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Twitter Acquires Multi-Participant Streaming App Squad, Which Enables Screen-Sharing Within Chats



This could be interesing. Twitter has officially acquired multi-participant video chat app Squad, which could pave the way for new video streaming features in the app.


Squad is primarily a video chat tool, which enables users to connect in real-time, similar to Houseparty. But the app’s key addition is simplified screen-sharing – with Squad, any chat participant can share their screen, at any time, which then enables discussion based around content from other apps, private messages, etc. (in the above example, the top left screen is from Tinder).

That’s proven popular – earlier this year, Squad noted that its usage had increased 1100% as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns. 

It makes sense – simplified chat, with the capacity to provide additional context. And now, Twitter will likely look to incorporate that functionality to facilitate broader discussion of tweets, specifically.

I mean, everyone discusses tweets in other apps anyway. Why not bring it all together to build more direct video chat?

How, exactly, that might work is hard to say, but it appears that Twitter could be shutting down its separate live-streaming app Periscope to make room for the addition. The separate Squad app is also being shut down – on the Squad website, it now displays this message.

Squad website

It could be a good addition for Twitter, if it can integrate the functionality in an effective, engaging way. Twitter’s track record on such is not great – the separate Vine app was eventually shuttered because Twitter couldn’t work out monetization, while other big Twitter features like Moments seem to be launched with a lot of hype, then die out with barely a whimper.

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I would also point you to Audio Tweets, Twitter Camera tools, its live-stream shows. Basically, Twitter has struggled to really innovate and provide new functionality to expand app usage beyond basic tweeting. Which is fine, but it also means that Twitter is constantly at risk of losing preference to other, more adaptive apps and tools. That, additionally, poses growth challenges for the platform.

Fleets could be another example. It’s too early to say whether Twitter’s stories clone will be another miss for the app, but the fact that Twitter is jumping onto the trend so late, and without many of the same key features that have made Stories so engaging in other apps, probably doesn’t bode well for the option. And that largely encapsulates Twitter’s challenges – while it has tried new things to expand app usage, it hasn’t found many unique angles or use cases to make these new tools more compelling.

But maybe Squad will be different.

Twitter has already acknowledged the use of tweets in other apps with the recent addition of an option to share tweets in Snapchat Stories, which it’s also testing for Instagram.

Tweets on Snapchat

As noted, discussion of tweets is big on other apps, with Twitter content often leading the broader conversation. Maybe, by enabling people to do that directly, within video chats, that could facilitate new use cases, and help keep that chatter within Twitter itself, as opposed to having it filter off into other channels.

I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it. But given broader usage trends, it makes sense. Squad could be a valuable addition, if Twitter can get it right.

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Maybe Twitter could look to make video a bigger focus more generally, with a dedicated video tab, highlighting in-progress live streams, chats among your friends, and trending video clips. If that were added as a fifth tab in the app (or as a replacement for a current tab), that could be significant, and with Twitter’s connection to real-time trends, that could see it highlight the most relevant video clips and discussions, drawing more people in.

You could then discuss those trends in real-time with friends via Squad chats. Simplified, multi-participant chat via Twitter could be a good addition – and it would definitely improve its Fleets offering.

There are options here, there is potential. Whether Twitter will go all-in, and give it more focus is another question, and it could peter out just as easily.

But it seems like a good fit, which could help expand the Twitter offering.

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How to Expand Your Reach with Newsletter Advertising



How to Expand Your Reach with Newsletter Advertising

As marketers search for creative ways to reach new leads, newsletter advertising is becoming a staple in the industry. With effective targeting and high engagement rates, this up-and-coming medium is an effective choice for advertisers of all sizes and budgets.

While newsletter advertising has gained popularity among growing startups like AppSumo, it’s also a go-to for top brands like Lyft and Warby Parker. However, despite its high performance and adoption by leading marketers, its potential is largely untapped.

Because of the lack of education surrounding newsletter advertising, many marketers neglect email in favor of more mainstream, competitive platforms. However, with the right approach, investing in email advertising can help you reach more qualified audiences and get ahead of competitors.

What is newsletter advertising?

Newsletter advertising is the process of placing sponsored content in email newsletters to get in front of subscribers. Unlike other forms of digital marketing, newsletter ads are delivered straight to their audience’s inboxes. Because of this, they’ll often reach readers more directly, bypassing any ad blocking measures.

The Paved platform offers two main types of newsletter advertisements: sponsorships and programmatic ads.


