In the latest edition of the Industry Round Up, we look at other companies joining the ‘Metaverse’ race, along with the latest updates with TikTok that include new audience insights and the banning of the now infamous ‘Milk Crate Challenge’. We will also delve into the latest influencer news that includes Jake Paul’s latest boxing victory, and how Twitch lost one of its biggest creators to YouTube Gaming. Finally, we will run through the latest platform updates, including what exactly is happening with LinkedIn Stories!
Is ByteDance Joining The Metaverse Race?
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has acquired Pico Interactive for a reported $775 million. Pico Interactive is a virtual reality company, known for its Neo headsets, and is the third-largest maker of VR headsets, behind Facebook’s Oculus.
ByteDance said the following in a recent statement: “Pico’s comprehensive suite of software and hardware technologies, as well as the talent and deep expertise of the team, will support both our entry to the VR space and long-term investment in this emerging field.”
It is unclear how this acquisition can directly benefit TikTok, but as Facebook is gearing up to create its own ‘Metaverse’, a VR company could be an entry point for TikTok to do the same. Nevertheless, ByteDance will no doubt use the technology to build a platform that rivals the likes of Facebook and YouTube, with other recent acquisitions including Moonton- a mobile gaming studio that cost the Chinese-tech company $4 billion.
TikTok New Insight On Usage Trends and Audience Behaviours
TikTok recently conducted a survey to find out more about their audience and their opinions and habits on the platform. TikTok surveyed 7,000 global users to discover new insight that included the following:
- 35% of TikTok users say they spent less time watching T.V or video content since they started using TikTok
- 45% say they started to spend less time on dating apps since starting to use TikTok
- 46% of users engaged with TikTok content without any other distractions
- 59% learn about current events or trends
- 60% learn new recipes or DIY projects
- 81% of TikTok users say they plan to spend the same amount of time or more on the platform
- 92% of users say they take action after watching a TikTok, e.g liking, engaging, sharing, following or purchasing/researching a product
- 25% of users say that they purchase or research a product after watching TikTok
What is interesting is how influential the platform is at taking time away from TV screens, and how effective TikTok is at creating an immersive experience that results in people consuming content without any distractions- unlike how a lot of us scroll mindlessly on Instagram while watching Netflix! The research also revealed that usership and time spent does not appear to be slowing down post-lockdown, as TikTok is becoming the go-to platform for educational and entertaining content, which also drives users to take action after viewing content on the platform.
Moment House – The Future Is Digital Events
Moment House is a digital events platform that allows creators to host digital events for their fans. In recent news, the company has closed a $12 million Series A funding round led by Forerunner Ventures. Some high profile investors were involved including singer Halsey and YouTube creators Cody Ko and Whitney Cummings – to name a few.
CEO at Moment House, Arjun Mehta commented on the funding round, highlighting that this move now “allows us to execute on our ambitious project roadmap, which involves deepening the consumer social experience, and on the supply-side, opening up the platform so that any creator in the world can easily make a Moment”. The CEO also teased that building a ‘Metaverse’ was on the cards at Moment House – this follows Mark Zuckerberg stating that Facebook will look to go beyond building a series of interactive apps through its own metaverse to elevate and revolutionize the online experience.
The platform recently held the ‘KSI Show’ – driving excitement around the creator’s most recent studio album. However, the show, unfortunately, received negative feedback for being ‘underwhelming’ due to a short show and the online event surfacing online illegally, angering fans that paid money to watch it exclusively. Moment House has also had recent events with Cody Ko, and in the past worked with Halsey, Kygo and a number of other musicians after being incubated at USC – under Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre’s Young Academy For Innovation program. It will be interesting to see how this model develops with more events moving online.
What Happened To Zoom
Zoom experienced huge growth in 2020, with sales in the last months of the year being up 370% compared to the same period in 2019.
However, in recent updates it appears Zoom is slowing down. In an earnings call, Zoom reported its revenue grew by 54% in Q2, which may sound promising until this is compared to Zoom’s 191% sales growth in Q1 2021, and Zoom’s Q4 performance in 2020 of 370%. Zoom’s stock has also fallen 17%, showing how tricky pandemic winners are finding the transition of a post-pandemic life. Zoom appears to be joining the likes of Peloton – the company that produces at-home exercise bikes with screens and speakers. Peloton had huge success during lockdown, but now has experienced shares falling with investors being spooked with revenue targets falling short.
It appears Zoom and Peloton will have to look to adapt offerings, something Zoom is well on its way with, following plans to turn its software into an app that offers solutions such as group planning and document editing.
TikTok Bans The Milk Crate Challenge
TikTok has banned the ‘Milk Crate Challenge’ which went viral on the platform but also raised safety concerns. The challenge involved users stacking milk crates into a pyramid and then climbing across the crates- inevitably resulting in participants falling to the ground.
TikTok is getting better at stopping dangerous trends, being more diligent in recent times on content that involves dangerous acts – but this challenge was still up and running for some time before the platform finally decided to ban all evidence of the trend across TikTok. The only way to see such content now is on re-uploads on other platforms or users posting the content on IG Reels.
When searching the hashtag challenge on TikTok, users are presented with a message ‘no results found’, but some videos depicting the trend with the use of incorrect spellings are still visible. Dangerous trends are an ongoing struggle for TikTok as the platform looks to better moderate content.
