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.

Meta’s Horizon Worlds Tests New Creator Monetization Tools

This week in social media news, Meta’s Horizon Worlds is testing a feature allowing creators to sell virtual items and experiences, TikTok opens its Effect House beta to allow anyone to build Community Effects, Pinterest API (v5) brings open access to all developers and more.

Horizon Worlds Tests New Creator Monetization Tool, Bonus Program

Meta announced it’s testing new tools to help Horizon Worlds creators earn money by selling virtual items and experiences within their worlds in addition to a Horizon Worlds Creator Bonus program.

Why it matters: Meta is consistently trying to find new ways to support creators as part of its vision for the metaverse, which is a place where creators can earn a living and users can purchase digital goods, services and experiences. Meta’s testing of the new monetization tools is one more step in that direction and in expanding its $10 million Horizon Creators Fund

The details: Horizon Worlds’ creator tools will be made available only to a select handful of creators during the testing phase. They’ll allow the creators to sell virtual items and effects within their worlds—for example, access to a new part of a world or to attachable accessories for a fashion world. Users who wish to purchase these items must be 18 years old or older and in the US and Canada.

In addition to the monetization tools, Meta is also testing a Horizon Worlds Creator Bonus program in the US. The bonuses are goal-oriented, fee-free monthly programs paid to creators as rewards for their progress toward the goal. During the testing phase, creators will be rewarded for building worlds that attract the most time spent. Meta said that over time, it may evolve these goals.

TikTok Expands Effect House To All Creators

TikTok has opened its Effect House beta to all creators, providing them with the tools and learning resources necessary to build more immersive and dynamic effects in videos.

Why it matters: In Effect House’s early beta, more than 450 effect creators published effects that led to the creation of more than 1.5 billion videos on TikTok and over 600 billion views globally. Now that the platform is open to all, TikTok can likely expect its number of users and time spent on the platform to increase.

The details: Effect House, the platform that allows anyone to build Community Effects for TikTok, has been in closed beta since fall 2021. As of April 12, all TikTok creators, designers and developers can use the platform to create effects for all of the social app’s users to enjoy. Each effect will have to align with TikTok’s Community and Effect Guidelines, and will be reviewed by its Trust and Safety team before being released to the community.

Users who engage with one of the new effects will know that it was made in Effect House in two ways—when the user taps the effect on a video and views the results page and when recording video using the effect. All of the published effects in a creator’s portfolio can be viewed from a designated tab on their profile page.

Pinterest Introduces Pinterest API (v5) And Makes It Available To All Developers

Pinterest’s new API (v5) will allow developers to connect quickly, start building applications fo faster creation of content and data, and provide advertisers with more analytics on their Pinterest ads. 

Why it matters: This marks the first time in the platform’s history it’s offering a developer-centric, open API, which any developer can apply to access, Pinterest said.

The details: Pinterest will allow for any developer to apply for access and receive a response within a few days. The open program is a single API for all use cases and will enable advertisers to understand profile performance, including user and organic Pin analytics as well as the performance of their Pinterest ads.

From now on, Pinterest API (v5) will be the platform’s primary API for external developers with features such as content creation, analytics and Pinterest API for Shopping all available today. Beta features that will become available to all developers later in 2022 include a server-to-server solution that lets advertisers automatically send web, in-app or offline conversions directly to Pinterest in real-time or in batch.

Other features that will become available through the year include ads management tools for advertisers to create and edit ads, ad groups, campaigns and ad previews. Advertisers will also eventually be able to create and manage audiences and insights, create conversion tags, create and update advertiser targeting types and create Idea ads.

TikTok Shares Creative Marketing Best Practices

According to TikTok, 62 percent of users say they feel a deeper connection to the brands they interact with on TikTok compared to other sites and apps they use. So to help brands find their unique voice and direction, the platform shared a new set of best practices for how to get stronger engagement.

Why it matters: Many big brands have yet to join TikTok while others on the platform are looking for ways to hit the jackpot and go viral. Keeping up to date with the best practices can help a brand achieve its goals on the app. Though TikTok still has a reputation for being the wild west of social platforms, advertisers are clearly putting dollars behind it because the app is expected to generate $11 billion in advertising revenue in 2022.

The details: TikTok recommends keeping four things in mind before creating content: stick to a 9:16 aspect ratio, ensure your video resolution is 720P+, stick between 21 to 24 seconds and never go below 10 seconds, and include relevant audio of any kind.

For new brands, TikTok’s creative center is a useful hub. It has a trend discovery tool that shows you what’s popular in your vertical and region, which is important for tapping into real-time trends. It also includes a hub of top-performing ads from other brands and a commercial audio library that lists current trending songs.

In addition to its creator marketplace, which streamlines creator discovery for your next campaign, TikTok’s creative exchange program enables brands to partner with creatives who know the ins and outs of the app and can help strengthen your campaign.

When it comes time to make the video, TikTok has more than 100 customizable templates any brand can use to enhance their content. For brands that don’t have sufficient in-house resources to create videos from scratch, TikTok’s dynamic scene tool lets them turn pre-existing assets into hundreds of new variations.

Pinterest Launches WooCommerce Extension

Pinterest has just released a new WooCommerce extension, giving more than 3 million merchants a way to turn their product catalogs into shoppable product pins on Pinterest.

