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 Meta launching an avatar fashion store, Snap’s report on augmented reality and the latest platform updates!
Elon Musk Reveals Factors Holding Up Completion Of Twitter Takeover
Elon Musk has previously put the Twitter deal on pause, citing issues with the platform’s resistance to share information around the fake/spam user count. Now Musk has outlined the three factors that are needed to be resolved in order to move forward with the deal.
In a recent interview, Musk highlighted what was slowing down the deal, which firstly included information on Twitter’s fake user count, in order to prove the claims that the number is under 5% of the platform’s total user base.
The second involves debt financing, as Musk has committed to pay $33.5 billion in cash of the $44 billion deal, with additional money coming from equity financing commitments from investors totaling $7.1 billion. However, this leaves $3.4 billion which will come through bank loans.
The final element is shareholder approval, as Twitter’s current shareholders have to accept the deal, which could be problematic following the news that shareholders are already suing Musk.
Musk’s issue with the fake user count being inaccurate is an attempt to reduce the $44 billion takeover price. Though it appears unlikely any deduction will happen on the basis that the fake user count assessment has already been accepted by the SEC. Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover bid continues to evolve so catch up with the full story.
Reddit’s Latest Acquisition To Improve The Algorithm
Reddit is looking to elevate the user experience through an improved algorithm with the latest acquisition of Spell.
Spell is a machine learning platform enabling teams to run experiments at scale, which will enable Reddit to understand what is working and how to optimise its system to improve topic matching and misuse detection.
As explained by Reddit:
“With Spell’s technology and expertise, we’ll be able to move faster to integrate ML across our Product, Safety, and Ads teams. Team members from Spell have joined Reddit and will support existing and spearhead new ML projects across the company related to how we identify and classify contextual relevance, organize conversations, customize ad placements, and protect communities.”
Overall, this acquisition will help increase engagement across the platform as users will be served more relevant content. Reddit has long been known for originating trends and conversations online, but TikTok has since taken over. Therefore, the solution for Reddit is to further personalise the experience for users, which is very much the aim of other competitor apps such as Twitter.
Snap Believes The Future of Shopping Is AR
Snap believes AR is a pivotal tool for shopping and has since partnered with Publicis Media and Alter Agents to prove just that. A study produced through the partnership asked over 4,000 shoppers across the UK, US, France and Saudi Arabia about their experience with AR.
The study revealed that 66% of people who encounter AR tech during the buying process were less likely to return the product that was bought. 80% of consumers also felt more confident purchasing something if AR was an element within the shopping process.
As stated by Snap:
“Brands can inspire shoppers to do a lot with AR, from product visualization to trying on the latest pair of sneakers, to using a product carousel to explore different colours or fits, and even interacting with the brand using special effects or gamified experiences”
Snap also stated that these interactive features instill confidence as a more accurate view of the product is being accessed through AR technology. This is backed up by the study that revealed virtual try-ons make people more likely to click “buy” across virtually every category, from beauty (69% said they’re more likely to buy with AR tech involved than without) to clothing (74%) to food/beverage (60%) to retail (70%) and travel (64%).
Snap also positioned Snapchat as the platform for AR experiences, stating that 37% of shoppers discover AR experiences on Snapchat, making the platform the second-largest source of AR discovery during shopping, after online store sites. However, other platforms are investing in AR experiences, which speaks to the importance of AR as social becomes more shoppable.
We’ve previously covered Pinterest’s interest in AR and making the platform more shoppable, why not take a look?
Meta Has Signed On To The Metaverse Standards Forum
Meta has recently signed on to the new Metaverse Standards Forum, which brings together leading organisations and companies to work together on interoperability standards to build the open metaverse. The Metaverse Standards Forum is managed by the Khronos Group to facilitate truly inclusive, immersive, and transformative experiences through various providers.
As explained by The New Stack:
“Interoperability – or lack thereof – is a key issue in the nascent metaverse industry. The Khronos Group aims to solve this with a new open standards discussion forum called The Metaverse Standards Forum, which launches today. The group includes representation from most of the big players in the 3D internet, including Nvidia, Meta, Epic Games, Unity, Microsoft, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).”
