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TikTok Leads Christmas Day Download Charts, New Markers of the Coming Metaverse Shift



TikTok Leads Christmas Day Download Charts, New Markers of the Coming Metaverse Shift

TikTok looks set to continue its growth momentum well into 2022, with the short-form video app topping the download charts on Christmas Day, while VR and the broader metaverse shift also saw some important consumer indicators in the latest data from app tracking company App Annie.

First off, on overall downloads – as you can see in the below chart, globally, TikTok lead the way on Christmas, ahead of Instagram and Facebook.

Snapchat also remained popular, along with the top messaging apps, while Shopee, a key eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia, also gained momentum among consumers.

TikTok editing app CapCut also made the top 10, further underlining the popularity of the app, and with projections that TikTok will reach 1.5 billion users sometime in 2022, it’s pretty clear that it’s now the main app of choice, especially for young users, which is an important shift for all social media marketers to note.

If you don’t have a TikTok strategy now, whether just for listening in and monitoring the latest trends, or for broader advertising and outreach, it’s clearly time to give it some extra consideration.

But maybe even more interesting are the trends reflected in the region-specific download charts, especially the US:

App Annie Christmas download charts

As per App Annie:

In the US, Oculus was #1 by downloads on Christmas Day as Americans unwrapped new Oculus Virtual Reality (VR) headsets under the tree. This builds off the growing trend for metaverses and immersive experiences.”

The broader metaverse shift, as envisioned by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will likely take place in VR, so it’s important, then, that Meta sees increased take-up of its VR headsets, in order to usher in the next stage of digital connection. If Meta can own the VR space, it can effectively own the metaverse itself, and become the key hosting platform which other developers will then need to align with in order to connect with users in this expanding new world of opportunities.

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We’re not there yet, and what the metaverse will be, exactly, is not defined, as such. But the broader take-up of Meta’s VR tools is a significant indicator of growing interest.

And as one market analyst recently noted:

One great, functional, viral trend-sparking VR app, and you’re going to see the VR momentum accelerate rapidly, leaving the current metaverse discussion around NFTs and similar early-adopter trends in the dust.

Could Grand Theft Auto VR be that killer app?

Another key point of note in the US chart is the popularity of MMO game Roblox, which, much like Minecraft, has become an enduring platform for young gamers.

A particularly important trend to note in the case of Roblox, however, is that it’s also become a key social connector for young users, who’ve been deprived of face-to-face interaction over the past two years due to the pandemic. That could make it an even more embedded, and critical social tool, in addition to a gaming and recreational platform, which effectively sets the foundation for what the future metaverse structure will be.

In-game spending on character skins and digital products is also high on Roblox (Roblox was the top game for consumer spend on Christmas Day globally), and for the next generation of consumers, this is already a normal, habitual behavior, which points to where the trend is headed in the next decade or so, as these youngsters move into adulthood.

If you want to get a sense of what the metaverse will be, in a basic framework, Roblox is the best indicator, with a broad range of user-generated and creator-contributed elements building into the broader in-game world, which users then inhabit for hours and hours each day.

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The pandemic has boosted this, and it’s now a key platform to watch. And while I would expect the broader metaverse to be a lot more advanced, the platforms and providers that will win out are those looking to create tools that connect into the larger metaverse structure, not those that offer one-off profile pictures or 2D digital art that has no direct connection into the space.

In this respect, apps like ‘Ready Player Me’, which is focused on building multi-platform enabled avatars, and hosting platforms like Meta’s VR space, are where people should really be looking. If next-gen developers don’t have a plan, or a roadmap that involves building for the protocols of the bigger hosts and networks, then they don’t have a metaverse plan at all. And even then, it’s too early to know what the universal schemas and requirements will be to be truly ‘metaverse-ready’.

In other words, if you want to understand the next stage of digital connection, don’t look to pictures of Bored Apes and pixelated characters, look to platforms like Roblox, where young users are already establishing the new norms of the future space.

You can check out App Annie’s full Christmas download overview here.

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TikTok’s Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile



TikTok's Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile

I’m not entirely sure what value this might bring, but TikTok is reportedly working on bringing back the option to see who viewed your profile in the app over the preceding 30 days, which would provide more transparency over user interest.

As you can see in these screenshots, uncovered by app researcher Kev Adriano (and shared by Matt Navarra), TikTok looks to be testing an opt-in functionality that would enable you to see who’s checking out your TikTok profile, while users would also be able to see when you’ve checked out their profile as well when this feature is switched on.

Which TikTok used to have, as a means to increase connections in the app.

