical application form, Facebook also asks for a number of details to confirm that you are a notable person or organization. This includes:

Proof of Authenticity

Facebook requires that you provide a form of official documentation proving that you are the person in question or a genuine representative of the organization applying. This can be done by providing one of the following:

  • A Passport
  • A Driving License
  • Tax Filing
  • NI Card
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • A Recent Utility Bill

Select Your Category

Applicants must identify themselves as one of the following types of profiles or pages which are ‘in the public interest’:

  • News/Media.
  • Government and politics.
  • Sports.
  • Fashion.
  • Music.
  • Entertainer.
  • Gamer.
  • Digital creator / blogger / influencer.
  • Business / brand / organization.
  • Other.

Additional Details

Applicants can also provide optional extra details which describe your audience, reasons why people follow you, and their related interests. 

Along with this, you can provide up to five links to pages or profiles showing that your brand is ‘in the public interest’. 

To be clear, Facebook states that links to clearly promotional or paid content will be disregarded.

Further Notes from Facebook

The post also details some of the basic guidelines and standards for verified profiles and pages, particularly that applicants must be:

  • For an account that represents a registered business or entity, or be a real person.
  • For a public account – with a bio, profile photo, ‘about’ section, and has a minimum of one post.
  • For an account that has a unique presence – pets and publications are also eligible.
  • For an account that represents a highly-searched for and well-known brand, entity, or person.
  • For one account per person or business – with the only exception being for language-specific accounts.

A Word of Caution

Lastly, Facebook warns that getting verified does tend to come with increased attention from bad actors, including hackers, scammers, and impersonators.

As such, it recommends that verified accounts enable two-factor authentication and be watchful for copycats impersonating them.

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, had been opening up recently in a series of blog posts about how the app surfaces content. 

First, he went in-depth on how the social app’s recommendation features find and highlight content in users’ primary feeds, as well as in stories, the explore section, and more.

Now, he is focusing on the app’s search engine, explaining how Instagram ranks search results and how to optimize content for the platform.

How Instagram Search Works

As with any modern search engine, the first and foremost goal of Instagram’s search feature is to find and return the most relevant results for an individual user’s query.

“Your search tells us what you’re looking for, and it’s noticeable when the results aren’t useful. It’s important for us to get this right, so we try to organize search results by what’s most relevant to you — whether it be a close friend, a creator you love, or ideas for vegan desserts.

“Let’s say you’re interested in finding pictures of space after seeing the blue moon. When you tap the search bar on the Explore page, the first thing you see is your recent searches. As you begin typing “space,” we show you accounts, audio, hashtags, and places that match the text of your search. In this case, results like @space and #space show up because “space” appears in their name.”

Instagram’s Top Three Ranking Signals

To deliver these results, Instagram looks at a number of factors including account data, hashtags, user engagement, and more. Specifically, Mosseri highlights three major ranking signals to pay attention to:

  • Your text in Search. The text you enter in the search bar is by far the most important signal for Search. We try to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and places.
  • Your activity. This includes accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, and how you’ve interacted with accounts in the past. We usually show accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don’t.
  • Information about the search results. When there are a lot of potential results, we also look at popularity signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place.

Tips for Getting Your Content in Instagram Search Results

Mosseri goes on to offer three suggestions for optimizing your profile and posts for the app’s search engine:

  • Use a fitting handle and profile name. Search results are matched by text. Using an Instagram handle or profile name that’s related to the content of your posts is your best bet for showing up in relevant searches. If your friends or fans know you by a certain name, include that name in your username or profile so that you can show up when they search for you.
  • Include relevant keywords and locations in your bio. Same principle here. Make sure your bio includes keywords about who you are and what your profile is about. If your account is location-specific, like for a small business, sharing your location in your bio can make it easier for people in your area to find you.
  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. For a post to be found in Search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments.

How Instagram Filters Unsafe Content

Of course, Instagram has to filter out its fair share of spam, inappropriate content, and problematic pages.

