Random Presents: 2023 Social Media Wrapped

As we bid farewell to 2023 and head into 2024, it's time to reflect on the whirlwind of events that shaped the social media landscape this past year. From the rise of artificial intelligence to new social platforms, the year was plenty noteworthy (and a bit hectic if you ask us).

In this blog post, we'll delve into the defining moments of 2023 and offer a glimpse into what we can expect in the upcoming year.

Against a black background, red text says "Random Presents:" and white text as a subheading says "2023 Social Media Wrapped." Around the sides and bottom of the graphic, a collage of images includes photos of Elon Musk, the McDonald's Grimace Shake, the Threads logo, a brain, the X logo, and Margot Robbie as Barbie.

These Events Were the *Moments* 

AI Takeover

Are robots taking our jobs?? Not yet, but AI’s development has been nothing short of something out of a sci-fi movie. Generative AI, like ChatGPT, displayed amazing capabilities in writing natural-sounding language.

Sure, some of the writing sounds like a high schooler who is overusing a thesaurus, but the potential is there and growing.

We also witnessed the visual capabilities of AI based on simple text prompts from users, prompting a now common question: "Is this real, or is it AI?"

Here’s a post we made that sums up AI’s impact in 2023:

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New Apps! (more screen time…😮‍💨)

In 2023, we witnessed the rise and fall of several new social platforms. This year's most noteworthy new app was Threads – Meta's X (formerly Twitter) contender.

In the midst of X’s ongoing drama, Threads came at a pertinent time, reaching more than 100 million users in the first five days.

But despite the initial excitement, Threads’ hype slowly died down, losing 80% of its active users and dropping to just 8 million by the end of July.

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A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck)

There were also several other social media platforms that received some hype this year, but they quickly faded away into the land of forgotten apps. Notable mentions include Lapse and Lemon8.

Goodbye Twitter. Hello X?

In 2023, Elon Musk continued his reign over Twitter, hoping to bring significant changes. However, his gradual alterations to the platform resulted in the downfall of the iconic social media site in ways no one could anticipate.

First of all, we said goodbye to Larry the Bird, Twitter’s late mascot. Sad, we know.

Musk's additional changes made Twitter less valuable as he restricted features to paying users, placed a ban on third-party client apps, flooded timelines with “verified” users, and rebranded the company as "X" in a controversial move.

Musk's bold actions with the platform and other controversies surrounding the app led to a mass exodus of users and advertisers. This left Twitter merely a shadow of its former self, raising questions about the future of the once-thriving social media giant.

Currently, it seems to be struggling despite Musk's vision of creating an "everything app" under the name X.

UGC Was King 👑

In 2023, we saw just how far user-generated content (UGC) can take a campaign. The Grimace Shake trend was a golden example of this.

The trend was unexpected (we’re still trying to wipe our memories of the horrors we saw), but the UGC that came from it was more than McDonald’s could have ever hoped for.

Surprisingly, some random cultural happenings got people talking online about a brand in ways we never saw coming.

One of these events was thanks to none other than Taylor Swift, whose romantic relationship with Travis Kelce led to tons of online conversation surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs.

Almost overnight, people who had never watched football in their lives were tuning in and creating content about the NFL team. We’re not sure this will help them win a Super Bowl in 2024, but they’ll at least have the popular vote.

And lastly, another notable mention was the Barbie movie. The nostalgic, quirky film saw momentous numbers at the box office as well as a copious amount of Barbie-related UGC during the release. We even made our own Random + Barbie post during the hype!

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Buckle Up: What We Expect to See in 2024

Want 2024 to be your breakout year on social media? Shoot us a message, and let’s talk social!

Why Building Photos Go Viral: A Random Social Media Study

As social media data junkies, our team at Random loves to explore the reasons why some of our social media posts perform better than others. The topic at hand? Why photos of buildings (that's right, buildings) tend to perform higher than other photos on social media.

The Building Blocks

In the ever-evolving landscape of content marketing, it's crucial to understand what resonates with your audience. Recent research and analysis of client data have revealed an intriguing trend: content featuring images of buildings significantly outperforms other types of content in both engagement and impressions. Let's delve into the numbers and the potential reasons behind this phenomenon.

For the purpose of this study, we stuck to one social media platform: Instagram. Our Social Media Analyst did some deep diving into our clients' social media profiles and collected any photos that displayed the exterior of their buildings. Once the sample of posts was collected, he proceeded to examine the posts based on various KPIs, keeping a focus on engagement and impressions. 

What Stands Out

  1. Engagement: Content with images of buildings averaged an impressive 89.5% better in engagement compared to the monthly content averages.
  2. Impressions: Such content also saw a 44% increase in impressions over their monthly content averages.

These statistics are compelling, suggesting that there's more to building imagery than meets the eye.

Breaking it Down

Hypothesis #1: Breaking the Monotony with Visual Appeal

Most content calendars feature a myriad of images, from people and products to landscapes and abstract graphics. However, our data indicates that there are usually no more than 1 or 2 photos of buildings per month in the case of our clients, Comerica Bank. As you can see, in Comerica Bank's Instagram feed, the scarcity could be a reason that these images stand out, breaking the content monotony. Their unique visual appeal might be the breath of fresh air that users need, prompting them to engage more with the content.

