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Industry Trends
December 21, 2023
min read
Noam Yadin

Looking back at 2023 via memes

It’s the best time of the year - it’s time to look back at 2023 through the memes we created and posted in our newsletter each week (because if we don’t laugh at everything that happened this year, we might cry). 

Quick recap - social media platform rivalries were at an all time high, Twitter died and came back to life as X, AI joined the chat, and content creators became quite influential during the writer’s strike. 

Sit back, scroll through, laugh it out, and prepare for another whirlwind year.

YouTube buckled down on ad-blockers

In 2023, there were still a large number of YouTube users unwilling to pay for YouTube Premium and even more unwilling to watch (sometimes unskippable) ads before and during their favorite content. That’s where ad-blockers came in. 

YouTube’s patience has dwindled and it has put its foot down on ad-blockers. Now, if the platform sees an ad blocker being used, the user will be unable to view the video content. 

TikTok’s troubles

TikTok was under fire this year! From former employees filing complaints against TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, and Congress grilling TikTok’s CEO on data privacy and the platform’s ties to China to Montana becoming the first state to approve a stat-wide ban on the use of TikTok (don’t worry, a federal judge blocked the ban so Montana residents won’t be ringing in the new year TikTok-less). 

Remember when it was disclosed the TikTok employees have power in deciding which videos will appear on users’ FYP? 

The chaos that is Twitter (X)

If you think TikTok had a stressful year, you obviously haven’t met Twitter. Just before starting 2023, Elon Musk made quite a dramatic entrance to Twitter (sink in tow) and laid off 3,700 people. Musk’s next plan of action was toying around with Twitter Blue and trying to get more creators using the social platform. And then Twitter became X - which didn’t consistent chaos that was taking place on the social media platform. 

Content creators meet AI

It’s safe to say that 2023 was the year of ChatGPT, opening up the doors for all-things AI. While at first it seemed quite daunting asking AI for help with social media content ideas or the best title for your YouTube video, it quickly found its place in content creators’ workflow. 

Trying to understand YouTube’s algorithm

With all the AI tools available, YouTube users still couldn’t crack YouTube’s algorithm (everyone except MrBeast of course). 

And, on the topic of MrBeast…the uber-succesful YouTuber continues to thrive and break records as a social media phenomenon. 

MrBeast continues being, well, a beast 

Earlier in the year, MrBeast hit the whopping 150M subscriber mark - but has since surpassed 200M subscribers on YouTube - which continues to make him the most subscribed YouTuber on the platform. 

Just a little data to spice things up: According to our data, MrBeast's long-form videos have received 1B views over the last 30 days and his Shorts have reached 853M views over the same period of time. It's important to note that during this period MrBeast only uploaded 4 long-form video - so most of these views are on back catalog videos (evergreen content!). On just his back catalog videos, this YouTube channel receives over 1.4B views - skyrocketing his evergreen score. In just the last month, 8M people subscribed to MrBeast's channel. 

But, you know what they say - with great power comes great responsibility. Throughout the year, MrBeast continued to share his tips and insight into becoming uber-successful as a content creator. And, some creators took that as an opportunity to literally follow in MrBeast’s path…

It didn’t phase MrBeast that Vlad was copying his thumbnails and video concepts because the YouTuber (and his mastermind manager) were always 20 steps ahead. 

Social media rivalries and new features galore

Social media platforms competed over everything - creator pay, requirements to get a piece of the creator funds, short videos, long videos (do 15-minute TikTok video still count as short-form video content?), updated personal feeds, sharing those personal feeds…the list seriously goes on and on. 

What did creators have to do with the Hollywood strike? A lot more than you make think.

What made this year stand out amongst all the rest? Hollywood, those in front of the cameras and those behind the cameras, put down their scripts and striked against writers conditions. 

So, what did content creators have to do with this?

With movie and tv show productions on pause, people were forced to seek entertainment elsewhere - YouTube. The big names in Hollywood quickly turned to creators and politely asked them to support the cause and not take part in Hollywood events and promotions. And those that didn’t? Well, they’d be punished down the line by being banned from Hollywood productions. 

Influencers in the wild 

By now its pretty evident just how much power content creators have - from Alix Earle selling out pretty much anything she touches or talks about to SAG-AFTRA putting a spotlight on influencers - however, this kind of power comes with a price. Throughout the year, several content creators found themselves in hot waters.

Remember when TikToker Mikayla Nogueira uploaded a video reviewing L’Oreal Paris’ newest mascara and within minutes millions of viewers accused her of amplifying the mascara’s effects by adding fake lashes? The internet is a great place. This ultimately brought to light an ongoing issue in the influencer marketing sphere - disclosure of creators’ relationship with a brand - and led the FTC to update its endorsement guidelines and become much stricter on the matter.

In August, content creators signed a pledge which stated. “The fossil fuels industry is using creators and influencers to spread the next generation of climate lies. When you take the Clean Creative pledge not to work with the fossil fuel industry, you are joining a movement to stop the spread of misinformation that is wrecking the planet.” The thing is, content creators and influencers continued working with fast-fashion brands - fast-fashion comprises of up to 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions (which is more than international flights and shipping combined). 

And, Google turned 25 (do you feel old yet?)

I mean, there’s not much more to say.

Phew - can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store for the creator economy. ThoughtLeaders is committed to staying up-to-date with all things creator economy and we share everything you need to know via our weekly newsletter. Make sure to signup for our newsletter so you don’t miss any important updates or hilarious memes. 

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