Every week the Insights Team at The Goat Agency pull together the latest news from the social space in a weekly Industry Round-Up. This week we cover the latest news with TikTok’s deal with Oracle as well as covering Logan Paul’s jump into the world of WWE and Snap’s exciting new updates!
Is TikTok Nearing A Deal With Oracle?
According to a recent report from Reuters TikTok could be nearing a deal with Oracle, which will see data on U.S users being stored stateside.
Oracle is a computer software company that is in talks with TikTok to separate US user information from Chinese databases, making this data inaccessible to China-based groups. TikTok’s user data concerns began with the Trump administration, due to the platform being owned by ByteDance – a Chinese company that must follow the cybersecurity laws of the Chinese government, which include the requirement to share user information upon request.
The Trump administration were hunting for a deal that would require TikTok to hand over the U.S arm of the company. However, plans were later abandoned with US President Joe Biden.
This new update focusing on the separation of user data, handing over full ownership, would address re-emerging user data concerns stemming from the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Linktree Announces $110m Funding Round
Linktree was founded in 2016 allowing Instagram users and creators to put a link in Instagram bios, with that link being full of information, merch pages and so on. However, since the initial launch and success, the link-in-bio marketplace has become a crowded space.
Therefore, to stay ahead of the competition, Linktree announced a $110m funding round. The new funding is set to be used to expand the Linktree workforce and grow the user base in the U.S. One major area Linktree is set to focus on is hiring world-class talent to join the existing 240 employees.
Currently, Linktree’s service is used by the likes of Selena Gomez, Noah Beck, Bella Poarch and Dwayne Johnson. Linktree also has around 24 million users with huge growth being cited among influencers, small businesses and those working within the music industry.
Vtuber Agency Raises $11M In Seed Funding
VShojo is an agency that specializes in the support of Vtubers with financial, technological and production solutions. Vtubers are essentially online entertainers that employ virtual avatars generated by computer graphics to create content across YouTube or Livestreaming platforms.
VShojo early on identified the potential of Vtubers and has since sought investment to further support their talent roster. The company based in San Francisco has now raised $11 million in seed funding, looking to use the new capital to expand the business. Vshojo aims to bring Vtuber partners to gaming and anime cons, as well as further supporting content creation and the development of the IRL Backpack, that facilitates streaming on the go.
If there was any doubt about the success of Vtubers, then look no further than Vshojo’s partner Ironmouse. The Vtuber shot to fame after a sub-a-thon on Twitch, which saw the creator surpass one million followers and 100,00 active subscribers on the platform.
Yuga Labs Acquires CryptoPunks & Meebits
Yuga Labs is best known for being the company behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club – the NFT collection on the Ethereum blockchain that also doubles as a membership to an exclusive social organization via Discord, where fellow owners of the ape NFTs (including celebrities) hang out and chat.
However, Yuga Labs has now acquired CryptoPunks and Meebits from Larva Labs. CryptoPunks was an early NFT collection on the Ethereum blockchain that was extremely popular and generated a total sale value of around $2 billion. Whilst Meebits are a collection of 20,000 unique 3D voxel characters, created by a custom generative algorithm.
The buyers of both NFT projects will still retain ownership of their tokens but the intellectual property rights for the collections will be transferred to Yuga.
From YouTube To Wrestling: Logan Paul & WWE
Logan Paul, the popular YouTube creator and podcaster who got his start on Vine, is exploring new industries to expand his brand following his recent boxing matches with the likes of Floyd Mayweather and KSI.
Logan is set to appear in a WWE match at WrestleMania 38, where he will take on Rey Mysterio. However, before the match, Logan will feature in the WWE 2K22 game which is available to play on Playstation and Xbox. Logan will be a playable character along with Machine Gun Kelly, Ronda Rousey and Mr T.
Logan has already appeared in several WWE events, but this recent move shows the expansion creators are taking outside of social media into mainstream media.
TikTok Musicians Are Heading To MTV
TikTok has certainly made a huge impact on the music industry since its inception. Only last week TikTok launched SoundOn, which saw musicians have the ability to license and distribute tracks across global platforms.
However, in more recent platform news, eight musicians who have significant TikTok followings are set to compete in a new show named “Becoming a Popstar” that will air on MTV this month. The show will test songwriting abilities among other challenges that link to performing and social media presence.
Each week the musicians in the competition will upload a one-minute song to TikTok, where Becky G, Joe Jonas and Sean Bankhead will judge the submissions and evaluate who has the most potential. TikTok will serve as the shows’ official second screen, with the platform being key in each voting round.
Interestingly, the winner of the competition will be recruited to film a Pepsi commercial that will air at the VMAs.
Pinterest’s Shopping & Advertising Updates
Pinterest held the second annual ‘Pinterest Presents global advertiser summit to announce a range of new shopping and advertising updates.
The first update was ‘Your Shop’, a personalized shopping page within the app, displaying the latest items and offers, specific to a user’s interests – this is currently in beta testing for US users and looking to launch to more users globally this year.
Pinterest is also adding a direct, in-app checkout option for Shopify merchants. Whilst the platform has announced a new Shopping API, making it easier for merchants to upload their product catalogs, increasing Pin product listings.
