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Instagram Adds New Branded Content Options, Including Branded Content Tags in Reels

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With Instagram putting more emphasis on Reels as it seeks to combat the rise of TikTok, a key area where Instagram can best its rival is in monetization, and offering more lucrative brand partnership options and processes, in order to help users make money from their clips.

Instagram has a more advanced systems in place for such, and furthering this, today, Instagram is adding new Branded Content Tags for both Reels and Live to expand its revenue options for creators.

Instagram Branded Content tags

The new tags will mean that creators can formulate more deals with brands, and generate revenue immediately from their Reels content. And if more of them can make more money on Reels, and Instagram can get them similar levels of exposure, maybe that will be enough to stop them straying to TikTok in the first place.

In addition to this, Instagram’s also adding a new process which will enable brands and creators to work collaboratively on Instagram content creation, as opposed to brands having to promote a pre-existing post.

Instagram Branded Content request

As explained by Instagram:

“Until today, Branded Content ads could only be created by promoting the existing posts from creators. Instagram is now launching a new workflow where advertisers can create Branded Content ads without the need for creators to post organically on Instagram first. Now brands have more flexibility with fewer constraints when they want to run Branded Content ads.”

The process enables advertisers to post from a Creators’ account – which could be problematic, but creators will maintain the capability to both approve and pause any ads published from their handle.

The process will work like this:

  • Advertisers sends request for Ad Creation Access
  • Creator accepts Ad Creation Access. Notification sent to the advertiser upon acceptance
  • Creator receives notification of the created ad for their approval

That makes it a more collaborative, hands-on effort, and the added exclusivity could lead to bigger promotions and partnerships.

Instagram’s also changing its rules around Branded Content in Stories and Branded Content posts which include product tags.

For Stories, Instagram says that Branded Content ads in Stories will now be able to include tappable elements:

“…such as @mentions, location and hashtags. We want brands to have access to organic Stories’ creative that is native and authentic to the Stories experience.”

Brands will now also be able to promote branded content posts with product tags.

“Until today, branded content posts from creators that included product tags were not able to be promoted. Now brands can get more value out of this content that makes it easy for people to shop directly from creators that inspire them.”

The new tools provide more opportunities for influencer collaborations, which, as noted, could help give Instagram a leg-up over TikTok in terms of facilitating revenue generation for its stars. 

TikTok is working on the same – it’s building its eCommerce tools, which have been a big part of its success in China, while TikTok also has its own Creator Marketplace to facilitate brand collaborations.

But Instagram, which generated around $3 billion in revenue last quarter, is in a better position with its ad tools and processes. Facebook’s more mature advertising and revenue stream means that it can offer more value for creators to generate money from their efforts, and while TikTok is reportedly on track to reach a billion users in 2021, if its biggest influencers can make money on Reels instead, that could become a problem, if TikTok fails to move fast enough.

Which, in itself, will be a challenge. TikTok is still embroiled in an ongoing negotiation over its potential sale to a US company, and the longer that drags on, the harder it is for TikTok to solidify its revenue streams, and clarify its processes for creators. 

It’s still developing its various tools in this respect, but TikTok will be hoping for some clarity around its situation soon, which will then enable it to keep building – as Instagram continues to stack its offers to lure TikTok stars across.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

Correction: February 2, 2023 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how much Meta expected to spend on its deal with the virtual reality start-up Within. It is $400 million, not $400 billion. Meta’s stock surged on Thursday …

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.



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Meta ‘Year of Efficiency’ call from Zuckerberg was what Street needed

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Meta 'Year of Efficiency' call from Zuckerberg was what Street needed

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc., center, departs from federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

With one simple slogan, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg temporarily quelled investor discontent with his company’s multibillion-dollar investment into the futuristic metaverse.

“Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we’re focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization,” Zuckerberg said as part of the release of Meta’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

Following a 64% plunge in Meta’s share price in 2022, Wall Street cheered the report, sending the stock up almost 20%, extending a rally that began late last year. Based on after-hours pricing, Meta is trading at its highest since July.

Growth is not what’s getting investors excited. Meta reported better-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter, but sales still sank 4% from a year earlier, marking the third straight quarterly decline. And the forecast range for the first quarter suggests that year-over-year revenue could increase, but it could also fall again.

Rather, Zuckerberg’s commitment to cost cuts and efficiency is a sign that increasing profitability is important to Meta, which was known as a growth machine prior to last year’s slump.

“The first 18 years I think we grew it 20%, 30% compound or a lot more every year,” Zuckerberg said on the earnings call. “And then obviously that changed very dramatically in 2022, where our revenue was negative for growth, for the first time in the company’s history.”

In looking to the future, Zuckerberg struck a realistic tone.

“We don’t anticipate that that’s going to continue,” he said, regarding the recent drop in revenue. “But I also don’t think it’s going to go back to the way it was before.”

Meta lowered its estimates for total expenses in 2023 to be in the range of $89 billion to $95 billion, down from its prior outlook of $94 billion to $100 billion. In November, the company announced it would lay off over 11,000 workers, or 13% of its staff.

Zuckerberg said Meta will be more “proactive on cutting projects that aren’t performing or may no longer be crucial” and that it will emphasize “removing layers of middle management to make decisions faster.”

Meta is also reducing spending as it builds new data centers that are intended to be more efficient while still able to power the company’s various artificial intelligence technologies. Capital expenditures are now expected to be in the range of $30 billion to $33 billion for 2023 instead of $34 billion to $37 billion.

Zuckerberg is selling investors on a story they want to hear, acknowledging that the company got bloated and needed more financial discipline. One of Zuckerberg’s top deputies, technology chief Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, wrote a personal essay just a few days ago echoing that sentiment.

Still, Meta has plenty of challenges ahead, in terms of both costs and reviving its core ad business.

Meta’s Reality Labs unit, which is responsible for developing the nascent metaverse, lost $13.7 billion in 2022. Finance chief Susan Li told analysts that the company isn’t planning for any reduction in that unit anytime soon. Zuckerberg still sees it as the company’s future.

Digital advertising, meanwhile, is suffering from a struggling economy, and Li gave no indication that companies are planning to dramatically increase their spending in 2023.

Meta has also yet to recover from Apple’s 2021 iOS privacy update that made it harder to target users with ads. Li said the company has been improving its online advertising system, but Apple’s update is “still certainly an absolute headwind to our revenue number.”

During the question and answer part of the call, Zuckerberg was asked about Meta’s progress in generative artificial intelligence, which has become the latest hot thing in Silicon Valley. His answer indicated that Meta is pursuing opportunities there, but will be cautious in how quickly it proceeds. Running these programs is expensive, and Meta needs to ensure it can develop them affordably, he said.

Zuckerberg said that while Meta is researching how best to incorporate the new technology, he wants “to be careful not to get too ahead of the development of it.”

Correction: Meta’s earnings report and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments occurred after the market close on Wednesday. An earlier version misstated the day.

WATCH: Meta grows in daily active users, shares pop on revenue beat

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