All About Audio
Spotify GreenroomSpotify has cemented itself as THE hub of audio streaming, and with the growing popularity of live audio experiences it seems like its Clubhouse-esque addition was a natural- even, inevitable- progression. According to the Spotify newsroom, “since bringing the Locker Room app into the fold, we’ve been working to expand its capabilities, with the goal of creating a live audio experience that will delight creators and listeners everywhere. And we wanted to do it with a Spotify twist that operated as an extension of the app already loved by 356 million listeners. That’s why we renamed it Spotify Greenroom”. Up to 1000 people can be hosted in each Room, where they can listen in on live discussions and maybe, just maybe, get the chance to go ‘on stage’ during the sessions as speakers. With the live audio market growing ever-crowded, Spotify has conjured up some innovative features to help stand out. These include a live text chat feature which is controlled by the host, the ability to download audio after a session is finished and convert it into a podcast, and you don’t even need to have a Spotify account to be able to access Greenroom (a stark contrast to the invite-only model of Clubhouse). For creators, Spotify is providing a fund to help them monetise their sessions whereby payouts will be based on how many users tune into their Rooms. More incentives for audio creators are in the pipeline, so watch this space.
Twitter Makes Spaces DownloadableThe option to download and save audio content from Twitter Spaces is a small gamechanger for the platform, enabling audio creators to ward off the FOMO their followers may have from missing out on a live Space. Twitter has detailed the process of downloading audio, which involves heading to the ‘Your Account’ tab on your profile, followed by the ‘Download and archive your data’ section and finally the ‘Request Archive’ option, which will give you a file of all your data including your audio files from Spaces within 24 hours. It’s not the easiest process as of yet, but will hopefully be fine-tuned eventually. In a thread from Twitter Media, other audio features have been outlined including the option of adding clickable brand mentions and campaign hashtags- which Twitter suggests incorporating into the title of a Space to encourage engagement. Clubhouse- the ‘original’ audio chat-room app- remains exclusive with its invite-only model and the fact that sessions are removed once they finish, with no option to save, reshare or relive the conversation. For Twitter, these updates merely help the app keep up with the competition in the social audio arena.
Facebook Live Audio Rooms Rolling Out in the U.S.More on the topic of audio, Facebook is giving rival platforms a run for their money with their latest audio updates. Facebook’s Audio Rooms are now rolling out to selected figures and Facebook Groups in the US, with a more streamlined approach compared to that of Clubhouse. Honing in on the millions of Groups to be found on Facebook, users can easily find Rooms that peak their interests by taking note of the high profile hosts. Furthermore, monetisation opportunities are more prevalent with Rooms, with the ‘Front Row’ designated to users who send Stars payments to show support. Facebook has also added a nice touch of philanthropy to Rooms, with an in-stream donation option for worthy causes and organisations of the hosts’ choosing. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough to bolster the audio efforts of the platform, podcasts are well on their way to Facebook. Creators and brands will gradually see more promotion and monetisation opportunities built into these features, furthering Facebook’s efforts to incentivise creation, activity and engagement on the platform and deter away from other apps. It looks like Facebook and Spotify are fighting for features- with a focus on targeting specific groups and interests- while Twitter has always been a hub for chatter and reactive conversations. Each platform has its strength, but it will take some time to determine which is winning the live audio race.
In Other News…
Facebook Fee-Holiday for CreatorsEarlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg threw influencers a massive monetary bone. Posting on his personal Facebook profile earlier this month, he said “to help more creators make a living on our platforms, we’re going to keep paid online events, fan subscriptions, badges, and our upcoming independent news products free for creators until 2023. And when we do introduce a revenue share, it will be less than the 30% that Apple and others take.” The phrase ‘spend money to make money’ comes to mind: it’s no secret that ads bring in a huge amount of money for Facebook, and creators play a massive role in this, particularly on other platforms. The elite of social media- Instagram, Youtube, TikTok- have all introduced various opportunities and incentives for creators to keep the rival competition high and to keep creators on the platforms. The announcement from Zuckerberg represents a bargaining chip, but one that really does benefit creators who want to grow their presence on the platform. The hope is that Facebook has some exciting plans up its sleeve to keep creators happy beyond their fee-holiday.
Refined Analytics on YouTubeYouTube is investing more thought into creators with refined analytics tools, to provide a more comprehensive overview of video performance and channel members. New Members’ insights are available, which displays total and active channel members over your chosen time period (not to be confused with channel subscribers, who do not pay to view videos). This insights area allows creators an in-depth look at member activity, like active, gained and lost members, to give creators a better indication of how members are responding to content and perks. Other updates include more detailed performance data, post engagement metrics, and insights on regional revenue changes. Although seemingly minor, these tweaks and improvements provide a deeper level of context for creators regarding their content and engagement, which in the long-term can only be a positive thing.
A Push For eCommerce on Facebook, Instagram and… Whatsapp…Facebook has announced further plans for a huge eCommerce push across its platforms, including Whatsapp and Instagram. Arguably the most significant change- and most daring- will be Shops coming to Whatsapp. The nature of the app, dedicated to private messaging, makes it difficult to introduce business activity and ads, but Zuckerberg announced that enabling businesses to present their Shops on Whatsapp “will make it easier for people to find the products or brands that they want to engage with.” In addition to this, Shops will now be unified; businesses will only need to set up their shop once for it to be automatically available across Instagram, Whatsapp AND Facebook, with the latter also facilitating Shops on Marketplace. This will require no extra work for businesses, as products will be automatically listed onto Facebook Marketplace for greater product discovery and wider reach. Streamlining the in-app experience, consumers will be directed to Shops and presented with a personalised product list, as based on their interests. Adding to this personalised experience, a ‘Pinterest Lens’ style search tool is coming to Instagram, taking items you already own and enjoy and making it easier to discover new, similar products. Refining and improving the in-app shopping process will give these platforms a huge advantage, incentivising brands, creators and consumers alike. When it comes to product exposure and ‘giving the people what they want’, Facebook has raised the bar pretty high.
Convenience for Branded Content on InstagramAdding an extra dimension of ease for brands and creators on the platform, Instagram updated its branded content tools at the start of the month. Taking effect on pretty much every Instagram feature – IGTV, Reels, Stories and Live- creators seeking approval on their branded content can tag up to two brands in each post, allowing them to view the content before granting approval. For greater convenience, creators can go ahead and publish their content while awaiting approval from brands so long as they have made an approval request; this content won’t appear with brand affiliations until approval is granted, but will still have a paid partnership label to ensure compliance. These updates, although seemingly minor, give an air of convenience for responsible and effective brand partnerships, whilst incentivising influencer marketing activity on Instagram. More significantly, ads have now expanded globally onto Instagram Reels. The TikTok-esque feature, with its 30 second spurts of entertaining and visually engaging content, is a natural fit for ads. The sudden realisation that you’ve spent a solid hour scrolling through videos, having fallen down a Reels ‘rabbit hole’, is a feeling that’s both familiar and ideal for ad consumption. The expansion of ads onto Reels will enhance brand awareness, product visibility and, therefore, sales. In a wider sense, we can see it pointing to an increase in marketing campaign activity on the app- which is an advantage for marketers, brands, and creators alike.
We’ll be back next month with more updates you should be aware of!