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Instagram is Working on a New ‘Bonuses’ Payment Option to Incentivize Reels Creators

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It seems that Facebook is still taking inspiration from other platforms as it looks to thwart the rapid ascension of TikTok.

Last November, Snapchat launched its take on the short-form video trend, called Spotlight, which is a feed of short, TikTok-like video clips that live in a dedicated tab within the Snapchat app.

Snapchat Spotlight

The format is very familiar, and Facebook-owned Instagram already has Reels to cover off on this element. But the key differentiator of Spotlight is the fact that Snap is also paying out $1 million per day to the top Spotlight creators, in order to further boost interest in the option.

That’s been an effective approach, with Spotlight now being visited by 125 million Snapchatters every month, and some creators making big money from their Spotlight clips.

It’s been so effective, in fact, that it appears that Instagram is now looking to introduce a similar payment program, with app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi spotting this announcement screen in the back-end code of the app.

Instagram Bonuses

As you can see here, Instagram appears to be testing a new ‘bonuses’ program, which would be focused on Reels promotion.

As per the first point above, the program would enable users to ‘earn bonuses from Instagram’ when they share new Reels content. You would then, seemingly, need to reach certain bonus thresholds in order to claim ‘earnings’ from the program, while there would also be variable bonuses made available to creators.

The explainer notes don’t specifically say that users would earn cash payouts from the program, but it does seemingly align with the Snapchat Spotlight approach, in paying selected creators for their Reels contributions – though apparently based on upload volume as opposed to engagement/quality.

Which, really, is not overly surprising.

Facebook’s product development playbook for the last five years or so has basically come down to two simple elements – ‘CTRL C’ and ‘CTRL V’. Whenever a platform launches something effective, it’s just a waiting game to see when Facebook will copy it, and with its unmatched scale providing the ultimate lure, it’s generally been able to negate and/or blunt competition through this approach.

I mean, if it works, there’s no reason for Facebook to stop doing it – but then again, in the case of TikTok specifically, Facebook, thus far, hasn’t been able to slow its momentum, with the Chinese-owned short-form video app shrugging off Facebook’s various replications and roadblocks to continue forward on its way towards becoming the next billion-user social media platform.

And Facebook has most definitely tried:

  • Facebook launched its first TikTok clone called ‘Lasso‘ in 2018, with a focus on markets where TikTok had not yet established an audience. The project never caught on, and Facebook shut Lasso down for good in July last year
  • Facebook has had far more success with its most direct assault on TikTok in Instagram Reels, which Facebook launched in India just days after TikTok was banned in the region. Instagram is still looking at how to maximize Reels, with IG chief Adam Mosseri reporting steady progress for the option. 
  • Along with the Reels launch, Facebook also offered some of the top TikTok creators big money deals to post to Reels exclusively instead. It’s unclear how effective that’s been in boosting Reels take-up
  • Facebook has also launched several TikTok-like experimental apps via its NPE team, including music collaborations app ‘Collab‘ and the rap-focused ‘Bars‘, both of which are centered around short-form video clips.

All of these efforts have been launched with TikTok in mind, as part of Facebook’s strategy to slow the growth of the app. But Facebook’s most direct assault on TikTok is actually rarely discussed, and likely not even known about among the general public.

Back in 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a “secret” dinner with then US President Donald Trump, in which the two discussed the many challenges and opportunities within the broader tech sphere.

A key focus of that meeting was indeed the rise of TikTok – as explained by The Wall Street Journal:

In a private dinner at the White House in late October, Mr. Zuckerberg made the case to President Trump that the rise of Chinese internet companies threatens American business, and should be a bigger concern than reining in Facebook, some of the people said.”

That reflects the same sentiment that Zuckerberg shared in a speech to Georgetown University just ahead of this meeting with Trump, in which Zuckerberg explained that:

China is building its own internet focused on very different values, and is now exporting their vision of the internet to other countries. Until recently, the internet in almost every country outside China has been defined by American platforms with strong free expression values. There’s no guarantee these values will win out.”

Zuckerberg specifically noted in his speech that TikTok had been censoring some users at the behest of the Chinese Government, as he underlined the rising concerns related to the expansion of the CCP’s reach through such apps.

What happened then?

In early November, literally days after Zuckerberg’s meeting with Trump, the US Government announced a national security investigation into TikTok, which eventually, lead to Trump pushing for a full ban on TikTok in the US, unless it could be sold into US ownership. That eventually fell flat, but the element that many people overlook is that Facebook started that whole process – it was Facebook that sowed the seeds of doubt with the US Government, which eventually saw the Trump administration almost force TikTok out of business, at least as we know it.

It’s also worth also noting in this context that Facebook spent more than any of the big tech giants on political lobbying in 2020, increasing its spend by 17.8% year-on-year to $19.68 million, as it seeks to exert more influence over policy decisions related to its interests.

Facebook is doing all that it can to force TikTok out – and while on one hand, it does actually stand to benefit from the rise of the Chinese-owned app, in that it weakens the FTC’s ongoing antitrust case against the company, Facebook also knows that it could lose out big-time in the long run. It was, of course, Facebook that originally usurped MySpace for social media dominance.

Could TikTok eventually be a ‘Facebook killer’?

Realistically, probably not, but trends that take hold in younger age brackets can lead to new habitual behaviors, and with people now reportedly spending more time in TikTok than they are in either Facebook or Instagram, Facebook does indeed have some cause for concern. 

In summary, you can expect Facebook’s replication efforts to continue, and as more platforms find new ways to grow and expand their own offerings, Facebook will keep taking inspiration from those ideas as well, while also pushing for increased Government regulation that works in its favor. 

Such is the benefit of being the biggest, most well-resourced player in the space.

Socialmediatoday.com

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

Looking to formulate a better content strategy for 2023?

This will help – the team from Orbit Media has put together a listing of 17 content formats, and where they fit within the sales funnel which could provide some inspiration for your planning.

There are some good pointers here, with specific approaches that you can take at each stage of the journey.

Check out the full listing below – while you can read more on the Orbit Media website.

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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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