In this week’s edition of the Industry Round Up, we break down some of the biggest updates from social media platforms that include the end of Twitter’s Fleets, TikTok’s new policy change and YouTube’s ‘New To You’ recommendation feed. We also cover some of the interesting stories from the world of creators, such as how one creator successfully used YouTube Shorts to grow their channel by millions of subscribers. Let’s jump in and explore these stories further!
TikTok Bans Influencers From Promoting Cryptocurrencies and Financial Products
TikTok has updated its branded content policy to ban influencers from posting sponsored content that promotes financial services and products. Other types of prohibited content in TikTok’s branded content policy include alcohol, weapons and gambling. Brands such as Monzo, Revolut and the Plum App will no longer be able to benefit from partnering with authentic ‘FinTok’ voices, along with companies in the cryptocurrency, investment and trading platform space.
TikTok has become a platform where financial conversations have flourished. However, this move by TikTok is reportedly aimed at putting an end to the worrying and controversial trend of high-risk investments and frauds. At present, this new policy change only impacts sponsored content posted by creators, meaning content around finance-related topics can continue organically.
Apple’s Buy-Now-Pay-Later Service
Apple is reportedly working on a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) service for Apple Pay. BNPL is reportedly one of retail’s fastest-growing segments, with fintech companies such as Klarna and PayPal all offering the opportunity for customers to pay for products later – splitting up payments for higher-priced products.
What is currently known about Apple’s BNPL service, is that there will be two ways to pay, either through four bi-weekly interest-free instalments or a longer-term monthly payment plan with interest. The service will also not require an Apple card as the service will work with any Apple Pay-enabled card.
The benefit for Apple with this move into the BNPL space is the fact the company can take advantage of Apple Pay users buying more expensive products through the service. Apple Pay currently takes a percentage cut of every transaction, but typical purchases are at a lower price range. However, offering a BNPL model will aid Apple Pay to be considered as a payment option for more costly purchases, allowing the company to make more money through this product.
Battle Of The Video Streaming Platforms
Netflix has long dominated the video streaming market, but with the space becoming increasingly crowded, this could all change. In 2018, Netflix beat off HBO for the most Emmy nominations, showing the dominance streaming platforms were having over traditional television.
However, following the 2021 Emmy Nominations, Netflix went from 60% of all streaming nominations in 2020 to less than 40% in 2021. HBO & HBO Max received 130 nominations, Netflix 129, Disney+ 71, Apple TV 35, Hulu 35 and Amazon Prime Video 18. This tells us that younger platforms are producing high-quality content that could, in the future, take the market share of streaming memberships away from Netflix. In fact, Disney+ had a huge win with The Mandalorian this year that topped nominations alongside The Crown – a Netflix show.
The KSI Show
Popular UK creator KSI recently announced ‘The KSI Show’. The live digital event is being described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with KSI performing tracks from his latest studio album named All Over The Place. The event will also feature the retelling of KSI’s journey to success, featuring special guests and key characters from his past and present.
The event will take place July 17th – one day after KSI’s second studio album drops, with tickets being made available through Moment House, a company founded in 2019 dedicated to creators to help run special, ticketed experiences for their fans.
KSI has made a few announcements through social about the event, including Instagram content featuring the creator and his boxing opponent Logan Paul. Music artists such as Yungblud, Anne Marie, Craig David and AJ Tracey have also all been tagged in a recent Instagram post that promoted the event, alongside other special guests such as Jack Whitehall. Tickets are currently available online, with the title sponsor appearing to be the CBD brand Ignite.
Shanice Cole & Her YouTube Shorts Success
Shanice Cole, otherwise known as DankScole/KidScole, has carved out a huge following across TikTok through her comedic and relatable skit content. The creator currently has a following of over 5.7 million followers across TikTok, but the creator wanted to transfer her following across multiple platforms which proved more difficult than first expected.
However, when YouTube Shorts was rolled out in the US, Shanice Cole tested out this feature by posting a ‘Shorts’ every day for 30 days. The idea here was to see if Shorts could help grow her presence on YouTube, and ride the early wave of success of new platform features that often get algorithmic favoring upon launch.
