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Facebook Launches New Gaming App to Challenge Twitch, YouTube

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With Facebook gaining momentum in the gaming market, The Social Network is looking to tap into the rising popularity of gaming during the COVID-19 pandemic with the launch of a new, dedicated Facebook Gaming app which incorporates gaming content, play options and groups.

Facebook Gaming app

The app will initially be available in Android, with iOS to follow soon.

As you can see above, Facbook Gaming has three key elements:

  • Watch – This is where streamers call home. Plus, discover new videos from the biggest esports and gaming’s top publishers. On Facebook Gaming, there’s a whole world of gaming waiting for you to tune in.
  • Play – Play instant games anytime, anywhere, without having to download. Because when you want to play, nothing should stop you.
  • Connect – We have gaming groups for everyone, and new ones are starting up every day.

Facebook’s been testing the app in Southeast Asia and Latin America over the last 18 months, and as noted, with the popularity of gaming on the rise during the coronavirus lockdowns, it’s now taking it to the next stage of deployment.

But at the same time, this is not a sudden advancement in Facebook’s broader gaming ambitions. 

Over the last few years, Facebook has launched a range of game-related tools and products, including live-stream tipping for gamers, and the capacity to easily stream via desktop overlaid onto gameplay footage. Facebook also recently launched a new, simplified tournament creation option to facilitate amateur gaming events within the app 

Facebook gaming

And those efforts are, indeed, paying off – in December 2019, Facebook saw a 210% YoY increase in hours watched via Facebook Gaming, giving it an 8.5% market share of the overall hours-watched for the gaming sector, as per data from StreamElements.

Facebook gaming data

Given the resonance of gaming and gamer-related content in popular culture, this is an important element for Facebook to remain connected with, and while it still has a way to go to catch up to the main players, Facebook is growing its appeal, and is seeing more community response as a result.

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And you can expect to see more on this front – as per Facebook’s Fidji Simo (via NYT):

“Investing in gaming in general has become a priority for us because we see gaming as a form of entertainment that really connects people. It’s entertainment that’s not just a form of passive consumption but entertainment that is interactive and brings people together.”

Facebook’s dedicated gaming app will further add to this, providing more ways to keep gamers engaged, while Facebook will look to further build on its gaming credentials with the expansion of its VR tools over time. 

Make no mistake, gaming is massive, and it’s only getting bigger. Given this, it makes sense for Facebook to double-down on its gaming initiatives where it can.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Meta’s Developing the World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer to Fuel its Metaverse Vision

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Meta's Developing the World's Fastest AI Supercomputer to Fuel its Metaverse Vision


As it looks to a future in the currently theoretical ‘metaverse’, Meta will need to up its computing power and systems in order to facilitate simultaneous connection in wholly immersive digital worlds, while it’ll also need more advanced computing power to fuel the next stage of its AI plans, in various forms.

Which is why Meta is developing a new AI Research SuperCluster (RSC), which it says will eventually become the fastest AI supercomputer in the world, when it’s fully built out by mid-2022.

The advanced system will eventually be able to perform ‘5 exaflops of mixed precision compute’ at peak. Which, I have no real idea of what that truly means, but basically, Meta’s new, advanced computational system will be able to process huge amounts of data, facilitating development in a wide range of applications, with a specific view towards the next stage of its metaverse vision.

As explained by Meta:

RSC will help Meta’s AI researchers build new and better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples; work across hundreds of different languages; seamlessly analyze text, images, and video together; develop new augmented reality tools; and much more. We hope RSC will help us build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, power real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can seamlessly collaborate on a research project or play an AR game together.”

AR is clearly a key focus, with Meta developing its own AR-enabled glasses that will expand the use cases for the technology. The RSC will provide increased capacity to develop more complex AR systems, which could advance Meta’s tools beyond what’s currently available, which would ideally see its AR glasses become the top of the line, most advanced model available, helping Meta potentially dominate the space over rivals Snapchat and Apple.

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Unless, of course, Snap and Apple team up, which is my prediction. But even so, with the additional computing power of the RSC behind it, Meta could still be well ahead, which could be a key step in bridging our current online experience to the next stage.

Which is where Meta is really focused:

“Ultimately, the work done with RSC will pave the way toward building technologies for the next major computing platform – the metaverse, where AI-driven applications and products will play an important role.

