Every week the Insights Team at The Goat Agency pull together the latest news from the social space in a weekly social media industry news round-up. This week we cover Twitter accepting Elon Musk’s deal to acquire the platform for $44 billion, the new Digital Services Act in the E.U and the latest updates to social platforms!
Elon Musk’s $44 Billion Offer Accepted By Twitter Board
Twitter has entered a definitive agreement with Elon Musk to acquire the platform for $44 billion. The news follows a board meeting that occurred last week, which will surely have implications for the future of the platform.
Musk is planning to take Twitter private to reduce reliance on ads to ensure a better degree of “free speech” on the platform. In the past, Elon Musk has been critical of moderation efforts by Twitter, suggesting this area will be a key focus going forward.
Interestingly, some market analysts have stated the offer of $44 billion is actually too low, which led many to believe the board would not accept. However, following the news that the board did accept, it could imply a poor Q1 earnings report for Twitter in 2022.
Only time will tell what Twitter will look like under Musk’s ownership, but there is certainly a split decision on whether this is a good thing. But Musk could help Twitter grow by addressing key community demands and he does have a track record of creating valuable companies. Twitter revenue is not competitive when compared to top platforms, so Twitter needs someone to drive growth – which was first put on the shoulders of the current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.
However, there are concerns about platform safety and the issue of misinformation. Content moderation has been a push for most social platforms and with Musk being so critical of Twitter’s current moderation – could we see a rise in misinformation?
YouTube’s New Hire From Amazon
YouTube has hired Amazon veteran Toni Reid to lead the “Emerging Experiences and Community team” which includes Shorts, YouTube gaming and live streaming.
Reid stated the following:
“I am excited by the opportunity to build products for creators and viewers of different backgrounds”.
Toni will be focused on helping grow the creator economy. Interestingly Reid was instrumental in developing Amazon’s AI personality Alexa, as well as leading teams working on Amazon’s Instabuy Dash Button and the X-Ray feature that shows actor names and trivia during Prime Video content. One huge challenge will certainly be furthering monetisation options within Shorts, something more short-form video platforms are hyper-focused on and a huge pain point for the likes of TikTok at present.
Spotify’s Update For Video Podcasts
All creators in the U.S, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia will now be able to upload video podcasts to Spotify through the platform’s distribution partner, Anchor. Spotify wants to focus on video podcasting due to the enhanced experience and connection provided between the audience and host.
In addition to the rollout of video podcasts, Spotify is also rolling out monetisation for video podcasts. This will be achieved through subscriptions, which first launched for audio shows and gave creators 100% of revenue until 2023 when Spotify would take a 5% cut.
Spotify is also reportedly working on more monetisation features but this is not clear if it’s specific to video podcasts or all podcast formats. Furthermore, Spotify announced a partnership with remote recording platform Riverside, allowing creators to record and publish video content for free with an easy distribution path to Spotify via Anchor. Embedded links have also been added to video podcasts, allowing content to be shared across other platforms, along with a bulk-replace function to easily replace audio content with video formats. Finally, Spotify is also adding polls and Q&A features and video analytics.
Jellysmack Acquires AMA Digital
Jellysmack is a global creator company that develops and supports talented video creators by unlocking new revenue streams. Jellysmack is currently home to 10 of the biggest social media channels like Beauty Studio, Oh My Goal, Gamology and House of Bounce, plus over 550 influential creators like MrBeast and PewDiePie.
Now the company has acquired AMA Digital (Authentic Media Ascension) which was founded in 2019 and is a YouTube analytics and growing startup. AMA claim it has the potential to help YouTubers increase their viewership and revenue by 250% year-over-year.
The acquisition will see Jellysmack integrate AMA’s data analytics platform into its content-distribution creator program to enhance services and delivery for creators and channels on Jellysmack’s roster. This marks Jellysmack’s second acquisition as last November the company acquired Kamua – an automated video editing company.
The European Union’s Digital Services Act
The European Union has passed a new act that will impose fines against social platforms that fail to remove offending content posted by a platform’s users. This act is called the Digital Services Act and could heavily impact huge American tech companies such as Meta and Google.
The Act covers content that includes hate speech, child sexual abuse, scams and terrorism and if platforms are notified of these types of posts they must take immediate action. Failure to do so will result in large fines and repeat failure could see the banning of the platform in EU territories.
The Act also requires platforms to expand reporting systems, prohibit ads targeted at minors and ads that target users based on gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. This law marks a move into a new era of digital enforcement and could cause huge issues for Twitter’s free speech objectives under Elon Musk’s ownership.