Through a collective effort, the aim is to establish agreed protocols and standards for the metaverse connection, leading to the foundations of interoperability, which will at the end point allow users to take their avatars and virtual objects across different spaces and experiences.
The Metaverse Standards Forum will ensure no singular entity will own the metaverse, even though Meta surely wants to be the leader, Therefore, the aim is to ensure users can jump between the likes of Horizon Worlds and Decentraland using the same avatar, which will change how digital spaces operate and how different companies will have to work together to allow this freedom of movement.
Meta’s Web3 Developments
Meta is moving forward with Web3 projects across its apps, announcing a digital payments option and coming NFT features. In terms of the new payment offering, Mark Zuckerberg has highlighted that Meta is working on a new wallet for the metaverse, ensuring an integrated solution to manage digital identities and purchases.
As explained by Zuckerberg:
“In the future there will be all sorts of digital items you might want to create or buy – digital clothing, art, videos, music, experiences, virtual events, and more. Proof of ownership will be important, especially if you want to take some of these items with you across different services. Ideally, you should be able to sign into any metaverse experience and everything you’ve bought should be right there. There’s a long way to get there, but this kind of interoperability will deliver much better experiences for people and larger opportunities for creators.”
On the NFT front, Meta has already launched a test of NFT display options, but this will soon be expanded to more territories. However, as interest in NFTs appears to be in decline, Meta has launched a guide on NFTs, aiming to educate users on NFTs and how they will play a larger role in the future.
TikTok’s US User Data Merger
TikTok has announced the completion of migrating US user data to Oracle servers. This will ensure all US user data is separated from ByteDance – a company operating in China. This was an important move for TikTok amid rising concerns US user data was easily accessed by the Chinese Government.
Before the merger, US user data was stored in data centers in the U.S and Singapore. However, a new deal with Oracle will ensure all user data will remain in the U.S.
As stated by TikTok:
“For more than a year, we’ve been working with Oracle on several measures as part of our commercial relationship to better safeguard our app, systems, and the security of US user data. We’ve now reached a significant milestone in that work: we’ve changed the default storage location of US user data. Today, 100% of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.”
However, it was also revealed by BuzzFeed that TikTok is still sharing US user data with Chinese authorities through data review practices. This has been revealed in leaked audio from internal meetings at TikTok. According to BuzzFeed, China-based engineers for ByteDance have accessed US user data since 2021, contradicting testimony from TikTok’s head of US public policy, where it was stated TikTok does not share information with the Chinese government.
Meta Launches New Monetisation Options For Creators
To keep up with TikTok, Meta has announced the launch of the Creator Marketplace. The marketplace will help creators source paid opportunities across Meta-owned platforms, and connect brands with creators. The in-app influencer marketplace is set to allow creators to advertise themselves for the discovery of branded and paid content. Brands will be able to directly message creators through the marketplace, allowing a more efficient process for influencer partnerships. Influencers will also be able to list an overview of their interests, main content type and styles.
Furthermore, as part of Meta’s $1 Billion Creator Fund, the company is also expanding the Facebook Reels Play Bonus programme to more creators across Facebook. The programme was launched with the aim to incentivise creators to post Reels – helping to popularise the format.
Creators who are able to apply to the programme will soon be able to cross-post their Reels to Facebook and Instagram and monetise the content on both platforms.
Meta is additionally updating the Facebook Stars Donation process to all eligible creators. This is set to help creators monetise Live, Reels and video content through virtual currencies.
Meta Launches Avatar Fashion Store
Meta has been stepping up the development of digital avatars across Meta-owned apps that include Facebook, Instagram and Messenger as of late. Now in the latest update, Meta is launching an avatar fashion store.
This is similar to Snap’s avatar strategy through Bitmoji, where Snapchat users had the option to further customise avatars through new digital clothing options and collaborations with fashion designers.
