Looking back at what we have accomplished in 2022, it is absolutely mind-blowing.
Words cannot express how proud I am of the talented team that executed an amazing plan into unchartered waters.
At a high level, in 2022, we more than doubled our social reach. We ended 2021 with roughly 750,000 followers across all channels. As of writing this, we are north of 1,600,000.
The big winner for us in 2022 was YouTube. We went from 55,000 subscribers to 536,000 subscribers. Leaning in hard on YouTube Shorts was the main attributor to the success.
By the end of this year it is safe to say that we will be over 550,000 subscribers which would mean we 10X’d our audience.
Here is a breakdown of our YouTube Subscribers by source:
TikTok growth continued as well, but NOT without challenges. We started the year with around 380,000 Followers and are currently sitting at 752,400. Safe to assume we can get 8,000 more before 2023. Doubling our audience on this platform is absolutely a win. We had hoped to crack a million by the end of 2022, but I feel what the team accomplished still deserves to be celebrated.
Outside of TikTok and YouTube, we are seeing growth, but not even close to these levels.
But growth is not easy on any channel and growth is not a success if it’s the wrong audience.
In this article, I want to dig in on growing with the right audience.
After that, I want to discuss the current TikTok challenge that many brands are facing.
The right audience?
Last month, in an amazing Slack group that Kristen LaFrance created (CPG House), we were discussing audience growth. I shared some of my views and Boyko Kaloferov (Director of Partnerships at Athletic Greens) brought some incredible insight to the conversation:
“When I think of YT shorts, there are two main applications:
- Content distribution and growing your own channel. (John Roman’s case)
- Sales/Acquisition growth in some capacity
I think when it comes to the owned media channel growth -- it's a no-brainer. YT shorts is probably the quickest way to get discovered in nowadays algorithm climate. YT is actively pushing shorts, so you have a fair shot at getting served in front of a larger audience.
John - I will be reading the two brief memos you've linked with my morning coffee... but I'm curious -- how did the growth look in terms of audience demographics? For example, we see that a large portion of the YT shorts audience is coming from diverse places, like India, Pakistan, the Middle East, etc.
When it comes to the customer acquisition portion, I think it's a bit tougher unless you consider MMMs and be more geared toward top-of-the-funnel metrics. We are trying to get more learnings in the space as we speak.
We think there is potential and it's worth playing and testing YT shorts. If you are going with the acquisition angle, context alignment is crucial!”
Boyko inquires about the audience demographics which is absolutely important.
For BattlBox, we only sell in North America (US + Canada), so growing an audience might seem great at a high level, but if the audience is made up mainly of people that cannot make a purchase from you, the value of the audience is not as great as you might think.
Luckily, more than a 3rd of all of our viewers are in the United States.
But Boyko is spot on. There are two main applications. In my opinion, you should try to accomplish both. When you see types of content that are working for you (getting engagement), make sure the audience is the audience you are targeting. It is natural to get a victory and want to instantly think of ways to replicate that success. The point is, to take a moment, examine the data, and make sure it is actually a victory.
TikTok Algorithm change
On September 6th, there was a major change to TikTok’s algorithm. We track a bunch of TikTok accounts besides ours and saw the same in almost all of them. At its basic core, we simply stopped growing and began shrinking. Most of everything we saw online about the change was that the TikTok descriptions were now more important. Everyone seemed to point to that being the MAJOR change in the Algorithm update.
We tested the description theory first. We actually were NOT able to isolate that the issue was the description. We kept toying around with different versions of testing the descriptions every which way to no success.
Next, we tested increasing posting frequency by about 50% and within a couple of days, we started to see growth again. You can look at recent posts and see that we have actually had more success with the lack of description. Of course, we are still running some description tests and regardless we will be putting descriptions in some of the TikToks because of the SEO value.
In summary, not sure if the issue we saw for a few weeks was temporary (they changed a part of the algo back) or if the increase in frequency was the solve. Increasing the frequency did stop us from shrinking and did start to send us back in the right direction.
If you want to read some of the past updates regarding TikTok and YouTube, I have compiled some of those entries below:
BattlBox TikTok Organic August in Review (Aug 2021)