Why it matters: The debut is part of the platform’s wider commitment to helping brands reach customers who haven’t yet made up their minds. Ninety-seven percent of the top searches on Pinterest are unbranded, which means shoppers are more open to learning about a brand’s products. According to Pinterest’s data, when users do decide, they spent two times more than people on other platforms.

The details: If you don’t currently have the WooCommerce extension, Pinterest provides instructions on how to do so. Once installed, a brand’s entire product catalog uploads to Pinterest then shoppable pins will appear in people’s feeds as they search for things to buy. The extension also logs when customers interact with your products on Pinterest, so you can track your bestselling or most saved items.

If you’ve already manually uploaded your shop to Pinterest another way, Pinterest still recommends switching to the extension instead since it automatically updates details like pricing and product availability.

TikTok Tests New Tools To Prevent Harassment And Bullying 

TikTok is experimenting with new safety tools to encourage genuine engagement in comments and has added a safety reminder for creators. It also released its Q4 2021 community guidelines enforcement report, which includes information on content removals in markets and ongoing improvements to its systems that detect, flag and remove violative content.

Why it matters: From Q1 to Q4 2021, TikTok says removals of content at zero views improved by 14.7 percent for harassment and bullying content, 10.9 percent for hateful behavior, 16.2 percent for violent extremism, and 7.7 percent for suicide, self-harm, and dangerous acts.

The details: TikTok started testing a way to let users identify comments they think are irrelevant or inappropriate—information that it says will add to the factors it already uses to help keep the comment section relevant and safe. Only the person who registered a dislike on a comment can see the action to avoid any negative feelings between members.

It’s also testing reminders that’ll guide creators to TikTok’s comment filtering as well as its bulk block and delete options. TikTok will show these reminders to creators whose videos appear to be receiving a lot of negative comments.

Social Roundup: Twitter Tests An Edit Button

This week in social media news, Twitter is testing an edit button, TikTok launches a virtual course to help creative agencies become platform experts, Instagram Reels creators say the app changed its payout system without notice and more.

Twitter Works On An Edit Feature For Tweets

Twitter announced it’s working on an edit feature, a decision that’s sparked fierce debate on the internet. The platform says it’s been working on the button since last year.

Why it matters: As Fast Company notes, some have argued that an edit button on Twitter will disrupt democracy, giving malicious users like former President Donald Trump the ability to rewrite history. On the other hand, many are in support of the decision, as evidenced by 75 percent of the 4 million people who voted yes when Elon Musk ran a poll on his Twitter profile—before Twitter ever announced its plans to test the function—asking his followers, “Do you want an edit button?” 

The button is a double-edged sword for brands. As Paul Stamatiou, who previously spent nearly a decade designing at Twitter, told Fast Company:

“One thing that gets lost in the discussion of edit is the purpose. There are distinct customer needs and use cases (fixing minor typos and grammatical errors is one, but there are others such as a news organization clarifying a previous statement but wishing to preserve the context of the original to prevent continuous spread of potential misinfo). And depending on which need you prioritize, you’ll have a different set of solutions and constraints.”

The details: Twitter said it “didn’t get the idea” for an edit button from Musk’s popular poll and that it’s kicking off testing with Twitter Blue Labs, a perk of its premium subscription service that gives subscribers early access to new features it’s testing.

TikTok Launches Educational Program For Creative Agencies

TikTok’s Creative Agency Partnerships (CAP) team has debuted CAP University, a program designed to offer agencies who want to become TikTok experts a custom learning program.

Why it matters: The program is an incentive to attract traditional marketers to the platform, whose ad revenue is expected to triple this year to $11.64 billion—more than Twitter’s and Snapchat’s sales combined. TikTok says after completing the five-week program, hosted as live webinar sessions, agencies will be able to lead conversations with their clients, concept and create for the platform and continue driving clients’ business forward.

The details: Here’s an overview of the five courses CAP University’s first semester will offer:

TikTok 101: A lesson fueled by foundational statistics and data that all creative agencies should know as well as examples of best-in-class creative work.

TikTok: From Briefing to Pitching: Given TikTok requires a strategy different from other markets channels, this lesson will explain how to think about and communicate ideas made just for the platform.

Concepting and Creating for TikTok: The app says this course distills all the trends, patterns and learnings from the past year down to best practices to inform concepting and creating.

Trends and Music Listening: This class will explain how to lean into trends and answer the most frequently asked questions about music licensing.

Collaborating with Creators: This course will teach the basics of working with creators and highlight TikTok’s creator marketplace.

Instagram Reels Creators Say Payouts Have Been Slashed

Payments to creators monetizing Instagram Reels content are down as much as 70 percent per view and videos need millions more views for creators to earn money, according to the Financial Times and as reported by The Verge.

Why it matters: Instagram launched its Reels Play Bonus program in July last year as a way to lure creators away from TikTok and onto its TikTok-like clone Reels. But if Instagram can’t meet creators’ demands financially, there’s good reason to believe Reels’ usage will plummet and creators will continue investing more time in TikTok.

The details: Creators say Instagram didn’t explain the changes in the payout system. One creator told the Financial Times that their personalized threshold for receiving payment up to $35,000 had jumped from 58 million views to 359 million views. Meta told the Financial Times that the company was testing Reels bonuses on Instagram and Facebook, which may cause payouts to “fluctuate” as pricing models are refined.