This is done by penalizing specific posts, accounts, and, on some rare occasions, entire hashtags.

As Mosseri explains:

“Accounts that post spam or violate our guidelines may appear lower in search results, and you may have to search their full username to find them. We also balance searches for sensitive topics with additional safety measures to make sure we don’t show you related content that could be harmful. Accounts, hashtags and posts that violate our Community Guidelines are removed from Instagram entirely, which prevents them from showing up in Search.”

Plans for the Future

Mosseri concludes his blog post by sharing a bit about the upcoming improvements Instagram plans to make to its search results. Notably, he says the company wants to make Instagram Search “more than just a way to find accounts and hashtags” by moving towards a “full search results page experience.”

“For example, your search for “space” will show you space-related photos and videos, too. This is especially helpful when you don’t have an exact username or hashtag in mind when searching for a certain topic.”

If you want to read Adam Mosseri’s full blog post about how Instagram ranks search results, click here.

For the first time ever, Facebook is revealing the most clicked and most viewed pages, posts, and more across the site in a new quarterly Widely Viewed Content Report

The lists specifically focus on the pages, domains, links, and posts that have gotten the most views in the U.S. between April 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021.. 

Here’s what the report tells us:

Overall Takeaways from Facebook’s Widely Viewed Content Report

Before we get into the more detailed lists, the report also gives us some surprising takeaways about content on Facebook:

  • The most viewed content is not necessarily the content that gets the most engagement.
  • More than half (57%) of posts that people see come from their family and friends. 
  • Less than 13% of content views were on posts containing links.
  • Despite the perception that news sources dominate the platform, the most viewed news domains accounted for just 0.31% of all content views.
  • However, approximately a quarter of the most viewed posts including links came from the most viewed news publishers.

Most Viewed Domains

Facebook’s Widely Viewed Content Report lists the top 20 domains on the platform by content views. Below, we are sharing the top 10:

  1. youtube.com (181.3M views)
  2. amazon.com (134.6M views)
  3. unicef.org (134.4M views)
  4. gofundme.com (124.8M views)
  5. twitter.com (116.1M views)
  6. media1.tenor.co (115.6M views)
  7. m.tiktok.com (110.7M views)
  8. open.spotify.com (93.0M views)
  9. playeralumniresources.com (89.9M views)
  10. abcnews.go.com (88.1M views)

Most Viewed Links

The topmost viewed links include a very surprising and often confusing mishmash of landing pages, videos, store pages, news articles, and more. Here are the top 10 most viewed links on Facebook:

  1. https://www.playeralumniresources.com/ (87.2M views)
  2. https://purehempshop.com/collections/all (72.1M views)
  3. https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/unicef-responding-covid-19-india (62.7M views)
  4. https://myincrediblerecipes.com/ (58.9M views)
  5. https://reppnforchrist.com/ (51.6M views)
  6. http://www.yahoo.com/ (51.0M views)
  7. https://64.media.tumblr.com/2d32d91bcdfa6e17f18df90f1fada473/6094b00761d82f16-76/s400x600/f0383899ecb1484b10e3420a368d871d7dc68f91.gifv (49.1M views)
  8. https://stevefmvirginia.iheart.com/ (48.2M views) 
  9. https://www.londonedge.com/index.html (44.3M views)
  10. https://subscribe.theepochtimes.com/p/?page=email-digital-referral (44.2M views)

Most Viewed Pages

The most viewed pages give a glimpse into those who are driving the most engagement and building the most connected audience:

  1. Unicef (153.2M views)
  2. Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons (112.3M views)
  3. Sassy Media (109.5M views)
  4. The Dodo (104.5M views)
  5. LADbible (104.4M views)
  6. Woof Woof (104.1M views)
  7. A Woman’s Soul (98.3M views)
  8. 3am Thoughts (92.1M views)
  9. Lori Foster (89.5M views)
  10. World Health Organization (WHO) (88.9M views)

Top Viewed Posts

While the full report includes the top 20 posts from the platform, we aren’t going to share them here. The collection is largely made up of simple text posts with an image – some bordering on spam. The third most viewed post was even deleted or made private. If anything, this section reveals that Facebook doesn’t necessarily require the most intricately constructed content to go viral. All it takes is knowing your audience and motivating them to respond. 


