BLOG POST BY: Eliza Borrett

INDUSTRY ROUND UP #21: INSTAGRAM KIDS IS SHELVED, FAZE CLAN MOVE IN ON MUSIC AND FACEBOOK REELS

In this week’s edition of the Industry Round Up, we explore the latest developments with Instagram Kids and summarise key insights around the effectiveness of TikTok ads from a recent study from MediaScience. We will also jump into the world of influencers and break down the biggest stories from the creator space, including Faze Clan diversifying into the music sector. Finally, we will cover the latest platform updates, including the launch of Facebook Reels and what this could mean for the short-form video competitor landscape.

Instagram Axes Instagram Kids 

Not too long ago, Instagram announced that they would be developing a platform just for kids in a controversial move that had parents, experts and policymakers standing firmly against the idea. Instagram aimed to develop a place where children under the age of 13 had a more tailored and safer experience on the app, combating younger users jumping on the main app and being at risk of bullying and harassment. 

However, it appears Instagram has finally listened to the general consensus that urged the idea to be shelved. Instagram is now pausing the development of Instagram Kids. This decision comes off the back of a Wall Street Journal article revealing Facebook’s own research concluded that Instagram was cultivating negative body image issues for one in three teenage girls. The report also highlighted that Instagram has done little to ease such pressures on the platform. 

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, has been standing strongly behind the development of Instagram Kids, noting that the platform would require parental permission to join – similar to Douyin in China, which only allows younger users to join the platform after inputting detailed information to validate age and parental permissions. For now, it looks like the idea is being paused, but it appears that the kid-friendly platform could still launch in the future after the negative press around Facebook blows over.

TikTok Shares How Users Respond to Ads on the Platform

TikTok has recently partnered with MediaScience (a neuromarketing research firm) to run a series of ad tests, measuring engagement, recall and overall response to ad content on TikTok, in comparison to competing platforms.

Key findings from the study revealed the following:

  • TikTok ads take less time to make an impact with their audience than similar ads on other platforms
  • Brand messaging was better received on TikTok than competitor apps
  • Brands advertising on TikTok drove a stronger brand perception than on other platforms
  • TikTok delivered better brand recall compared to other leading social platforms

These findings are important in helping to strengthen the case of utilising TikTok ads – both in the form of influencer activations and utilising TikTok’s ads platform. Following the impact of iOS 14 & 15 updates, Facebook has reported data loss, which has resulted in a reduction of accurate reporting and a general decline in lookalike and retargeting capabilities. Therefore, TikTok could prove to be an effective alternative to get more eyes on content and reach new audiences through more engaging ad content. Not too long ago, TikTok also announced that the platform reached 1 billion users worldwide, putting the platform fourth in terms of monthly active users. Facebook currently sits at 2.9 billion, followed by YouTube at 2 billion and Instagram at 1.5 billion. What this tells us is TikTok is growing at a rapid rate, proving that it will soon become a powerhouse to perhaps push Facebook off the top spot.

Ethan Klein & Hasan Piker Launch The “Leftovers” Podcast 

Ethan Klein of the H3 Podcast is a hugely popular US-based YouTuber with over 3 million subscribers on his H3 Podcast channel and over 6 million subscribers on his original channel, H3H3 Productions. Only a year ago, Ethan launched the “Frenemies” podcast with Trisha Paytas that lasted 39 episodes and quickly became a fan favourite across the internet. However, issues arose between the two co-hosts, ultimately causing the show to be shelved indefinitely. Not too long after the end of Frenemies, Ethan experimented with a new show format that involved his family. This new show was named “Families”, and was another hit among his audience – but ended after the tenth episode. 

In more recent updates, Ethan has launched yet another podcast with a new co-host Hasan Piker. Hasan was previously a journalist on the digital news network, “The Young Turks” and still operates as a streamer on Twitch under the handle HasanAbi. The new podcast will have similar themes to Frenemies in that the two co-hosts will call out questionable behaviour, but instead of focusing on the creator landscape, the “Leftovers” podcast will cover topics that lean more in a political direction and beyond. 

The first episode of the “Leftovers” podcast launched earlier this week and has already accumulated over 1.5 million views. The question in fans minds is how long this podcast will last, with Ethan now becoming notorious at axing popular shows on his channel.

Faze Clan Moves In On Music Talent 

FaZe Clan is a hugely popular gaming organisation that has signed some of the biggest names in the gaming space over the past eleven years. However, in recent news FaZe has made a jump into music with their first ever signing outside the realm of just gaming talent. 

FaZe Kaysan joins the clan as the first in-house music producer and DJ. He is also an avid gamer, who is seen in streams with huge names such as Adin Ross and other members of the FaZe Clan. The artist has a developing following across Instagram and is yet to have a presence on poplar FaZe platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. 