ByteDance Allegedly Scraped Public Accounts From Other Platforms To Duplicate Them On Flipagram

Four former employees of Flipagram, a predecessor of TikTok, told BuzzFeed News that in 2017, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance scraped short-form videos, usernames, profile images and descriptions from Instagram, Snapchat and other sources then uploaded them to Flipagram without users’ knowledge or consent.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed sent ByteDance a comprehensive list of the allegations it planned to print in the article detailing the allegation, in response to which a spokesperson glossed over the situation, saying:

“ByteDance acquired Flipagram in 2017 and operated it, and subsequently Vigo, for a short time. Flipagram and Vigo ceased operations years ago and aren’t connected to any current ByteDance products.”

ByteDance also didn’t answer BuzzFeed’s questions about where and how it stored any data it allegedly scraped from Instagram and other platforms. This isn’t the first time ByteDance has been in hot water about its handling of user privacy. Over the past year, TikTok has gone to great lengths to isolate its US users’ data after its data practices came under fire.

The details: BuzzFeed said it viewed internal documents that indicate the scraping was run by an engineering team in China and started soon after ByteDance acquired Flipagram in January 2017. The former employees described the project as one of several “growth hacks” used by the company.

In one document, an employee details the reasons the company used “fake accounts” and scraped content. Among them were that the accounts could be used to test which content performed best and that current users could mimic the scraped content to improve their own popularity.

Another document shows how the company tried to curate content that was “not too Chinese” and would resonate with US users. Three of the former employees say this content still didn’t perform well with Flipagram’s user base.

One of the former employees also said the scraping affected hundreds of thousands of accounts and that the team’s goal was to scrape more than 10,000 videos a day in the highest priority countries.

Study Shows Facebook’s Interest Targeting Is Inaccurate Nearly 30% Of The Time

This week in social media news, a study by North Carolina State University finds Facebook’s interest targeting is inaccurate about 30 percent of the time, Pinterest expands its creator fund to support underrepresented influencers and Twitter tests a feature that enables two accounts to co-author a single tweet.

Researchers Find 30% Of Interest Categories Facebook Creates For Users Are Inaccurate 

A study conducted by North Carolina State University revealed that the interest categories Facebook creates for users so advertisers can target consumers are accurate only about two-thirds of the time. The 34-page paper, “Analyzing the Impact and Accuracy of Facebook Activity on Facebook’s Ad-Interest Inference Process,” found that 33 percent of Facebook’s inferred interests were inaccurate or irrelevant.

Why it matters: If Facebook is unable to guarantee that 100 percent of the inferred interests of Facebook users aren’t actually of interest, advertisers are potentially wasting two-thirds of their advertising spend on users who aren’t even interested in the ads they’re serving them on Facebook.

The details: The researchers evaluated which activities resulted in interests and found that very naive activities, such as only viewing/scrolling through a page, led to an interest inference. They found 33.22 percent of the inferred interests were inaccurate or irrelevant.

To understand if their findings hold for a large and diverse sample, the university recruited 147 individuals globally to download a Google Chrome extension. 

The participants reported a similar range of inaccuracy—29 percent—as observed in the researchers’ controlled experiments.

The details of Facebook’s algorithms creating these inferences “remain a black box,” said the researchers, adding that Facebook doesn’t seem to factor in sentiment when collecting interests. For example, posting a negative comment on a Harry Potter page led to interests in Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliffe.

Pinterest Expands Creator Fund To Support International And Underrepresented Creators

Pinterest recently announced updates to its Creator Fund, including new opportunities for creators of color, creators with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA+ community to participate and receive hands-on support.

Pinterest will announce a new fund cycle every quarter, with each cycle focused on a different content area. For its first 2022 cycle—fashion and beauty—Pinterest invites US influencers in the space to apply. Future cycles will include topics like food, lifestyle and wellness.

Why it matters: The Pinterest Creator Fund has helped prominent creators increase their presence on the app and earn substantial followings—for some, as many as 75 percent more followers after completion of the platform’s program. 

According to Pinterest, dividing each cycle by content area will facilitate community building, personalized training and deeper insights.

For marketers, the expansion means more diverse storytelling and the ability to create impactful pins. 

The details: Pinterest, which just increased its creator fund to $1.2 million, has decided to expand the program with the following updates:

  • This year’s first cycle will be sponsored by L’Oréal USA, which will be directly reaching out to content creators about possible partnerships and gifting beauty products. 
  • The program has also been expanded to five weeks, affording creators more time and resources to develop their skills and execute strategies.
  • Some creators will receive $25,000 in the form of a cash grant, ad credits and an equipment stipend. Those individuals will also receive a first look at new Pinterest products.
  • The US-based fund will be expanding to include underrepresented creators in Brazil and the UK later this year.
  • The fashion and beauty cycle is open to US creators who fit the following criteria and apply through Pinterest’s online form: they specialize in fashion or beauty content; identify as one of the following underrepresented creator groups: people of color, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA+ community; currently have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers on Pinterest, or on other platforms; have not yet monetized your content, on Pinterest or on other platforms; and have made at least one Idea Pin.

