YouTube Shorts Hits 5 Trillion Views
YouTube’s short-form video product ‘YouTube Shorts’, has hit 5 trillion lifetime views, according to Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s CEO. There is reportedly more video content being created on the platform than ever, with huge growth being seen on YouTube Shorts specifically.
According to previous reports, Shorts has been generating 15 billion views per day. The platform has not added ads to YouTube Shorts, but instead launched a Shorts Fund – replicating TikTok’s move to invest in a Creator Fund to incentivise creators to continue producing high-quality content on the platform.
A focus for YouTube Shorts this year will be additional monetisation options, such as branded solutions – which is a trend we are seeing across platforms, as they all race to ensure creators can generate revenue from content to keep hold of talented creators.
State Farm Picks TikTok Over TV For Super Bowl Campaign
State Farm, the U.S automotive insurance company, will be passing on a Super Bowl TV ad this year in favor of TikTok. The company launched the #TeamStateFarm branded hashtag challenge, encouraging users to show off their talents by submitting videos with the hashtag. The top videos will be pinned on the platform under the hashtag page, and a winner will be announced on Super Bowl Sunday.
State Farm has stated that they are using TikTok to meet the next generation of consumers by showing up where they’re spending time. Interestingly, credit reporting agency, TransUnion, reported that there is a growing increase from Gen Z and Millennial consumers in auto insurance spending from last year.
Squarespace Moves In On Video Subscriptions
The website building and hosting platform, Squarespace, is launching a new video option that will allow users to upload video directly to the platform and sell access on a one-off or recurring subscription basis.
The platform has also streamlined its video offering in preparation, adding a native video player to elevate the video experience. Videos uploaded to the platform will be hosted on Squarespace, but there are options to also host from YouTube and Vimeo.
This move will see the platform take on the likes of Patreon and OnlyFans. It appears that many platforms are now looking to integrate subscription-based offerings, with Substack also announcing video subscription capabilities.
Hank Green On The TikTok Creator Fund
Hank Green is a creator that got his start on YouTube as one half of the Vlogbrothers and a founder of Vidcon. The creator moved to TikTok in 2019 and has since amassed over 6.3 million followers on the platform.
However, in a recent upload on YouTube, the creator discussed the issues that face the TikTok Creator Fund.
TikTok, according to Green, is dividing the $200 million creator fund based on watch time on videos, meaning creators achieving the most watch time on content are awarded the most money. The $200 million is spread across a year, which means on any given day there is around $550,000 up for grabs. This means as more creators join the fund, there is less money available. Green even went as far as sharing his own earnings, showing that even though his audience and views increased, his earnings decreased over time.
This highlights a major issue with creator monetisation on the platform. It is yet another platform that offers monetisation, but not consistent revenue that can be relied upon.
A TikTok Pop Group Formation
Simon Fuller, who is best known for previously managing the Spice Girls and creating American Idol, has formed a music group on TikTok.
The media entrepreneur created a group through a TikTok hashtag challenge, where users had to audition for a spot in the group by posting videos of their dance and singing talents using the hashtag #NextInMusic.
The hashtag has generated hundreds of thousands of views and led to the formation of a group now named ‘The Future X’. The group will live in a house in Malibu – similar to TikTok collectives moving in together to generate content on a group TikTok account. Currently, the group are working with beauty brand Elf, on another hashtag competition to search for makeup artists.
TikTok’s Avatar Tools & Audio-Only Live Streams
TikTok appears to be testing a new feature that allows users to create digital characters based on a users’ actual appearance to be utilised in app.
The feature was first spotted by Matt Navarra, and the process of creating your TikTok digital avatar mirrors that of Apple’s Memoji. We’ve seen digital avatars become a popular investment for social platforms with the likes of Snapchat purchasing and then integrating Bitmoji on the platform. Snapchat was certainly early to lean into a trend of online users developing digital personas – and now other platforms are quickly following with the rise in conversations around the metaverse.
TikTok is also developing group chats, allowing for screen sharing within live streams and creator subscriptions. This follows the announcement of Instagram’s new subscription tool. Finally, TikTok is also looking to move in on audio-only live streams, which is not being live tested as of yet, but could see the platform jump into the audio boom that has been spearheaded by the rise of Clubhouse during the pandemic.
