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TikTok Will Launch the First Stage of its LIVE Subscriptions Program This Week

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TikTok continues to explore more creator monetization pathways with the addition of LIVE subscriptions, which is being launched with selected creators later this week.

As per the above video overview, TikTok’s LIVE subscription offering will enable live-streamers in the app to generate recurring revenue from their efforts, by sharing exclusive streams with their paying audience.

As explained by TikTok:

LIVE Subscription is an extension of our efforts to build diversified creator monetization opportunities that suit a range of creator needs. LIVE Subscription gives creators the opportunity to increase their earnings while continuing to grow their community and also provides engaged communities an opportunity to thank their favorite creators on a regular basis.”

Subscribers that pay a monthly fee will get access to a range of exclusive features, including:

  • Subscriber Badges: Subscribers receive badges that are displayed next to their name on their profile and upgraded over time.
  • Custom Emotes: Subscribers get access to exclusive emotes custom-designed by the creators to use during LIVE sessions to bring the community together and make your sessions more spirited.
  • Subscriber-Only Chat: When the subscriber-only chat is turned on, creators and their subscribers have exclusive access to one another, enhancing an even more personal connection between creator and viewer.

So, basically, if you’re familiar with the live subscription options on other channels, like YouTube’s Super Chat or Facebook’s Stars program, then you’ll know what to expect here – more specific, custom tools to help enhance connection between creators and their paying audience, via unique, purchasable live additions that will highlight comments and interactions in the stream.

Which has already proven lucrative in various markets.

Twitch is probably the best example in western regions, with around 27k Twitch streamers now making an income from their streams in the app. Originally, Twitch’s streams were all gaming focused, but over time, it’s diversified its topic mix, and become a more central cultural hub for many topics, trends and interests.

It’s in Asian nations, however, where live-stream subscriptions have really taken off.

In China, live-streaming is now a $30 billion industry, and has become so influential that Chinese regulators are now seeking to implement caps on how much viewers can donate to a streamer at a time. Authorities are concerned about the rising popularity of streaming as a career option, as well as the use of the form for sexualized content, and by implementing donation limits, they’re hoping to exert a level of control over the mediums rapid growth.

Western nations, too, are seeing steady growth in streaming interest, with some live broadcasters on TikTok now earning big money through shopping streams.

TikTok, of course, is still looking to establish more revenue pathways for creators, in order to keep them aligned to the app, and with much more lucrative options available on YouTube or Instagram, TikTok needs to add in more monetization pathways to strengthen its position on this front.

LIVE subscriptions are another key step in this direction, and while it will only be available via invite-only in its initial stages, TikTok says that it plans to make it available to all users ‘over the coming months’.

To access the LIVE Subscription feature, creators must be 18 years of age and have a minimum of 1,000 followers. Users must be over 18 to purchase a subscription and to send or receive Coins and Gifts. All users must follow our Community Guidelines and not solicit gifts or offer incentives for gifting.”

It could be a significant step, and with effective monetization now really the only potential obstacle that could slow TikTok’s growth trajectory, it’s a necessary addition in the broader scheme.

Also interesting – some creators will apparently enable viewers to control their cameras through their subscription offering.

There are obviously some additional technical requirements to make this work, but it could add another angle to TikTok’s LIVE subscription offerings.

You can read more about TikTok’s LIVE subscriber options here.

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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

Pinterest is taking a unique approach to Black History Month, with a new ‘Find Your Routes’ Black Travel Hub initiative, which aims to highlight places that have strong connections to Black history, while also showcasing Black-owned businesses.

As explained by Pinterest:

“Find Your Routes” is inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book aka “The Green Book”. The Green Book was a guidebook for Black travelers during the Jim Crow era that provided a list of accessible hotels, boarding houses, taverns, restaurants, service stations and other establishments throughout the country that served Black Americans patrons.”

The Black Travel Hub, which you can find here, will present a range of travel options, along with their history, with creators from the US, Colombia, Jamaica, Brazil and more, all taking part in presenting their city.

