Meta & Virtual Influencers
Meta is working on ethical boundaries of the application of virtual influencers as the metaverse becomes more of a reality!
For a number of years, virtual influencers have been a phenomenon that has been developing rapidly – with many online users first being exposed to a virtual influencer with the mystery across the internet with Lil Miquela’s Instagram account. This virtual influencer sparked conversation as many tried to figure out if Lil Miquela was actually a real person or a virtual persona. It was later discovered that Lil Miquela was part of an experiment from the company Brud. There have since been more virtual influencers popping up across social, and as they gain millions of followers there has been a need to consider issues such as unclear representation, body image perception and misuse of virtual personas with influence in general.
Meta is reportedly working with developers and experts to establish boundaries due to the risk virtual influencers could present for the metaverse. Important factors for Meta to address include dishonest representations e.g. deepfakes and transparency over VR and AR use.
Patreon Hires Sarah Penna
Creator subscription platform Patreon has hired Sarah Penna as senior manager of creator launches. Sarah previously co-founded a talent management company Big Frame, founded Frolic Media and was head of the digital network and lifestyle brand Awestruck.
Sarah Penna’s role at Patreon will involve high-profile creator partnerships. Interestingly, Patreon has been focused on signing large talent as of late with the likes of Larray, Zane and Heath, Chase Hudson and Josh Richards.
Spain To Regulate Influencers Promoting Crypto
Spain has now announced that influencers and other entities that promote cryptocurrency assets must notify the Spanish National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) at least 10 days before campaigns commence.
The rules apply to influencers with more than 100,000 subscribers/followers who are paid to promote crypto assets. Crypto advertisers will need to release the content of the campaign to the CNMV and include warnings about the risk of what they are promoting – ensuring audiences are aware of the risks.
This is all in aid to combat the poorly regulated practice of promoting crypto – which has seen many lose money due to pump and dump schemes. This is a step in the right direction, but as crypto continues to rise in popularity, more regulators in other markets must work on rules to help keep consumers aware of risks and eliminate scams across social media.
Microsoft Acquiring Activision Blizzard
Microsoft has announced it will acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for around $70 billion – making it the largest acquisition for the tech company since Linkedin – which was an acquisition worth $26 billion. Activision’s portfolio includes games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Overwatch.
This also marks the biggest deal in gaming, overtaking Take-Two’s purchase of Zynga for $12.7 billion. But why? Well, Microsoft wants to move in on the metaverse and sees the way to do so is through gaming. This acquisition could put the tech company in a strong position to compete with the likes of Meta, as companies start investing in ways to bring the metaverse into fruition.
App Spotlight: Anthem
A new app of interest is Anthem, which taps into a TikTok-like style feed, whilst integrating your Spotify experience with social elements. Anthem is available on the App Store for free, with no in-app purchases or ads. Upon downloading, users are prompted to sign in with an existing Spotify account – allowing the app to capture Spotify data to deliver a tailored experience based on listening habits.
The app also requires users to choose favorite tracks and join Clubs, enabling users to post captioned songs and upvote tracks. The app also has a Discover tab, with the algorithm bringing up songs in a vertical swipe format, with songs being served based on your tastes – with the ability to add a song to custom Spotify playlists that the app creates. The app also allows users to share playlists.
To note, Spotify is already testing a TikTok-style feed on the platform, but Anthem serves as a new addition allowing users to discover music in a more social and TikTok-like style – which no doubt Spotify will develop into their own platform should this format prove successful.
Francis Bourgeois Features In The North Face & Gucci Ad
TikTok star Francis Bourgeois, who has amassed over 2 million followers from trainspotting content has now featured in the latest ad from The North Face and Gucci partnership. Francis features as a train conductor in the ad, checking tickets and speaking over the tannoy.
This speaks to a larger trend of luxury fashion brands turning to creators on Gen Z-centric apps to resonate with younger consumers who will soon become the generation with the largest spending power.
Francis Bourgeois started creating content around his passion for trains during the pandemic, filming his reaction to trains passing and most recently collaborating with Joe Jonas on a TikTok video – which sits at over 6 million views.
NELK Boys To Create Their Own NFTs
The NELK Boys are a collective active across YouTube who’ve amassed millions of followers through pranks, controversy and their partying lifestyle. While other influencers have started advertising crypto coins and NFTs through a paid promotion, The NELK Boys have made their own NFTs, following the likes of Logan Paul.