Hypothesis #2: Landmarks for Branding

Buildings, especially iconic ones, can serve as recognizable landmarks. When consistently featured in content, they can become synonymous with a brand's identity. Think of how the Eiffel Tower is instantly associated with Paris or how the Golden Gate Bridge is emblematic of San Francisco. By leveraging such powerful symbols, brands can create a strong visual identity that resonates with their audience.

Here are two examples of buildings that Comerica Bank holds near and dear to their heart. Their newest construction, known as Business HQ, and the Comerica Tower, both located in Dallas, TX, are pinnacle examples of how companies can use buildings as part of their brand image.

Hypothesis #3: A Sense of Geography and Relatability

Buildings inherently convey a sense of place. Whether it's a skyscraper in New York or a historic building in Texas, they ground content in a specific geography. This can foster a sense of relatability, especially among local audiences. For instance, this photo of the Comerica Tower amongst the Dallas, TX, skyline, may have resonated with our local audience and given them a sense of pride, ultimately making them more likely to engage with it.


While the exact reasons behind the success of building imagery in content marketing might remain a subject of debate, the numbers are clear: they work. Whether it's their rarity, their branding potential, or their geographical significance, buildings have carved a niche for themselves in the content landscape.

Brands looking to boost their engagement and impressions might consider incorporating more architectural imagery into their content strategy. After all, in the world of content marketing, it's all about building connections “ and what better way to do that than with buildings?

Break the monotony; let Random get your audience engaged! Contact us to learn more about how we can transform your social media. 

Why Do Social Media Platforms Copy Each Other?

It's not uncommon to find similarities between various platforms in the dynamic world of social media. From layout and design to features and functionality, social media platforms frequently seem to copy one another. But why? To find an answer, we are going to look at some of the primary reasons for this trend, as well as examine its effects on the digital world.

  1. User Familiarity and User Experience

The main reason social media platforms resemble one another is to provide consumers with a familiar experience. Users feel more comfortable and the learning curve is reduced when a new platform incorporates features that have already proven successful on another platform. If users are already accustomed to the features and characteristics of their preferred social media platforms, they can rapidly adapt to the new one. By reducing complexity and ensuring a smooth transition, platforms can secure new users more effectively. 

  1. Competitive Advantage

In the fiercely competitive social media world, platforms constantly seek ways to gain an edge over their competitors. Copying successful features from competitors can be a strategic move to capture a larger user base. By incorporating popular features, platforms aim to retain existing users and attract those who are looking for similar functions. For example, Instagram's introduction of Stories, which were first made popular by Snapchat, helped Instagram maintain its position as a leading platform and drew users away from its competitors.

  1. Market Validation

Creating a new feature requires significant resources, time, and effort. By observing and copying features that have proven successful on other platforms, social media companies can leverage market validation. If a particular feature is well-received on one platform, it suggests that users are interested in that functionality, reducing the risk associated with innovation. For instance, TikTok's skyrocketing popularity demonstrated the immense appeal of short videos, prompting other platforms like Instagram and YouTube to introduce similar features such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. By implementing features that have already been validated, platforms can focus on refining the execution rather than reinventing the wheel.

  1. User Expectations and Trends

Social media platforms are under constant pressure to live up to user expectations and keep up with the emerging trends. Users often desire similar experiences across several platforms to maintain a consistent digital presence. If a new platform fails to offer features that are popular on existing platforms, it risks being perceived as outdated or irrelevant. This is evident in the case of Vine, a once popular short-form video platform that failed to adapt to the evolving social media landscape. With the rise of platforms like Instagram and Youtube, which capitalized on the demand for short video content, Vine's inability to incorporate additional features ultimately led to its decline and eventual shutdown. This serves as a compelling example of the importance of adapting to trends and implementing features that resonate with users to maintain relevance in the social media ecosystem.

  1. Monetization Strategies

Social media platforms rely largely on advertising revenue and user engagement metrics. By duplicating successful features, platforms can tap into established monetization strategies. For instance, Facebook capitalized on the increased interest in real-time interactive content when it introduced live video streaming. With the help of this feature, advertisers and influencers had a great opportunity to monetize their video by including sponsorships and advertisements.

Facebook gave businesses and influencers a platform to reach a highly engaged audience while content creators could make money and form profitable partnerships by facilitating the seamless integration of promotional content within live streams. Platforms can create opportunities for both users and advertisers, attracting more investment and increasing profit.

Due to the competitive nature of the digital market and the goal to provide consumers with a seamless experience, social media companies are increasingly mimicking one another. Although some would claim that it hinders innovation, the approach has many benefits, as noted above. In the near future, we can anticipate more replication, adaptation, and invention as the social media world continues to change. This will eventually influence how social interaction and digital communication will develop in the coming years. 

Looking to optimize your digital marketing to boost your business? Our social media experts are ready to help! Chat with us below