6 min read

💌: The TikTok Takeover

💌: The TikTok Takeover

👋 Hi everyone, welcome to another week of the most interesting things happening in marketing. A big shout out to everyone who joined in the last week, it was the biggest week for new subscribers so far, besting our second-biggest week just two issues ago. I want to thank you all so much for reading and spending some time with me each Sunday.

Ok, let’s get into it!

The TikTok Takeover

It finally happened. TikTok gets a dedicated section in the newsletter this week. You’ll see why in these next few updates, but the short story is: collectively, we just can’t get enough of it.

  • In TikTok made me buy it, we get an inside look at the lifecycle of a product that goes viral on the app. TikTok is one of the best sales channels for e-commerce at the moment, but what I appreciate about this piece is it details what happens when the hype and virality fade.
  • People in the US now spend more time on TikTok than on YouTube 🤯. According to App Annie’s latest report, the average user in the US is spending 24.5 hours per month on TikTok. You can read the full report here, which breaks down not only this stat, but all sorts of mobile trends.
  • TikTok videos can now be up to three minutes in length. This is three times the current limit, and designed to give creators more flexibility. Will the algorithm reward longer videos? Probably! Will this help them continue the lead over YouTube that was mentioned above? Shakes magic 8-ball All signs point to yes.
  • TikTok is testing a new feature that allows fans to pay creators directly. Some folks consider this to be a competitor to Cameo, and it will be interesting to see how this feature develops over time. If you can get direct access to your favorite TikTok creators and support them without going to another app, that seems like a win for everyone.
  • Guess what? You can also now apply for a job through TikTok. There’s a new resume function, and the hot take here is that this feature is “LinkedIn for Gen Z.” Some big companies like Chipotle, Target, and Spotify are already using it. It makes sense: if you want to hire someone as a social media manager, or content creator — you go through straight to the source. Wonder if there’s a market for an over-caffeinated newsletter writer.
  • Bonus: Ed Sheeran Shatters TikTok Record For Most-Viewed Live Music Performance. Not gonna lie, I think we need Beyoncé to come through and re-break the record.


  • By now, we know how important SEO (Search Engine Optimization AKA making Google happy) is for websites. Local SEO is even more important if you run a physical business that serves customers. If that sounds like you, you might find this guide to local SEO for small businesses helpful. Spoiler alert: you need to optimize for searches like “X near me” where X is your business type. That search pattern has exploded in recent years. My most searched variation of this is “coffee near me” (shocking!)
  • This week, I came across an excellent analogy to explain SEO in a familiar term: Google Is a Librarian.
  • Continuing on the SEO wave 🏄‍♀️, here’s how to use learning centers and glossaries to create an SEO moat for your business. What’s an SEO moat? It essentially means you’re capturing top spots on Google for any question related directly to your business category. Note: the article is SaaS focused, but the principles can apply to any business or brand.
  • And rounding out the “make google happy” section of the newsletter is a 12-step guide to optimize your content for featured snippets. Featured snippets are those helpful content previews at the top of the page when Google previews an article or answers to a question.

Advertising & Branding

  • Here’s an eye-opening piece from Zoe Scamen covering misogyny in the ad industry, titled Mad Men. Furious Women. The article sheds light on an often overlooked problem in advertising, and includes quotes from courageous women who shared their stories.
  • Victoria’s Secret is undergoing a huge rebranding exercise which focuses on putting a more diverse range of women front and center. This is a reactive move as competitors who have focused on inclusion have started chipping away at market share. Will this help VS become, and remain, culturally relevant? Or is it too little, too late? Let me know what you think.
  • The City of Los Angeles got a new logo designed by Shepard Fairey. It’s inspired by all things LA and meant to represent the cultures that make up the city. It gives me big 80s and 90s vibes!
  • Great Jones Cookware and The Illusion of the Millennial Aesthetic was quite eye-opening. We learn that Great Jones actually had zero employees at one point (and still posted its strongest quarter ever). It says a lot about marketing for DTC brands, and what we as consumers accept to be the truth. I often think that DTC marketers are on the cutting edge of digital marketing. The magic in that is in the fabrication of a story that makes you feel like you “belong” with a brand. Anyway, this one is worth a Sunday read.

Social media and the creator economy

  • Twitter user @mosseri, AKA the head of Instagram, shared this video / thread covering the Instagram algorithm in detail, and what IG’s current ranking signals are. The biggest takeaway: reels and video content are here to stay, and you need to maximize your use of them to maximize your reach. To paraphrase the many hot takes I read this week: Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app.
  • The YouTube team is rolling out a new feature called “New To You” which is a different type of feed than the home feed that exists now. YouTube Product Manager Becka breaks it all down in this video. The new feed is designed to help creators find new audience members, and vice-versa. Note: this is for the mobile app only — but hopefully, it gets rolled out more broadly. Is anyone else weird like me and primarily watch YouTube on your TV?
  • Late last week, a measure passed stating that NCAA athletes can profit from their name and likeness. This move is a long time coming, and essentially thrust thousands of new creators onto the scene. Having just finished a few years as a college sports DJ, I always felt a little weird that the players I was DJing for couldn’t earn any money. They’re about to kill it, though. Have you seen any interesting sponsorships for student athletes in your feed? Send them my way!
  • Instagram is testing letting anyone share a link in stories. You’ve seen this before, but it’s usually limited to accounts that have 10K followers or more. This has made it fairly difficult for smaller, newer brands to take advantage of a premium marketing feature.
  • More Instagram news for you: in an earlier issue, we reported that you’d soon be able to post via your desktop/laptop web browser. Some users are getting the option to do just that. Who do I need to call to get in on this test?
  • Have you ever wondered if Facebook/Instagram is listening to you? As in, you mention a product or website, and then you see an ad for it? Is it sorcery? Or is it complicated math and the very reason they are the fastest company to a $1T market cap? Twitter user @jspujji makes a case for the latter in this 🧵.

Just for fun:

  • This week is the 20th anniversary of the movie Legally Blonde. There’s a Google Easter egg waiting if you simply search for “Legally Blonde.” Personally, would not be mad if the search result links stayed that color always.
  • Each generation changes language and updates it to fit the times they live in. Gen Z is no different, and punctuation means something entirely different to them, apparently. What Does Gen Z Have Against Question Marks
  • If you’ve been using computers long enough to remember “vintage” versions of Microsoft Word, you probably remember the Wingdings font. Here’s the story of that font, and how it came to be.
  • And finally for this section: my family and I are in the middle of a big move this week, so I found this tweet to be hilarious and accurate:

That’s it for another week! If you’re new here, feel free to reply and introduce yourself or ask me a question! I read and respond to every message and always want to meet new people!

-- Forge

If you’d like to support the newsletter, here are the top ways to do that:

  • Share this newsletter, either by forwarding to someone or sharing the website to your network.
  • Become a founding member of Forgematic — it really helps the continued creation of the newsletter, and you’ll be getting some cool extras in the future (not just my book).
  • Buy me a coffee — it might help me survive moving this week.