Here’s a small, but interesting new update in the Reddit posting process. As announced on the Reddit blog, the platform is in the process of rolling out some new image editing tools which will enable users to customize their visual uploads before they post.
As you can see in this example (starring Luna), Reddit’s adding Stories-like editing options into its upload flow, which will provide new ways to display visual content in the app.
As explained by Reddit:
“To make it easier to post images directly to Reddit, next week those adding images on iOS will have the ability to crop, rotate, or markup images with text, stickers, or drawings. Next up is Android, so stay tuned for more updates.”
The tools are actually a layover from Dubsmash, which Reddit acquired back in December 2020. Last November, Reddit flagged the coming addition of these new visual tools as part of its integration of Dubsmash elements into its main app, which will also include new recording speed options for video, recording timers, the capacity to upload clips in both landscape and portrait mode, new video clipping options, and more.
And as you may also note in the above image, Reddit’s also adding new ‘Filters’ for still image uploads. Most of these will likely be along the lines of Instagram’s basic visual enhancements, but they could also, eventually, incorporate AR elements into the process, providing another engagement option in the app.
Reddit been testing AR overlays for several months, with Bread Cat’ and ‘Snoo’ effects already available to some users.
Personally, I don’t see how these digital masks truly fit into the Reddit experience, but with usage of its TikTok-like video feed increasing significantly of late, there does seem to be a potential use case for these types of fun effects within short clips, aligning with the broader short-form content trend.
Reddit’s been trying to re-shape itself as a more ad-friendly platform of late, in order to capitalize on the potential of its 52 million daily active users. Though Reddit usage has also taken a hit over the last couple of years, with its cull of thousands of its more controversial subreddits in 2020 reducing overall usage, but improving brand safety and appeal.
Back in December 2019, Reddit reported that it was serving more than 430 million monthly active users, but in December a year later, following the cull, it switched to daily active usage stats instead, which Reddit says is “a more accurate reflection of our user growth, and more in-line with industry reporting”.
So we don’t know, for sure, what the full impacts of that cull have been, but it seems pretty likely that there’s been a big shift in its usage stats, based on daily to monthly conversion (for comparative measure, Snapchat serves 319 million daily actives, and 500 million monthly users).
Still, that was likely a necessary change, given the platform’s long-standing reputation as a haven for controversial content, and Reddit is now hoping to re-shape its updated platform with new tools and options to better align with overall social media usage trends.
It remains to be seen how open Reddit’s community will be to such, but the capacity to edit images – along with audio rooms, live-streaming, in-community chat and more – expands on Reddit’s offering, and could help to promote more interaction in new ways.
Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs
After previewing the option back in 2020, today, at its first-ever ‘Conversations’ messaging conference, Meta has announced that it’s launching the WhatsApp Cloud API, which will provide free, secure cloud hosting services for businesses.
As it sounds, the WhatsApp Cloud API will essentially host your conversation data on Meta’s servers, which will improve connection and speed, but will come with a degree of privacy trade-off.
The main benefits will be improved speed in messaging response, while it’ll also help to eliminate server expenses, which could be a big benefit to smaller businesses, in particular. It’ll also facilitate faster access to new WhatsApp business features as they become available.
The downside is that it will mean more reliance on Meta, while you’ll also need to dilute WhatsApp’s messaging security measures:
As Meta described in its original announcement:
“If a business chooses to use a third-party vendor to operate the WhatsApp Business API on their behalf, we do not consider that to be end-to-end encrypted since the business you are messaging has chosen to give a third-party vendor access to those messages. This will also be the case if that third-party vendor is Facebook.”
As such, WhatsApp will include new notifications on consumer-to-business exchanges conducted through Meta hosting.
How you feel about such trade-offs will come down to your personal perspective, but the offering could be highly valuable for smaller businesses looking to build out their tech stack, without having to sign on to a third-party hosting vendor, or buy their own hardware.
But again, that does also mean increasing your reliance on Meta, which has notoriously changed the rules on businesses in the past, leaving many in the lurch.
The real benefit, however, will likely be in developing regions, where WhatsApp is the dominant messaging platform, and many small businesses are looking for ways to maximize their reach and transactions in-app. If Meta can assist them in building their business, that could be a big step in making WhatsApp a more critical utility, for many more users, while also, eventually, providing a direct revenue pathway for the messaging platform.
Though it does feel like a bit of a honey trap. Meta has already flagged that it will eventually introduce charges for these additional elements, without specifically outlining what those costs will be. Once businesses are reliant on such, it’ll be too late to back out, and Meta could ensnare them via incremental increases, that may eventually become a big earner for the company.
On another front, Meta also announced Recurring Notifications on Messenger, which will enable businesses to re-engage people within a messaging thread. The feature is only available to premium users at present, which doesn’t cost more to be part of right now, but will in future as Meta looks to incorporate new charges for its messaging and hosting tools.
You can check out replays of the Conversations conference presentations here.
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