It’s worth noting here that Meta specifically notes that the metaverse will take years to develop, it’s not something that’s happening overnight, nor will it become an all-immersive, integrated world by next year. Which is why any company or project that’s pitching itself as ‘metaverse ready’ is kidding itself – the metaverse, as it’s broadly envisioned, will require massive collaboration between platforms, in order to transfer your digital identity between virtual worlds, and take your avatars, skins, digital items, and more with you.

Meta is keen to reiterate that it won’t own that space, as such:

No one company can (or should) build the metaverse alone. It will be built by people and businesses all over the world. And it’ll be important that experiences built by different companies or people, like avatars or virtual worlds, work together.

But really, Meta is best-placed to host the party, via its industry-leading consumer VR tools and advanced computing systems like RSC, which will give it a significant advantage in dictating what the metaverse will be, and who will be able to sign up.

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Eventually, this will require industry agreement on schemas and systems that will likely enable any service to join. But they’ll still need a host platform, along with software/hardware connection. Meta will be at the forefront of that aspect, which, again, will see it well-placed to define the rules of the space, and dominate the next stage of digital connection – whether it technically ‘owns’ it or not.

But it is worth noting that the metaverse does not exist yet, not in any form, and any platform or project that claims otherwise is ultimately misleading. Those NFT projects that claim to be ‘metaverse-ready’, yeah, no, maybe avoid them.

Eventually, Meta’s RSC will give it significant advantages in developing new systems for everything from combating harmful content on its platforms to building entirely new user experiences. The potential here is massive, and while it will take time to see the results of these developments, it’ll be interesting to see how Meta’s processes evolve in turn, and whether these advanced systems result in a significant acceleration in its development cycles.

You can read more technical details on Meta’s RSC project here.





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TikTok Partners with Zefr to Offer Increased Assurance on Safe Ad Placement

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TikTok Partners with Zefr to Offer Increased Assurance on Safe Ad Placement


TikTok has partnered with brand suitability platform Zefr on a new brand safety post-bid measurement solution for in-feed ads, which will enable advertisers to ensure that their TikTok promotions don’t appear alongside potentially offensive material.

As you can see here, using Zefr’s dashboard, which provides insights into each campaign by mapping it against the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) Suitability Risk categories, advertisers will now be able to ensure that their TikTok ads are not shown next to content that they don’t want to be associated with.

As explained by TikTok:

“This solution will provide advertisers with campaign insights into brand safety and brand suitability for their TikTok campaigns. These insights provide clients with third-party impartial reassurance that their investment is delivered next to content suitable for their brand, protecting brand reputation and mitigating risk.”

Zefr’s advanced ‘Cognition AI’ process utilizes audio, text, and frame-by-frame video analysis, along with scaled human review, to determine brand safety, and provide full assurance on potential ad placement.

With TikTok’s challenges and posts sometimes veering into dangerous territory, the option will help to reassure brands that their campaigns won’t end up being associated with potential harm, which could help TikTok secure even more ad spend.

Though it could be difficult to 100% guarantee success here. For example, the recent ‘Milk Crate Challenge’ on TikTok started off innocently enough, but eventually lead to increasingly risky and dangerous behaviors, which resulted in serious injuries to some participants. Other TikTok challenges could follow a similar evolution – though the additional assurance of Zefr’s systems will ideally help to catch these out before they become a potential brand risk, or at the least, as soon as they’re identified as a problem.

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It’s a good integration, and another key step in TikTok’s broader expansion of its ad tools.

The new TikTok Zefr integration is available to advertisers in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.



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How to Elevate Your Social Media ROI [Infographic]

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How to Elevate Your Social Media ROI [Infographic]

Looking for ways to improve your social media marketing efforts in 2022?

As we head into the new year, it’s worth revising your business goals, and establishing a clear direction for your digital marketing process. Maybe you’re happy with the growth and interaction you’re seeing, and how that’s then leading to conversion, but over the past two years, in particular, there’s no doubt been some level of disruption to your marketing plans.

With that in mind, this infographic from the team at Click Dimensions could help. They’ve put together a simple overview of how to establish your social media marketing goals, including which metrics to focus on, how to increase engagement, and the importance of adapting as things progress.

It could help to spark some new thinking in your approach – check out the full infographic below.

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