It could be a good way to provide education alongside inspiration in the app, while also helping people to connect, and support highlighted communities.

Pinterest will also be showcasing Black-owned businesses on Pinterest TV, while internally, it’s also hosting a company-wide event ‘to help employees gain knowledge about the history, present, and future of Black travel through the lens of Black Pinployees’.

As noted, it could be a good way to both spark important conversations, and inspire new travel journeys, which include an extra level of cultural understanding and education, along with a leisure break.

It’s an interesting take on the celebration either way, and it’ll be worth noting what sort of reaction the initiative gets, and whether it inspires more travel as a result.

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Snap Tumbles On Weak Revenue, Gloomy Outlook

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Snap Tumbles On Weak Revenue, Gloomy Outlook

Snap shares plunged after missing analyst expectations in Q4, while forecasting a year-over-year revenue decline.

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Snapchat Adds 12 Million Users in Q4, Posts Lower Than Expected Revenue Result

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Snapchat Adds 12 Million Users in Q4, Posts Lower Than Expected Revenue Result

Snapchat added 12 million more active users in Q4 2022, and Snapchat+ subscriptions continue to rise, but company revenue missed market estimates, in another mixed result for the private social app.

First off, on users – as noted, Snap added 12 million more actives, taking it to 375 million DAU.

As you can see, North American user growth is still flat, while European users saw a slight uptick. But it’s the ‘Rest of the World’, specifically India, which is driving Snap growth.

Which is helping to boost the overall usage numbers, and expand opportunity. But on the revenue side, it’s not pushing things forward in a significant way.

Snap Q4 2022

As you can see in this chart, Snapchat’s revenue has increased, but a key problem here is that it’s still reliant on the US and Canada for the majority of that spend, with other markets trailing well behind on the revenue front.

Snap Q4 2022

In this chart, you can see that Snap’s Revenue Per User has actually declined year-on-year – so while it is growing, it’s not bringing in revenue at equivalent scale, and it’s even going backwards in some respects.

Which is why its stagnant growth in North America is a problem – though Snap has also seen take-up of its Snapchat+ subscription service increase.

“In Q4, our subscription service Snapchat+ reached over 2.0 million paying subscribers. Snapchat+ offers exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features, and in Q4 we launched new features such as Custom Story Expiration and Custom Notification Sounds, providing subscribers with over 12 exclusive features.”

That’s a handy additional revenue stream, but as with all social media subscription services (including Twitter Blue), take-up is generally limited, and at 2 million subscribers, that’s still only 0.5% of Snapchat’s active user base that’s been willing to pay extra for these add-on elements.

Snap has also faced challenges in rebuilding its ad business, in the wake of Apple’s iOS 14 update, which has impacted data collection, and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel says they still have some way to go on this yet:

“We continue to face significant headwinds as we look to accelerate revenue growth, and we are making progress driving improved return on investment for advertisers and innovating to deepen the engagement of our community.”

Snap has seen improvement in its commerce integrations, which includes digital items for Bitmoji avatars which Snap is eventually looking to translate into real-world item sales as well. Snap also says that it’s facilitated over than 161 million product trials by over 35 million Snapchatters for Walmart, leveraging its Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses at-scale.

Snapchat AR shopping

Those point to bigger opportunities, but right now, amid the broader economic downturn, and restrictions on data collection and targeting, Snapchat is in a tough spot, and will be for some time yet.

Essentially, then, you’re banking on Snap’s future, and its advanced tools that could help it better align with expanded AR and VR use. And Snap is seemingly in a good position on this front – though again, the impacts of the last year, which also forced Snap into lay-offs, will also have some effect.

Really, then, the results here are relative to your perspective.

For advertisers, more Snap users means more potential reach – but most of Snap’s growth is coming from outside the US. More advanced AR activations could become a bigger deal in future, but it depends on how you’re looking to connect, and product fit.

Investors won’t be overly happy with the numbers, but there are positive signs on the horizon. It’s just that the horizon, in this respect, remains well in the distance at this stage.

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