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TikTok Becomes the First Non-Facebook Owned App to Reach 3 Billion Installs

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Despite the launches of various competing apps and functions, and a rising push to steal away its top stars, TikTok continues to grow, with new stats from Sensor Tower underlining the app’s enduring popularity, and resilience, as it takes on the bigger players.

According to Sensor Tower, TikTok, when you also include the Chinese version of the app called ‘Douyin’, has now surpassed 3 billion total installs globally – becoming the first non-Facebook app to reach that mark – while it also continues to see strong growth momentum in 2021.

TikTok downloads by quarter

As per Sensor Tower:

TikTok was the most downloaded and highest-grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, reaching nearly 383 million first-time installs and an estimated $919.2 million in consumer spending. Although new downloads of the app were down 38 percent year-over-year from nearly 619 million in 1H 2020 – a decline partially attributable to its removal from India’s app stores – consumer spending in TikTok was up 73 percent from $530.2 million in the year-ago period.”

Which is a key point for TikTok’s future growth, because while user growth is essential, being able to convert that captive audience into actual revenue is the real indicator of business success.

More spending will also help TikTok maintain its growth, because as noted, both Facebook and YouTube, recognizing the significant threat that TikTok now poses, have been working to improve their creator monetization tools, in an effort to lure popular stars across to their platforms, offering both bigger reach and income potential for their efforts.

TikTok needs to be able to provide comparative value for creators in order to keep up, and while size remains in favor of the bigger players (for now), its the real money side of the equation that could still sink TikTok, if it can’t find ways to match up, and its most popular stars do end up migrating to greener pastures, taking their audiences with them.

That’s what happened to Vine, which had no effective monetization process, which is why TikTok is doing all that it can to improve its eCommmerce tools, and facilitate more brand/creator partnerships.

But it remains an uphill battle. Snapchat went direct for this element with its TikTok-like Spotlight offering, shelling out $1 million a day to the best Spotlight clips (which it’s since reduced to millions per month‘ instead). Just today, Facebook announced a new $1 billion dollar creator fund to add more incentive within its apps.

TikTok can’t spend at the same rate Facebook can, but the true key lies in building a sustainable creator ecosystem, which it’s hoping to establish with these elements.

Again, the spend data from Sensor Tower is a good sign on this front, showing that users are willing to make transactions in-app.

“In Q2 2021, TikTok saw its greatest quarter-over-quarter growth in consumer spending since Q2 2020, climbing 39 percent to $534.6 million from $384.7 million in the previous quarter. TikTok’s adoption has also accelerated in 2021, as first-time downloads climbed 2 percent Q/Q to 177.5 million in Q1 2021, and surged 16 percent Q/Q to 205.4 million Q2 2021, the most growth the app has seen since its record-breaking Q1 2020 when it accumulated more than 315 million installs, the most any app has seen in a single quarter.”

TikTok spending growth

It’s amazing to consider the growth of the app – particularly when you take into account that it also lost its second-biggest user market in the middle of last year (in India), which should really have caused more of a bump in its stats. 

But TikTok keeps on going, and keeps on building momentum. Which has Facebook and YouTube spooked (and likely whispering in the ears of people in Washington about the threat posed by Chinese-owned apps), and given the charts above, it’s easy to see why. TikTok, particularly with its hold on younger audiences, now has the potential to become the key app, much like Facebook rolled over MySpace in the early 00s.  

It may not be at that level just yet, but Facebook knows all too well that getting a foothold with the youngsters is the way to market dominance.

Facebook is no longer in that seat, and Instagram isn’t either. 

And just like Facebook, you can’t overlook the potential of what that may mean in the broader scheme. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

After reinstating thousands of previously suspended accounts, as part of new chief Elon Musk’s ‘amnesty’ initiative, Twitter has now outlined how it will be enforcing its rules from now on, which includes less restrictive measures for some violations.

As explained by Twitter:

“We have been proactively reinstating previously suspended accounts […] We did not reinstate accounts that engaged in illegal activity, threats of harm or violence, large-scale spam and platform manipulation, or when there was no recent appeal to have the account reinstated. Going forward, we will take less severe actions, such as limiting the reach of policy-violating Tweets or asking you to remove Tweets before you can continue using your account.”