TikTok profile views notification

As you can see here, TikTok used to provide a listing of people who’d checked out your profile, with a view to helping you find others to follow who may have similar, shared interests. TikTok removed the functionality early last year, amid various investigations into its data sharing processes, and with several high-profile cases of TikTok stalkers causing real-world problems for platform stars, it made sense that it might not want to share this information anymore, as it likely only increases anxiety for those who may have concerns.

But I guess, if stalkers wanted to check out your profile they wouldn’t turn the feature on, so maybe, by making it opt-in, that reduces that element? Maybe.

I don’t know, I don’t see a heap of value here, and while I can understand, when an app is starting out, how this sort of awareness might help to increase network connections, I’m not sure that it serves any real value for TikTok, other than providing insight into who’s poking around, and likely increasing concerns about certain people who keep coming back to check out your profile again and again.

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Maybe there’s a value for aspiring influencers, in reaching out to potential collaborators who’ve checked out their stuff, or maybe it works for hook-ups, if that’s what you want to use TikTok for, which is why the opt-in element is important.

But much like the same feature on LinkedIn, mostly, it seems pretty useless. I mean, it’s somewhat interesting to know that somebody from a company that you’d like to work for checked out your profile, but if they did, and they didn’t feel compelled to get in touch, who really cares?

There is a limited value proposition here, in that getting in touch with those who did check out your profile could result in a business relationship, similar to the above note on potential collaborators on TikTok. But I’d be interested to see the actual percentage of successful contacts made is as a result of these insights.

I can’t imagine it’s very high – but maybe, if you give users the choice, and they explicitly opt-in, there is some value there.

Seems like stalker tracking to me, and potential angst and conflict as a result.

There’s no official word from TikTok as to whether this option will ever be released at this stage.

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‘Flurona’ is a great example of how misinformation can circulate



'Flurona' is a great example of how misinformation can circulate

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.
Source – NIAID, CC SA 2.0.

In early January, Israel confirmed its first case of an individual infected with both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time, authorities reported. The two infections were found in an unvaccinated pregnant woman who had mild symptoms.

At the rime, the Times of Israel said, “Some reports suggested this marked the first such dual case in the world, but reports of patients with both flu and COVID-19 surfaced in the US as early as spring 2020.”

And it was the Times of Israel that helped the story to go viral by using a catchy, made-up name – “flurona” – and reporting that this is the “first” such case in the country, which some people read as the first case ever.

One news outlet went about amplifying the anecdotal report into “a new nightmare to keep us awake at night.” All the hype over this supposedly new and nightmarish disease did nothing more than fuel the amount of misinformation already bogging down social media platforms.

Scientific American suggests that physicians and scientists just don’t seem to be able to get the right message across to the public about what is real, what is treatable, and what is downright false.

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Yes, you can catch the flu and Covid

Let’s look back a bit to the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, hospitals were being overrun with patients. At that time, COVID testing was still rather sluggish and expensive. So doctors often ordered several tests for patients, trying to identify — or eliminate from suspicion — other possible infections.   

And yes, any number of patients were found to have not only COVID-19 but nearly 5 percent of patients tested had another viral respiratory infection, too. At first, doctors worried more for these patients, whose immune systems were fighting two battles at once. 

“What we found was actually that patients who had Covid plus another infection — they had lower rates of inflammation in their body and were less likely to be admitted to the hospital,” said Dr. Sarah Baron, a physician who helped author a study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy to describe the findings.

While the study was small in the number of patients involved, it may offer an intriguing look at how one virus suppresses the effects of another – something called viral interference.

Researchers have known about viral interference since the 1960s when a group of scientists noticed that a live vaccine against polio and other enteroviruses also seemed to protect against unrelated viral respiratory diseases like influenza.  

For the week ending December 25, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 6.2 percent of people tested for flu were positive, and 1,825 people were admitted to U.S. hospitals with flu that week.

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So I would suggest to everyone that first – remember there are many reliable news sources on the Internet. Secondly, if a story you read sounds outrageous, take a few minutes to research it. You may just find out how inaccurate it may be.

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12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]



12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]

Search engine optimization can be a complicated process, but every year, more tools and options are added to help simplify and streamline your efforts, which can provide you with valuable insights and guidance that hasn’t previously been available so easily.

The right tools can transform your strategy, and as such, it’s worth keeping track of the latest tool additions as you look to learn more about what people are searching for, and how you can create content and offers to align with those behaviors.

Which is where this new listing from PageTraffic comes in. The below infographic outlines 12 newer SEO tools that are worth a look in 2022.

More insight is always better, and these apps may just become a key pipeline to better understanding for your business.

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