Twitter Tests Feature Allowing Two Accounts To Co-Author Single Tweet

Twitter has recently begun exploring the ability for two users to co-author a single tweet, according to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: Other than simply encouraging collaboration on the app, the feature will enable brands to engage with other brands—at the time of collab launches—and followers in a new way that will likely boost visibility of their messaging. 

The details: Twitter’s co-author feature, which is still in the development phase, would afford two accounts to author one tweet. According to app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, who has been posting evidence of the feature’s development since at least December 2021, there seems to be a new dialog box from Twitter about how the tweet collaborations could work. 

The change may have come in response to Instagram’s Collabs feature launched late last year that enables two accounts to co-author a Reel or post. According to Paluzzi, Twitter users seeking to engage the feature will only be able to co-author with public users who follow already you and who accept the invite. The co-authored tweets will be shared with followers on both accounts as both avatars appear on the top left side of the post.

Social Media Use By 8- To 12-Year-Olds Grows

This week in social media news, a new study breaks down media use by tweens and teens, YouTube starts streaming free, ad-supported TV shows, Meta’s new partnership with Vntana will enable brands to run 3D ads on Facebook and Instagram, and more.

Study Finds Watching Online Videos Is Favorite Media Activity Among 8- To 18-Year-Olds

Media use among tweens (8- to 12-year-olds) and teens (13- to 18-year-olds) has grown faster since the start of the pandemic than it has over the four years prior to the pandemic. 

That’s according to a new study from Common Sense Media that compares the frequency, enjoyment and time spent engaging in various types of media activities among 8- to 18-year-olds in 2019 – prior to the virus arriving in the US – and fall 2021 as most schools around the country reopened for in-person learning.

Why it matters: From 2015 to 2019, media use for tweens grew only 3 percent, and

for teens, 11 percent. But from 2019 to 2021 alone, media use grew by 17 percent for tweens and teens.

A new behavior the study observed is the rising use of social media among 8- to 12-year-olds. Thirty-eight percent of tweens have used social media (up from 31 percent in 2019) and 18 percent now say they use social media every day – up 5 percentage points since 2019.

Tweens’ time spent using social media is also up eight minutes a day among this age group (from 10 to 18 minutes a day, on average), with the top five social media sites tweens have ever used being Snapchat (13 percent), Instagram (10 percent), Facebook (8 percent), Discord (5 percent) and Pinterest (4 percent).

The details: According to the report, among tweens the top two media activities engaged in most frequently are watching television (65 percent do so daily) and

watching online videos (64 percent). Among teens, the two most common activities are watching online videos (77 percent do so daily) and using social media (62 percent). Forty-nine percent of teens watch television daily as well.

In general, enjoyment of media is highest among tweens and goes down among teens, with two exceptions: online videos, which appeal across age groups, and social media, which most tweens don’t use.

Some more noteworthy findings from the report include:

  • If forced to choose, 32 percent of teens say YouTube is the site that they wouldn’t want to live without, with Snapchat coming second at 20 percent.
  • Watching online videos is the favorite media activity among 8- to 18-year-olds, appealing to both tweens and teens, boys and girls, and across racial/ethnic groups and income levels.
  • Teens now spend nearly an hour and a half a day using social media but have conflicted feelings about the medium. Nearly half (46 percent) of all 13- to 18-year-olds have listened to podcasts, and one in five say they do so at least once a week.
  • Teens’ enjoyment of social media went down since 2019 (from 41 percent to 34 percent who enjoy it “a lot”), as did their enjoyment of television (down from 33 percent to 27 percent).
  • The proportion of tweens who say they enjoy playing mobile games decreased by 10 percentage points to 45 percent, while the proportion who enjoy using social media a lot increased by 4 percentage points to 12 percent.
  • While 94 percent of children in higher-income households and 91 percent of white children have at least one computer in the home, only 67 percent of those in lower-income households and 81 percent and 83 percent of black and Hispanic/Latino children, respectively, do.
  • There were no substantial changes in the number of households with at least one computer, tablet, or video game player over the past two years.
  • Twenty-six percent of tweens’ TV viewing and 35 percent of teens’ viewing happens on devices like a smartphone, table, or computer.
  • Watching videos online is incredibly popular across demographic groups, but especially among Hispanic/Latinos and young people from lower-income households, who are more likely to say they watch online videos “every day,” and who watch for longer periods of time.
  • In general, tweens enjoy playing games more than teens, especially mobile gaming (45 percent of tweens enjoy playing mobile games a lot, compared with 28 percent of teens). On average, tweens spend 1:27 a day gaming and teens spend 1:46.
  • Thirty-eight percent of tweens and 84 percent of teens use social media, including 18 percent of tweens and 62 percent of teens who say they use it every day.
  • Twenty-two percent of tweens and 27 percent of teens have ever tried virtual reality, with boys and young people from lower-income families more likely to do so than girls or young people from middle- or higher-income households
  • About one in 10 tweens and nearly one in five teens say they never read anything other than what is required for school or homework.

YouTube Starts Streaming Free, Ad-Supported TV Shows

For the first time, US viewers can stream full seasons of TV shows on YouTube for free with ads, the company announced. To complement the offering, the platform debuted new, streamlined navigation and immersive banner art.

