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Snapchat Announces New, $3.5 Million AR Creator Fund to Help Fuel the Next Stage of AR Development

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With augmented reality glasses getting closer to reality, AR looks set to take a major leap in 2021, and Snapchat’s seeking to remain at the forefront of that next stage, with the announcement of a new, $3.5 million AR creator fund to help fuel the next advancements in creative AR use.

Snap made the announcement on the first day of its Lens Fest AR developer conference, which is being held online, and is open to all this year.

The new fund will ensure that AR creators have another avenue to monetization, while Snapchat’s also looking to pair creators with brands for more innovative, immersive advertising experiences.

That will likely involve merging AR and eCommerce, which Snapchat’s already exploring. This year, the company has introduced a range of new AR shopping features, including new AR try-on campaigns and bar code and logo scanning options, which can also be used to trigger AR experiences.

Snapchat image based ads

Snapchat’s also exploring new Bitmoji-based virtual clothing sponsorships, which will be another way to merge digital and real-world experiences.

Various platforms are working on similar, with Facebook also looking to advance its AR tools in order to take the next leap. But Snapchat has repeatedly proven its capacity for innovation, in various forms, which should put it in good stead to compete with the larger tech players in the space.

The new creator fund will play a key role. According to Snap, its creator-made lenses have already been viewed more than a trillion times, with regular users able to build their own AR experiences via Snap’s Lens Studio app.

Lens Studio

By opening up its AR tools to the broadest pool of creators, Snap stands a better shot at hosting the next big AR hit, while the company’s also sponsoring various new AR art initiatives and exhibitions to further build its creator ecosystem, and establish digital tools as a new artistic outlet.

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But there’s more to its push than artistic expression and/or novelty value. As explained by Sophia Dominguez, Snapchat’s head of camera platform partnerships:

“I think 2021 is going to be one of those years in which we evolve augmented reality out of this pure communication or social media use case, into things that can actually make our lives better in a much broader way.”

AR try-on tools, aligned with the rise of eCommerce, are probably the most immediate example, but being able to scan bar codes and get product information is another potentially valuable use case, and as people become more habitually aligned to such behaviors, AR tools will continue to evolve, and potentially change the way we gather information.

Snapchat bar codes

The next step, then, is fully-enabled AR glasses. Facebook says that it’ll release its first AR wearable device next year, but Snap, as yet, doesn’t have a publicly communicated plan in place for a new, fully AR-enabled version of its Spectacles.

But you can bet that it is working on it, and they may be closer than many think. Expect AR to be a major focus in the year ahead, and for Snapchat to be a key player in that next shift. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App

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LinkedIn Announces the Retirement of its LinkedIn Lite App


LinkedIn has announced that it’s shutting down LinkedIn Lite, its pared-back version of the platform, designed for users in regions with more restricted connectivity and data access provisions.

Originally launched back in 2017 as a way to help “level the playing field for all members when it comes to accessibility”, LinkedIn Lite includes the basic functionality of LinkedIn, and is designed to load faster, while also using less data, handy for regions with more restrictive data plans.

But as LinkedIn continues to evolve, the Lite app gets further behind, with the full app’s more advanced functionalities – like video connection, full profile display features, Creator Mode, etc. – all getting more and more distant from the streamlined tool.

And with global connectivity evolving, LinkedIn now feels confident that it can move on without the scaled-back variation, which could also help boost in-app engagement and usage, and make LinkedIn a more significant presence in key markets.

Which, as you can see here, are growing. Now at 810 million total members, LinkedIn continues to gain momentum in developing regions, especially India (85m members, up from 60m in 2019), South Africa (+2m since 2019), the Philippines (+3m) and Nigeria (+1m)

LinkedIn Member Map

As with most social apps, India is a key focus, and LinkedIn says that Indian adoption of the full version of the app is now rising at 4x the global average, as mobile adoption continues to soar in the nation.

At the same time, retirement of the Lite app could also give LinkedIn’s team more opportunity to develop and maintain its new ‘InJobs’ app in China, with the full version of LinkedIn removed from China last October due to increasing regulatory pressure and scrutiny.

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At 56 million users, maintaining connection with China is key, and maybe that’s another factor in LinkedIn’s decision to step away from its scaled-down version.

Either way, the LinkedIn Lite app will be removed from Android app stores on 27th January 27th, before being deactivated completely March 15th.

LinkedIn says that it will transition Lite app users over to the full LinkedIn experience over the next few weeks.



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Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]

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Twitter Shares New Insights into Rising Discussion Around the NFL Playoffs [Infographic]


Super Bowl LVI is just around the corner, which also means that we’ll soon see the biggest showcase of ad content of the year, highlighting new trends, creative activations and opportunities, which can sometimes re-shape advertising approaches from that moment forward.

And this year looks set to be particularly significant. As more people look towards a post-pandemic future, there’s a big opportunities for clever marketers to tap into this enthusiasm, and the various trends that come with it. That’ll likely see more innovative, integrated ad approaches, which will extend beyond the initial big game activations, and showcase new opportunities.

Twitter’s keen to cash in on that excitement. This week, Twitter’s published a new overview of user trends around the NFL playoffs, highlighting the huge boost in tweet activity heading into Super Bowl weekend.

As Twitter notes:

In the 2022 Divisional Round alone, we saw 27% more impressions on Tweets about the NFL, 58% more Tweets overall, and 42% more unique authors, compared with one year ago.”

It could be a key platform for boosting your tie-in efforts – and if you are considering the potential of Twitter ads for your campaigns, then these new stats might help.





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Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]

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Twitter Shares New Insights into the Rising K-Pop Discussion in the App [Infographic]


Do you like K-pop?

Increasingly, the chances are that you do, given the massive growth of K-pop fandom around the world, with megabands like BTS and Blackpink building huge audiences, and each becoming cultural forces within themselves.

That fandom is most significantly present on Twitter, which has become a key hub for K-pop enthusiasts. K-pop tweeters are now so prominent that they even have the power to quash controversial hashtag movements, by banding together to flood the streams with K-pop-related tweets instead. 

It’s amazing to see, and today, Twitter has shared some new insights into the rising K-pop conversation, which got even bigger, once again, in 2021.

As explained by Twitter:

With a massive 7.8 billion global Tweets in 2021, #KpopTwitter once again showed its power by breaking its previous record of 6.7 billion Tweets in 2020. Registering a notable 16% increase in Tweet volume globally, #KpopTwitter conversations became more diverse and vibrant in 2021.”

So where, exactly, is K-pop discussion trending, and who are the big bands of note? Check out the below insights from Twitter – which also includes a list of rising K-pop stars if you want to get ahead of the curve.





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See also  YouTube Outlines Key Areas of Growth, Including the Rise of Shorts and its Expanding Creator Economy
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