TikTok: The Ever-Changing App
TikTok RésumésFostering relationships with creators and brands has become a priority for TikTok, supported by their steady flow of features for facilitating brand-creator partnerships, financially incentivising creators, assisting in content creation, and enhancing Live experiences. At the start of July, TikTok launched ‘TikTok Résumés’, positioning themselves as the new LinkedIn for Gen Z. The career and job-related subculture is thriving on the app, with #CareerTok featuring tips and advice videos, gaining over 64 million views. TikTok entered the recruitment space by connecting video job applications with open positions via the app. Piloted initially in the U.S., this innovative way to recruit talent could be an opportunity for job seekers and brands who want to source the best, fresh talent.
Joining Forces With VimeoMeanwhile, TikTok wanted to simplify the content creation process for brands by partnering with video software company, Vimeo, to provide video-creation tools. These include custom templates where users can add their own branding and assets, or choose from Vimeo’s stock library of videos, photos and commercially licensed music. The app is promoting ease of use and helps brands create affordable, high-quality and high-volume content for TikTok. In a further effort to attract brands to the platform, TikTok launched Spark Ads- enabling brands to directly sponsor creators’ existing posts. Brands will be able to jump on high-performing, organic videos by requesting to amplify content that fits in with their campaigns. Despite Spark Ads enabling brands to connect with creators and tap into a plethora of trending content, brands will have limited control, as the original content, display name and text cannot be changed.
Live StreamingTowards the end of July, Tiktok launched an array of new, innovative livestreaming tools. With the number of users ‘going live’ and livestream views doubling in the past year, live-streaming has become a valuable way for brands, creators and viewers on TikTok to connect with their audiences. These new tools include LIVE events that allow scheduling, managing and promotion of LIVE videos, and top LIVEs that enable users to tune in from their For You pages. Moreover, picture-in-picture allows people to continue to watch livestreams when jumping into other apps, while Help for Hosts enables hosts to add a user to help them manage their livestream. It is exciting to see TikTok expanding the realms of entertainment and creator monetisation opportunities- something for creators and brands to take full advantage of.
TikTok vs TrillerTriller has refocused to more immersive, long-form videos to help differentiate itself from rival, TikTok. Attempting to boost buzz and drive direct sales, the app has ramped up long-form content, pairing creators with brands. Mid-July, Triller added a click-to-purchase feature to livestreams, joining the e-commerce platform trend. Integration with brands’ e-commerce sites allows Triller to help brands detect cart abandonment, assess value proposition and re-engage consumers. Supporting influencer and brand partnerships, the app is shifting to pre-recorded and live shows, starring social influencers, artists and celebrities where creators can promote brand or products with personalized messaging that aligns with their style and audience.
A Hub of EntertainmentInstagram has made huge strides in the past year to improve and refine its in-app shopping experience and amalgamate this with other features, such as the recent expansion of ads into Reels. Reels itself is coming into its own, no longer merely a TikTok copycat but a feature which compliments- and is complimented by Instagram’s other offerings. It’s no wonder, therefore, that at the start of July all the buzz was focused on Adam Mosseri’s announcement that Instagram would no longer be merely a ‘square photo-sharing app’, but a general entertainment app, where the main areas of focus will be creators, video, shopping and messaging. Driven by research that users mainly look to Instagram to be entertained- coupled with the huge competition posed by the likes of TikTok and YouTube- Instagram is firmly embracing video. The news suggested we should expect some new features coming throughout H2, with an even greater emphasis on creators and brands, and Instagram has already delivered.
What’s New in Reels?Reels can now be 1 minute long, an update on the previous 30-second cap placed on the short-form video feature. Reels celebrated its one year anniversary this month, so an update of this sort was inevitable; however, TikTok’s extension on video length at the start of the month, from 1 to 3 minutes, may have had something to do with it! Making short-form video slightly less short enables creators greater freedom to share anecdotes and tutorials- like makeup masterclasses and cooking how-to’s. What’s more, with the brick-and-mortar shopping experience forever changed, longer Reels will give brands the chance to showcase products in a more immersive and in-depth way.
Stories DraftsMid-July, Instagram rolled out a new feature that allows users to save a Stories draft, giving more freedom and ease over when they post. Previously, Stories could be saved and downloaded, but enabling a draft option allows you to see how the Story will appear to other users (gifs, tags and all!), with the ability to edit a storyboard before it’s posted. This is handy for anyone, but for creators and brands in particular, it certainly makes planning and scheduling content a whole lot easier.
$1 Billion Creator FundMeanwhile, this month Mark Zuckerberg announced a new payment programme for creators on Facebook and Instagram. Dwarfing the creator funds of other social platforms, Facebook will be paying out a huge $1 billion to those who create original and high performing content, in the form of bonus programmes and seed funding. The first bonus programme will be available on Instagram, and will focus mainly on IGTV ads and Reels. On offer to creators is a ‘one-time bonus for signing up for IGTV ads, which enables them to earn a share of revenue when ads run during their videos’, as well as financial rewards for viral Reels. A summer bonus will see high-performing Reels creators earning cash for their content, although, for now, the Instagram bonuses will only be available in the US by invitation. Investing in creators is a growing priority for the top social platforms, bur Facebook has taken the creator-incentive competition to new heights.
Facebook Enters the MetaverseIt was Facebook’s most recent announcement that had the world talking. Zuckerberg revealed his intention to reinvent the social media giant into a ‘metaverse company’, functioning in a blended 2D-AR-VR space. To achieve this, Facebook is investing a whole lot of money into augmented and virtual reality components, like VR headsets, which will enable people within the ‘metaverse’ to teleport into another space so that it seems as if you are really there. Zuckerberg shared his hope that these devices will enter mainstream use within the next 10 years, with Facebook moving towards its ‘metaverse’ vision within the next 5 years. In truth, there are a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to the plans- let alone the philosophical and social implications- but we can say for certain that interesting changes are on the horizon for Facebook.
In Other News…
Pinterest Invest in CreatorsExpanding the capabilities of creators, Pinterest has rolled out new tools that let creators make money from Pins. These monetisation features will allow creators to tag products via Idea Pins, partner with brands on sponsored content and earn commissions through affiliate links. Creators that bring brand partnerships to Pinterest will be able to use a new tool, still in beta, that will let them disclose those partnerships to their followers, adding a “Paid Partnership” label to branded content.
YouTube vs Traditional AdvertisingAt the end of July, YouTube added new Connected TV (CTV) ad enhancements and tools to improve audio ad creative. This comes as more and more people are streaming online content to their TVs. YouTube will offer integrated CTV contextual signals with Display and Video 360 campaign targeting. CTV ad inventory will be divided by genre, length or live-stream content which will improve targeting and give CTV the edge over traditional TV advertising. Additionally, YouTube is adding a new Audio Mixer tool that will help businesses create more customised audio ads, and segment campaigns by location, audience and schedule.
We’ll be back next month with more updates you should be aware of!