VidCon: Instagram, Facebook Won’t Take A Commission From Creators Until 2024

After ViacomCBS canceled VidCon two years in a row due to concerns about the ongoing COVID pandemic, the event has returned to the Anaheim Convention Center in California this week. For the first time ever, organizers are offering fans digital access to the event. Ahead, a round-up of the latest happenings and announcements from major social media attendees including YouTube, Meta and this year’s title sponsor TikTok.

TikTok Announces VidCon Programming

This year, VidCon title sponsor TikTok is offering a slate of creator-focused panels and sessions including the industry keynote, which was hosted by TikTok creator James Henry on Thursday, June 23.  

Why it matters: YouTube was VidCon’s title sponsor since 2013 but TikTok managed to nab that role from the platform as it continues to grow. In a first, TikTok will surpass YouTube in terms of time spent by their respective adult users in the US, according to eMarketer.

The details: TikTok’s VidCon programming includes panels from some of its top creators who will speak about creating authentic content, the platform’s impact on music and entertainment, tips for building a brand with lessons from small businesses, an overview of brands that are winning on the app and advice for parents whose teens have found success on TikTok.

TikTok chief operating officer Vanessa Pappas will also be there to welcome guest creators who will share their TikTok origin stories including Joanne Molinaro (@thekoreanvegan), Leo González (@leogonzall), Zachariah Porter (@zzzachariah), Soy (@foodwithsoy), Keara ‘Queen Keke’ Wilson (@keke.janajah) and Tony Weaver, Jr. (@tonyweaverjr). Kirby (@singkirbysing) will make a special virtual appearance and to close out the event, artist Tai Verdes (@taiverdes) will take to the stage for a special performance.

Instagram, Facebook Won’t Take A Commission From Creators Until 2024

Instagram and Facebook will delay taking a portion of creators’ revenues until 2024—one year after it originally planned to start, Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced ahead of VidCon.

Why it matters: This delay will attract more creators to Instagram and Facebook as Meta faces ongoing competition from rivals like YouTube and TikTok. For every 1,000 ad views, advertisers pay a certain rate to YouTube and the platform takes 45 percent of the creators’ revenue whereas TikTok keeps 50 percent of eligible creators’ revenue. At one point, Zuckerberg said Facebook would take less than 30 percent from creators. 

The details: One day before it heads to VidCon where it was expected to promote its Reels and virtual reality offerings to attendees, Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that Meta’s social platforms will delay taking a commission from creator offerings like paid events, badges, fan subscriptions and Meta’s newsletter platform Bulletin until 2024 with the intention of enticing more creators. 

In another effort to expand their creator base, Instagram and Facebook will expand their Reels bonus program to more creators and offer them the opportunity to monetize short-form videos on both platforms. Instagram is also competing with one of TikTok’s newest features by testing a creator marketplace that allows brands and creators to collaborate on sponsorships and other business opportunities.

YouTube Shorts Launches Creator-Focused Snack Challenge For VidCon Fans

Ahead of VidCon, YouTube Shorts enlisted 18 of its top creators to customize snacks in fun branded packaging that event attendees can win.

Why it matters: YouTube, which lost its standing as VidCon title sponsor to TikTok this year, is capitalizing on its creators’ popularity to generate hype ahead of the event. The customized snacks are only available to guests at VidCon or those who participate in the Shorts challenge onsite at VidCon.

The details: YouTube Shorts’ snack challenge offers VidCon guests and fans the chance to eat their favorite creators’ snacks, including Ben of the Week’s Explosive Beanz, Miki Rai’s Good Morning Besties Bars and MrBeast’s Chocolate Bar. 

Among the treats is Ben of the Week’s Explosive Beanz—perfect for the creator who’s best known for a viral video in which he pretended to burn his house down by microwaving a can of beans, which he then sang a song about. The wasabi-rubbed dried beans are reportedly so hot they’ll “burn your…house down.”

With over 900,000 subscribers to cheer her on, nurse and YouTuber Sofie Dossi begins every video with a delightful, “Good morning, besties!” So naturally, she went with the Good Morning Besties Bars, cheesecake-flavored breakfast bars made with oats, dried cherries and honey.

MrBeast is on a mission to change the way the world snacks, so in January 2022, he launched his own chocolate bar company called Feastables. And as part of his YouTube Shorts’ snack challenge, the platform is offering a limited-edition bar made with just four ingredients. In line with the YouTube star’s popularity, Feastables sold over 1 million chocolate bars within the first 72 hours of launch and apparently sold over $10 million worth of the treats as of May 2022.

Social Media News Roundup: Cannes Lions Festival Edition

This week in social media news from the Cannes Lions Festival, YouTube releases its 2022 Culture & Trends Report, Meta debuts two new Horizon Worlds, Snapchat and British Vogue unveil an AR exhibition and more.

YouTube Finds Gen Z Prefer Personally Relevant Content More Than Viral Content

According to YouTube’s 2022 Culture & Trends Report—which the platform released at the Cannes Lions Festival and includes an analysis of hundreds of trends and Ipsos surveys worldwide—pop culture is becoming more individualized as indicated by 65 percent of Gen Z who agree that content that’s personally relevant to them is more important than content that goes viral. In addition, 78 percent of people agree that they use YouTube because it serves them with content that’s personally relevant to them.

Why it matters: Pop culture is morphing into internet culture and YouTube says three main things are driving its evolution. First, that fan communities that once used to be a side effect of entertainment are now central to the entertainment experience. Second, the production and consumption of remixable content like memes is a key way young generations are participating in pop culture. And third, comforting and nostalgic content has become increasingly valuable for young viewers.

The details: Here’s a list of key findings from YouTube’s report:

  • 85 percent of Gen Z have posted video content online
  • 55 percent of Gen Z agree that they watch content no one they know personally is interested in
  • 61 percent of Gen Z agree that they would describe themselves as a really big or super fan of someone or something
  • 63 percent of Gen Z followed one or more meme accounts in the past 12 months
  • 59 percent of Gen Z agree that they use short-form video apps to discover things that they then watch longer versions of
  • 90 percent of Gen Z have watched a video that helped them feel like they were in a different place
  • 83 percent of Gen Z have used YouTube to watch soothing content that helps them relax
  • 69 percent of Gen Z agree they often find themselves returning to creators or content that feels comforting to them
  • 82 percent of Gen Z have used YouTube to watch content in order to feel nostalgic
  • 53 percent of Gen Z agree that online horror content appeals to them

Meta Debuts Two New Horizon Worlds At Cannes

Meta returned to the Cannes Lions Festival to showcase its shift from mobile to the metaverse and reveal two new Meta Horizon Worlds— MINIVerse in collaboration with BMW’s brand MINI and Fender’s Stratoverse in partnership with Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.

Why it matters: Meta’s new worlds are prime examples of how brands are taking their first steps into the metaverse.

The details: MINI’s MINIVerse, the brand’s first foray into the metaverse, offers four drivers the opportunity to race customizable MINI go-karts on a gravity-defying track.

The Fender Stratosphere Horizon World is a guitar-shaped island hovering high in the sky and features a first-of-its-kind co-play audio experience that allows visitors to create original music riffs. They can also go on a virtual scavenger hunt for chords that can be used to create special combinations of music.

The new Meta Horizon Worlds by MINI and Fender, which were created in collaboration with Meta’s Creative Shop, are available to all US, Canada and UK Meta Quest 2 Headset users. Visitors of the company’s Cannes headquarters at Meta Beach are also able to experience the brands’ worlds as part of the Meta Horizon Worlds Pavilion demos.

Twitter Creates A Sales Channel App For Shopify

Through Twitter and Shopify’s new partnership, which was announced at the Cannes Lions Festival, all US Shopify merchants will be able to quickly tap into Twitter to drive their customers to purchase.

Why it matters: According to Twitter, there were 6.5 billion Tweets mentioning businesses globally in 2021. For shoppers who are already engaged in conversations about businesses and products, the social platform’s Shopify partnership will bring more of their favorite products directly onto Twitter for them to browse and buy.

The details: Twitter built a sales channel app, available in Shopify’s App Store and the Shopify admin, through which merchants can:

  • Onboard to Twitter shopping manager: With a few clicks, merchants can connect their Twitter account to their Shopify admin and onboard onto Twitter’s Shopping Manager, which is the entry point to Twitter’s suite of Twitter Shopping tools where merchants can access and manage its shopping features.
  • Automatically sync their inventory: Twitter’s sales channel app regularly syncs with Shopify merchants’ product catalogs, so they don’t need to manually update product information on the social platform. As their Shopify catalog changes, so does the catalog in their Twitter Shopping Manager.
  • Highlight their products: Merchants can showcase their products on their Twitter profile with the Shop Spotlight or Twitter Shops to build brand awareness, drive product discovery and reach customers for free. When they’re ready to buy, shoppers can checkout on the merchant’s website. Starting today, Twitter is also expanding beyond the beta testing phase for Shop Spotlight and Twitter Shops and making both features available to all merchants in the US.

Snapchat, British Vogue Debut Interactive AR Fashion Exhibition At Cannes

In partnership with British Vogue, Snapchat created an augmented reality exhibition on display at the Cannes Lions Festival where visitors can immerse themselves in high fashion designs from seven of the world’s leading fashion brands and designers. With the goal of demonstrating how physical fashion can be enhanced through interactive custom Snapchat lenses, “Vogue x Snapchat: Redefining the Body” showcases pieces by Dior, Gucci, Balenciaga, Kenneth Ize, Richard Quinn, Stella McCartney and Versace. 

Why it matters: The activation—developed in collaboration with Arcadia, Atomic Digital Design and Snap’s newly established Paris AR studio—will allow millions of Snapchatters worldwide to engage with the exhibition from the comfort of their own homes. Plus, for many, it presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “wear” high-fashion designer pieces. It’s through the exhibition’s display of this new technology that Snap hopes to introduce “new levels of accessibility, creativity and expression to the fashion and design world,” the platform’s chief executive Evan Spiegel said. 

The details: Curated by British Vogue editor in chief and Vogue European editorial director Edward Enninful, the “Vogue x Snapchat: Redefining the Body” exhibition features an AR try-on experience in which visitors can immerse themselves in the designers’ creative visions while strolling through unique virtual rooms.

Using Snap’s landmarker technology, the facade of the exhibition was digitally wrapped in a way that visitors can view via a custom landmarker in the Snap Map. Snapchatters who weren’t able to attend Cannes can engage with the exhibition via global lenses in Lens Carousel or via the “Dress Up” tab in Lens Explorer.

Snap and British Vogue also partnered with DressX on a capsule collection that includes exclusive Vogue x Snapchat merchandise and will be available at the exhibition in Cannes and via the DressX site.

Pinterest Debuts New Ad Format For Its Idea Pins

This week in social media news, Pinterest launches a new ad format called Idea ads, Twitter will let businesses display location, hours and contact info on their profiles, YouTube Shorts now reaches 1.5 billion monthly users and more.

Pinterest Introduces New Video And Image-Driven Idea Ads 

Pinterest has launched a new ad format called Idea ads, which will enable advertisers to showcase a brand’s website, get step-by-step breakdowns, view ingredients lists and more. Similarly, Pinterest’s new “Idea ads with paid partnership” enables Pinterest creators to partner with brands for interactive storytelling. In the same blog, Pinterest announced a new paid partnership tool for creators, allowing them to tag brand partners in their content. 

Why it matters: Pinterest’s new Idea ads are an expansion of its TikTok-like Idea Pins, a multi-page video format it launched in May 2021. According to the platform, people who saw Idea ads were 59 percent more likely to recall that brand. And brands that worked with creators saw 38 percent higher brand awareness and 37 percent higher Pin awareness.

Globally, brands and advertisers are witnessing increased traffic to their business from “Idea ads with paid partnership,” including Gatorade and Scotch in the US, and M.A.C. Cosmetics Australia, says Pinterest.

The details: Available in 30 countries worldwide, the new Idea ad format offers multi-page, fullscreen storytelling where advertisers can showcase their ideas in action. 

And through the new paid partnership tool, creators will be able to showcase sponsored deals by tagging brand partners directly in their content. 

Twitter Allows Local Businesses To Display Location, Contact Info

Twitter has launched a new feature called Location Spotlight that will allow brick-and-mortar businesses with professional accounts to display on their profile a contact card detailing their location, hours and additional contact methods.

Why it matters: The new feature makes Twitter more of a one-stop shop for consumers researching brands, products and services by allowing stores to display the sort of information that users normally go to Google for. 

The details: Offered in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia, Twitter’s Location Spotlight is available for Twitter Professional account users and appears on a business’ profile. 

Users that tap on the location can get directions to the business through a third-party mapping app like Google Maps. The new feature is similar to business info cards on Google Maps and was released on the heels of Twitter’s launch of multiple commerce-related functions such as virtual storefronts and product drops.

YouTube Shorts Attracts 1.5 Billion Monthly Users

Over 1.5 billion people are now watching YouTube Shorts monthly, reports The Verge.

Why it matters: YouTube has been making attempts to compete with TikTok in several ways, including offering some creators as much as $10,000 per month when they make popular videos, depending on engagement and viewers’ locations. 

As more YouTube users venture to Shorts rather than long-form videos, monetization and ad revenue have become an issue. In May, the platform began rolling out ads on Shorts worldwide but it wasn’t sharing ad revenue with creators at the time.

The details: After roughly two years of YouTube offering cash bonuses and expanding features to compete with TikTok, 1.5 billion viewers are watching short-form videos on Shorts. In total, about 2 billion logged-in users visit the platform every month while Shorts experienced 30 billion views per day, as of April.

Meta To Roll Out Social Hangout Hub, Horizon Home, To Quest 2 Headsets

Horizon Home, a custom social hub where you can socialize with friends and watch videos before jumping into an experience, is coming to the Quest 2 headset, Meta founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced.

Why it matters: Up until now, the Quest 2 didn’t offer a straightforward, dedicated way to socialize and required users to do things like join a party or play games to hang with their friends. The Horizon Home update provides a new way of socializing online in the world of virtual reality (VR).

The details: Demoed by Mark Zuckerberg and free climber Alex Honnold, the Horizon Home update allows users to choose a home—such as a space station or patio overlooking a mountain range—where they “wake up” after first putting on their headset. 

Users will also be able to upload their own environments to call home. Rather than free locomotion, the new feature utilizes hotspot locomotion to reduce the likelihood of users’ VR avatars colliding with one another.

“Party leaders can unilaterally remove guests from both the Party and Meta Horizon Home,” a Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch. In addition, any user can use the system-level block option or submit a report while guests can exit a social situation in one click to instantly disconnect from voice chat and the general environment.

How To Create More Effective Ads According To Snapchat’s Brand Lift Study

This week in social media news, Snapchat shares brand-building tips, Meta says it’s developing a privacy-safe ad product, YouTube’s new feature lets users connect their TV to their phone and more.

Snapchat’s New Guide Shares How To Build Brand And Create More Effective Ads

Snapchat partnered with Kantar to deconstruct brand lift studies and offer insights on how variables like ad format, frequency and creative features drove lift across key brand performance metrics. Among three more key findings, the research shows that the best way to plan a Snapchat campaign starts with leveraging multiple ad formats on the platform.

Why it matters: As the digital ad industry recovers from changes to Apple’s Identifier For Advertisers and coping with ad tracking regulations, Snapchat hopes to guide marketers activating their first branding campaign on the platform. To do so, it identified four patterns across these outputs.

The details: Snapchat utilized Kantar’s Balanced Attribution product to study 52 campaigns, which included more than 50,000 respondents and 630,000 Snapchat ad exposures in the US, Saudi Arabia, France and Australia. The four patterns it identified include:

  1. Contributors to Success: Snap says to remember that a campaign’s performance isn’t dependent on a single factor such as creative or frequency.
  2. Higher Budget = More Camera Ads: To increase your Snapchat campaign’s performance, the app suggests leveraging multiple ad formats, including content and camera ads. The study found that the reallocation of budget towards Camera Ads maximized lifts in intent and helped build differentiated frequency and incremental reach.
  3. More Creative = Better Results: An exposure that delivers the same message in a different way compared to other creatives in the mix helps with incremental reach and building differentiated frequency, the data found.
  4. Room for Higher Frequencies: A frequency of 4x per week drove roughly 75 percent of total possible intent lift, with the model predicting total saturation at 8x per week. 

LinkedIn Publishes Transparency Report For The Second Half Of 2021

LinkedIn has released its semi-annual Transparency Report, which addresses its responses to professional community policy violations and government requests for member data and content removal in the second half of 2021.

Why it matters: As of 2022, LinkedIn has more than 830 million members and over 58 million registered companies in 200 countries and regions worldwide, according to its About Us. Like it is for all social media platforms, it’s imperative to LinkedIn’s ongoing growth that it responds to fake accounts, misinformation and other policy violations before they impact or drive away users. 

The details: Though most of its content was constructive, LinkedIn witnessed a greater amount of misinformation, fake accounts and other abusive content and behavior. The rise in the amount of misinformation could be attributed to the company’s enhanced automated defense system, which blocked 96 percent of all fake accounts it stopped during the July to December 2021 period. Of the spam or scam content removed in this period, the platform’s automated defenses stopped 99.1 percent and its teams manually removed the rest. Read the full report here.

YouTube Now Lets Users Connect Their TV To iOS Or Android Phone 

YouTube is rolling out a new feature that lets users effortlessly connect their TV to their iOS or Android phone, head of design for YouTube on TV, Brynn Evans, announced in a blog

Why it matters: As of 2022, every single day viewers are watching an average of more than 700 million hours of YouTube content on TV. This growing number challenges the platform’s design team to keep the experience simple, streamlined and intuitive, according to Evans. The function comes 12 years after the YouTube app for TV screens first launched.

The details: YouTube found that more than 80 percent of people report using another digital device while watching TV, sometimes even watching the same video on TV and on mobile while engaging with it only on the latter. 

Given remote controls are difficult to use when controlling YouTube on TV and most TVs don’t have a built-in web browser, YouTube decided to launch a feature that lets users connect their TV to their iOS or Android phone so that videos can be engaged with (i.e., liked, shared, commented on, etc.) directly.

To try this, your phone and TV must be signed in to the same YouTube account. Open the YouTube app on TV, then open the YouTube app on your phone and click “Connect” on the prompt that automatically pops up. Now your phone will be synchronized to the TV.

YouTube says it’s starting to test new designs for its video watch page to help incorporate more uniquely YouTube features–like browsing and shopping for products featured in videos–directly to the big screen to help viewers decide when to pick up their phone and engage.

TikTok’s Creative Center Platform Gives Marketers Key Insights

According to Social Media Today, TikTok has added new insights to its evolving Creative Center platform, about trending hashtags, regional performance stats, key influencers and more. Catch a glimpse here.

Why it matters: The new data offers marketers critical research value as they continue to master TikTok advertising. It also marks TikTok’s larger effort to attract ad dollars as the app is projected to grow its net ad revenue in the US to $5.96 billion in 2022, up 184 percent year-over-year, per eMarketer.

The details: Using the new insights, creators and marketers can research trending hashtags by region and the top influencers aligned with each. This adds to the TikTok Creative Center’s current offerings, including an Ad Library that shows the top-performing ads on TikTok. The new update comes on the heels of the app’s launch of its interactive insights platform in May, which allows marketers and influencers to engage with an array of filters to discover key data points on their target markets.

Facebook Is Developing A “Privacy-Safe” Ad Product

As privacy changes limit its targeting capabilities, Meta’s Facebook is in the early stages of developing a “basic ads” product that won’t depend on users’ anonymized personal information, reports Business Insider.

Why it matters: After reporting its first quarterly decline in active users in Q4 2021, Meta is in the midst of navigating a future in which users’ personal info is no longer freely accessible. To sustain its primary source of revenue, the company is attempting to offer ads that deliver scale while also being able to overcome data regulations like The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

According to an analysis by data management company Lotame, Apple’s privacy changes would cause a $12.8 billion hit to Meta’s revenue in 2022. Google also intends on instituting changes that would limit advertisers’ targeting ability.  

The details: Facebook’s new product—which is expected to be tested in the US after it launches in the European Union—targets brand advertisers attempting to build awareness and shape perception of products. It would be measured by basic metrics such as engagement and video views, according to Business Insider.

Meta is under pressure to compete with rapidly growing TikTok, which has been a beneficiary of Facebook’s ad challenges. TikTok has been testing capabilities like retargeting campaigns with advertisers, according to anonymous ad buyers interviewed by Business Insider. If TikTok can prove that retargeting is driving performance, brands will likely move more marketing dollars from Facebook to TikTok. 

Meta Adds New Creative Tools And Features To Reels

Meta recently announced new Facebook and Instagram Reels creative tools and features—including poll, quiz and emoji slider stickers—to help creators bring their ideas to fruition, get discovered and grow their audiences.

Why it matters: Many of the new tools Meta launched are copycats of those TikTok already offers creators. For example, the new suggested Reels feature is similar to TikTok’s “For You” page while Meta’s new Sound Sync feature is just like TikTok’s auto-sync video option as both let you automatically sync your video clips to the beat of a song.

The details: Among the new tools coming to Facebook Reels include the ability to:

  • Create, edit and schedule Facebook Reels on desktop.
  • Clip videos on desktop, making it easier for creators who publish long-form, recorded or live videos—and video game creators who want to generate short-form Reels directly from their Live content—to test different formats.
  • Narrate videos and use Sound Sync to automatically sync video clips to a song’s beat. The platform will also have a text-to-speech digital voice to read text.

Among the new tools coming to Instagram Reels include the ability to:

  • Extend videos to 90 seconds.
  • Interact with audiences using poll, quiz and emoji slider stickers.
  • Import original audio directly within Instagram Reels.
  • Use new templates to create reels using the same structure as another creator’s Reel.

Getting discovered and expanding reach will be further supported by Meta’s new suggested Reels in Feed feature, which will be rolling out globally. In addition, creators on Instagram will now have the opportunity to recommend their Reels on Facebook to expand their content’s reach. 

Pinterest Launches “We Belong Here” Campaign For Pride Month

Pinterest is celebrating Pride Month with new opportunities for LGBTQ+ creators, including the expansion of its Creator Fund to two new countries and reduced barriers of entry for these creators to reach new audiences on the platform.

Why it matters: As the platform notes, Pinterest continues to be a forum where all communities go to explore identities, be their authentic selves, build community and find ways to commemorate life’s moments. According to Pinterest, global searches around gender expression, seeking support and creating belonging are trending as searches for “gender identity” are up 55 percent, “genderfluid aesthetic” up 100 percent and “LGBT support” up 300 percent. 

The details: Pinterest has recognized the importance of remaining an inclusive space and as part of Pride Month is expanding its Creator Fund to the UK and Brazil. For this first cohort, the UK will focus on fashion and beauty creators while Brazil will combine creators from the food, beauty, fashion and decor categories. 

To ensure the creativity that comes from LGBTQIA+ creators is not overlooked, the Creator Fund will also reduce barriers of entry for them to inspire more creativity. During training, creators will learn current and relevant Pinner searches such as rainbow peekaboo hair (up 3x) or pride makeup ideas (up 2x). The goal for the Creator Fund, Pinterest notes, is to foster talent through financial and educational support.

Over the next few weeks, when Pinners globally search for terms related to “Pride” on Pinterest, they’ll see a landing page on Today’s Inspiration with the theme of Pinterest’s 2022 campaign, “We Belong Here,” that will lead them to Pride-focused boards and articles on celebrating belonging. 

Snapchat Expands Dynamic Ads To Serve Hotels, Airlines And Online Travel Agencies

This week in social media news, Snapchat launches Dynamic Travel Ads, TikTok will surpass YouTube in user time spent for the first time, YouTube is rolling out Shorts ad globally and more.

Snapchat Debuts Dynamic Travel Ads As Travel Picks Up

As COVID-19 restrictions worldwide ease up, travel is back on the menu. That’s likely why Snapchat is expanding its Dynamic Ads to specifically serve hotels, airlines, tours and online travel agencies after seeing strong adoption with the ads’ beta launch last year.

Why it matters: According to Snap, 76 percent of its users in the US are making plans to or already have returned to their pre-pandemic behaviors and millennials and Gen Z Snapchatters are 37 percent more likely to book travel after seeing an advertisement. In addition, a GlobalWebIndex study shows that Snapchatters are more likely to travel than users of other platforms.

The details: This marks Snap’s first category expansion outside of ecommerce within its current Dynamic Ads offerings. The solution builds on some of Snap’s Location features that are core to user experience. These include Location Data, Snap Map—which 70 percent of Snapchatters use because they like to see where their best friends are—and Places, which live on the Snap Map and feature Stories, hours, reviews and delivery options for local businesses.

The appeal of Dynamic Travel Ads for marketers is they offer advanced audience targeting based on a Snapchatter’s travel intent. These ads also offer locally-relevant campaign delivery to serve hotels and airlines based on popularity backed by Snap’s visitation data. Lastly, the customized catalog setup is built to meet travel advertisers’ needs with relevant product feed attributes that are specific to these businesses.

Snap says used the Dynamic Travel Ads to dynamically pull images directly from their product catalog and serve user ads with locally relevant listings based on products they had already viewed. Doing so resulted in a 20 percent lower cost per purchase than other US advertisers.

Etihad Airways also saw success with Dynamic Travel Ads in trying to ensure relevance in the competitive market. Using Snap’s prospecting solution, it was able to reduce its cost per flight search by 4x and saw a 307 percent increase in ROAS and a 76 percent decrease in cost per purchase, compared to their non-dynamic campaigns.

In A First, TikTok Will Surpass YouTube In User Time Spent

This year, TikTok will beat YouTube in terms of time spent by their respective adult users in the US, according to eMarketer.

Why it matters: This marks the first time in history TikTok will beat YouTube by this metric. The milestone comes on the heels of TikTok’s video length limit expansion from three minutes to 10 minutes as well as a new revenue sharing program similar to YouTube’s. It’s also worth noting that in 2018, TikTok surpassed Instagram and a year later, Facebook.

The details: Based on eMarketer’s data, TikTok will see 45.8 minutes per day from its average adult users while YouTube will see 45.6 minutes. As the firm notes, TikTok’s user time spent hasn’t declined as pandemic trends level out.

TikTok Partners With Hootsuite, Emplifi To Help Brands Reach Users More Easily

TikTok is adding new content partners to its Marketing Partner Program, the app confirmed to TechCrunch. The expansion—which will see the addition of Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Emplifi, Dash Hudson, Khoros, Brandwatch and Later to TikTok’s program—will allow marketers to manage their TikTok accounts without leaving their third-party content marketing platforms.

Why it matters: The expansion is part of TikTok’s larger effort to attract advertisers and educate them on ways to reach users on the app. Last month, it launched a five-week program called Creative Agency Partnerships University designed to help agencies become TikTok experts. And ahead of its NewFronts presentation to advertisers last month, it launched TikTok Pulse, a contextual ad solution that ensures brands’ ads are placed next to the top 4 percent of all videos on TikTok.

The details: TikTok tells TechCrunch that through this new integration, marketers can now manage and optimize their content campaigns directly through these third-party platforms, track profile and video metrics in real-time, compare performance to other platforms and track conversations happening in the comments section of their videos.

YouTube Shorts Ads Roll Out Globally

Google is gradually rolling out ads in YouTube Shorts around the world, the company announced during its Marketing Live event this week. Starting today, marketers’ video action campaigns and app campaigns will automatically scale to YouTube Shorts.

Why it matters: According to Google, YouTube Shorts now averages over 30 billion daily views—four times as many as a year ago. YouTube is betting big on the function as it launched a $100 million Shorts creator fund last year and says that over 40 percent of creators who received payment from the fund last year weren’t previously monetizing their YouTube content. 

The details: Later this year, advertisers will be able to connect their product feed to their campaign and make video ads on YouTube Shorts more shoppable, Google said in a blog.

TikTok Shares Key Stats On Utilizing ‘Always Engaged’ Strategy 

TikTok users prefer brands that demonstrate they understand how to create and use the platform, according to a new set of stats and best practices the app shared on how utilizing an “always engaged” strategy drives brand impact. 

Why it matters: According to TikTok’s research, 79 percent of its users prefer brands that show they understand how to create for the platform. To demonstrate this understanding, TikTok says creators—who are “deeply trusted” by the TikTok community—are the best way for brands to meet audiences where they are. Thirty-three percent of TikTok users say that TikTok inspired them to buy something recommended by a creator on the platform.

The details: TikTok says an “always engaged” strategy is an integrated approach that utilizes organic, paid and creators. Using all three, it notes, will increase in brand love, recall and resonance. Here are TikTok’s key findings:

  • Top of mind awareness soars 173 percent after two exposures to a brand’s content on TikTok
  • Organic content is 20 percent more likable after viewing a paid ad
  • Organic content has a 27 percent increase in brand recall when viewers see organic before paid
  • Organic content is 18 percent more relevant after viewing a paid ad
  • TikTok saw a 2x increase globally in ROAS when that participation occurred, and that 2x ROAS amplified all paid efforts

Twitter Launches Spaces Dedicated To Super Follows

This week in social media news, Twitter debuts Spaces dedicated to Super Follows, Snapchat and eBay announce a new shopping integration and Apple promotes mobile data protection features in a new ad spot.

Twitter’s Debuts New Super Follows-Only Spaces

Twitter has expanded its live audio offering, Spaces, to Super Follows, its paid subscription service that gives users access to bonus content from their favorite creators and influencers.

Why it matters: The new Super Follows-only Spaces could help popular Twitter influencers grow their user base by engaging fans with exclusive audio content. Though not all users can access Super Follows yet, the ones that can get to decide on a monthly subscription rate between $3 to $10 a month.

According to its most recent earnings report, Twitter brought in $94 million from subscriptions and other revenue (including data licensing) in the period, a decrease of 31 percent year-over-year.

The details: Super Follows-only Spaces give users bonus content and extra perks. Within the app, the new feature takes on a different color palette for the Spaces link while a note above describes it as a “Super Follows only” broadcast.

Snapchat Announces New eBay Shopping Integration

More than 142 million buyers shop on eBay globally and now Snapchat is looking to target some of that audience on its app. The platform announced a new shopping integration that lets Snap users share eBay listings with their friends right into Snaps using the Snap Camera on Android and iOS.

Why it matters: Snap’s new eBay integration comes on the heels of younger generations buying upcycled products more frequently and prioritizing climate change and sustainability. eBay has bolstered its efforts to reach these conscious shoppers recently—in 2020 it launched a sneaker authentication service that verifies shoes sold on the platform match what their listings claim and expanded the service to include handbags in the summer of last year.

The details: To access the new Snapchat feature, users have to open their eBay app and select their listing then tap the “Share” icon and the “Snapchat” option. This will automatically open the Snapchat Camera with the automated eBay sticker. From there, users can create an original Snap with the eBay sticker and add design touches using Snap’s creative tools.

When a user sends a Snap that includes an eBay sticker to their story or directly to friends, the recipient or viewer will be able to tap the eBay sticker to jump back to the listing in the eBay app.

Apple’s New Pro-Privacy Ad Aims To Assuage User Concerns About Selling Of Personal Data

With a new ad campaign spotlighting how the data broker industry trades in mobile users’ personal data, Apple is hoping to raise awareness around its features aimed at protecting personal data, like its app tracking transparency option and mail privacy protection feature.

Why it matters:  According to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, 81 percent of the public say that the potential risks they face because of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits. When asked whether they think their personal data is less secure, more secure or about the same as it was five years ago, 70 percent of adults say their personal data is less secure. Only 6 percent report that they believe their data is more secure today than it was in the past.

While Apple’s pro-privacy stance and features might mitigate users’ concerns about being tracked, tech giants and developers who rely on tracking and ads to monetize free apps take a hit each time a user clicks the “Ask app not to track” button their iPhone.

The details: In Apple’s new 90-second spot, which will run across 24 countries this summer on broadcast and social media, a shopper in a record store stumbles upon an auction where data brokers are bidding on her personal data, including her read emails, drugstore purchases, location data, transaction data, browser history and more—until she looks down at her iPhone to click the “Ask app not to track” button and enable the email privacy protection feature. Then the entire auction and quirky cast of bidders instantly disappear. The spot concludes with: “It’s your data. iPhone helps keep it that way. Privacy. That’s iPhone.”

Instagram Launches Digital Collectibles Feature

This week in social media news, Instagram tests a digital collectibles feature, YouTube receives MRC brand safety distinction for a second year, TikTok launches a new target market insights tool and more.

Instagram Tests Digital Collectibles With Creators

Starting this week, select Instagram creators and collectors can share digital collectibles they’ve created or bought on the platform thanks to a new feature the platform is testing.

Why it matters: Creators have started leveraging technologies like NFTs to take more control over their work and monetization avenues. That’s one reason Meta says it’s introducing the digital collectibles feature.

It also explained:

“It’s critical that our early efforts in this space empower diverse voices and that underrepresented groups have access to emerging digital assets like NFTs. By building support for NFTs, we aim to improve accessibility, lower barriers to entry, and help make the NFT space more inclusive to all communities. It is also important that we keep Instagram a safe and enjoyable place for everyone.”

The details: Here’s how Instagram’s digital collectibles feature works. Once connected to a digital wallet, creators can choose which NFTs from their wallet they’d like to share on Instagram. When they post the collectible, it’ll have a shimmer effect and can display public information like a description of the NFT. This post will be visible on their profile. The creator and collector can be automatically attributed in the digital collectible post.

Instagram says it collects and organizes public data from open blockchains like Ethereum to provide this new feature. From this public blockchain data, it can only identify which collectibles belong to collectors and creators when they connect their third-party wallets to Instagram.

At launch, the blockchains that will be supported are Ethereum and Polygon, with Flow and Solana coming soon. The third-party wallets compatible for use will include Rainbow, MetaMask and Trust Wallet, with Coinbase Wallet, Dapper and Phantom coming soon. There will be no fees associated with posting or sharing a digital collectible on Instagram.

The digital collectibles feature will open up to more creators soon, but for now only these accounts have access to it: @adambombsquad, @bluethegreat, @bossbeautiesnft, @c.syresmith, @cynthiaerivo, @garyvee, @jenstark, @justmaiko, @maliha_z_art, @misshattan, @nopattern, @oseanworld, @paigebueckers, @phiawilson, @swopes and @yungjake.

YouTube Receives MRC Brand Safety Distinction For Second Year

For the second year, the Media Rating Council (MRC) has given YouTube content-level brand safety accreditation, the platform announced on the Google Ads & Commerce blog.

Why it matters:  Last year, YouTube became the first digital platform to receive content-level brand safety accreditation from the MRC. This second accreditation makes YouTube the only platform to hold this distinction, which builds on its commitment to remaining at least 99 percent effective at ensuring brand safety of ad placements on YouTube, in accordance with industry standards.

Over the past two years, YouTube says it’s worked directly with advertisers and agencies to better understand their needs and develop a set of best practices like anchoring on YouTube’s inventory modes and reassessing whether they should exclude certain kinds of content. When advertisers knew how to better navigate the platform’s suitability controls, they experienced performance benefits ranging from increased reach and view-through rates to decreased cost-per-view, according to YouTube.

The details: As part of this accreditation, the MRC extensively audited YouTube’s content review systems, including the machine learning technology that analyzes content uploaded to the platform and the policies that determine which videos on YouTube are eligible to run ads.

The MRC auditors also met with YouTube’s brand safety personnel on-site to review its processes and dug into how it protects its global community. This included its procedures for evaluating content across different languages.

The accreditation also recognized YouTube’s advertiser safety error rate, a metric authorized by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) which evaluates the total percentage of ad impressions that run across violative content.

YouTube says it’s now using these best practices and customer feedback to evolve its suitability offering, which will include intuitive controls, more consistency across all Google inventory and clarity on how controls may impact ad campaigns.

TikTok Launches Interactive Audience Insights Tool

TikTok has a new target market insights tool that includes several filters to help you get to know the TikTok community’s behavior, interests and how they connect and feel about brands.

Why it matters: The interactive tool provides marketing insights from around the world, which will be useful for brands looking to understand and tap into key trends in certain locations around major events and holidays.

The details: For example, using the tool marketers can learn more about Gen Z trends around Black Friday 2021 for a specific industry as they relate to advertising, creators or people.

On the tool’s landing page, TikTok lists several findings regarding user behavior worldwide. For example, Gen X TikTok users are 3.3 times more likely than other platform users to make a tutorial about a product after buying it. And in the US, millennial TikTok users are 1.8 times more likely to comment on a brand post after buying a product.

YouTube Adds Green Screen Feature To Shorts

YouTube has launched a new TikTok-style Green Screen tool that lets creators use a 60-second video segment from any eligible YouTube or YouTube Shorts video as the background for their own Shorts video.

Why it matters: The video effect is another sign of other social platforms copying TikTok, where users often leverage the Green Screen feature to provide commentary on each other’s videos.

But as TechCrunch points out, in Shorts’ case, the original video creator isn’t necessarily a Shorts creator and they may only create long-form content for YouTube proper.

The details: The platform says that on iOS YouTube creators can also use the Green Screen tool in the Shorts camera to choose any photo or video from their device gallery as the background.

YouTube’s new Green Screen tool is rolling out on iOS today and will come to Android soon.

Meta’s New Cambria Headset Will Enable Next-Level AR Experiences

During Meta’s Cambria headset showcase, Mark Zuckerberg previewed a new augmented reality (AR) experience powered by Meta’s Presence Platform, which enables developers to produce experiences that fuse virtual content with the real world.

Why it matters: Current Quest headsets don’t allow users to interact in full-color experience but Meta’s new Cambria headset—slated to launch later this year—includes improved external cameras that enable them to operate as both a VR and AR device.

The details: In this 60-second spot, Meta highlights Cambria’s AR and VR abilities in creating a new dimension of gameplay.

Currently, the Quest 2, now called Meta Quest 2, can “see through” and show the outside world but in a grainy black and white video feed. The Quest 2 overlays some VR with this feed, like room boundaries, creating a form of mixed reality. But Cambria’s improved external cameras will capture passthrough color video, displaying it on the headset’s internal display.

Twitter Announces Premium Content Partnerships At 2022 Digital Content NewFronts

This week in social media news, Twitter announces new video and audio programming at year’s Digital Content NewFronts, Meta shares the ways brands are driving relevance by harnessing the codes of culture, Facebook axes its podcast service, Pinterest launches the Pinterest TV Studio livestreaming app and more.

Twitter Announces Premium Content Partnerships At 2022 Digital Content NewFronts

Twitter has inked several multi-year deals with publishers and media companies including Condé Nast and E! News to expand its coverage of live events via Spaces and livestreams, the platform confirmed at this year’s Digital Content NewFronts. It also said it plans to launch a pilot program later this year that lets advertisers promote and run pre-roll on live event pages featuring real-time highlights.

Why it matters: Twitter’s audio and video programming updates will offer brands new opportunities to reach engaged audiences on the platform. They also bring fresh content to Twitter’s advertisers via Twitter Amplify, which gives brands a chance to put their ads right next to video content from Twitter’s content partners.

The details: The video and audio programming Twitter announced on the stage included:

  • A global, multi-year content commitment with Condé Nast that will be open to sponsorships across video, Spaces, Moments and live events. The content will cover domestic and international tentpoles such as live streams of Vogue’s Red Carpet at the Met Gala, Vanity Fair Oscar Party Red Carpet and the Pitchfork Music Festival and will include content from Wired, Bon Appetit and The New Yorker.
  • An expanded partnership with Essence with the addition of event highlights and clips from series like The Receipts and Essence Uncovered
  • E! News’ launch of its made-for-Twitter live-stream show called “While You Were Streaming,” which will cover the biggest shows on TV.
  • A partnership with Revolt to bring content across music, lifestyle, urban entertainment, sports and social justice to the Twitter timeline. Content will include Drink Champs, Revolt Summit, The Crew League, Assets Over Liabilities and more.
  • A multi-year extension of Twitter’s partnership with the WNBA. For the first time, WNBA’s Twitter account will regularly host Spaces during the season, WNBA tentpole events and the offseason. 
  • In collaboration with NBCUniversal, Twitter will be the first social partner to test an integration with NBCU’s first cross-platform video-certified measurement partner, iSpot.
  • Twitter is also doubling down on real-time highlights covering the biggest global events through a new pilot program coming later this year. The program will allow advertisers to promote and run pre-roll on live event pages that feature real-time highlights. 

Meta Shares Six ‘Culture Codes’ To Help Brands Build Natively For The Platform And Context

As social media matures, more brands are utilizing native advertising, a phenomenon that’s in part being driven by a shift away from perfection to a culture that celebrates the unpolished. To help brands communicate as peers and establish relatability and trust, Meta shared six best practices, or culture codes, they can use to drive relevance.

Why it matters: A study Meta conducted on Instagram Stories back in 2019 found ads that were shot on mobile with a more “lo-fi, language-of-the-platform” vibe were 78 percent more recallable and had an 84 percent greater probability of being viewed as compared to more polished studio ads. Additionally, a meta-analysis found that a lower video production score (VPS) was correlated with higher creative impact in verticals like technology and retail.

A recent report from YPulse echoes a similar sentiment. It found that 84 percent of young consumers agreed with the statement that “I like it when content from brands is not perfect” and 79 percent of them agreed they are “tired of seeing perfect images in advertising.”

The details: According to Meta, here’s how brands are harnessing today’s prevailing culture codes:

  1. They increase credibility and relatability by including real people—employees or customers—who tell real stories.
  2. They communicate with empathy to increase relatability by using the language of the platform to signal their place in feed and, therefore, in culture.
  3. They benefit from credibility and relevance by proxy by harnessing the power of creators given 63 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds trust what a creator says about a brand more than what the brand says about itself.
  4. They lift the veil on artifice by taking viewers behind the scenes to be part of the process, for example in a “how I made this” video.
  5. They use lo-fi editing techniques that feel handmade and human.
  6. They make themselves accessible and relatable by using humor to dissolve boundaries between their brand and their audience.

Pinterest Launches Pinterest TV Studio Livestreaming App

Pinterest recently launched a new Pinterest TV Studio app for iOS and Android to make it easier for creators to livestream on the platform, reports TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Pinterest’s new dedicated livestreaming app is an example of how the company is responding to major social players’ own versions of TikTok. It’s re-evaluating its position in the border social media arena with Pinterest TV Studio and Idea Pins, a video-first combination of TikTok-style short-form video content and tappable Stories.

The details: Though not broadly available to all creators just yet, Pinterest’s new app will ask select creators who want to go live on Pinterest to enter a code or scan a barcode that will provide them access to the app’s tools. It also offers the option of adding multiple devices for different camera angles.

The app is available in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and Germany—which points to the possibility of a global expansion of Pinterest TV. 

Twitter Expands Test Of Its TikTok-Like Format On Explore Page

According to social media expert Matt Navarra and Social Media Today, Twitter is continuing to test a revamped, more personalized TikTok-inspired display format in the Explore tab that makes the platform look exactly like TikTok. 

Why it matters: Twitter is the latest platform that’s given in to the key social platform trend in the last couple of years—pointing to TikTok’s dominion in the short-form video space. Twitter’s ongoing test will allow it to receive a direct response feedback on each post as every action taken by the user is indicative of their interest in that specific tweet. This kind of insight could help Twitter improve its recommendations and keep users engaged.

The details: Having begun testing in December, Twitter’s updated layout is being offered to more users and features two new elements. On the main ‘Trending’ page, users can select ‘Personalized’ or ‘Top Trends’ to view the most popular content on the platform at that time. The second is a more immersive, full-screen, vertical-scrolling, TikTok-like display of tweets.

Meta Introduces New Ads And Messaging Tools For Small Businesses

As part of National Small Business Week, Meta has announced new tools for businesses to manage conversations and ads, generate leads and share more about their business.

Why it matters: Today, 71 percent of people want to be able to communicate with a business in the same way that they do with friends and family. Meta is making it easier and faster to reach new customers with new features that’ll save businesses time and increase productivity while streamlining the process of engaging and nurturing new customer relationships.

The details: To help businesses start and manage conversations on WhatsApp, Meta will make it possible to create ads directly from the WhatsApp Business app – expediting the process of finding and conversing with new customers.

Meta is also adding two new features to Meta Business Suite. The first lets brands centralize communications and the second allows for several individuals and devices to manage messages in Inbox from the same WhatsApp number.

To allow businesses to send promotional message campaigns via Messenger to customers who opt-in, Meta is testing a new tool that will drive sales and customer loyalty in Meta Business Suite.

And to improve end-to-end management of lead generation on the platform, Meta is launching a number of updates, including:

  • A small test with select businesses that will allow them to put a “Get Quote” button on their Instagram profile and use “Get Quote” stickers in Stories. 
  • Lead filtering with Instant Forms.
  • A test of a more flexible and personalizable Instant Form that allows businesses to add visuals and content in the form.
  • The ability for businesses to offer exclusive, relevant content for people who complete the Lead Ads Instant Form.
  • Businesses can now download lead info directly into their own CRM to follow up with potential customers quickly.

LinkedIn Shares The Five Key Ingredients That Make Up A Unified Brand

LinkedIn has shared five key approaches to help brands unify their messaging across audiences to increase brand fame, reach, trust and marketing impact.

Why it matters: LinkedIn data shows that exposing consumer brand audiences to corporate and talent brand messaging increased the click-through rate (CTR) of consumer campaigns by 14 percent and reduced cost-per-click (CPC) by 18 percent. 

It also found that exposing talent brand audiences to corporate and consumer brand messaging increased the CTR of talent campaigns by 138 percent and reduced CPC by 32 percent. 

And lastly, exposing corporate brand audiences to talent and consumer brand messaging increased the CTR of corporate campaigns by 32 percent and reduced CPC by 22 percent.

The details: LinkedIn recommends that brands seeking to increase their marketing impact and keep brand DNA consistent across all messaging take five key actions, including:

  1. Make creative bold and unexpected in everything from your logo to your art to your messaging. Weave your brand DNA through your logo, color scheme, slogan and customer and employee stories.
  2. Make all branding distinct and immediately recognizable. After you’ve developed your creative hook, apply it to all of your messaging, including on your website, on social media and in advertising. 
  3. Harness the power of emotion by showing your audience why you’re doing what you’re doing and help them feel it. Connect all of your messaging back to the story you want to tell. 
  4. Execute always-on campaigns and ensure your audience is seeing your messaging as often as possible. 
  5. Balance your organic and paid strategies. While organic content primes your audience for more personalized paid content, paid campaigns compel them to backtrack and check out your organic content. When paid and organic content both present one unified message, the effectiveness of each increases.

Meta Adds Insights And New Incentives For Reels Creators

Meta has announced a number of updates to Instagram Reels including adjusting how its creator payouts are calculated and adding more visibility into how creators Reels are performing. It also launched a new Challenges incentive on Facebook that helps creators in the Reels Play bonus program unlock new ways to earn from their content.

Why it matters: The update comes on the heels of creators claiming that Instagram has cut Reels payouts without notice. Its new insights feature will presumably help creators keep the platform accountable for content monetization as well as prove to interested brands their reach before inking a paid deal. 

The details: In order to reward creators who craft and promote original content, Meta has recently rolled out ranking changes that prioritize the distribution of original content in places like the Reels tab and Feed on Instagram and on Feed and Watch on Facebook. The company has also made changes to its incentives program that gives creators avenues for reaching new followers and uncovering new opportunities.

Meta has adjusted how payouts are calculated with the aim of rewarding creators who make high-quality original content. And on Facebook, it introduced a new incentive that helps creators in the Reels Play bonus program called Challenges to unlock new ways to earn up to $4,000 per month.

Challenges make it so that each creator can participate in a series of monthly, sequential, cumulative challenges. Completing one challenge unlocks the next. Creators’ progress on Challenges will reset back to one at the start of each 30-day bonus period.

Meta has also responded to creators’ requests to know more about how their Reels perform. So, it rolled out insights for Reels Play creators on Facebook that will allow creators to see how many Plays their Reels received within the given earning period.

Lastly, Meta has expanded creator monetization on Reels to help them build more sustainable businesses. Specifically, Meta is testing overlay ads in Reels on Facebook with a wider set of creators. Additionally, Instagram creators will soon be able to crosspost their Reels to Facebook, which will open up the potential to grow audiences on both platforms. Meta will also explore the ability of eligible creators to earn a share of revenue on crossposted Reels via overlay ads. Creators can also earn bonuses from Instagram Reels Play and Facebook Reels Play.

Snapchat Announces Four New Snap Originals, Renews Two

Snapchat has announced four new Snap Originals after the success of its first 150 Snap Originals.

Why it matters: According to Snap, over 80 percent of US Gen Z’ers watched a Snap Original last year. Snapchat’s success is rooted in the selection of its stars. Megan Thee Stallion, for example, got back to her Texas roots in Off Thee Leash with Megan Thee Stallion and viewers got to travel to Louisiana to visit Addison Rae in Addison Rae Goes Home. Both series reached over 16 million viewers.

The details: Apart from renewing two of its hit Snap Originals, Dixie and Charli D’Amelio’s Charli vs. Dixie and Propagate Content’s Big Breakfast and Kids at Play’s The Me and You Show, Snap’s four new original shows include:

  • Daring Simone Biles by Propagate Content’s Big Breakfast and Kids at Play, where Olympic medalist Simone Biles tries things she’s never done before, including beekeeping and DJ-ing.
  • Reclaim(ed) by Eagle Vision, which is Snap’s first Canadian Snap Original. The docuseries explores today’s indigenous culture with hosts Marika Sila and Kairyn Potts, as they reclaim cultural traditions and issues from a Gen Z point of view. 
  • Run For Office by Ovrture follows Gen Z and millennial political candidates as they seek elected office in the 2022 Primary and General Elections. 
  • La’Ron in a Million by Leopard USA has NAACP Image Award winner La’Ron Hines finding a way to balance his life back at home with his Los Angeles dreams and rapid rise to fame.

Instagram Tests TikTok-Style Full-Screen Home Feed

With the intention of bringing video front and center, Instagram is in the testing phase of a new feature that offers a similar, instantly immersive experience as that of TikTok’s.

Why it matters: Reels, Instagram’s TikTok competitor, now comprises more than one-fifth of the time people spend on Instagram. On Facebook, videos comprise one-half of the time users spend on the platform. Instagram’s new full-screen home feed is yet another change that attempts to recapture some of the users it lost—and continues to lose—to TikTok.

The details: In the initial test of the full-screen home feed, users can still use the bottom navigation bar to access the discovery tab, Reels, shopping and their own page. Also, the icons to switch accounts, create a post, check notifications and browse messages are still on the top bar.

YouTube’s New Live Redirect Feature Helps Fans Spontaneously Discover New Creators

Google has introduced Live Redirect on YouTube, a feature that allows creators to send their audience to the Premiere or live stream of their choice as soon as their live stream ends.

Why it matters: The update will help creators boost each other’s discoverability and potentially open opportunities for brands and creators to expand their reach when promoting a collaboration via livestream.

The details: With the new feature, creators with over 1,000 subscribers and no active Community Guideline strikes can build excitement for an upcoming Premiere and help fans discover new creators. 

Google has also added built-in features so that creators have control over who can redirect to their YouTube channel. To redirect an audience to another channel’s live stream, that channel needs to give permission from YouTube Studio, either by default because their channel is subscribed, or because they’ve approved a specific channel for Live Redirects.

Facebook Axes Podcast Service And Other Audio Products

On Friday, June 3, 2022, Facebook will be shutting down its podcast service barely one year after its launch, according to TechCrunch. It’ll also be discontinuing its short-form audio Soundbites feature and its Audio hub in the coming weeks. 

Why it matters: Emarketer forecasts that US podcast ad spending will surpass $2 billion next year and $3 billion by 2026. Still, a spokesperson from Meta told TechCrunch that after a year of learning and iterating on audio-first experiences, the company has decided to integrate Live Audio Rooms into Facebook Live and discontinue other audio products. 

The details: In its efforts to focus on the most meaningful experiences, namely, short-form video, Facebook will be discontinuing its podcast service, Soundbites feature and Audio hub in the coming weeks. As of Thursday, May 5, users are not able to link or publish any new podcasts.

Facebook’s venture into audio began in April 2021 when Clubhouse was valued at $4 billion and when Spotify and Apple were dominating the podcasting market.

Twitch Considers Updating Its Creator Monetization Structure

This week in social media news, Twitch considers changing how it pays top streamers, Pinterest adds 2 million users in Q1 2022 and YouTube Shorts reaches 30 billion daily views.

Twitch Weighs Changes To Its Creator Monetization Program

According to people familiar with the planning, Twitch is considering updating how it pays top streamers and offering incentives for streamers to run more ads, reports Bloomberg.

Why it matters: The, Inc.-owned platform’s changes may alienate creators and viewers given that it will cause its most popular streamers to receive a reduction in their share of subscription fees. 

In recent years, Twitch has provided an arena primarily for gamers to showcase their talents to the world, creating a new cohort of internet celebrities. Amazon has repeatedly expressed its desire to monetize the platform further and has released a series of new, profit-driven programs that some employees believe hurt its users and caused it to lose touch with its community’s needs.

The details: Twitch is reportedly considering implementing new changes to its monetization structure that would incentivize streamers to run more ads and reduce the proportion of subscription fees offered to the platform’s biggest creators in its partnerships program from 70 percent to 50 percent. 

Two of the unnamed individuals who claim to have inside information told Bloomberg that another option regarding streamers’ revenue cuts of channel subscriptions is to create multiple tiers and set criteria for how to qualify for each one. Twitch may then offer to release partners from exclusivity restrictions—meaning streamers would be free to stream on Facebook and YouTube.

Some of the changes could go into effect in summer 2022. A representative for Twitch declined to comment.

Pinterest Adds 2 Million Users In Q1 2022

According to Pinterest’s latest performance update, its revenue is increasing year-over-year and declining quarter-over-quarter, and it saw 2 million more monthly actives logging in in Q1 2022.

Why it matters: At the start of the pandemic while people were stuck at home and ecommerce surged, Pinterest reached 478 million users. That number has been dwindling ever since—it now reports having 433 million users.

Pinterest’s aim to be a key hub for shopping will necessitate that it retains these users and pitches them ads in order to keep its brand partners happy. Pinterest’s slowing growth, even as it expands into new markets, is not a good sign, though it remains to be seen how big it’ll become and how it’ll respond to the next Google changes.

The details: Pinterest posted better YOY performance, though it has declined on a quarterly basis, explaining that it’s the result of the decline in active users despite its success at better monetizing the audience it does have. Additionally, the number of Pinners engaging with shopping surfaces has continued to grow YOY.

In its performance update, Pinterest said:

“In Q1 2022, we continued to experience year-over-year engagement declines primarily due to pandemic-influenced growth in the year-ago quarter as well as lower search traffic (largely driven by Google’s algorithm change in November 2021). Time spent on competitive video-centric consumer platforms remains a headwind, particularly in our more mature markets. These declines were most pronounced for our desktop web and mobile web users, with mobile app users showing more resilience. The decline in global MAUs from February 1 to March 31 was primarily due to Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, and was particularly pronounced in Europe.”

YouTube Shorts Up To 30 Billion Daily Views As Shorts Ads Begin Testing

In its latest earnings report, Google confirmed that it has started running ads on its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts, as it averages over 30 billion daily views.

Why it matters: In February 2022, YouTube Shorts reportedly reached 5 trillion all-time views. The news that it’s currently at 30 billion daily showcases the rising popularity of short-form content. Showing ads between Shorts will offer YouTube another means of monetization given that as more people watch more Shorts overall, less will watch other monetizable videos.

YouTube is TikTok’s most formidable competitor in the short-form video space. If YouTube makes the ad offering permanent, its competition with TikTok will intensify as marketers are given more options to advertise on Shorts and creators are able to earn more revenue as a result.

The details: YouTube is in the testing stage of a move that incorporates ads between YouTube Shorts clips, which now garner over 30 billion daily views. YouTube will have to develop ads as a new revenue pathway for Shorts content in order to get more Shorts creators paid and keep them happy and on the platform. 

Google notes that more than 40 percent of creators who received payment from the Shorts Fund last year weren’t in the YouTube Partner Program, which pays creators billions annually.