Jake Paul Defeats UFC Champion, Tyron Woodley
Jake Paul if you don’t already know is a YouTuber turned pro-boxer who recently got his 4th boxing win against Tyron Woodley. Up till now, Jake hasn’t fought any competitor that has really challenged him, with his wins ending in a knockout before any match goes the distance. However, in his fight against the UFC Champion, Jake Paul won by a split decision.
Jake Paul began his career in boxing as part of the undercard on his brother’s fight against KSI. Jake notoriously fought KSI’s brother, Deji and has since faced off against NBA star Nate Robinson, former MMA world champion Ben Askren and YouTuber AnEsonGib.
Following this win, a rematch was rumored as well as a potential fight with Tommy Fury- the pro boxer and brother of Tyson Fury who was on Love Island. Jake Paul is proving his worth at selling PPVs with every fight being a huge spectacle, bringing in large paychecks for the creator. Jake Paul currently has a multi-fight deal in place with Showtime Sports, after previously fighting on the Triller Fight Club.
Twitch Loses Top Streamer To YouTube Gaming
DrLupo (as known as Benjamin Lupo) is a popular streamer with over 4.5 million followers on Twitch and over 1.7 million subscribers across YouTube. DrLupo is known for playing games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends and in 2019 signed an exclusive live-streaming deal with Twitch. However, in recent events, the streamer has signed a new exclusivity deal with YouTube Gaming, which will enable the creator to grow his audience even larger on the platform and engage with fans, as well as YouTube helping to expand DrLupo’s brand through other entertainment initiatives.
In a statement by Ryan Wyatt (Head of Global Gaming at YouTube):
“By joining YouTube, he’ll not only get to build on his already great library of content, but he’ll be able to engage with his fans in multiple ways, all in one place. We can’t wait to see what he has in store and all the great ways he’ll give back to his community.”
The streamer is also a contributor to great causes such as the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, helping to raise huge sums of money with his #BuildAgainstCancer streams and participation in St. Jude’s annual fundraising event PLAY LIVE. The securement of DrLupo is a great win by YouTube Gaming, as the platform looks to chip away at Twitch’s 90% market share of hours streamed.
Instagram’s New Birth Date Requirement
Instagram is looking to protect younger users by asking all users who’ve not previously entered a birth date to do so on the app. If ignored, users will eventually see themselves being blocked from the app until the information is updated. A series of prompts will appear asking for a users birth date, as well as Instagram asking for this info through warning screens on posts- as another measure to ensure this information is properly updated.
As stated by Instagram:
“We’ve been clear that we want to do more to create safer, more private experiences for young people. To do that we need to know how old everybody is on Instagram, so we’ve started asking people to share their birthday with us if they haven’t shared it previously.”
This update is to comply with updated regulations around the protection of younger users, a new bill recently updated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which expanded protections on social platforms to include teenagers under the age of 18, with the act previously only covering those under the age of 13. Instagram is being proactive in getting in front of the changes, with a commitment of better protections through various new features that have all come to light in recent months. However, this is in contrast with the controversial decision to launch ‘Instagram for Kids’, which received heavy opposition from child protection and safety groups.
LinkedIn Stories To End This Month
Following Twitter’s decision to end its Story-option Fleets, now LinkedIn has announced the end to LinkedIn Stories- proving that this format is not for every platform.
As explained by LinkedIn:
“We introduced Stories last year as a fun and casual way to share quick video updates. We’ve learned a ton. Now, we’re taking those learnings to evolve the Stories format into a reimagined video experience across LinkedIn that’s even richer and more conversational. We want to embrace mixed media and creative tools of Stories in a consistent way across our platform while working to integrate it more tightly with your professional identity.”
Therefore, LinkedIn’s current Story form will be removed at the end of September, after being around for just over a year. The key learnings from the experiment revealed that users on the platform want Story-like content to live longer than 24 hours, along with the need for more creative tools to make engaging content across the platform. No doubt the platform will take these learnings into the next video project- which will serve as the Stories replacement. For now, the winners of the Stories format appear to be Instagram and Snapchat, as other clones are more often than not, failing to drive high volumes of reach and click through rates. It will be interesting how Linkedin pivots from this original Stories iteration or if the platform drops the idea altogether.
TikTok’s Quick Promote Ad Option
TikTok is rolling out ‘Promote’ a new ad offering that is essentially a boost-like ad option for all business users. For those with this option available, you will be able to quick ‘Promote’ content by selecting a video that you want to promote, then setting up a goal, budget audience target and stating how long the promotion will last. Once these steps have been fulfillled, promotions are then approved and ad delivery is on its way.
The ‘Promote’ option allows for three objectives: video views, website visits and more followers. Targeting options include ‘Automatic’, which serves ads based on who TikTok determines will be interested as well as a ‘Custom’ option where an audience can be defined by gender, age and interests.
The ‘Promote’ option is only available for public clips with non-copyright-protected music and will display in target users’ For You feeds with a ‘Promoted’ label. It will need a bit of testing to understand how effective this ad solution is, with Facebook’s boosting option proving unpopular with some marketers due to limited targeting tools.