Why it matters: The addition of ad-supported TV shows marks an expansion of YouTube’s current offering, as it already currently has over 1,500 movies from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, Warner Bros., Lionsgate and more.

It’s also a matter of keeping its current user base engaged. According to Nielsen, YouTube reached over 135 million people on connected TVs in the US in December 2021.

The details: US users can access YouTube’s available movies and shows and up to 100 new titles each week via desktop, mobile and most connected TVs through the YouTube on TV app.

TikTok Was The Top App By Consumer Spend In Q1

According to’s (formerly App Annie) Q1 2022 Apps Index, Instagram, TikTok and Meta saw the most app downloads worldwide in Q1 while consumers spent the most on TikTok, YouTube and Tinder during the same period.

Why it matters: The data revealed Q1 2022 to be the biggest first quarter ever for consumer spend at $33 billion. Apple users still spend the most – 65 percent of the quarter’s total $33 billion. The figure was even higher among non-gaming apps – 73 percent of spend on iOS versus Google Play, as in-app subscriptions moved into the mainstream. 

Overall, forecast consumer spend on apps to have grown over 40 percent in two years, with the total for iOS up nearly 42 percent from Q1 2020, and 44 percent up for Google Play.

The details: Google Play drove the majority of the quarter’s app downloads, with Android users installing 28.5 billion of the 37 billion apps in the period — a 16 percent rise year-over-year.

iOS dominated the consumer spend chart  reverse is true when it comes to consumer spend, consistent with the previous five quarters, according to For every $1 spent by users on Google Play, users on iOS spend $1.80. The balance tips even further in non-gaming apps – iOS accounts for 73 percent of consumer spend.

In the iOS space, consumer spend in medical apps is set to grow 23 percent quarter-over-quarter

In terms of spend and active users, TikTok reigns supreme. The app was number one for spend and average monthly active users, while its sister app CapCut (which lets users edit their videos) landed number seven for breakout active users.

As for monthly active users, in Q1 2022 Snapchat moved from number seven to five 7 to in the download chart from the previous quarter. Shopee moved up from 10 in terms of downloads to seven.

Meta Teams With Vntana So Brands Can Run 3D Ads On Facebook, Instagram

Thanks to Meta’s new partnership with Vntana, brands will be able to upload 3D models of their products to Facebook and Instagram and easily convert them into ads, reports Reuters.

Why it matters: The partnership brings Meta one step closer to realizing its goal of creating the metaverse, a project it said could take up to a decade to complete. 

It also gives brands an incentive to start strategizing on how their stories and products come to life in the metaverse and whether it makes sense to invest in engaging users there.

Meta previously teamed with Modiface and PerfectCorp to help beauty and cosmetic brands run 3D and augmented reality ads.

The details: Facebook and Instagram users who see a 3D ad while browsing on desktop or mobile can interact with an image of a handbag, for example, and move it around to view the item from all angles.

According to Vntana chief executive Ashley Crowder, before Vntana’s integration with Meta, advertisers would need to reformat 3D files to be compatible with Meta’s ad systems. Now, brands can use Vntana to easily upload and convert the files into ads without technical expertise in working with 3D images.

TikTok And Oracle Address US Data Security Concerns With Possible Deal

This week in social media news, TikTok and Oracle approach a potential deal to mitigate US data security concerns, TikTok expands the pilot of its Stories feature, Twitter tests a new clipping tool for Spaces and more.

TikTok May End Up Storing Its US Data On Oracle Servers

In an effort to address US regulatory concerns over TikTok’s data integrity, TikTok and Oracle are nearing a deal that would make it so the latter stores US users’ information without TikTok parent company ByteDance having access to it, reports Reuters

Why it matters: The agreement in discussion comes a year and a half after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFU) ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok due to fears China’s government could collect US users’ data. While the order wasn’t enforced after President Joe Biden succeeded Donald Trump last year, sources tell Reuters CIFU still has concerns over data security at TikTok.

The details: Under the new proposed partnership, Oracle would store all of TikTok’s US user data on its data servers and a dedicated US data management team of hundreds of people serving as a gatekeeper for US user information will be formed. The companies are also discussing a structure under which that team would function autonomously and not be under TikTok’s control or supervision.

Currently, some of TikTok’s data is stored on Alphabet’s Google Cloud.

TikTok Expands Pilot Of Stories Feature

TikTok will be expanding the pilot of its Stories feature, which the app tested in summer 2021.

Why it matters: With TikTok Stories, brands will have more opportunities to reach users and the freedom to showcase their products and services in ways that don’t necessarily follow the short-form, quick style of content that users have come to expect in their For You feeds.

The details: Like Instagram Stories, TikTok Stories last for 24 hours before being automatically deleted. They appear on users’ For You pages and can be accessed by navigating to a user’s profile and clicking on their profile picture. 

TikTok doesn’t currently allow the poster to view who viewed their Stories, as Instagram does, but they can see how many people viewed them. 

Only some users will have access to this feature, and, according to TechCrunch, only users with the feature currently can view others’ Stories.

Twitter Tests New Clipping Tool For Spaces

Twitter has begun testing a new clipping tool for Spaces, its live audio conversation function, the platform announced in a tweet

Why it matters: The new tool will give users’ Spaces more exposure and the ability to tease a part of their live audio conversation rather than the entire recording. 

It comes as pandemic-related restrictions start to ease and users who once enjoyed live audio rooms on the platform need incentives to stay.

The details: Select Spaces hosts on iOS will now be able to clip 30 seconds of audio from a recorded conversation to share on Twitter. Currently, all iOS users can view and listen to Spaces clips on their timelines while access will open up to Android and web users soon. 

Twitter will expand the new feature to all users beyond just hosts in the near future. Currently, hosts can create any number of audio clips, with each one living on the platform for 30 days.

Pew Study Shows Motive Of Twitter Users Who Tweet Infrequently

For its latest study, Pew Research Center set out to uncover the motives of Twitter “lurkers,” or users who have posted an average of fewer than five tweets per month since they first created their account, compared with frequent tweeters.

Why it matters: Pew’s findings about Twitter lurkers could prove useful for brands looking to capture an audience they thought never existed but is actually active behind the scenes. For example, Twitter lurkers are more likely than active users to say the most important reason they use the platform is to see different points of view. This cohort also uses Twitter primarily as a way to stay informed.  

The details: According to Pew, about 60 percent of infrequent tweeters are ages 30 to 49—nearly double the share among more active tweeters. Comparatively, adults under 30 account for just 14 percent of lurkers but make up 41 percent of more active users.

Twenty-one percent of lurkers say they visit the site every day, compared with 55 percent of more active tweeters. Another 38 percent of infrequent tweeters say they visit weekly, if not daily. The remaining 41 percent visit only a few times a month or less often.

When asked whether they use Twitter to express their own opinions or to see what others are saying, 76 percent of lurkers say they use the platform primarily to see what others are saying, according to Pew. Just 6 percent primarily use the platform to express their own opinions.

Replies to other users account for roughly half percent of lurkers’ tweets, compared with 30 percent of those from more frequent tweeters.

Snapchat’s New Custom Landmarkers Feature Aims To Inspire Local AR Experiences

Through its new Lens Studio feature Custom Landmarkers, Snap is giving creators the ability to develop community-driven augmented reality (AR) experiences for places they care about including statues and storefronts.

Why it matters: The platform says the feature is part of its efforts to grow its AR platform, Lens Studio, and give its community of 250,000 Lens creators—which have collectively made 2.5 million lenses that have been viewed more than 3.5 trillion times—more ways to create experiences.

The details: The AR experiences built via Custom Landmarkers are discoverable through physical Snapcodes displayed at the landmark or on a Lens creator’s profile.

How Top Brands Are Winning At TikTok

In December 2021, TikTok surpassed Snapchat and Twitter in global user numbers, making it the world’s third-largest social network. The app is on track to count 775 million monthly users in 2022. As TikTok continues its swift ascension, marketers and brands still have a lot to learn about what does and doesn’t work as they test the waters and tweak their strategies to reach its young user base.

For its latest report, InVideo analyzed more than 300 brands and 650 videos to compile the best practices TikTok marketers should follow this year. Ahead see which of the most valuable brands had a presence on the app, their posting cadence, the style, tone, and metrics of their best performing videos, as well as findings on how Amazon and Samsung are getting it right.

First, here are some key TikTok stats to keep in mind in 2022:

  • Half of the top brands have no TikTok presence, including Google, Facebook, YouTube and Ikea. Some of them do have official TikTok accounts but haven’t posted any content yet.
  • The best-performing TikTok brands post 3.52 times per week on average.
  • A 1 percent increase in followers corresponds to a 0.65 percent increase in average views per post.
  • 80 percent of the top videos had music, with upbeat songs being the most popular music choice by far.
  • Tech, food and gaming brands have the highest average views per video.
  • Among the brands studied, So Satisfying, Samsung, TikTok, Chevrolet and Flighthouse were the five most popular brands in terms of average views per video.
  • Five of the top 10 videos were created by TikTok itself.
  • 90 percent of the videos studied had product placement, while 30 percent included humor.
  • About 25 percent of the videos featured a celebrity or an influencer.
  • Videos promoting brand events drew nearly 20 million views, while those featuring some form of sexuality or animals generated over 10 million views.
  • Creative videos with animations and graphics overlays regularly draw over 11 million views per post.
  • Video descriptions were 87 characters long on average, despite TikTok’s 150 character limit.
  • Video descriptions had 3.26 hashtags on average.
  • 87.3 percent of the videos had at least one hashtag.
  • Every 100 views generate 12 engagements on average, with engagements defined as the sum of likes, comments and shares.

TikTok Brand Strategy

Of the 317 brands that InVideo analyzed, roughly half of top brands lack a presence on TikTok. This is surprising given an early presence on the platform may coincide with a substantial advantage for brands willing to take the time to produce engaging content.

TikTok Posting Strategy

TikTok’s algorithm rewards frequent and consistent posts as the best brands—those with 10,000 or more average views per post—post an average of three videos per week. InVideo reminds marketers that more isn’t always better. 

Five posts per week will rarely make much of a difference, though there are exceptions. Amazon Prime Video, for example, posts more than 40 times per week and draws an average of 1.32 million views per post and has accumulated a total of 2.2 billion views. Netflix, on the other hand, only posts 8.5 times per week with a total of 419 million views. Brands can gain a significant advantage by posting more frequently and more consistently than their competitors while staying up-to-date with video trends.

