Why Recommendation Media Is the New Standard

Social media is dead. TikTok changed the game with entertainment and engagement.

Tomer Dean
November 12, 2022

Something big is happening in the world💥

Those who understand it, will thrive. Those who ignore or resist will face becoming irrelevant (ahem ahem Blockbuster, Nokia) 🪦 This article will simply explain what is recommendation media so you can be among the ones that leverage it and are not left behind.

Social media is dead

The traditional way social media works is dead - and being replaced by something new called recommendation-media.

This effects how the world's digital attention is captured (user acquisition) and therefore disrupts how companies need to build their strategies.

I'll explain.

Social media as we know it - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram - works on a simple concept. The social graph.

If you and I are friends on one of these platforms, we'll get access to each other's content within our feeds. You see the best engaging content from people you know (or 2nd degree). That's how these algorithms works.

This model has worked up to now. To an extent.

This is now called the "old model", which has proven suboptimal at entertaining us in the long-term

What is recommendation media?

TikTok flipped the script.

On TikTok it doesn't really matter who you follow. If they have a piece of content that will entertain you - they will show it to you. Regardless of who uploaded it.

This means they are not constrained by the amount of content they can show you like existing models.

Since their content is short - users can view 20-100 videos per session. This gives them many data points to analyze which videos you watch, pause, engage with, re-watch...etc

Within 2-3 browsing sessions, they build a pretty reliable model of what types of topics entertain you. Be it girls dancing, cooking shows, DIY, tech podcasts, history videos - basically anything humans can consume.

This results in a more efficient network to match content between creator and user

Source: Sameer Singh

A better consumption experience

The result = higher quality of content for everyone's feeds

This is a superior model when optimizing for “entertainment” and not social content:

  • It keeps us entertained longer.
  • Watching more ads.
  • Making social media platforms more money.

“In recommendation media, the best content for each consumer wins. This means that consumers are always being recommended and actively served content best suited for them, creating a superior consumption experience at all times.”

It’s not only TikTok that’s doing this

Recommendation media is the new standard for content distribution.

TikTok pioneered this. Facebook copied. Instagram copied (Reels). YouTube copied (Shorts). And the rest are soon to follow.

And the results speak for themselves:

TikTok: Reached 1 billion users in 2021. In 2022 will reach 1.8 billion

YouTube Shorts: 1.5 billion users view the app a month

Since the content in our feed is always improving, there’s a natural network effect that will always keep improving the user experience.

This is the reason recommendation media is the new standard for content platforms. This is also the reason every business executive needs to understand this.

Further reading on the subject: