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TikTok Pledges $250 Million to Support Various Groups Impacted by COVID-19



Rising video app TikTok has announced a new $250 million donation to assist frontline workers combating COVID-19, which comes in addition to the app’s $10 million donation to the World Health Organization, which it announced last month.

As per TikTok:

We are committed to playing our part in that global outpouring of mutual support and giving. We want to magnify all we are seeing across our community and translate it into concrete relief for those most affected by this crisis.”

TikTok’s latest donation will be split into several elements:

  • $150 million in funding will go towards medical staffing, supplies and hardship relief for health care workers
  • $40 million in cash will be allocated to local organizations which serve diverse user communities, including musicians, artists, nurses and educators
  • TikTok will also match up to $10 million in donations from its user community to support initiatives launched by TikTok users
  • And an additional $50 million will go towards grants for educators, professional experts, and nonprofits that are working to provide distance learning resources during the global lockdowns

​​In addition to this, TikTok will also provide $100 million in ad credits to help businesses get back on their feet once they’re able to resume normal activity, while it’s also allocating $25 million in “prominent in-feed ad space” to NGOs, trusted health sources, and local authorities to help them distribute key health messages in the app.

In total, the funding takes TikTok’s commitment to more than $385 million to assist with the COVID-19 outbreak. That seems like a lot, especially for a platform that’s not yet generating significant income – though TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, and sister app ‘Douyin’, are generating significant revenue, enabling it to make these funding pledges.

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ByteDance reportedly brought in $20 billion in revenue in 2019, while Douyin, the Chinese-only version of TikTok, generated some $122 million in revenue for the year, largely fueled by eCommerce integrations within the app. 

Douyin eCommerce

That’s likely where TikTok will also be heading with its own monetization tools. Thus far, no app has been able to successfully monetize short-form video, as the time limits make disruptive ads non-viable, meaning that they require a different approach to regular video content.

TikTok, which reportedly generated around $36 million in revenue in the US last year, has already started moving towards eCommerce tools within the app. It’s testing product links in clips, and external linking options, in order to provide more revenue generation options for creators. TikTok also recently shared this video in regards to its monetization focus, which highlights eCommerce integration.

TikTok’s seen a big jump in usage amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, and its charitable donations will help to amplify its outreach efforts, while also providing support for relevant communities. The next stage, however, is for TikTok to maximize the attention it’s getting by integrating revenue-generation tools for creators – because if it doesn’t, those popular users will quickly learn that they can make more money on other platforms, and abandon TikTok, leaving it to the same fate as Vine before it. 

Strategy aside, TikTok’s donations are significant, and will provide assistance to many in need, and the platform should be praised for taking positive action. They’re also helping to solidify TikTok’s place within the wider social media landscape – and if TikTok can improve its brand reputation, and deliver better monetization tools, it’ll be on the way to making itself a more important consideration moving forward.  

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Meta’s Developing the World’s Fastest AI Supercomputer to Fuel its Metaverse Vision



Meta's Developing the World's Fastest AI Supercomputer to Fuel its Metaverse Vision

As it looks to a future in the currently theoretical ‘metaverse’, Meta will need to up its computing power and systems in order to facilitate simultaneous connection in wholly immersive digital worlds, while it’ll also need more advanced computing power to fuel the next stage of its AI plans, in various forms.

Which is why Meta is developing a new AI Research SuperCluster (RSC), which it says will eventually become the fastest AI supercomputer in the world, when it’s fully built out by mid-2022.

The advanced system will eventually be able to perform ‘5 exaflops of mixed precision compute’ at peak. Which, I have no real idea of what that truly means, but basically, Meta’s new, advanced computational system will be able to process huge amounts of data, facilitating development in a wide range of applications, with a specific view towards the next stage of its metaverse vision.

As explained by Meta:

RSC will help Meta’s AI researchers build new and better AI models that can learn from trillions of examples; work across hundreds of different languages; seamlessly analyze text, images, and video together; develop new augmented reality tools; and much more. We hope RSC will help us build entirely new AI systems that can, for example, power real-time voice translations to large groups of people, each speaking a different language, so they can seamlessly collaborate on a research project or play an AR game together.”

AR is clearly a key focus, with Meta developing its own AR-enabled glasses that will expand the use cases for the technology. The RSC will provide increased capacity to develop more complex AR systems, which could advance Meta’s tools beyond what’s currently available, which would ideally see its AR glasses become the top of the line, most advanced model available, helping Meta potentially dominate the space over rivals Snapchat and Apple.