TikTok Marketing Strategy

The larger your follower count, the more likely your videos are to be liked, shared and commented on. Therefore growing your fan base on TikTok should be one of the top priorities of your channel.

InVideo found that a 1 percent increase in followers corresponds to a .65 percent increase in average views per post. The key takeaway here is that paid campaigns and giveaways that are effective in attracting followers will boost your content’s reach.

Tech, Food And Gaming Brands Are Most Popular

Yes, the industry within which you operate can have an effect on the average number of views your videos receive, but there are factors beyond this to consider. InVideo computed the average number of views each brand received on their videos and found that tech & IT, food & beverages, gaming, media, sport and nonprofits were the most popular types of brands on the platform. Cosmetics came in last of those studied, with less than 500,000 average views per video while tech & IT drew more than 2.3 million views per post.

Nevertheless, TikTok rewards creativity far more than it does anything else. Some of the most popular brands on TikTok include So Satisfying, Samsung, TikTok, Chevrolet, Flighthouse and Victoria’s Secret. If you’re looking for a brand to emulate to gain as much traction as possible, study @TikTok’s videos—whose top five most-viewed videos are among the top 10 most-viewed on the platform overall.

Music Makes The Video

Of the roughly 650 videos studied, close to 80 percent included music, with upbeat music being the most popular choice by a longshot. Be sure to add music to all of your videos and more often than not use upbeat and trending songs. Take a look at the @AldrichLandscape TikTok channel for an idea of how seemingly mundane tasks like mowing a lawn can earn 20,000 views with the right song and for an example of how a small business can make it big on the platform.

Recipe For Creating The Best Post

There’s no magic formula for getting it right on TikTok but there are some metrics to take into consideration when planning your strategy and videos, including the type of content, the mood your video evokes and video design style, to name a few.

According to InVideo’s data, brands that advertise on TikTok include one or more products in their videos 90 percent of the time. Other than products, these videos include an influencer, a celebrity, dancing, a tutorial or a conversation. About 25 percent of videos feature an influencer or celebrity with an endorsement or collaboration. 

Surprisingly, less than 4 percent of videos included a call to action – something you may want to consider adding to the end of your video  (even if you have to mask it in a tutorial) in order to gain followers, expand reach or drive traffic to your other social channels. Or you can choose to capitalize on the entertainment/information you’ve provided to viewers by asking them directly to do something that returns that value to your business, such as to like and follow.

Brand events generated the most views, followed by sexuality, animals, tutorials and celebrities, in that order, found the study. Conversations and listicles generated the least number of views of the categories studied. 

InVideo’s suggestion here is to diversify the substance of videos by showcasing your employees and putting a face to your company—something that may generate more traction considering that these videos had, on average, more than 9 million views. Don’t shy away from publicizing your upcoming events or products on the platform, because according to the research, viewers love watching these kinds of posts. 

One of the goals of a TikTok marketing strategy is to have your audience associate your brand with positive emotions and to encourage them to do something, e.g., buy, follow, participate, etc. In this context, music can help a brand elicit a specific mood needed for its video. Just be sure to evoke a mood that matches your product and brand identity.

Of those studied, 30 percent of videos tried to be funny, over 15 percent tried to be suspenseful, and over 10 percent tried to be adventurous. In total, those that included humor generated the most views (over 8 million on average), followed by relaxing videos, adventurous videos and suspenseful videos (in that order).

The final element InVideo studied is visual design. The company studied some of the basic types of design styles used on TikTok and how well they do in practice. It found that on-screen text was used more than half of the time, followed far behind by animation, emojis and graphic overlay.

On-screen text was the most-used style given it’s an effective way to add important information like side notes, commentary, context, a call to action or a promotion code.

Top Trends Of 2022

Another way to win at TikTok is to stay up to date with trends going viral on the platform. Some popular challenges at the moment include the Vogue challenge, picture trend, album cover challenge, turning your DMs into quotes, and the “What I mean when I say I’m from” trend.

TikTok Highlights Top 2021 Hashtags And Rising Trends

This week in social media news, TikTok research shows which hashtags thrived in 2021 and which are on the rise, a new app aims to be social media with a higher purpose, YouTube announces the winners of its Super Bowl AdBlitz and more.

TikTok Report Reveals Top Performing Hashtags And Trends From 2021 

TikTok has published its “Rising Trends” report, which provides a retrospective on 2021 performance by category in the US and worldwide to help brands plan for 2022. 

The insights are based on platform performance on TikTok from October 2020 to October 2021 and reveal the categories that saw significant growth, the ones that were consistently popular and those TikTok felt deserved a special spotlight.

Why it matters: In 2021, TikTok hit a milestone of 1 billion monthly active users. The platform’s top hashtags saw a median engagement rate of 12 percent and the top 100 hashtags saw an average of 25 million videos published. 

Eighty-eight percent of people on TikTok said that the sound on the app is central to the overall app experience. Plus as of December 2021, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt amassed over 7.4 billion views.

The details: In the US, the first category TikTok says surged last year is beauty and personal care, every trend for which revolved around self-care in some shape or form. The #selfcare hashtag saw 3.4 billion video views total last year.

