TikTok comes for Netflix, and other 2023 social trends

Last year, TikTok rocketed to the top, Twitter sold out, and Meta struggled. Plus, BeReal burst onto an already crowded scene.

Here are two trends (and one very specific prediction) that will define social media in 2023.

Trend: TikTok comes for Netflix’s crown

According to our forecast, Netflix will hit 172.2 million US viewers this year, and they’ll average over an hour a day on the platform.

While TikTok isn’t quite there in terms of viewers or time spent, it’s catching up, with 102.4 million users averaging 47 minutes per day with the platform.

What’s closing the gap? Longer videos, said our analyst Debra Aho Williamson on a recent “Behind the Numbers: The Daily” episode. “The type of programming we’re seeing on TikTok, it’s short videos, but they’re getting longer,” she said. “And I think that’s going to continue.”

TikTok’s advantage: From an advertising perspective, TikTok is miles ahead of Netflix, which just launched an ad-supported tier last year and is already encountering challenges.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any battle whatsoever in ad revenue,” said Williamson. “Netflix seems to already be struggling in the US to build its ad business, whereas TikTok is still quite dominant and much further ahead in ad revenue than Netflix.”

Still, this is the battle to watch in the coming months, she said.

Trend: Most platforms will share ad revenues with creators

It’s already starting with YouTube Shorts, and our analyst Jasmine Enberg thinks other platforms will follow suit.

For better or worse (probably worse), this will have huge ripple effects on content creation.

“There will be a natural impetus among creators to create more content because every piece will potentially be monetizable,” said Enberg. “And that’s going to send a wave of quick-hit, low-value content across social media as creators scramble to get more content out.”

The grab for gains: Enberg predicts that smaller creators will be the ones to jump on this as they try to earn more from their content. “Big-name creators will probably be less likely to jeopardize many of their high-value partnerships just to gain a few extra dollars from ad revenue,” she said.

Another unintended result is creator economy apps like LTK or Geneva will gain traction, further fragmenting the creator landscape.

Highly specific prediction: Elon Musk will step down as CEO of Twitter

Whether because a Twitter poll told him to or it was always his plan, Musk will relinquish the chief executive position at Twitter this year.

That doesn’t mean he’ll wash his hands of Twitter altogether. “He’s facing a lot of pressure to take a step back,” said Enberg. “But the caveat here is that he says he’s still going to be in charge of the software and servers team[s]. So it’s not like he’ll have no influence over how Twitter is run, especially in the day to day.”

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast