BLOG POST BY: Eliza Borrett

INDUSTRY ROUND UP #12: DISCORD THE MOVIE, REELS UPDATE AND TIKTOK’S NEW LIVE FEATURES

From Facebook and Instagram making more changes to protect under-18 users, to Discord’s latest film to position itself as a mainstream platform, we’ve put together all the headlines from social that you need to know about this week! Make sure to read to the end to find out about the new update to Pinterest that could make the platform a better influencer marketing channel!

How Facebook & Instagram Is Continuing To Protect Under-18 Users

Facebook and Instagram have announced significant changes that aim to protect younger users on Facebook-owned platforms. Firstly, Advertisers looking to run paid targeted ads will now only be able to target users under 18 based on their age, gender and location. In the past, advertisers across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger could target younger users based on interests or activities across other apps and websites. This new update is reportedly going global and will roll out in the coming weeks. 

Furthermore, the platform will now give all new users under 16 a private account by default – but they do have the option to go public. This update adds an extra level of security for new and younger users who could potentially be in a position of online harassment or bullying when having a public account. Instagram is also implementing machine learning technology that will identify the behaviour of suspicious accounts, and prevent such accounts from seeing content from younger users (under 16s) in Explore, Reels, suggestions and search. These suspicious accounts will also be restricted in the ability to comment or see comments on younger user accounts.

The updates are rolling out immediately in the US, Australia, France, the UK and Japan, with further expansion of all updates coming to the rest of the world very soon.

Don’t Count Out Snapchat Just Yet…

Snapchat is the platform with all the great ideas, being the first to roll out ephemeral content and AR filters, which ultimately get cloned onto other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. However, in 2019, Snapchat launched Spotlight – taking the short-form video concept from TikTok and implementing it into the Snapchat UX. But was it worth it? Well in a recent report, Snapchat announced its highest rates of growth in four years! The app has accumulated over 293 million daily active users, which means the platform has 120 million more users than it did this time four years ago.

Interestingly, Snapchat experienced the most significant growth in India and has made an effort to capitalise on this by adding ‘specialised content’ for this market. It is worth noting that in India, TikTok is banned – despite the platform being extremely popular, so clearly there is an appetite for short-form video entertainment alternatives in this market. Furthermore, another factor for Snapchat’s Q2 success may be attributed to the focus on creator monetisation – with Snap paying out $1 million per day for creators on Spotlight to attract and retain talent.

The company also reported a 116% increase in revenue, bringing the total to $982 million – making it one of the fastest growing social media companies. Now, this success isn’t just down to Spotlight and creator monetisation, Snap has been investing in technologies to elevate the virtual experience on the app, as well as focusing on the shoppable experience and capabilities to create more revenue avenues. We’ve also seen huge brands partner with the platform and invest in a presence on Snap, so clearly, marketers shouldn’t count out the platform!

KFC Drops The C- Bomb…  

KFC launched a campaign to address the subject of animal welfare, sharing the requirements and rules they are improving upon with regards to their meat production. KFC UK & Ireland recently became the only business to be awarded top tier status in ‘World Animal Protection’s Pecking Order 2021 report’.

The TV campaign aired on Channel 4, however, in the lead up, KFC utilised TikTok to create a buzz around the campaign across social. KFC’s TikTok ads teased the fact they were dropping the ‘C- bomb’ on national TV, creating intrigue by alluding to the fact they were about to do something controversial.

The TikTok ads were linked to the brand ‘Behind the Bucket’ series, where the company highlights their social responsibility initiatives, covering environmental benefits and the company’s community work. This campaign on TikTok leveraged the socially conscious demographic who are hyper-engaged with social and environmental issues. The brand also sought to stand out from competitors using animal welfare, mixed with their notoriously bold brand personality to position themselves as the brand that cares. This campaign is also similar to the reactive FCK campaign launched after the company had a nationwide chicken shortage.

WSJ Reveals Some Secret Behind The TikTok Algorithm

The Wall Street Journal conducted a recent investigation into the TikTok algorithm to understand just how powerful it is. The platform algorithm is notorious for keeping users on the platform longer than some of the top players such as Instagram and YouTube.

