New Harvard Study: AI Makes You Better at Whatever – Creating, Communicating, Ideating or Building

This Week: A data and research-a-palooza this week. It’s the third week of September and here’s what you need to know.

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HBR Study Shows AI Improves Work Performance: And not just by a little. 40% or more across a wide variety of tasks. And not just on one thing. On EVERYTHING. Yes, it was focused on elite BCG consultants, not creators or media execs. But it’s 100% relevant. The study found two different ways to collab with AI – Cyborg and Centaur. Cyborg means pinballing between AI and human creativity – a conversation with AI to deliver results. It’s how I interact with Midjourney, for example, to make thumbnails for this newsletter. The Centaur explicitly delegates tasks to AI that it can perform well, while reserving those tasks where either AI fails or there’s intimate expertise. Thus, a creator can focus on what they love – say acting and directing, while letting AI do the editing. Also relevant – AI leveled up mid-level performers nearly to the top. Perhaps AI will empower mid-level creators to break through more readily as well. I’ll be leading a session focused on AI and creators at VidCon Baltimore on Friday 9/29. So much to explore!

TikTok’s Shop Arrives in the US: If you haven’t noticed, there’s a new “Shop” menu option at the top of your TikTok. Featuring an endless scroll of mostly crap, it’s aimed at Temu, Shein and ultimately Amazon. It’s not just confined to that tab, as shopping videos now infiltrate (and ruin) your FYP too. Could this depress time spent, while increasing ARPU? Perhaps. I did just spend my first $6 on TikTok. Read my first look and find out what I bought 👽! Related, a damning report on Temu from a Philadelphia research firm dropped simultaneously with TT’s shop. Coincidence?

Mass-market Audio AI Arrives Too: The company behind Stable Diffusion just released Stable Audio. Generate 90 second music clips for $12 a month. I wonder when the first will trend on TikTok? Or make $10,000 on Spotify. TechCrunch has the details. The examples on the site are impressive, but my first attempt fell flat. Literally.

Four Insightful New Studies Refine, Define Today’s Creator Economy: Remember, these are mostly directional, not projectible, as except for Tubular the sample sizes are too low and likely not random.

  • Good News! Influencer marketing agency Linqia talked to 250 brand and agency marketers and found rising budgets and broader application of influencers everywhere.
  • Sprout Social talked to nearly 3,000 marketers and consumers to tease out trends as well. A top finding: consumers want brands to be less cringey, more authentic and more responsive on social. Includes eye-opening data on how agencies are using AI – 4 out of 5 already see a positive impact. Props to Sprout for offer a downloadable PPT/Google Slides version for you to customize.
  • Whalar worked with Nielsen to analyze the impact of creator content for brands, finding a 2.4x ROI. Their conclusion: Creators should be treated like true media companies – and the more the merrier. It’s Whalar specific, but the results can be extrapolated to your own efforts.
  • Tubular mined their exhaustive data to deliver five key trends . The first talks about where, when and what to post, including optimal length for TikTok (61-180 seconds). They also share the best categories for YouTube Shorts (there’s a news opportunity here), more AI insight and much more.

FASCINATING FREE INSTAGRAM DATA: What brands are mentioned the most on Instagram? A new data dump from Influencers.Club reveals the top 1,000 brands, sorted by social tagging. One interesting takeaway? Brands with the most followers aren’t necessarily tops when it comes to mentions. You can sort the Airtable data online or download a CSV. (disclosure, I am on the Influencers.Club advisory board).

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TIP: Little Monster released a good tutorial on how to get more suggested video views on YouTube


Thanks for reading and see you around the internet. Send me a note with your feedback, or post in the comments! Feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested, and if someone forwarded this to you, you can sign up and subscribe on LinkedIn for free here!

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And don’t forget to listen to The Creator Feed – the weekly podcast Renee Teeley and I produce – get it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher!

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