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TikTok Lays Out Plans for New eCommerce Integrations as it Eyes the Next Stage

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While TikTok continues to grow, it still remains at risk of losing its top creators to other, more established platforms if it’s not able to provide adequate monetization tools and options.

Both YouTube and Facebook provide more ways for creators to make money, and while TikTok now has the audience, its advertising system is not up to the same stage to compete on this front, which will become a bigger problem over time, if that gap can’t be addressed.

Key to this will be eCommerce options, and establishing more direct connection between creators and monetization opportunities. TikTok has already taken steps on this front, via its initial integrations with Shopify and Walmart. And now, according to a new report from The Financial Times, the platform’s looking to add some new tools to facilitate more eCommerce opportunity, and maximize its revenue options on this front.

As per FT, TikTok has briefed advertisers on three new eCommerce integrations coming soon to the app:

  • A tool that lets its most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales
  • The ability for brands to showcase catalogs of their products on the platform
  • “Livestreamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps after seeing them showcased by TikTok stars

All of these tools have been in testing, or live development, for some time – though not all in the US market.

The first option has been a key element in the monetization of the Chinese version of TikTok, called Douyin, which now generates the majority of its income from in-app commerce (as opposed to ads).

Douyin shopping

The new process will simplify such listings, and formalize the link/commission process, which will make it easier to facilitate partnerships with top creators – and crucially, provide an immediate, direct way for users to monetize their on-platform efforts.

TikTok has also been testing in video commerce links for some time, which, as noted, was advanced last year with its new Shopify partnership.

TikTok x Shopify

The new catalogs option would provide another presentation advancement on this front, likely via an added tab on selected profiles and video clips, linking through to an in-app showcase of sorts.

Which could look similar to the last innovation – live-stream shopping – which TikTok tested with Walmart back in December.

TikTok Walmart

As you can see in this example, posted by Turner Novak, TikTok’s live-stream shopping experience adds a product overlay on the video playback, which can be expanded to see more products that viewers can immediately buy in-stream.

As noted, given the need to ensure that its creators can make money, in order to stop them drifting off to other, more lucrative platforms, and the established path for eCommerce already in place within Douyin, its little surprise to see TikTok looking to follow a similar path, and you can expect to see these innovations coming sooner rather than later as a result.

Despite the app’s ongoing growth, last year was hugely disruptive for TikTok, with the ban in India, the almost ban in the US, and various other challenges, outside of the over-arching pandemic. Those additional challenges likely slowed the development of its monetization options, but as noted, in order to keep its big stars posting, it needs to ensure that they can generate similar income to what they’d be able to on other platforms, or it risks losing a massive chunk of its audience very quickly.

That’s what happened to Vine, and TikTok is well aware of that failure. As such, it needs these options to be added soon to further its ongoing growth. 

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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