This week in social media news, TikTok launches a new small business resource center, Telegram is looking for ways to monetize the app, Google Shopping rolls out augmented reality beauty try-on ads, TikTok and Walmart a host shoppable livestream event for the holidays, Twitter shares how public feedback shaped its new verification policy launching in 2021 and more.

TikTok Launches New Small Business Resource Center

TikTok has created a new Small Business Resource Center where marketers can access case studies, global insights and expert-led webinars on how to grow their audience.

Why it matters: Even during a pandemic, the number of new small businesses has surged. Applications for the employer identification numbers that entrepreneurs need to launch a business exceeded 3.2 million this year, compared with 2.7 million at the same time in 2019, according to the US Census Bureau. In addition, the hashtag #smallbusiness on TikTok has nearly 14 billion views.

The details: One of the case studies TikTok highlights involves personalized jewelry brand Slate & Tell, which utilized in-feed ads that reached 4 million people with 1,000 single session add-to-carts—enabling the brand to see twice the return on ad spend.

Also on the digital hub, marketers can access free resources on how to create TikTok-ready ads, view popular ads from around the world and learn how to run successful TikTok campaigns via webinars.

Telegram Explores Ways To Monetize The App

As it approaches 500 million users, instant messaging app Telegram is looking for ways to monetize its service, TechCrunch reports.

Why it matters: According to TechCrunch, Telegram garnered 400 million monthly active users at the end of April, up from 300 million.

The details: Telegram founder Pavel Durov said he’s looking to launch Telegram’s own ad platform for public one-to-many channels, a move that would give the channel owners free traffic in proportion to their size. Another avenue he’s exploring is premium stickers with additional expressive features.

Google Debuts Augmented Reality Beauty Try-On Ads

Google is debuting a new AR ad within Google Shopping listings that lets people virtually try on a range of makeup products from brands including L’Oreal, MAC Cosmetics, Black Opal and Charlotte Tilbury.

Why it matters: YouTube launched a beauty try-on ad format in June, which lets viewers virtually try on beauty products seen in creators’ makeup tutorials using their phone camera.

Now that non-essential stores are limited to 25 percent of the maximum occupancy allowed, shoppers seeking an in-store experience will be more inclined to make online makeup purchases through Google listings’ new AR try-on ads.

The details: Google’s new AR beauty ads, developed with ModiFace and Perfect Corp, will also let users virtually try on makeup products within the Google app. Additionally, users can access product recommendations from beauty, apparel and home experts via Google Shopping or the Discover feed in the Google app.

TikTok, Walmart Partner On New Shoppable Livestream Experience

According to TechCrunch, TikTok and Walmart hosted a shoppable livestream experience on TikTok where viewers could buy apparel from Walmart.

Why it matters: The partnership comes just months after Walmart expressed interest in investing in TikTok when the Trump administration mandated the app to sell its US operations to an American company.

The details: As reported by TechCrunch, TikTok users were able to purchase Walmart fashion items—featured in video content from 10 TikTok creators—within the TikTok app during a “Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular” event on Walmart’s TikTok profile on December 18.

Those who tuned in could purchase items in two ways—via clickable pins that appeared during the video and directed them to a mobile checkout, or via clickable pins they could browse at the end of the event.

Twitter Announces Updates To New Verification Policy Launching In 2021

After asking the public for feedback on how to improve its verification policy, Twitter is sharing how the 22,000 responses it received shaped its new policy, which is set to launch on January 20, 2021.

Why it matters: Twitter’s verification program has been on pause for the past three years due to users complaints that the process was “arbitrary and confusing.”

The details: In response to the feedback it received, Twitter updated its definition of a “complete” profile to no longer require a profile photo or header image, updated its references to Wikipedia and clarified the titles of the “News” category to include “News and Journalists” and the “Sports” category to include “Sports and esports.”

Twitter also updated its follower count requirement to be on a per-region basis to make it “less susceptible to spam and more equitable across geographies.” It says it’s also exploring dedicated categories for verification, such as academics, scientists and religious leaders.

In 2021, Twitter will relaunch public applications for verification through a new self-serve process that will be available in the account settings page on the Twitter app and desktop version. The platform says it will use automated and human review processes to review submissions.

Snapchat Teams With Google On Augmented Reality-Powered ‘Year In Search’ Trends Experience

Google launched a new Snapchat Lens that takes users on an AR-powered immersive journey through its “Year in Search” trends overview, reports Social Media Today.

Why it matters: As per Snapchat, this marks the first time that Google’s trends recap has been brought to life in AR.

The details: The Google Lens on Snapchat displays a series of images highlighting events from 2020 that users can tap on to view more information. According to Social Media Today, Google says it will also run the “Year in Search” video as ads on Snapchat.