According to the report, TikTok has the ability to figure out a new users’ interest in under two hours and then steer those users into more hyper-focused content, based on those initial interest indicators. What was interesting was when Byte Dance faced the threat of a US ban and subsequent US deal to split control of the platform to continue operations in the States, one key factor left out of the deal was any company having access to the TikTok algorithm. This is clearly an invaluable part of TikTok’s success that is heavily protected by the Chinese multinational internet technology company.  

The investigation by The Wall Street Journal aimed to shed light on the true implications of this content recommendation algorithm by using 100 new TikTok accounts operated by bots, programmed to behave in a way that aligns with a specific interest in various areas such as sports, pets and dance to name a few. The bots only gave TikTok information on location and birthdate and were then served popular videos until bots engaged with videos according to programmed interests. However, the investigation revealed that videos were being served with troubling content when interests were in categories such as sadness and depression – such videos eventually served were those containing disordered eating or self-harm. This investigation highlighted the dangers of how hyper-focused the algorithm can be with specific interests. A TikTok representative responded to this investigation and noted that as this study was run with bots, it was not representative of real human behaviour who would not be engaging in just one type of content or interest on the platform. 

Engineer Guillaume Chaslot, who helped build YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, told The Wall Street Journal that on YouTube  70% of views come from the recommendation engine but on TikTok, it’s probably like 90-95%. This can be an issue as the overall aim is to drive the highest engagement, and if a user is engaging with borderline content, the algorithm will serve more as it is analysing engagement trends over the actual context of the content for specific users.

100 Thieves & The Lexus Content House 

100 Thieves is an Esports and premium lifestyle organisation, combining competitive gaming, entertainment and apparel. The organisation was founded in 2017 by competitive Call of Duty player Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag.  Within the first two years, the organisation won multiple esports major championships in Call of Duty, made the League of Legends and Fortnite World Championships, launched a popular gaming podcast and had huge success with apparel drops.

100 Thieves have recently had a number of significant luxury brand partnerships including launching a $2,500 backpack with Gucci and having Lexus become the organisation’s first luxury car brand partner. As part of the deal, the 100 Thieves’ content house, based in LA, has been renamed the ‘Lexus Content House’. Two 100 Thieves members who are also part of the content house, Valkyrae and Fuslie, have also been named Lexus ambassadors. 

The gaming organisation announced the brand partnership with Lexus through a YouTube video on the official 100 Thieves channel, showing a number of members backseat gaming in a Lexus vehicle.

Discord’s ‘Reason For Being’ Short Film  

Discord is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), instant messaging and digital distribution platform designed for creating online communities. Users communicate in private chats or communities named Servers through voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media and files. 

Recently the platform created a six-minute movie about its reason for being, illustrating what the platform is and the diverse nature of communities on Discord. The video starred actors Danny DeVito and Awkwafina, as well as cameos from YouTubers such as Bretman Rock. 

The film started on Discord after the company got community members to join a Server to talk about their experiences and aspirations on the platform – ultimately helping to inform the film. The short film also spotlighted members such as Lucie Winterwold (leader of a six-year-old game advice group called the Helpful Pirate Society) and KevDog (owner of the partnered Oceanside Pokemon server). The video helped communicate what Discord was and marked another step of how the platform is attempting to shed the stereotype that it’s just for gamers.

‘The Original Influencer’ Paris Hilton Has A New Cooking Show Coming To Netflix 

Paris Hilton is filming a cooking show set to be launched next month on Netflix. She will be joined by different guests each week, including Kim Kardashian, Saweetie, and Lele Pons. The series will feature the celebrity shopping in her grocery store right through to creating the final food spread. This follows Paris Hilton’s success on YouTube where she began posting more authentic and personal content, including ‘Cooking with Paris’ and ‘This is Paris,’ which are two content themes that have been the highest performing in terms of views.

