Friday 5: What’s happening with social media?

1.) YouTube Shorts is entering the U.S. market

Why should you care?

TikTok’s short-form video strategy played a crucial role in its rise from obscurity to global phenomenon. Creative content squashed into a minute — from dance crazes to quirky hobbies — has been candy floss for the brain during the pandemic. And now YouTube wants in.

Initially launched in November 2020, it’s already amassed 6.5m daily views. And is now gearing up for a U.S. launch.

While YouTube’s traditional mobile interface is designed for viewing comfort, YouTube Shorts has creators in mind, helping them to feed on-the-go users favouring sharper, snappier content.

Shorts doesn’t yet match the capabilities of TikTok, but they’re remarkably similar in one stark way: both revolutionised the music industry. YouTube steered music videos from outdated MTV premieres to online launches that everyone could tune into, and TikTok’s acute algorithm brought sea shanties out of isolated online forums into mainstream radio success.

2.) TikTok is the most influential platform when it comes to shopping trends

Why should you care?

New research from U Switch found 41% of Brits are most likely to use TikTok to explore new shopping trends, yet just 27% are using Instagram for this reason.

TikTok is no more a blink-and-you-miss-it moment. It’s outlived the Houseparty craze, and Clubhouse is yet to enjoy even a smidge of success. But most compelling is its ability to set new trends. The LearnOnTikTok hashtag has 80.5 billion views. Yes, billion. And it expands into every area you can think, including automotive, crafts, and fashion.

The recent shoppable livestream with Walmart to showcase its beauty range reminds us that TikTik is ensuring that this hub of inspiration is also profitable.

3.) Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet just ‘sold’ for $2.9 million…

Why should you care?

…because it’s through a non-fungible token (NFT). As the Beeb describes, an NFT is a ‘unique digital certificate that states who owns a photo, video or other form of online media’. In a nutshell, it’s virtual memorabilia.

Not all of us have millions to spend on collectable items, but they have always been a powerful stream of revenue to the entertainment industry. Dedicated fans spend chunks of their hard-earned cash on limited edition packaging, Pop Vinyls, and signed t-shirts, for a sense of ownership. But now it’s moving to social.

You might say it’s unsurprising. Social media’s most dramatic moments, from Kim Kardashian’s 2017 takedown of Taylor Swift, to Donald Trump’s Twitter ban, all feel like time stamps of unforgettable moments in pop culture — it was only a matter of time before someone wanted them as keepsakes.

It’ll be interesting to see what’s next. Will it be Hilary Clinton’s ‘delete your account’ tweet to Trump? Or will it roll over to Instagram, where an image can be digitally owned by a wealthy buyer?

4.) Instagram is social media’s most ‘invasive’ app

Why should you care?

Research from cloud storage firm pCloud found that 79% percent of your personal data is shared with third-party companies. This includes search history, current location, contacts and financial information.

Surveillance has become a device issue amidst conspiracy theories around the vaccine rollout. But we shouldn’t be quick to assume this figure will send a ripple of fear. Research from our client Outform, a global retail technology agency, found that 91% of shoppers would share data so long as they wouldn’t be bombarded with intrusive ads.

With social commerce on such a steep rise, users might actually welcome more bespoke experiences they wouldn’t get without data. And without our trusted shop assistants, tailored recommendations on relevant products are driving shoppers to the digital checkout.

5.) Facebook is launching a Clubhouse rival

Why should you care?

Facebook has caught wind of the appetite for audio rooms, and it’s now looking to enable audio-only broadcasts that users can tune into.

It’s hardly surprising the platform wants to jump on the bandwagon: Clubhouse’s user base skyrocketed from 1,500 in May 2020 to 2 million by January this year.

But as Social Media Today points out, Twitter’s recent competitor feature Spaces will be opening up to all users by April for broadcasters to reach wider audiences. A subtle takedown of Clubhouse’s invite-only exclusivity. Facebook may just follow suit, and if Clubhouse fails to improve ways to improve accessibility, it could be 2021’s first social casualty.