As you might expect from all of this, the reaction to the report has been mixed (at best).

It is certainly interesting to see exactly what pages and content are getting the most traction across Facebook, but it doesn’t exactly paint the most impressive picture.

For better or worse, however, this is what has been most widely viewed on Facebook in the U.S. this quarter.

For the full report, click here.

Pinterest is introducing new ways for brands and users to make money on the site through easy-to-setup affiliate links. 

By turning “idea pins” into shoppable pins, users can earn a commission when other users buy products included in the pin. 

The process is as easy as toggling a button at the top of the pin creation page and tagging the products in your pin. 

The social network and brands have had large success with shoppable pins since their launch – especially when other users have shared shoppable content. 

According to Pinterest’s data, users are 89% more likely to show shopping intent on idea posts with products tagged compared to standard product pins. Engagement is also nine times higher on idea pins compared to traditional pins. 

What Are Idea Pins

Idea Pins were introduced earlier this year and allow brands to share multi-page video posts similar to “Stories” found on other platforms except they do not disappear after a period of time. 

Idea Pins allow for:

  • Video recording and editing for up to 20 pages of content
  • Voice over recording
  • Music selection by Epidemic Sound
  • Ghost mode transition tools (perfect for those before-and-afters!)
  • Detail pages for instructions or ingredients
  • Interactive elements like people tagging and stickers
  • Multi-draft save so Creators can publish more ideas
  • Export options to share content beyond Pinterest
  • Topic tagging, a publishing feature that helps connect content to relevant interests

Once posted, users who follow you can see your idea pins in a carousel at the top of their home feed, as well as within search results, the Today tab, and at the top of a user’s profile. 

New Brand Partnership Tools

Along with these expansions to idea pins, Pinterest announced it is working on new ways for influencers to easily disclose paid partnerships. 

Pinterest affiliate or sponsored products posts

The new tool, which is being beta tested with a limited number of creators, allows users to note that they have partnered directly with a brand for content in their idea pin. Once this has been tagged, the brand can approve the idea pin before it goes live. 

Posts created this way will also receive a “Paid Partnership” label, which is legally required in the U.S. and generates a better sense of transparency from influencers. 

Twitter is saying goodbye to Fleets, its take on the popular Story format across most popular social networks, after launching the feature just nine months ago.

In a recent announcement, the company said it would stop supporting Fleets as of August 3, 2021.

As Twitter explained, it had hoped that Fleets would help drive new engagement and new users. From what they’ve seen, that just wasn’t happening.

The official statement stated:

“We built Fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts. We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter.

“But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets like we hoped.”

That isn’t to say the feature wasn’t being used. Instead, the people who took to using Twitter Fleets were already active and engaged on the platform before the feature was rolled out. 

“Although we built Fleets to address some of the anxieties that hold people back from Tweeting, Fleets are mostly used by people who are already Tweeting to amplify their own Tweets and talk directly with others.

“We’ll explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter. And for the people who already are Tweeting, we’re focused on making this better for you.”

It is somewhat surprising to see a company be so candid about an underwhelming launch, though Twitter isn’t treating the shutdown of Fleets as a loss. Instead, they say they will apply what they’ve learned towards future improvements.

What Comes Next

When Fleets are removed from the platform, Twitter will use its current place to highlight live audio streams and chats through Spaces.

“The top of the timeline continues to be a good spot to highlight what’s happening right now so you’ll still see Spaces there when someone you follow is hosting or speaking in a live audio conversation.”

There’s no need to worry about lost content, however, since Fleets were already designed to disappear after 24 hours.