Instagram Expands Product Tagging In Feed To All US Users

This week in social media news, Instagram expands the ability to add product tags in feed posts to all US users, Snapchat adds 13 million more daily actives in Q1 2022, Twitter is testing a feature allowing users to set status updates, YouTube expands the visibility of Shorts videos on mobile and desktop and more.

Instagram Expands Product Tagging In Feed To All US Users

Instagram recently announced that it’s expanding the ability to add product tags in feed posts to everyone to make it easier to share products on the app.

Why it matters: While creators and brands have been showcasing their favorite products on the platform for a while now, everyday users haven’t been able to. The feature will allow for brand awareness and social media marketing efforts to reach new heights—especially considering how often Instagram users favor product and brand recommendations from friends and family compared to celebrities and mega influencers.

The details: Instagram users in the US can create a post and tag a product or brand by clicking ‘Tag people’ and then clicking ‘Products’. Users who then view the published post will see detailed information about the product on the product detail page. The viewer can then purchase the product directly via Instagram or through the brand’s product detail page.

The feature only works for public accounts and Instagram says it’s also working on ways for users to tag products in Stories.

Twitter Tests Feature Letting Users Set Status Updates

Twitter has been spotted working on a feature that allows users to set a status on profiles and tweets.

Why it matters: Though nothing has been confirmed, a Twitter status function could allow people to inform others that they’re currently busy, out of the office, at a specific conference and more. While some Twitters users use their display name to indicate specific things, the status feature could be a way to indicate this in a more straightforward way.

The details: Reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong and one other reverse engineer recently spotted Twitter working on a “set a status” feature that the social media giant has codenamed “vibe.” 

Through the new feature, users will have the option of setting a profile-level status or a status for a specific tweet. Twitter declined to comment on the new test, and it still isn’t clear whether the platform will be moving the idea beyond the testing phase.

YouTube Expands Shorts To More Surfaces On Mobile And Desktop

YouTube is expanding the visibility of Shorts videos by adding them to more places on mobile and desktop, including a dedicated carousel in the trending section.

Why it matters: The new expansion will magnify Shorts’ reach as they become more easily discoverable throughout the YouTube website and app. Apart from improving discoverability, one of the goals of the update is to improve the overall experience of the trending page and to create a more consistent experience for Shorts across surfaces including desktop, tablet and mobile web.

The details: YouTube Shorts launched in 2020 before a series of updates throughout the following year. Since then, updates have slowed. 

As a part of the new update, YouTube’s trending page will now have a ‘Shorts shelf’, a carousel dedicated to short-form videos. These short videos will be filtered out of the list of trending videos according to a user’s location and will appear at the top of the page in their own carousel. This will be rolled out in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, France, Indonesia and MENA (Middle East & North Africa).

Additionally, YouTube Shorts will be able to be viewed more easily on desktop and mobile browsers with the addition of a new tab and homepage carousel.

Meta Quest Gaming Showcase Presents Announces New Games And Updates

Meta recently hosted its second annual Meta Quest Gaming Showcase where it shared news and updates for a dozen games, including NFL Pro Era, Resident Evil 4, Ghostbusters VR and more.

Why it matters: The event showcased how far virtual reality (VR) has come in gaming on the Meta Quest platform and where it’s headed in the future. In 2021, 11.2 million units of augmented reality (AR) and VR headsets shipped globally. The dramatic growth was largely thanks to Meta’s strong Quest 2 volumes, which accounted for 78 percent of the combined AR/VR worldwide market. 

The details: First up, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Ghostbusters VR, published by Sony Pictures Virtual Reality (SPVR) and developed by nDreams (Phantom: Covert Ops). The game lets you strap on your very own proton pack and step into the Ghostbusters universe.

StatusPRO revealed NFL PRO ERA uses NFL game data to create the most authentic on-the-field NFL VR experience to date while Beat Games announced their next release, the upcoming Electronic Mixtape, featuring tracks from artists Deadmau5, Marshmello and more.

And lastly, Resident Evil 4: The Mercenaries is out now as a free update for those who own Resident Evil 4 on Meta Quest 2. Meta said The Mercenaries has been entirely rebuilt for VR by Armature Studio, in partnership with Oculus Studios and Capcom. 

Meta Introduces First Physical Retail Space, Meta Store

Meta will open a 1,500-square-foot retail store on May 9 on its campus in Burlingame, California to offer visitors a hands-on experience with its hardware products.

Why it matters: Meta’s goal with the Meta Store is to help people discover what’s possible with offerings like the Quest 2, Portal and smart glasses Ray-Ban Stories. Meta’s hope is that once people experience the technology by interacting with it physically, they’ll gain a better understanding of and appreciation for it—which, in theory, will contribute to wider adoption and more sales.

The details: Meta’s first physical retail space will offer interactive demos of Quest 2, Portal and Ray-Ban Stories. The store’s interactive Quest 2 display wall and demo area will allow visitors to explore the hardware, accessories and breadth of content currently available on the platform including Beat Saber, GOLF+, Real VR Fishing and Supernatural.

Visitors will also be able to learn about Ray-Ban’s first-generation smart glasses, which can be tried on in an array of styles, colors and lens variations.

The store will also feature a demo area dedicated to Portal where visitors can place video calls to a retail associate who will share its capabilities and features.

Meta is also making it easier to shop with a new Shop tab on its website.

Instagram Launches Live Test Of Pinned Posts On User Profiles

Instagram recently launched a live test of a new option that allows select users to pin images in feed.

Why it matters: The new test feature could give creators and brands greater control over highlighting their best-performing content or promote a post that includes an announcement, special offer or product display. 

The details: Some Instagram users are now able to dock a total of three chosen posts to the top of their post grid on their profile display by selecting a ‘Pin to Your Profile’ option on posts. Instagram has been working on this option for quite a while and released an earlier variation in January with an update in February.

The platform is also still in the testing stage of an ‘Edit Grid’ option that allows users to rearrange their profile gallery, regardless of the date the post went up—further boosting creative control, especially for Instagram marketers.

Instagram has not yet discussed a timeline for a full rollout of these new options.

Facebook Adds Music Clips In Comments To Add Context To Replies

The Facebook app is now allowing users the option to insert music clips into their post replies.

Why it matters: The new Myspace-like feature allows for yet another way to promote artists and songs in the chat section of the Facebook app, in addition to jazzing up remarks.

The details: The process, which is appearing only for some users currently, is powered by the same system as the music sticker in Stories, which gives users the option to search for tracks by tapping on the music note icon. Users can then select a segment of the song to offer as a sample.

Instagram Allows Copying Formats From Other Reels With Templates Test

Instagram is currently testing Templates, a feature that lets Reels creators use the same format as other videos.

Why it matters: As Instagram—along with Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat—attempts to compete with TikTok with its own version of short-form video features, the new Reels test aims to make Reels easier to create. Presumably, Instagram is hoping that the feature incentivizes users to stop uploading TikTok videos into Reels, which users have been opting for.

The details: The feature, which is currently in beta testing with a limited number of users, is similar to TikTok’s Templates, which gives users the option to incorporate their own photos into a preset format.

Snapchat Adds 13 Million Users in Q1 2022, Sees Increase In Revenue

In its Q1 2022 earnings update, Snapchat said it added 13 million more daily actives for a total of 332 million and saw a 38 percent year-over-year (YOY) increase in revenue to reach $1.06 billion.

Why it matters: The positive news comes as Snap builds upon its Lens Studio and other creation initiatives—which help keep it on top of the latest trends and make it a contender with the other big AR players.

Over 250 million Snapchatters are now engaging with its AR elements daily and 250,000 creators have built more than 2.5 million Lenses. According to the company, users played with Lenses more than twice as much in Q1 2022 when compared to Q1 2021. And, despite having fewer resources than Apple and Meta, Snap has consistently shown that it’s better than the biggest players at staying in touch with key trends and building AR features that appeal to its user base—as showcased by the fact that most of the viral AR trends over time have stemmed from Snapchat.

The details: The majority of Snapchat’s user growth in Q1 2022 derives from its ‘Rest of the World’ category, especially in India where its massive population continues to increase mobile adoption. Its revenue growth, on the other hand, mostly derives from North American users. 

Snapchat says its Discover and publisher content has continued to see strong adoption, with total daily time spent by Snapchatters aged 25 and older engaging with such increasing by more than 25 percent YOY.