For marketers, Pinterest is improving Pinterest Trends, which provides insights into the popularity of topics in app. Now, businesses in the US, Canada and UK will have new features added to the Pinterest trends tool including real-time search data, more trend types, granular audience tools and personalized trend recommendations for a specific business.
Furthermore, Pinterest will soon enable advertisers to promote Idea Pins in the app – a feature that acts as the Story element on Pinterest. Finally, following the update that creators can tag brand products in Idea Pins and disclose paid partnerships, later this year Pinterest will also add the ability to promote those Pins as Idea Ads.
All these elements are solutions to combat a decrease in active monthly users that have plagued the platform following the ease of restrictions off the back of the pandemic. However, Pinterest is still a useful platform for advertisers due to the undisruptive nature of ads on the platform, these updates will no doubt enhance the user experience and opportunities for creators and brands alike.
Instagram’s Live Moderator Tool
Instagram is improving safety and control with live content through a new control that allows creators to assign a moderator. This moderator option gives the capability to report comments, remove viewers and turn off comments for a specific viewer.
Live stream moderation is a tricky challenge for platforms, with live moderators being a solution implemented by the likes of TikTok already. This new tool will hope to reduce inappropriate behavior during Live Instagram sessions and provide greater control for creators and brands on the platform.
Snapchat’s New Tool For AR Landmarks
Snapchat is adding a new Custom Landmarkers option in Lens studio, helping marketers to utilise the AR landmarks feature to create location-locked AR experiences.
In 2019, Snapchat started with templates of 30 sites around the world that creators could build upon coined ‘Landmarkers’. Now Snapchat is expanding its capabilities so creators can anchor Lenses to local areas such as statues and storefronts.
The new tool will require technical know-how so it is recommended to partner with a Snap creator to build a custom AR experience around a specific location. However, Snapchat has launched the first Snap AR certification on Snap Focus helping to boost AR knowledge.
Custom Landmarkers will be discoverable through physical Snapcodes at each landmark or on a Lens Creator’s profile.
Snapchat Adds Option To Share Bitmoji Outfits
Snapchat has added the ability for users to share their Bitmoji outfits with friends who can try on the same outfit on their own virtual characters in-app.
On top of this, Snapchat is also launching a new line of Bitmoji clothing with Converse, joining the previous brand partnerships with the likes Nike and Crocs. The aim here for the app is to build out its virtual clothing capabilities to help shape a virtual clothing marketplace.
In 2020, Snap filed a patent outlining how its Bitmoji fashion process would see the platform partner with a range of fashion retailers to provide virtual versions of items for Bitmoji personas. The platform has since worked with a number of brands on this front which has put the platform at the forefront of how virtual clothes could exist in a metaverse future.
The ability to share Bitmoji outfits will be available to all iOS users, with plans for an Android rollout soon.
Twitter’s Tweet Awards
Twitter appears to be testing a new ‘Awards’ option for tweets to bulk out creator monetisation offerings on the platform. The new award option on a tweet appears as a gift icon in the lower function bar, it is yet confirmed if this feature will develop into a full-fledged monetisation tool for creators but does provide a new means to engage on the platform.
The way ‘Awards’ on Twitter can operate is by allocating an award/gift based on an individual tweet – which would be advantageous on viral tweets. Facebook has similar options to this new Twitter test with virtual gifts, available through Stars – the app’s currency to donate to creators. YouTube also has ‘Super Stickers” and TikTok has live gifts.
It is no surprise Twitter is testing more content monetisation options with the platform already rolling out Super Follows and tipping options. Most platforms are enhancing content monetisation to retain talented creators and incentivise users to build a presence on the platform – of which they can later monetise.
Pinterest Develops Idea Pin Sharing Capabilities
Pinterest has launched the capability to download Idea Pins for sharing across other social platforms. Pinterest Idea Pins is essentially a story feature that unlike other platform stories do not expire after 24 hours.
Once the Idea Pin is downloaded, it is saved with a Pinterest watermark, which can then be uploaded to Facebook and Instagram, complete with an end card featuring the creator’s username.
However, there is a key consideration with sharing watermarked Pinterest content across Instagram with the Meta-owned app already penalising reach on Reels uploads that include TikTok watermarks. Therefore, repurposing Pinterest content across the platform could be problematic when uploading to Reels and possibly Stories.
Reddit’s Creator Stats Dashboard
Reddit first launched Creator Stats three years ago, but since disabled the feature due to scaling and performance issues. However, recently the platform brought back the feature for 50% of desktop users and moderators as part of an experiment.
Now Reddit is bringing the feature back to 90% of its users via the desktop version of the app, providing users with an in-depth overview of Reddit post-performance, covering post views, upvote rate, community karma earned and total shares.
Creator stats will be available after a post has received at least ten views with moderators in communities and the original poster has access to the post-performance data. The insights data will expire after 45 days so there won’t be a lot of historic data to compare with down the line. However, this move feeds into the platform’s ongoing efforts to expand its user base and take elements that other social platforms have rolled out to grow and maximize revenue.
The platform is also looking to bring the analytics option to mobile in the near future.