Meta Experiences A Crash In Shares
Meta has experienced a 22% drop in shares which is equivalent to losing $200 billion of its market share. This followed a warning that revenue for the recent quarter would be below what was previously forecasted.
Meta is facing a range of problems at present including stiff competition from the likes of TikTok, a decline in global daily users for the first time in its history and issues with ad sales due to Apple’s privacy updates.
However, with Meta pushing forward with metaverse plans and investing heavily into AR/VR, this could catapult the company forward in the next few years. Interestingly, Alphabet – the holding company that was created through the restructuring of Google and Google subsidiaries saw a rise in stocks by 7.5% due to a strong earnings report.
Covid Misinformation & Spotify
Spotify has recently had issues with artists and creators on the platform over Coivid-19 misinformation.
Neil Young along with a number of other artists on the platform asked Spotify to remove music from the platform after podcaster Joe Rogan, who recently signed an exclusivity deal with the platform continued to perpetuate Covid conspiracies.
In response, Spotify has looked to implement steps such as adding labels to podcast episodes that discuss Convid-19 to provide links to the platforms Covid information hub. However, the platform has previously being a neutral and avoided censorship, but with the rising issues forming from Covid misinformation, the platform must look to better navigate sensitive topics.
Since the initial story broke, Joe Rogan took to instagram to speak on the controversy, stating that he is simply a host and understands he makes mistakes but is interested in having conversations with people with differing opinions. Rogan also expressed support for Spotify’s move to add disclaimers to content.
Platform Spotlight: Spotter
Spotter is a platform that launched three years ago with the intention to license the back catalogs of top YouTube creators, providing additional avenues for revenue.
Spotter essentially provides creators with money upfront in exchange for the ad revenue that older videos will generate over a specific time frame. This allows creators to invest in their content whether that be hiring editors or buying new equipment to elevate their content. Spotter has also recently hired Rob Gabel, who was the founder and CEO of Tubular Labs as chief strategy officer. The primary aim for the new hire will be developing new ways to finance the creator economy beyond Spotter’s current business model.
Interestingly, Spotter was one of the first to identify a gap in the market to license creator content, with Jellysmack also entering the space soon after. Currently, Spotter is working with the likes of MrBeast and Dude Perfect.
Twitch Forms New Deal With Universal Music Group
Twitch has developed a relationship with Universal Music Group to create a new deal that will allow the platform to collaborate with the music label on live content. Universal Music will create new artist and label channels on the platform, while Amazon Music will get access to high-quality and spatial audio, artist merch and additional exclusives – due to Twitch being owned by Amazon.
The deal speaks to an emerging trend of more artists using platforms such as Twitch to connect with fans. We’ve seen the likes of Logic, T-Pain and Joe Jonas open Twitch accounts, so it’s no surprise that labels are looking to maximize opportunities on social platforms to develop talent and provide additional ways to monetise content.
Grace Beverley’s Activewear Brand Lands $5.7M Investment
Grace Beverley is a UK influencer who launched a number of businesses whilst studying at Oxford University. Since graduating, Grace has found huge success with her sustainable activewear brand Tala – which launched in 2019 to offer a solution for consumers away from fast fashion clothing.
Now Tala has landed a $5.7M investment co-led by Active Partners and Venrex. The news of investment in the creator’s business speaks to how creators are launching successful brands and leveraging loyal audiences that shift to loyal consumers.
Grace Beverley announced the investment across her social channels, detailing the journey since the brand’s inception and highlighting her brand mission.
Addison Rae To Launch Blue Light Protection Skincare Product
In a bold move, Addison Rae is launching a blue light protection product called ‘Screen Break’ through her beauty brand Item Beauty. What is surprising is fellow creator Valkyrae came under fire for launching a similar product under her beauty venture RFLCT.
The controversy lies in the fact that there is little scientific proof that such products actually make an impact on protecting skin from blue light. Furthermore, Dermatologists have argued that the blue light emitted from screens is not at a level that is truly damaging to the skin.
MrBeast Creates Feastables
MrBeast is always up to something and this time he is becoming the Willy Wonka of the internet with his snack brand Feastables, which will include a mystery ticket sweepstakes.
The creator will be giving away over a million dollars in prizes including beats, bikes, a Tesla and more. In addition, ten people will also win the opportunity to be in a video with the chance to win a chocolate factory.