This is very much the strategy for Meta, who will be featuring clothing options from initial collections with Balenciaga, Prada and Thom Browne. However, Meta plans to go beyond clothing from brands, with the aim to enable digital creators to launch their own avatar fashion items.
Digital avatar clothing not only enhances personalisation, but opens up avenues for new monetisation. We could soon see creators develop digital clothing and sell them to other users across Meta apps, also creating a new way for brands to market clothing or diversify offerings to new digital products.
Meta’s Avatar Store will roll out soon, commencing with the US, Canada, Thailand and Mexico.
Discord Expanding Server Monetisation
Discord is looking to enable more creators to monetise servers across the platform through premium memberships. Discord has around 150 million monthly active users, becoming a vital platform for communities to gather – especially for many creators.
Last year, Discord recognised the importance of providing monetisation options for creators, leading to the testing of memberships for a small number of servers. The premium memberships enable creators to offer perks or exclusive content as part of a monthly fee. Therefore, creators can paywall servers, like a member-only channel, which has proved a popular model for subscription platforms such as Patreon.
Discord currently allows those with access to subscriptions the option to charge tiers ranging from $2.99 a month to $99.99. From the monthly fee, creators get 90% of the cut and the other 10% goes to Discord.
Following the initial test, Discord has collected feedback from the testing group and is looking to add new features which will then see subscriptions being expanded to more servers. The additional features include a new analytics dashboard, emojis exclusive to members and free trial options.
At present, it looks like the expansion for server monetisation will only include US-based servers for now, with no word on a global rollout as of yet.
Discord Adds AutoMod
Discord is adding a highly requested feature named AutoMod. The new feature intends to support the server mod team, enabling keyword filters to automatically detect and limit rule-violating or unwanted messages before being posted, flagging the users posting and alerting mods to the activity.
As stated by Discord:
“Behind the Communities, people love to call home on Discord, there’s often a team of moderators who dedicate their time to organize and foster spaces for users to find belonging. As a server grows, mods and admins might find themselves dedicating an increasing amount of time to manually keep their server clear of unwanted behaviour and content.”
The feature will help ensure the platform remains a safe space for communities, whilst also supporting moderators across Discord. The feature is now available on all servers and includes pre-programmed starter lists covering categories of unwanted words or phrases. However, server owners and moderators can add up to three custom sets of rules relevant to their specific community.
Snapchat To Launch Subscription Offering
Snapchat is countering concerns of dwindling revenue performance with the launch of Snapchat+. The new feature will enable Snap to branch out into new revenue streams with a subscription service.
App researcher Alessandro Paluzzi shared an example of Snapchat+, revealing payment tiers, including a 1-week free trial option. Users who choose to sign up for Snapchat+ at present get access to exclusive Snapchat icons, a new profile badge signifying they are a paying subscriber, new data insights and the ability to pin a user in the app as your “#1 best friend”.
Snapchat released the following statement:
“We’re doing early internal testing of Snapchat+, a new subscription service for Snapchatters. We’re excited about the potential to share exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features with our subscribers, and learn more about how we can best serve our community.”
This move would follow the likes of Twitter, which also launched a subscription offering, creating a new way to generate revenue and incentives for creators through content monetisation. Snapchat+ is an early iteration of what a subscription feature could look like on the platform, and no doubt the platform will be adding new benefits soon.
Twitter To Expand Into Long-Form Content With Twitter Notes
Twitter is reportedly launching an update that could shift the use case of the platform. After doubling the character count from 140 to 280, it is now speculated that Twitter will introduce an update titled “Twitter Notes” – which could enable users to create posts rich in text such as article-length features, including embedded media such as images and video formatting.
While threads are a popular way to break down long-winded text excerpts, they can become difficult to keep track of. The Notes feature is an attempt to allow more structured formatting for lengthy posts, where users have immediate access to the relevant information without getting lost amongst thread responses.
This will certainly enhance the user experience and ensure larger stories are able to be told on the platform without being broken into threads. However, Twitter’s future remains unclear as future leadership is currently up in the air following the potential Musk Takeover.
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