This week in social media news, TikTok’s new policy will make some forms of personalized ads mandatory and adds an automated message response to business profiles, Twitter launches a tournament for the best tweeting brands, Clubhouse launches an accelerator program for creators and more.

TikTok To Serve Ads Based On Users’ In-App Actions

According to Vox, beginning April 15, TikTok will update its ads policy so that users can’t opt out of receiving personalized ads based on their behavior on the app.

Why it matters: Currently, TikTok users can opt-out of seeing personalized ads, which are based on the videos they watch and search on the app, but it appears the personalization may become mandatory.

The details: As seen in this screenshot shared by Vox, TikTok’s ad change prompt reads:

“To help TikTok stay free, we partner with advertisers to show you ads. Based on your settings, you currently see general ads that aren’t based on what you do on or off TikTok. Starting April 15, your settings will change and the ads you’ll see may start to be based on what you do on TikTok.

TikTok users will still get to control whether they receive ads based on data that TikTok gets from its advertising partners.

Twitter Kicks Off Best Tweeting Brand Tournament

Twitter Marketing has launched a tournament called “Best Of Tweets Brand Bracket” that lets users vote for the best brand on Twitter. The virtual vote-off will see 16 brands, selected by Twitter, go head-to-head, including Pizza Hut and Wendy’s, Spotify and Xbox, Airbnb and Doritos and more.  

Why it matters: The tournament, which is akin to Twitter’s super bowl-inspired “Brand Bowl Promotion,” provides brands a unique way to promote themselves on the app while giving other smaller brands an idea of the quality of tweets they need to achieve to grow their Twitter audience.

The details: Twitter is asking users to vote for their favorite brands across four different categories: food, people’s choice, sports and entertainment. 

So far Wendy’s beat Pizza Hut, Skittles took Oreo and Amazon Alexa beat Uber Eats. Skittles vs. Oreos saw north of 28,000 votes, with Skittles taking the lead. Nearly 5,000 users chimed in for Pizza Hut vs. Wendy’s, with Wendy’s coming out on top. Twitter will announce the final “Brand Bracket” winners on April 2.

LinkedIn Launches New Template For Campaign Planning

LinkedIn has published a new 38-page campaign planning template that includes materials to help marketers easily build around core marketing objectives, engage at all stages of the buyer’s journey and maximize return on LinkedIn campaigns.

Why it matters: As noted during Microsoft’s Q2 update in February, LinkedIn has seen a surge in engagement, with sessions growing 30 percent in the last three months of 2020 and total revenue increasing 23 percent in the period.

The details: LinkedIn’s new planning guide includes templates for optimizing single image ads, carousel ads, video ads, conversation ads, message ads and more. Marketers can add their own variables into the templates, plus access ad specs and best practices for each type of ad along the way.

Clubhouse Launches ‘Creator First’ Program

Clubhouse has announced a new accelerator program called “Clubhouse Creators First” that aims to initially help 20 creators with content creation and promotion through a stipend and brand sponsors.

Why it matters: Though Clubhouse doesn’t report user numbers, App Annie data found that during the first two weeks of February, Clubhouse jumped from over 3.5 million global downloads to 8.1 million, likely the result of big guest appearances from Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Though its creator program opens the door for more influencer marketing opportunities, brand safety might be a consideration given the app’s poor moderation policy, which some critics say allows harassment to run rampant.

The details: As per Clubhouse, the goal of its program is to equip emerging creators with the resources they need to jumpstart their shows with filming equipment, as well as help with creative development and recruiting guests and talent. 

Clubhouse also promises to provide creators with a monthly stipend and match them with brands to monetize their content. Creators have from now until March 31 to apply for “Creator First.”

YouTube Debuts Short-Form Video Experience ‘Shorts’ Beta In US

After announcing its short-form video format, Shorts, last September, and launching a beta in India, YouTube is expanding its Shorts beta to the US over the next several weeks.

Why it matters: YouTube is tapping into the rising popularity of short video content. Since launching an initial Shorts beta in India, the number of Indian channels using YouTube’s creation tools has more than tripled since the beginning of December alone. Additionally, the YouTube Shorts player has amassed over 6.5 billion daily views worldwide.

The details: With its US roll out of Shorts beta, YouTube is looking to build on the features that were part of its Indian Shorts beta–a TikTok-style feature that lets creators string multiple video clips together and the ability to remix other Shorts into your own creation.

YouTube says it will launch the ability to use audio from videos across YouTube, with the option to opt out of having your video remixed. It’s also enhancing the music selection for Shorts creators, noting that the US beta will include music catalogs from over 250 labels and publishers like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Publishing, Warner Music Group and more.

TikTok Adds Automated Message Feature For Business Profiles

TikTok has launched a new feature for business accounts that lets brands create automated message responses, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: The auto-reply function, which will simplify how brands respond to customer queries, is part of TikTok’s larger efforts to help brands scale their business on the app.