According to a statement from FaZe: 

“FaZe Clan has always supported artists and we have always believed in the crossover between music, lifestyle, and gaming. The FaZe roster has grown over the years and really laid the foundation for the next chapter in content. We are super excited about this next move.”

This move further shows the dominance of gaming organisations as they continue to venture into new industries with the likes of FaZe and 100 Thieves already having significant partnerships with luxury and high-end brands such as Represent, Gucci and Lexus. This transition over to music is only just the start as the gaming-focused orgs continue to illustrate the dominance and influence of the gaming market within popular culture.

Bretman Rock Collaborates With Crocs 

Bretman Rock is a popular creator with huge social followings across Instagram (17.7million followers), YouTube (8.83 million subscribers) and TikTok (13.1 million followers). The creator is known for generating lifestyle, comedy and beauty content with existing partnerships with the likes of Morphe – a Los Angeles based beauty retailer. 

In his latest partnership, Bretman is working with Crocs to release a collection of Jibbitz – essentially accessories for Crocs that can be fixed to the shoe. The product will retail at $20 for a pack of five designs inspired by ocean and pearls. Much like most influencer and brand collaboration products, there will be a sense of exclusivity as the product won’t be available widely. Fans of the creator can join an online drawing system on the Crocs website to enter for a chance to purchase the limited quantities available. Bretman notable has already served as a brand ambassador for Crocs since last year, which started when the creator organically discovered the brand and purchased some of the different designs. Crocs quickly caught on and capitalised on the noise Bretman was generating around the brand.

This exclusive drop was teased to be one of many and marks how brands are taking partnerships with huge creators beyond just social media shoutouts. We’ve already seen the likes of Pretty Little Thing making Molly Mae the creative director, as brands are seeing the value of integrating influencers into more longer-term and influential positions within their business.

Twitter & The Blockchain 

Over the past year, Twitter has been developing various solutions to enable creators to monetise their content on the platform through subscription models and direct tipping models. Now, in the latest update on Twitter’s “Tips” feature – which was previously the “Tip Jar”, users can now tip one another in Bitcoin. Users have to be over the age of 18 to use this feature and can only be utilised in the US and El Salvador as an initial test.

Twitter will accept Bitcoin tips through Strike, a platform that allows people to use any digital wallet with access to the Bitcoin Lightning Network – a fast and free network to process Bitcoin transactions. Neither Stike nor Twitter will take a cut of any tips, meaning creators will get 100% of a users payment to them. 

On top of the cryptocurrency update to Twitter’s “Tips”, the platform is also adding GoFundMe and PicPay as additions to the payment feature. NFTs are also seemingly on the horizon for Twitter, with a representative from Twitter stating that the platform was looking beyond just Bitcoin for future blockchain solutions, which will include an NFT authentication, which will be a way to support creators making art that has a stamp to authenticate.

Facebook Reels Launches In The US 

Facebook has launched Reels for Facebook users in the US, essentially bringing short-form video to the platform’s huge existing userbase, which will include older demographics that might not be so inclined to download a new platform such as TikTok. 

As explained by Facebook: 

“Reels on Facebook can consist of music, audio, effects and more. You can find them in News Feed or in Groups, and when viewing a reel on Facebook, you can easily follow the creator directly from the video, like and comment on it, or share it with friends.”

Facebook has been testing the Reels feature on the app for some time, focusing on India due to the fact this market has TikTok banned. This launch in the US showcases how serious Facebook is taking the threat of TikTok, understanding that there is a huge opportunity to bring short-form video to an audience not yet tapped into by TikTok.

It is interesting to note that the feature will be pushed through groups, something the platform has done when seeding out audio social tools. As reported by Facebook, groups on the platform are used by over a billion users every month – this is seemingly where most of the engagement is occurring on the platform. What is also interesting is Facebook Reels like TikTok and IG Reels will help deliver content beyond existing audiences, helping to maximise organic reach and get noticed on the platform – this is something that is much of the allure of TikTok, with many creators building their whole career from viral videos on the platform! One final thing to note is that Facebook is expanding tests of recommending IG Reels on Facebook, helping creators reach cross-platform to further content exposure.

Instagram Tests “Selected People” Feature In Stories 

Instagram has started testing a feature that will enable uses of the app to select specific profiles who will be able to view their Stories. This will help users have better control over who sees their content, with initial testing commencing in Brazil. This feature seems similar to “Close Friends,” which allows users to make a list of key contacts to filter more personal content to. However, the “Selected People” feature will allow users to edit a list, adding or removing people on your list for each story. 

This could provide interesting avenues for brands on social, by creating exclusive lists to filter out exclusive deals to loyal or engaged followers, as well as announcing giveaways or competition winners in a more private manner. This feature is yet to be rolled out in full but could be an interesting addition to elevate the user experience on the platform.

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Written by: Eliza Borrett

Insights Manager at The Goat Agency