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Unless, of course, Snap and Apple team up, which is my prediction. But even so, with the additional computing power of the RSC behind it, Meta could still be well ahead, which could be a key step in bridging our current online experience to the next stage.

Which is where Meta is really focused:

“Ultimately, the work done with RSC will pave the way toward building technologies for the next major computing platform – the metaverse, where AI-driven applications and products will play an important role.

It’s worth noting here that Meta specifically notes that the metaverse will take years to develop, it’s not something that’s happening overnight, nor will it become an all-immersive, integrated world by next year. Which is why any company or project that’s pitching itself as ‘metaverse ready’ is kidding itself – the metaverse, as it’s broadly envisioned, will require massive collaboration between platforms, in order to transfer your digital identity between virtual worlds, and take your avatars, skins, digital items, and more with you.

Meta is keen to reiterate that it won’t own that space, as such:

No one company can (or should) build the metaverse alone. It will be built by people and businesses all over the world. And it’ll be important that experiences built by different companies or people, like avatars or virtual worlds, work together.

But really, Meta is best-placed to host the party, via its industry-leading consumer VR tools and advanced computing systems like RSC, which will give it a significant advantage in dictating what the metaverse will be, and who will be able to sign up.

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Eventually, this will require industry agreement on schemas and systems that will likely enable any service to join. But they’ll still need a host platform, along with software/hardware connection. Meta will be at the forefront of that aspect, which, again, will see it well-placed to define the rules of the space, and dominate the next stage of digital connection – whether it technically ‘owns’ it or not.

But it is worth noting that the metaverse does not exist yet, not in any form, and any platform or project that claims otherwise is ultimately misleading. Those NFT projects that claim to be ‘metaverse-ready’, yeah, no, maybe avoid them.

Eventually, Meta’s RSC will give it significant advantages in developing new systems for everything from combating harmful content on its platforms to building entirely new user experiences. The potential here is massive, and while it will take time to see the results of these developments, it’ll be interesting to see how Meta’s processes evolve in turn, and whether these advanced systems result in a significant acceleration in its development cycles.

You can read more technical details on Meta’s RSC project here.

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TikTok Partners with Zefr to Offer Increased Assurance on Safe Ad Placement



TikTok Partners with Zefr to Offer Increased Assurance on Safe Ad Placement

TikTok has partnered with brand suitability platform Zefr on a new brand safety post-bid measurement solution for in-feed ads, which will enable advertisers to ensure that their TikTok promotions don’t appear alongside potentially offensive material.

As you can see here, using Zefr’s dashboard, which provides insights into each campaign by mapping it against the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) Suitability Risk categories, advertisers will now be able to ensure that their TikTok ads are not shown next to content that they don’t want to be associated with.

As explained by TikTok:

“This solution will provide advertisers with campaign insights into brand safety and brand suitability for their TikTok campaigns. These insights provide clients with third-party impartial reassurance that their investment is delivered next to content suitable for their brand, protecting brand reputation and mitigating risk.”

Zefr’s advanced ‘Cognition AI’ process utilizes audio, text, and frame-by-frame video analysis, along with scaled human review, to determine brand safety, and provide full assurance on potential ad placement.

With TikTok’s challenges and posts sometimes veering into dangerous territory, the option will help to reassure brands that their campaigns won’t end up being associated with potential harm, which could help TikTok secure even more ad spend.

Though it could be difficult to 100% guarantee success here. For example, the recent ‘Milk Crate Challenge’ on TikTok started off innocently enough, but eventually lead to increasingly risky and dangerous behaviors, which resulted in serious injuries to some participants. Other TikTok challenges could follow a similar evolution – though the additional assurance of Zefr’s systems will ideally help to catch these out before they become a potential brand risk, or at the least, as soon as they’re identified as a problem.

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It’s a good integration, and another key step in TikTok’s broader expansion of its ad tools.

The new TikTok Zefr integration is available to advertisers in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.

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How to Elevate Your Social Media ROI [Infographic]



How to Elevate Your Social Media ROI [Infographic]

Looking for ways to improve your social media marketing efforts in 2022?

As we head into the new year, it’s worth revising your business goals, and establishing a clear direction for your digital marketing process. Maybe you’re happy with the growth and interaction you’re seeing, and how that’s then leading to conversion, but over the past two years, in particular, there’s no doubt been some level of disruption to your marketing plans.

With that in mind, this infographic from the team at Click Dimensions could help. They’ve put together a simple overview of how to establish your social media marketing goals, including which metrics to focus on, how to increase engagement, and the importance of adapting as things progress.

It could help to spark some new thinking in your approach – check out the full infographic below.

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