Instagram’s Reels Templates
Instagram is reportedly working on a new “Templates” process according to Business Insider. The new option allows users to replicate the format of a Reels clip they’ve seen in a creator’s content. This is particularly useful considering a lot of trending content through Reels is tutorial content on how to edit content together in line with trending sounds.
The “Templates” process works through an option on Reels to “Use as template”, once clicked the various time stamps are shown making it easy for users to input their own content to match the cadence of the creator’s original content.
The new feature is being tested among a small batch of creators but could inspire more users to create Reels content due to the ease of the process. It also serves as another way to engage with content through replications – something that has been a huge win for TikTok.
Instagram’s Pinned Posts Test
Instagram has launched a live test of a feature that allows users to pin posts to the top of profiles. This option is only available for select users at this time.
The platform has been working on this feature for some time now along with a feature to edit your profile grid, essentially giving creators more control of their content appearance and putting less pressure on posting in a specific sequence.
There is yet to be confirmation whether the two grid features will be rolled out in full, but this will certainly benefit creators and brands who want to spotlight specific content for new and existing followers.
Furthermore, TikTok rolled out the ability for creators to pin videos to the top of profiles, showing Instagram is to continue following in the footsteps of features popularised across TikTok. It will be interesting to see how this pinned option could be applied to Instagram Reels to spotlight trending videos from a specific creator or brand – no doubt this is a consideration from Instagram!
Updates To Reels Monetisation
Instagram is working on a new program enabling creators to sign up to allow overlay ads to appear on Reels clips. Brands essentially will then be able to view eligible clips and insert ads.
The challenge for Instagram is ensuring Reels content doesn’t become saturated with ads, which would halt the growth of Reels. However, Instagram also needs to retain talented creators and incentivise them to create video content through monetisation options. We have already seen YouTube creators jump ship due to poor monetisation options, which has given rise to subscription platforms such as Patreon.
Instagram wants to avoid any creator migration to competitor apps, so this update to monetisation is essential. This is especially important considering Instagram is looking to update the algorithm to push original content. Creators won’t put time into the app producing original content if they can’t earn money!
The timing of this new test for creator monetisation across Reels is smart, considering TikTok is falling short with its current Creator Fund.
YouTube Expands “Super Thanks”
YouTube has announced the expansion of “Super Thanks”, a monetisation offering available for creators in 68 regions to use the viewer donation feature. The feature was first added in July last year, enabling users to donate to creators by purchasing a “Super Thanks” animation priced between $2 – $50.
“Super Thanks” is an expansion on YouTube’s Super Chat and Super Stickers, delivering direct monetisation for YouTube creators through their subscribers, whilst also providing a new way for fans to engage with creators.
YouTube is working on a host of new monetisation options to retain and incentivise creators over to the platform. The platform currently has a number of monetisation offerings including the YouTube Partner Program. However, we are still seeing creators move to subscription-based platforms due to unreliable revenue and content demonetisation.
Snapchat’s Inclusion Updates
Snapchat has expanded representation options by adding three of the top requested assistive devices to Bitmoji and Snapchat.
Snapchatters can see themselves in 3D poses with a wheelchair or a hearing aid in a variety of colors, which can be worn on one or both ears. The platform has also added a selection of the most popular Bitmoji stickers featuring the avatar with a cane.
Snapchat being inclusive with digital avatars is a crucial step to ensure everyone feels represented when the metaverse shift occurs. The future may see us rely on virtual personas to depict ourselves online and everyone must be represented! Snapchat leading the way in this respect will no doubt push other digital avatar players to consider inclusion factors.
According to Snapchat, stickers already launched last March featuring Bitmoji characters in wheelchairs have been shared over 30 million times – highlighting how important it is to consider all users.
Meta Develops Creative Tools Within Spark AR Studio
Meta is developing creative tools within Spark AR Studio to provide AR creators with more options to enhance effects creation.
Firstly, Meta is adding a “new audio engine” that will improve audio processing, making it easier to blend multiple audio sources within effects. Meta has also added new depth controls powered by LiDAR sensors, providing more responsive and transformative effects. Finally, Meta is adding a new occlusion feature, enabling creators to blend virtual objects more effectively into real-world spaces.
These updates are important for Meta to compete with the likes of Snapchat and TikTok, with the former leading the way with AR lenses. Developing such capabilities is also integral for Meta’s ten-year plan that includes the launch of AR glasses and the metaverse. For more immediate impact, these tools will help creativity in AR creation across Meta-owned apps, as well as enhancing engagement – especially among Gen Z who were early to adopt AR filters as a means of engaging and sharing with friends, family and followers.