NELK posted across their socials and their main YouTube channel, that they were going to launch their own NFT collection. The creators urged followers to join their Discord server for access to the Full Send NFTs. The Discord server was able to generate over 121,000 members in just 12 hours.
Since releasing the NFTs the NELK Boys generated over $23 million dollars and saw the collection of NFTs sell out in minutes!
Amazon Prime Video & Talk That Talk
Learning from brands like Footasylum, this partnership is evidence that Amazon Prime Video is investing more into their YouTube channel, and shows a pivot to an influencer-first strategy regarding their brand channel content. The partnership was aided by the work of the VAMP agency- who helped cast the creative talent.
TikTok Expanding Stories Test
TikTok is making a change to its experimental Stories feature, which will see the platform integrate TikTok Stories into the ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ feeds instead of keeping the Stories element in a separate place on the app.
This would make Stories another content option for creators by allowing them to create multi-frame sequences and still images that followers would be able to view just like any other video on the platform. In addition, it will allow creators to reach new audiences through Story formats with the ability to view such content on the ‘For You’ page.
TikTok’s New Music Insights
TikTok has added new functionality to the Trends Section within the Creative Centre. TikTok now allows users to see the most popular songs in the app at any given time in specific regions.
Heading over to trends.tiktok.com, users can check the most popular songs and hashtags on the app, with filtering options allowing up to 120 days for hashtags and the last 30 days for songs. Uses can also explore the most popular clips in a specific region filtered by ‘Hot’, ‘Likes’, ‘Comments’ and ‘Shares’. Information on clips is filtered by the last 7- 30 days.
TikTok first launched its Creative Centre in March 2021 with ‘TopAds’ being the main element, TikTok has since broadened elements to help with insights on what is working on the platform – a useful tool for marketers.
Spaces Recording For All Twitter Users
Twitter has rolled out the ability for all Spaces hosts to now record their chats on iOS and Android devices. This means hosts can repurpose content for broader exposure.
To record Spaces, hosts simply switch on a ‘Record Space’ option in the set-up. Participants will then be alerted to the fact the audio space is being recorded. The host will also have the ability to end the recording at any point throughout the audio event.
After a Space has been recorded, there is the ability for public playback for 30 days on Twitter, hosts will also be able to download the recording and edit into other formats such as a podcast or preview clips.
Twitter has since been pushing Spaces on the platform since the initial hype with Clubhouse during the pandemic – Twitter has even binned Fleets in order to make room for Spaces, which has also been cited as a key factor of growth on the platform.
Twitter’s NFT Profile Display
Twitter appears to be testing an option to add an NFT (non-fungible token) to profile images for some users. When a user chooses to add an NFT, the display image turns to a hexagonal format and adds a direct link to NFT listings on the blockchain – a signal for proof of ownership.
Twitter has been developing ways to tap into the rising interest of NFTs, with the platform exploring official integrations. Interestingly with NFT image displays, other users will not be able to right-click and save NFTs and then add to their own profile as only the owner will have access to the official hexagonal format.
YouTube & Original Programming
The Global Head of YouTube Originals is departing with a decision to reduce YouTube’s original slate. This move is to focus investment into other areas such as the Creator Shorts Fund, Black Voices Fund, YouTube Kids Fund and live shopping. Any shows currently in progress will be honored but Susanne Daniels (Global Head of YouTube Originals) will be leaving March 1st.
Interestingly, in Q4 YouTube Originals had its best quarter with over 1.3 billion views on original content. Some recent successes include Demi Lovato’s ‘Simply Complicated ‘and ‘Dancing With The Devil’.
Instagram Tests Subscription Feature
Instagram is officially testing a subscription feature after hints from the likes of Adam Mosseri were circulating since last May. The initial test phase will enable creators to offer benefits for a monthly fee including exclusive Live and Story access. Creators can choose their own subscription prices.
The test is being conducted among a handful of U.S-based creators, Instagram says, with a ‘Subscribe’ button appearing on participating profiles. This move follows the success that other platforms are seeing with subscription models. Twitter has looked to invest in such an offering on the platform since platforms such as Patreon and OnlyFans have taken some huge talent away from YouTube with greater promise of revenue.