The details: As seen in this screenshot from social media expert Matt Navarra, businesses can create a welcome greeting for when customers message their business or a custom message based on keywords.

TikTok Debuts A Library Of Top-Performing Auction Ads

TikTok has created a library of top auction ads on the platform that marketers can browse by various filters including type of industry, region and time period.  

Why it matters: TikTok is looking to attract more brands to the platform and its new library of ads will give marketers insight into the kind videos that are resonating best with app’s younger users.

The details: Using TikTok’s new ad library, Marketers can search through top auction ads according to region and industries including telecommunications, traditional finance, travel, education and training, clothing and accessories and more. They can also search through the best auction ads from the past seven days or 30 days, as well as sort by click-through rate, impression or 6s video view rate.

Facebook Introduces More Monetization Tools For Creators

Facebook has announced that it’s giving creators three new ways to monetize their content on the platform, including earning money from videos as short as one minute long, expanding access to its in-stream ads and simplifying how they earn via fan ‘Stars.’ It also says it’s testing a feature that enables creators to monetize their Facebook Stories with ads that appear as stickers.

Why it matters: Facebook is looking to tap into the surge of new creators who’ve started to use the platform to earn a living or diversify their revenue stream. Facebook says that from 2019 to 2020, the number of content creators earning the equivalent of $10,000 per month grew 88 percent. During that same period, the amount of content creators earning $1,000 per month grew 94 percent.

The details: Facebook is focused on short-form video monetization, which is why it’s now letting creators earn money on videos as short as 60 seconds long with an ad running at 30 seconds. Additionally, creators can earn on videos that are three minutes or longer, with an ad shown 45 seconds in. Previously, only videos three minutes or longer were eligible for monetization with in-stream ads.

Facebook notes that it’s experimenting with in-stream ad formats that boost engagement through rewards or product interaction.

Next, Facebook has updated its video monetization eligibility criteria so that pages that have 600,000 total minutes viewed in the last 60 days and those that have five or more active video uploads or previously live videos can monetize their content with in-stream ads. Previously, Facebook only considered on-demand videos that were at least three minutes long. Creators still must publish from a page, not a profile, have at least 10,000 followers, be 18 years old and be located in a supported country.

Additionally, Facebook is now letting creators monetize their live videos with in-stream ads, a program that was previously invite-only. To qualify for the program, creators must have 60,000 live minutes viewed in the last 60 days and meet the video-on-demand program requirements.

Lastly, Facebook is encouraging creators to utilize Stars as a way to monetize livestreams, noting that over the past six months, fans sent video and gaming creators an average of 1 billion Stars per month—the equivalent of $10 million per month.

YouTube’s Fastest Growing Experience Is On Television

As part of YouTube’s “Innovation series,” chief product officer Neal Mohan has shared some insight on the trends driving digital video, including the rise of streaming YouTube on TV, as well as the platform’s plan to beta test a new integrated shopping experience that enables viewers to tap into influencers’ knowledge to make purchases directly on the platform.

Why it matters: Mohan notes that last December, over 120 million people in the US streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens, and that 41 percent of all ad-supported streaming view time in the US occurs on YouTube. The rise of connected television (CTV) gives advertisers a greater opportunity to reach people who have switched to streaming platforms, with new solutions to measure impact already underway. For example, for the first time ever this upfront season, US advertisers will be able to measure their YouTube CTV campaigns with Nielsen.

The details: Mohan’s first spotlights the rise of streaming platforms and CTV, noting that in December, over a quarter of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers in the US watched content almost exclusively on the TV screen.

Pointing to the surge in online shopping, Mohan says that YouTube creators are at the forefront of delivering authentic brand and product recommendations, which ultimately increase purchase intent. YouTube’s study conducted in partnership with Talkshoppe in 2020 found that 70 percent of YouTube viewers bought a brand as a result of seeing it on YouTube.

Plus, the growth of short-form content is here to stay. To keep up with this trend, Mohan says YouTube is developing its own short-form mobile experience called “Shorts,” the US beta for which it’ll expand in the next few weeks. YouTube first started beta testing Shorts in India last year. Since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled.

Twitter Survey Users On Business Account Profile Features

In the next phase of developing its forthcoming business accounts, Twitter is asking users to rank the value of potential tools for its business profiles, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: Twitter hasn’t set a launch date for business profiles, but the platform did drop hints confirming that something is in the works during its Analyst Day overview last month. New business profile features will prove vital for brands looking to increase reach and answer customer queries.

The details: As per a screenshot from social media pro Matt Navarra, shared by Social Media Today, Twitter’s business profiles could include elements such as verification by default, a business category, a new panel for business details and a new business profile badge to signify the brand’s officiality.

As part of a survey, Twitter is asking a group of users what kinds of features they’d find most valuable for business profiles, including a product showcase panel, content showcase, link to direct contact option, app store links, image gallery, a showcase of pinned tweets and customer reviews.