The result of this test saw the creator grow her YouTube channel by more than a million subscribers and over 300 million in views. The benefit of Shorts for Shanice was the ability to post more consistently through the creation of shorter content that was less time consuming to produce. Shorter formats were not previously favored by the YouTube algorithm, which meant that for any creator to find platform success, they had to consistently upload longer videos, which meant any trajectory for growth was time consuming and often unsustainable. Now creators can post shorter content through Shorts to help fast track the success of their channel, whilst also delivering longer formats to their audience, which can be profitable through the option of adding ad rolls for a cut of AdSense when eligible.
Twitter Announces The End Of Fleets
Fleets are essentially Twitter’s copy of Snapchat Stories, which Instagram and any other platform under the sun decided to clone. The ephemeral content format has worked for a number of platforms and Twitter hoped the feature would bring new people to conversations on the platform – which ultimately Fleets failed to do.
Fleets have undergone a number of tests to encourage the use and visibility of the feature, including the platform serving a user with Fleets from those they don’t follow and related Fleets being added under some Tweets as additional content recommendations. However, it never really took off. A few people you follow no doubt used the feature, but it was never something that really succeeded for the platform.
Twitter announced that on August the 3rd, Fleets will be removed while they work on something new. This decision comes just eight months into the feature’s launch, but allows the platform to work on some new stuff in its absence. It is speculated that the removal of Fleets was to make way for Spaces – Twitter’s audio-only feature that seeks to compete with Clubhouse. It is worth noting that Spaces were also featured on the same row as Fleets, but with Fleets removed this will become a dedicated area for the live audio-only feature.
Facebook Investing $1 Billion To Creator Funding Initiatives
Facebook will be investing over $1 billion in programs to support creators over the next year, with the focus being on funding opportunities to help creators earn money from their content across Facebook and Instagram.
As explained by Facebook:
“From artists to style experts and budding entertainers, creators drive so much of the passion and creativity we see across our apps. As we continue building creative tools like Live Audio Rooms and Bulletin, as well as monetization products like Stars and affiliate, we also want to reward creators, especially those who are just starting out, for creating content their communities love.”
Initiatives by Facebook include a new invitation-only Bonus program that rewards creators for reaching milestones and engagement levels. Facebook is also providing bonuses for those who use in-stream ads in content, as well as incentives on Instagram when using IGTV ads, plus the use of badges in Live and Reels. To note, Facebook offered incentives before to elevate Facebook Watch, but this was not sustainable and ended when Facebook wanted to go in a different direction.
Interestingly, TikTok recently became the first non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion downloads worldwide across iOS and Android. Therefore, Facebook is seeing how big a threat TikTok is becoming and is looking to retain talented creators on the platform through incentives. This is where investments into monetisation opportunities come in. We see huge creators from TikTok migrate over to YouTube due to the superior monetisation opportunities, which has caused TikTok to invest in such programs as the TikTok Creator Fund. However, we’ve also seen other platforms, e.g. Snapchat, work on ways to help creators monetise their content, such as having a pool of $1 million a day to pay creators of top-performing videos through Spotlight – Snap’s own take on short-form video.
YouTube Rolls Out Personalised Video Recommendation Feed ‘New To You’
YouTube is looking to introduce users to content that is new to them, in hopes of getting people to explore new content outside of their usual recommendations. This move follows feedback from YouTube viewers that their home feeds feel “a little bit stale”.
The new feed aims to be different from YouTube’s Explore page, as it is personalized to an individual user, suggesting new content based on their activity that is a little different. The idea here is to bring an element of what makes TikTok so great, in recommending content you never knew you wanted. The ‘New To You’ page will do just that, taking note of what content you are enjoying and suggesting content that is still relevant to your interest but serving you videos you may never be searching for.
The ‘New To You’ page will be rolling out to all users this month on mobile and can be accessed through a new button on the top of the Home feed and as a pop-up prompt if a user has been scrolling their Home feed for some time.
This new feed option has the potential to help keep users on the platform for longer, whilst also highlighting creators content to new audiences.