Newsletter sponsorships are coordinated via a partnership between the publisher and the advertiser. Because each sponsorship campaign is organized individually, they can be custom designed for the newsletter partner. Some publishers will even help tweak the sponsorship design and copy to fit their publication’s style and appeal to readers.

​Sponsored email in The Report newsletter from March 2021


Programmatic ads

Just like sponsorships, programmatic email ads are placed within the body of newsletters to directly reach engaged audiences. However, they’re more similar to social media ads due to their automation, scalability and precise targeting. Whereas sponsorships are coordinated on an individual basis, programmatic ads allow advertisers to run placements across multiple newsletters with a single campaign.

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Programmatic ad for Hired in the eWebDesign newsletter


Why newsletter advertising beats other marketing channels

Not only is newsletter advertising a fresh and creative way to reach new audiences, but it also has its share of practical benefits. The advantages of newsletter advertising make it a worthwhile investment for brands in both the short and long-term.

Reach new audiences

The first step in converting new customers is figuring out where to find potential leads. Unfortunately, the rise of VPNs and privacy companies have made it increasingly difficult to connect with audiences online.

According to data by Hootsuite, roughly 42.7% of internet users use an ad blocker. With newsletter advertising, that’s not a problem. By delivering your message in the body of a trusted newsletter, you can market to audiences who can’t be reached through social media or display ads.

Leverage heightened engagement

One of the most valuable aspects of newsletters is their level of reader engagement. It’s not easy to convince someone to give you their email. Therefore, opting in to receive a newsletter is a much stronger signal of interest than liking a page or following an account.

Because newsletter readers are more engaged, email marketing tends to outperform other channels in ROI. Litmus’ 2020 State of Email report calculated an average return of $36 for every $1 spent on email marketing.

Access built-in targeting

Email newsletter lists are often inherently targeted due to their niche content. On the Paved platform, many publishers run interest-focused newsletters based on topics like programming or yoga. Incidentally, this creates a neatly packaged audience that advertisers can leverage for their campaigns.

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Programmatic ads allow you to target your audiences even more precisely. On the Paved Ad Network, you can define your target audience, budget and frequency cap. From there, you’ll be able to automatically display your ad in front of individual readers across several newsletters based on their demographic profile.

Join a marketplace to launch your newsletter advertising strategy

Joining a marketplace is the quickest and easiest way to start advertising in newsletters. Instead of reaching out to publishers individually, you’ll be able to request, design and schedule multiple sponsorships in one place.

On the Paved marketplace, you can browse hundreds of newsletters to find the right partner for your brand. Once you’ve booked a campaign, you can exchange messages, send payment and automatically track results through the platform.

Sign up with Paved for free today to unlock all the tools you need to streamline your newsletter advertising campaigns.

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China accused of interference as Australia PM’s WeChat account vanishes



Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened his WeChat account in 2019 ahead of Australian elections that year

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened his WeChat account in 2019 ahead of Australian elections that year – Copyright NO BYELINE/AFP STRINGER

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s WeChat account has disappeared, prompting accusations of Chinese “interference” from senior members of his government Monday.

Morrison’s account on the Chinese social media app, which was launched in February 2019, appears to have been replaced with one titled “Australian Chinese new life.”

WeChat is the overwhelmingly dominant messaging and social media platform in China, where Western services such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter are blocked.

There was no immediate comment from Morrison but a senator from his ruling centre-right Liberal Party accused Beijing of being behind the change.

“What the Chinese government has done by shutting down the prime minister’s account is effectively foreign interference in our democracy,” James Paterson told 2GB radio on Monday.

Paterson called on Australian politicians to boycott WeChat in response.

According to the account’s about page, the “Australian Chinese new life” name was registered on October 28, 2021.

But the account has posts dating back to February 1, 2019, including Morrison’s first, which reads: “I’m very happy to open my official WeChat account”.

AFP has contacted WeChat’s parent company Tencent for comment.

Morrison first launched his WeChat account to communicate with Australia’s sizable Chinese-Australian community ahead of elections in 2019.

That year, Morrison was asked by reporters whether there was a risk his account could be censored by the Chinese Communist Party.

“We haven’t experienced any such censorship,” he said.

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In December 2020, WeChat removed a post from Morrison that defended Australia’s investigation into allegations of war crimes perpetrated by Australian soldiers.

The post also criticised Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who had tweeted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife.

The last post on the “Australian Chinese new life” account is from July 9, 2021.

The Daily Telegraph reported Morrison has been locked out of his account since then.

All of the posts on the “Australian Chinese new life” account relate to Australian government announcements or messages from Morrison.

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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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