This is in line with Musk’s previously stated ‘freedom of speech, not freedom of reach’ approach, which will see Twitter leaning more towards leaving content active in the app, but reducing its impact algorithmically, if it breaks any rules.

Which means a lot of tweets that would have previously been deemed violative will now remain in the app, and while Musk notes that no ads will be displayed against such content, that could be difficult to enforce, given the way the tweet timeline functions.

But it does align with Musk’s free speech approach, and reduces the onus on Twitter, to some degree, in moderating speech. It will still need to assess each instance, case-by-case, but users themselves will be less aware of penalties – though Musk has also flagged adding more notifications and explainers to outline any reach penalties as well.

“Account suspension will be reserved for severe or ongoing, repeat violations of our policies. Severe violations include but are not limited to: engaging in illegal content or activity, inciting or threatening violence or harm, privacy violations, platform manipulation or spam, and engaging in targeted harassment of our users.

Which still means that a lot of content that these users had been suspended for previously would still result in suspension now, and it leaves a lot up to Twitter management in allocating severity of impact in certain actions.

How do you definitively measure threats of violence or harm, for example? Former President Donald Trump was sanctioned under this policy, but many, including Musk, were critical of Twitter’s decision to do so, given that Trump is an elected representative.

In other nations, too, Twitter has been pressured to remove tweets under these policies, and it’ll be interesting to see how Twitter 2.0 handles such, given its stated more lax approach to moderation, despite its rules remaining largely the same.

Already, questions have been raised on this front – Twitter recently removed links to a BBC documentary that’s critical of the Indian Government, at the request of India’s PM. Twitter hasn’t offered any official explanation for the action, but with Musk also working with the Indian Government to secure partnerships for his other business, Tesla, questions have been raised as to how he will manage both impacts concurrently.

In essence, Twitter’s approach has changed when it chooses to do so, but the rules, as such, will effectively be governed by Musk himself. And as we’ve already seen, he will make drastic rules changes based on personal agendas and experience.

Twitter says that, starting February 1st, any previously suspended users will be able to appeal their suspension, and be evaluated under its new criteria for reinstatement.

It’s also targeting February for a launch of its new account penalties notifications.



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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

Twitter’s looking to give users a broader set of emoji reactions for their DMs, while also, potentially, enabling personalization of your quick reactions display in the app.

As you can see in these mock-ups, shared by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, Twitter’s testing a new search option within the reaction pop-up in DMs which would enable you to use any other emoji as a reaction to a message.

An extension of this would also be the capacity to update the reactions that are immediately displayed to whatever you choose.

Twitter DM reactions

It’s not a game-changer by any means, but it could provide more ways to interact via DMs, and with more interactions switching to messaging, and more private exchanges, it could be a way for Twitter to better lean into this trend, and facilitate a broader array of response options in-stream.

Twitter’s working on a range of updates as it looks to drive more engagement and usage, including tweet view counts, updated Bookmarks, a new ‘For You’ algorithm, and more. Elon Musk has said that he can envision Twitter reaching a billion users per month by next year, but for that to happen, the platform needs to update its systems to show people more of what they like, and keep them coming back – which is what all of these smaller updates, ideally, build to in a broader approach.

But that’s a pretty steep hill to climb.

Last week, Twitter reported that it’s now up to 253 million daily active users, an increase on the 238 million that it reported in July last year. Daily and monthly active usage is not directly comparable, of course, but when Twitter was reporting monthly actives, its peak was around 330 million, back in 2019.

Twitter MAU chart

As noted in the chart, Twitter switched from reporting monthly active users to daily actives in 2019, but looking at the two measurements, it’s hard to imagine that Twitter’s monthly active usage is any more than 100m over its current DAU stats.

That means that Twitter has likely never reached more than 350 million active users – yet Musk believes that he can best that by close to 200% in a matter of months.

Seems unlikely – even at current growth rates since Musk took over at the app, Twitter would only be looking at around 500 million users, optimistically, by the end of 2024.

If it can maintain that. More recent insight from Twitter has suggested that user activity has declined since those early post-Musk purchase highs – but maybe, through a range of updates and tweaks, there could be a way for Musk and Co. to maximize usage growth, beyond what seems possible, based on the stats.

We’ll find out, and as it pushes for that next level, you can expect to see more updates and tweaks like this, with enhanced engagement in mind.  



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