YouTube Gaming Re-Signs Top Streamer
Valkyrae is a top female streamer who joined YouTube Gaming a couple of years back but since taken a break from creating content on the platform. Now the creator is returning to the platform to stream and announced the news via a short video across her social platforms. This will mean the content greater will focus her content purely on YouTube as opposed to Twitch as well.
Valkyrae originally left Twitch in favor of YouTube Gaming – a trend we are starting to see from top streamers as Twitch fails to retain talent and listen to their community. Among other top streamers that YoutuBE gaming has recently secured include Ludwig, and DrLupo.
Instagram’s New Stickers & AR Features
In celebration of Lunar New Year, Instagram has added new themed stickers and a custom AR filter.
The new stickers celebrate the Year of the Tiger, which features art by Ophelia Pang. The new AR effect named #MyLNY2022, is discoverable on the app and allows users a more interactive way to celebrate Lunar New Year.
This is not the first time the platform has invested in elements on the app to celebrate the event and speaks to a larger trend of platforms maximizing engagement around cultural events. TikTok for example always features a hashtag on the Discover page around key events – allowing a place for creators of all backgrounds to celebrate their culture.
Meta’s 3D Avatar Developments
Meta has released a developed process for its 3D avatar creation on both Facebook and Messenger, whilst adding the ability to add custom avatars to Instagram Stories and DMs.
The updates to Meta’s 3D avatars include more refined features and customisation options. Meta also added more inclusive elements including the option to add Cochlear implants, hearing aids and wheelchairs – ensuring more people feel represented in the update.
Meta first launched 3D avatars in 2019, the option hasn’t taken off to the same degree as perhaps Bitmoji on Snapchat. However, with the plans of building a metaverse, virtual personas will play a huge role in the virtual experience. Meta developing this offering now is certainly in preparation for when more users look to create a virtual persona.
Interestingly, to align with the Super Bowl, the platform is also adding the ability to outfit avatars with either of the two Super Bowl LVI contenders. This feeds into the trend of digital clothing that Snapchat has been early to explore with brand collaboration with the likes of Ralph Lauren.
Instagram Updates For Visually Impaired Users
Instagram’s accessibility team have set out to improve the experience for visually impaired users through new in-app developments.
Firstly, the platform is improving post labelling which in past was too complex. Therefore the team have simplified the post layout, reducing the number of cues that screen readers need to translate on posts.
As stated by Instagram:
“The most noticeable change we made was condensing the focus hierarchy to represent each post with only two elements: the media and the post actions. These improvements simplified navigation by representing each individual post as one focusable element and reduced swipe time between posts from minutes to just seconds.”
Instagram has also moved post actions into one bottom sheet, accessible through custom actions on iOS and a separate button on feed posts on Android. All these changes have simplified the translation process – improving the overall experience for screen readers and something that took a lot of development work on Instagram’s side. However, it is important that platforms are making user experiences as inclusive as possible – something the likes of Twitter have struggled with in the past with new feature rollouts.
Snapchat Hosts Virtual Concert
To align with the upcoming film “Marry Me”, Snapchat is hosting a virtual concert featuring digital avatars. The event will be accessible through marrymevirtualconcert.com.
Viewers will be able to log in through Snapchat with their Bitmoji and then be added to the crowd, creating an interactive experience. Each Bitmoji character will have the ability to wave in the crowd, release virtual doves when Jennifer Lopez performs and trigger lasers to sweep the stage as well as a host of other options such as dancing.
The virtual concert will feature songs from the official film soundtrack and of course feature Jennifer Lopez- or at least her virtual avatar. This isn’t the first virtual event of its kind, with Fortnite and Roblox already hosting their own concerts. Most notably, the concert on Fornite that featured Travis Scott drew in 27.7 million in-game viewers and then Ariana Grande’s virtual concert pulled in 78 million last year on Fortnite.
Pinterest Adds Idea Pin Highlights
Pinterest appears to be testing a new ‘Highlights’ element for idea Pins. Idea Pins – which is essentially the platform’s version of Stories sit on the ‘Created’ tab on profile pages and unlike Stories on other platforms, content does not disappear after 24 hours.
However, with Pinterest testing Highlights, creators can now feature top idea Pins at the top of profiles, just below bios. Pinterest’s Idea Pins leans into the popularity of short-form video and full-screen video experiences and allows content creators to generate narrative-driven content.
Currently, Idea Pins experience an elevated reach over standard Pins and many brands are catching on and creating more Idea Pin content on the platform. No doubt this new test would help maximize engagement on the platform. Pinterest has also confirmed a full rollout of this feature, with users being able to post 6 highlights per profile.