Twitter Tests New ‘Flocks’ Option
Twitter appears to be developing an audience control option for tweets that allows users to share tweets to groups of users’ chosen contacts.
The new test, spotted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, showcases an option to add up to 150 people to a chosen Flock – which then appears as an option when posting a tweet. Members of a Flock are then alerted to the tweet with a specific label.
The option provides greater control of content and is a development of the reply controls feature that was added a couple years back by Twitter. This also speaks to a broader trend of platforms providing greater control to users on who can see and engage with content.
Reddit & NFT Profile Pictures
Following Twitter’s latest move to experiment with NFT profile displays, now it appears Reddit is following suit.
According to the 2021 Reddit recap, cryptocurrency was the most discussed topic on the platform last year, so it’s no surprise Reddit is looking at ways to integrate NFTs. The test was first spotted by Nima Owji, which suggest Redditors can soon use NFTs as their on-platform avatar.
NFTs have been a dividing topic, but platforms are clearly investing in ways to integrate digital products, with Twitter and Reddit joining Instagram in this endeavor. Interestingly, we are also seeing brands moving in on NFTs – particularly in the fashion sector. So it appears, for the time being, NFTs are here to stay.
Instagram’s New Reach Reduction
Instagram is reducing the reach of posts and Stories that appear to violate rules around hate speech, bullying and violence incitement. Previously, any content that was containing misinformation would be shown lower on Feed and Stories, but the platform is expanding to cover more rule violations.
The platform will use systems to detect posts that may contain such violations and limit the reach of content, which could be problematic if the content is flagged that may not actually be in violation. Other platforms such as YouTube have in the past used systems to flag content that uses specific words, which resulted in some content being demonetised or limited, when in reality the words used in content were not used in a negative manner. As a result, YouTube was limiting content from creators who were talking on important topics such as LGBTQ+ rights.
Instagram’s systems will be flagging content through caption detections that are similar to other rule-breaking content. The system developed by Instagram will also predict how likely a user is going to report a post based on their history. It will be interesting to see how this new update develops and the impact creators are seeing with content reach.
Instagram Enhances Exposure Of Live Content
Instagram has added the ability to add a scheduled Live display on profiles, allowing for greater awareness of Live content on the platform.
The new display will allow creators to list upcoming IG live streams on profiles below bios, which when tapped, allow additional information to appear about the event. There will also be a call to action to sign-up for a reminder when the event is about to begin.
Creators will be able to schedule as many live events as they wish, with the new scheduled live display having a side-scrolling list. Previously, the only way to notify users about live streams was through posts and Stories – limiting exposure to existing followers. This new update allows anyone who lands on your profile to see any upcoming live streams. This update will become particularly useful as live commerce becomes common practice across the platform.
Instagram’s Video Remix Developments
Instagram is expanding the ability for users to remix all video content on the platform, which previously was only an option for Reels content.
This is part of Instagram’s border video push as it moves towards an entertainment app. The option to remix a Reel to create your own take was first taken from a similar TikTok feature – with Instagram quickly adding to the Reels feature to maximize engagement.
Now users on Instagram can view a video and tap a ‘Remix this video’ option to create a response or reaction to the content. Creators or users on the platform can also turn off the ability for others to Remix content.
Instagram’s Story Poll Updates
Instagram has added the ability for users to add up to four responses on Poll Stickers. Previously Poll Stickers had the ability to gauge an audience’s reaction for two responses. Alongside this, Instagram has also added the option to change the color of the question text – providing more creative controls to customize Stories natively within the Story creation process.
This move is to enhance engagement through interactive elements and allow users to gather greater insight on the opinions and feelings of their audience around chosen topics.
Snapchat Adds Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses
Snapchat is known for being well ahead of other platforms in terms of its AR tools – and now the platform has developed another e-commerce capability through the new Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses.
This new update allows a range of products to be available within one Lens, allowing users to try on more than one virtual product. When a user is presented with multiple products to try on, product details, price and a direct reference will be made available through the Lens.
It appears the new update will be directly linked to a brand’s product catalog on the platform. This new tool could be extremely useful to see what products are getting the most interest from users and help Snapchat collect data on individual products that are engaging to specific users, to optimize ad targeting capabilities.