The new series will be yet another Paris Hilton Reality TV programme, however, combined with a newly relatable and authentic image that has been cultivated through her YouTube presence, and the popularity of cooking content online, this could result in a huge hit for Netflix.

The original reality television star was one of the first to build a public persona in the way so many people do online today, and Paris still has a legion of loyal fans that Netflix can tap into, ensuring a successful show filled with the appeal of celebrity guests.

Going Live On TikTok? Here Are Some Updates You Need To Know

TikTok is improving its live-stream options in an effort to encourage more engagement and advance functionality ahead of the launch of its live shopping feature. The platform is expanding the live features to include scheduled events, live Q&A panels, and rolling out live co-streaming to more creators on the platform.

First off, live streams can now be scheduled and promoted on other apps, users can also opt in for an in-app reminder. TikTok is also expanding its co-hosting option on live streams to all users over the age of 16, with more than 1,000 followers. In addition, the platform is helping with more engagement within live content by updating the Q&A overlay on-screen. Users can now use the Q&A section rather than using the comments for questions. Another significant step by TikTok is in the improved discovery options for live content, with top, in-progress broadcasts being displayed on For You and Following pages.

Most recently, TikTok has added new live-steam moderation tools to protect broadcasters from unwanted engagement. These tools include a new option to assign ‘Live moderators’ to have added resources to help manage streams through comments and commenting functions. Another feature is keyword filters for live-stream comments, allowing hosts to turn off comments or add up to 200 terms to limit those in comments. TikTok is also expanding thoughtful comment reminders, to prompt commenters to not make offensive remarks. Further features include a temporary mute option for viewers or removal of unkind comments – all being made available for host and moderators shortly.

Instagram Extends Reels Duration… Again

Instagram has announced that the Reels length limit is being increased from 30 seconds to 60 to all users worldwide. The platform has been experimenting with longer Reels for a little while, only just extending Reels from 15 to 30 seconds last September. Interestingly, this comes at a time when TikTok has increased the duration of its videos to 3 minutes and YouTube globally rolled out Shorts which are up to 60 seconds in length. 

The idea is that increasing Reels duration will help creators generate more creative content, but there is the question of this video format bleeding over to other Instagram video formats that are also longer in duration. Instagram has a number of features within the video format that could convolute the Instagram experience. For example, to upload a video of 1 minute, there are now multiple processes, which definitely takes away from a convenient user experience that could help users post all video content under one streamlined process.

Instagram is, however, testing a new display format for Explore in the form of a vertical feed presentation. When you click on content in Explore, some users are finding posts open in full-screen – much like the experience on TikTok and in the dedicated Reels feed. Users can then swipe for the next post, leading to efficient content discovery, as well as improving the user experience by the consolidation of all content types in Explore into one fullscreen journey.

Pinterest Adds Product Tags in Idea Pins  

Pinterest is looking to attract talent through a tool to allow creators to monetise their content, leveraging their presence on the platform, while also helping brands promote products through influencer partnerships. 

The platform is first adding new shopping tags to Idea Pins, which is essentially the Pinterest version of Instagram Stories, with the difference that content is long-lasting and saveable. Creators within this format are now able to tag specific items within the content.

Pinterest is also aiding in the transparency of branded content through a new tool that adds a ‘paid partnership’ label. The disclosure tag will appear at the bottom of the content, beneath a Pinner’s username. This tag will be available within the Idea Pin creation flow, with a toggle to switch on when tagging a product. Creators will be able to tag Idea Pins with any of the millions of Product Pins on the platform, which are also subject to approval from brands. This then opens up the ability for creators to receive money through affiliate links, based on when a user taps through and purchases a product directly from the creator’s pin.

These new functions could offer an opportunity in attracting creators to Pinterest, helping to increase the volume of high-quality content and shoppable tags on the platform. It should be noted that Pinterest users are often on the platform with the intention of finding something specific to buy, therefore the platform could be a great opportunity for brands to market to consumers when they are susceptible to purchasing products.

Image From: Pinterest Newsroom
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Written by: Eliza Borrett

Insights Manager at The Goat Agency