October 30th, 2023

Social Media Shakeup: What’s Fresh, Hot, and Trending!

Vladislava Genova

By Vladislava Genova

Dear Reader,

you’re probably well aware of the lightning speed at which the digital advertising world evolves. To avoid the bitter taste of being late at the party, staying atop the latest trends is a must. Otherwise, you risk missing the early bird special, and your competitors might toast to success without you, savouring all the fine wine. 

Today, we decided to explore the latest updates in the most popular social media platforms and uncover what’s yet to come. 

Spoiler alert: AI is stealing the show.


TikTok has unveiled its latest Halloween activations, featuring a variety of spooky AR (augmented reality) effects and visual tools to enhance user participation in the festive season.  At the forefront of TikTok’s Halloween digital celebration are makeup-inspired effects, guiding users to transform themselves into creepy monsters reminiscent of popular horror movie characters. Users can easily choose their favourite Halloween look and share it with their TikTok audience.

For the biggest Halloween enthusiasts, TikTok has announced a “Spooky Halloween” challenge for AR effects creators, offering designers the opportunity to earn up to $2,500 for their most innovative and original effects.

Top Halloween Spooky Tags: 

  • #Halloween (179.1B views)
  • #TikTokHalloween (17.8B views)
  • #HalloweenMakeup (11.6B views)
  • #HalloweenCostume (10.5B views)
  • #PumpkinSeason (9.3B views)
  • #SpookyTreats (4.4B views)
  • #HalloweenDecor (3.6B views)
  • #BooBasket (215.6M views)  
  • #HorrorBookTok (111.6M views)
  • #spookybooks (34.8M views)

TikTok introduces its Search Ads Toggle which enables advertisers to expand their in-feed advertising to TikTok’s search results page. This feature helps brands reach users actively searching for products or services related to the business’ offerings. These search ads show as “Sponsored” content and enhance the discoverability of relevant products or services. Unlike traditional keyword-based search ads, TikTok’s Search Ads Toggle automatically generates ads using the advertiser’s existing in-feed video content and targeting criteria, making it more convenient for users to find what they’re looking for and for businesses to connect with their target audience. The search feature can be accessed through the “For You” and “Friends” tabs.

TikTok now offers an AI-powered Creative assistant to help brands and creators with their video-making endeavours. TikTok’s Assistant will act as a trusted partner, guiding users through brainstorming sessions, trend identification, best practices, and inspiration. 


As generative technologies, empowered by AI, are opening up novel avenues for connection and self-expression, Meta offers innovative ways for its users to get the best of the social media platform. 

  • AI Stickers: Meta has announced new AI-powered stickers that enable users to generate customised stickers in their chats and stories. They use the technology from Llama 2 and Meta’s Emu, a foundational model for image generation. This AI tool turns text prompts into unique stickers in seconds. The new feature will roll out in WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook Stories. Only selected English-language users will have the chance to test it first.
  • AI Image Editing: Meta is introducing Restyle and Backdrop, two more features powered by AI. Restyle allows users to apply visual styles to their images with the help of descriptive prompts, enabling even more creative modifications. In the meantime, Backdrop utilises AI that learns from Meta’s Segment Anything Model to further enhance user images. These features offer more creative options for image editing and even co-creation with friends.
  • AI Studio platform: Meta aims to enable developers, both coders and non-coders, to build AIs. Soon developers will be able to use Meta’s APIs to create third-party AIs, starting with Messenger and then expanding to WhatsApp. This move allows businesses to enhance customer service and build AIs reflecting their brand values. The platform will launch in alpha and expand further in the following year.


  • Private Sharing Features: Instagram is responding to the trend of users sharing less content in their feeds by introducing features to encourage more private conversations. This includes tools like Audio Clips and Selfie Videos for Notes. The “Close Friends” feature has also been expanded to accommodate multiple friend groups, enabling group-specific content sharing and communication. Each group can include up to 250 people, offering opportunities for marketers to use these groups as lead nurturing lists by tailoring content and offers to specific audiences.
  • Ad-free subscription: Meta is considering the introduction of paid monthly subscriptions for ad-free versions of Facebook and Instagram in the European Union. This plan would involve charges of around €10 per month for desktop access or €13 on mobile for each account, with extra costs for additional linked accounts. It is seen as a potential solution for Meta to comply with data protection laws in Europe, and it’s likely that the rollout will be limited to EU countries.
  • New Reels Feature: Instagram introduced a “Following” feed within the Reels tab, allowing users to view Reels exclusively from accounts they follow. While it’s unlikely that Instagram will make this the default view, it offers marketers an opportunity to encourage audiences to follow brand accounts to ensure they don’t miss out on reels.
  • Insta Stickers: Instagram is testing two new stickers: the App sticker, which directs users from Instagram to an external app, and a Secret sticker that reveals content when a viewer responds to an Instagram story. The Secret sticker has the potential to capture future buyers’ attention by teasing them with intriguing content and prompting them to message brands for more information.


X is planning to introduce new pricing tiers for X Premium, which includes an ad-free subscription option. These pricing tiers are indicated in the app’s codebase and include the following: 

  • X Premium Basic: This lower-priced tier will display full ads in the user’s feed. 
  • X Premium Standard: This appears to be the current version of Premium, with half the ad exposure. 
  • X Premium Plus: Users on this higher-priced package would have no ads in-stream. 

The aim is to generate more interest in X’s subscription by offering a cheaper option for users, even if it doesn’t include all the benefits of the current $8 per month version. It’s uncertain whether the cheaper version will provide users with a blue checkmark, but it may still include the marker of paid verification. The ad-free version is expected to be of particular interest.

  • X restricts Links to rival apps and news publishers: X has come under scrutiny for slowing down load times when users attempt to access rival platforms such as Patreon, WhatsApp, and Messenger through the app. While the delay may not appear substantial, it has practical implications and is seen as an effort by X to discourage users from migrating to these competing platforms. X may be introducing its own versions of these platforms or believes that upcoming features will render these apps unnecessary. The reported slowdown of rival platforms on X could affect marketers by potentially reducing user engagement and content visibility.


  • Spotlight Moments: YouTube is introducing “Spotlight Moments,” an AI-driven package that identifies popular videos related to key cultural events. This feature enables advertisers to have a significant presence in video content linked to these cultural moments, promoting their brand during specific events when viewer engagement is high. These ads are curated into dynamic playlists on a dedicated YouTube hub featuring the advertiser’s logo. Advertisers can enhance their reach by using additional ad solutions, such as First Position, YouTube Masthead, Google TV Masthead, and In-Feed Displays.