Many users showed the more messy and authentic sides of their lifestyles. TikTok notes the trend is here to stay and suggests keeping tabs on the #grwm and #beforeandafter hashtags, the latter which excites people to try a product for themselves and share their results.

Engagement and creation around haircare skyrocketed, with #hairtok surging by 20,000 percent in video views and 3,000 percent in videos created in 2021.

News and entertainment is the next category that helped strengthen community building on the platform, with #movie gaining 31 billion video views and #film seeing 14.5 billion views. Rising hashtags in this category from 2021 include #EpicMusical, which saw 15 million video views and #HuluSuggestions, which received 40 million video views.

TikTok advises entertainment companies to lean on popular creators to promote their upcoming releases on TikTok and to reveal unseen imagery from films like behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers and breaking down scenes.

The traditionally mundane category of finance also blew up on TikTok in 2021, increasing both literacy and participation. Videos about #inflation saw a nearly 1,900 percent gain and #nft videos rose 93,000 percent from 2020. The #crypto hashtag saw nearly 2 billion video views as did #finance. TikTok suggests brands keep an eye on these rising hashtags: #passiveincome, #taxtok, creditscore and #blockchain.

Food also satiated TikTok viewers’ appetites, with #foodtok videos seeing a 57 percent increase in views throughout 2021. Sixty-nine percent of those who watched food content said that cooking sounds like the sizzling of stir-fry or crunch of fresh bread immediately grabbed their attention.

The #Mukbang hashtag gained about 4 billion video views while #easyrecipe saw over 4 billion views. Hashtags gaining momentum in this space include #restockASMR, #guthealthtiktok and #cookwithme.

Last year also showed that gaming on TikTok can overlap with several other categories, as TikTok’s research shows the category grew by 415 percent. A few of the top hashtags here include #animation with nearly 11.8 billion video views, #otaku which saw 9.8 billion video views and #streamer with 7.7 billion views. TikTok expects this overlap to continue in 2022 and says to keep an eye on #minecraftmemes, #robloxfyp and #comics.

To download TikTok’s reports for the Middle East and Turkey, Latin America, Europe, Russia and Asia Pacific, click here.

YouTube Announces Brand Winners Of Its Super Bowl AdBlitz 2022

Amazon and Hyundai are among the winners of YouTube’s 2022 AdBlitz, the platform’s hub for Super Bowl ads and teasers that analyzes the commercials that received the most views.  

Why it matters: YouTube launched AdBlitz 16 years ago as a place for users to watch Super Bowl ads. The account itself only has 176,000 subscribers but the commercials uploaded—posted from the brands’ accounts—have millions of views. YouTube chooses winners for its Super Bowl AdBlitz based on the number of views 2022 Super Bowl commercials received as of February 16, 11:59 p.m. EST, or three days after the big game aired.

The details: Amazon’s Alexa ad featuring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost came in first with 67 million views. In second place is Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World Dominion film trailer, which saw about 48 million views. While Hyundai didn’t air its commercial during the big game, it secured the third spot in YouTube’s AdBlitz with 83 million views. In fourth was Marvel Studios’ trailer for its new original series Moon Knight; the ad racked up 29 million views. Nissan’s ad featuring Eugene Levy and Brie Larson came in fifth with 34 million views.

New Social Media App Repitsocial Focuses On Mental Wellness

Social media runs on likes and algorithms but a new app called Repitsocial aims to give users more control over their experience while providing a mix of entertainment and fun. The app, available to residents in the Washington DC metropolitan area, allows its users to customize what content they see based on their unique tastes, community and culture.

Why it matters: Some studies show how toxic social media can be for users because of the effects of cyberbullying and feeling the need to present a perfect online life. Even Facebook’s own in-depth research found Instagram is harmful to the mental health of teen girls.

Repit’s chief executive officer Azalaya Fraser said:

“After all the focus groups and interviewing thousands about their motivations for posting or lack thereof, we discovered a real need to separate users’ feeds. Allowing them to share posts that mattered to them, with the corresponding groups of friends or communities who shared the same interest created more opportunities for positive sharing experiences.”

The details: Through Repitsocial’s proprietary, multi-feed flag functionality, users can create flags (feeds) that represent their country, culture and “many facets of themselves that make up the fullness of their lives,” according to the app. 

In addition, the app asks users to post from the perspective of what makes them curious, what makes them feel inspired, what makes them think and more.

Repitsocial is available to download on iOS and Android.

TikTok Expands Video Length Limit From Three To 10 Minutes

TikTok will now start letting users upload videos up to 10 minutes long, according to TechCrunch. This marks TikTok’s third time increasing the length of its videos. At first, users had to stay within 15 seconds. Then TikTok upped it to 60 seconds and once more to three minutes in July 2021.

Why it matters: The update puts TikTok in a better position to rival YouTube, which created its own short-form video function called Shorts. In July 2021, YouTube Shorts became available in more than 100 countries globally and exceeded the 15 billion daily average views benchmark.

The details: A spokesperson from TikTok said that the app hopes the expansion will “unleash even more creative possibilities for our creators around the world.” In working with a three-minute limitation, many TikTok creators post tutorials and demos in multiple parts. This new update—which will roll out to global users over the upcoming weeks—will make it so they can showcase long-form content in a single video.