Tuesday Tune-Up #459
Huge revenue and user growth in Facebook’s third quarter report
There is no sign of Facebook’s fanbase diminishing any time soon, with the platform’s third quarter report displaying an astonishing increase in revenue and user growth. Despite a notable ad boycott and a complex election cycle, the company reported a 22 percent year-over-year increase in revenue to $21.2 billion, as well as a 12 percent increase in profit to $8 billion. User growth remained in double digits, and when counting the platform’s entire family of apps, more than 2.5 billion checked a Facebook product every day.
Revenue up but user growth decreases in Twitter’s third quarter report
It was a mixed bag of results for Twitter in its third quarter report. The platform beat Wall Street analysts’ revenue expectations, unveiling a total of $936 million, up from 14 percent from this time last year. The platform’s ad revenue brought in $808 million despite a decline in ad spending earlier this year. However, user growth fell short of expectations, with a reported 2 million increase to 187 million daily active users, rather than the predicted 195 million.
Pinterest proves popular in its third quarter report
Pinterest is celebrating a good third quarter, with revenue up 58 percent year-over-year. The platform saw a 37 percent increase in monthly active users since last year, with strong growth among young users. These impressive results are thought to be influenced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with a rise in online shopping, as well as people’s desire to escape depressing news, leading to a surge in the app’s popularity.
TikTok makes moves in social commerce with Shopify integration
As we approach the busiest season in the shopping calendar, TikTok is continuing its venture into e-commerce by partnering with Shopify, allowing the app’s users to shop as they scroll. Shopify merchants will be able to connect to a TikTok for Business account and add a TikTok Tracker to their store, then turn existing product imagery into videos for shoppable ads. With TikTok’s teen audience, the partnership is likely to boost sales and audience for Shopify’s merchants, highlighting the app’s ability to influence commerce trends and trajectories. The TikTok channel on Shopify is live for all US merchants and is expected to be rolled out in other markets early next year.
Pinterest adds new features for merchants
Will you be picking your presents from Pinterest this year? As in-store shopping dwindles due to the pandemic, online shopping has seen a real boost, with the number of Pinners engaging with shopping surfaces on Pinterest having grown over 85% in the past six months. As a result, the platform has rolled out new features including an updated profile for merchants that allows them to transform their shop tab into a storefront. An improved product tagging tool and catalog ingestion process is being tested and Pinners can now see recommended merchants based on their searches.
You can now go live on Instagram for four hours
Living for Instagram Live? You can now stream for up to four hours, a significant increase from the app’s previous timeframe of 60 minute broadcasts. Users will also be able to view their own live streams in their private archive for up to 30 days after they air, with an option to download the content and post it elsewhere. Finally, a “Live Now” section is being added to IGTV, where people will find content to watch live at that moment. What began as a photo-sharing platform is slowly moving into the continually popular realm of video, with these moves focused on improving the app’s live video experience.
Facebook enters the world of cloud gaming
Gaming fans rejoice! Facebook is introducing cloud games to its existing app, several of which are available to play right now. Games aren’t foreign territory for the platform, having started out in this area a decade ago with Flash before moving to HTML5 for its Instant Games platform. However, cloud games marks a step up for Facebook, permitting more complex games that can be offered in a fast and seamless way. Farmville fans fear not, the cloud offering is an extension to the platform’s existing gaming service, giving users a more varied experience.
WhatsApp is now delivering around 100 billion messages a day
We are mad for messaging, with WhatsApp users exchanging roughly 100 billion messages a day. This is double the amount since 2014, when WhatsApp saw 50 billion messages being sent everyday. Unveiled at Facebook’s quarterly earnings call, this statistic highlights the app’s high usage, with the platform boasting more than 2 billion users.
SoundCloud rolls out integration with Snapchat
Whether you’re a budding DJ or an aspiring songstress, you can now share your own tracks on Snapchat with the apps SoundCloud integration. Previously, albums, artist profiles, playlists and tracks from the audio platform could be shared to Facebook, with the feature now extending to Snapchat. This will allow creators to expand their reach and build upon their existing brand, whilst introducing users to new music, putting the platform on the map as a music-sharing service.
YouTube’s mobile app gets new gestures and playback controls
YouTube is updating its mobile app to make viewing and controlling videos easier. The biggest update is a new gesture to enable or disable full-screen video; you’ll now be able to swipe up on the video window to enter full-screen and swipe down to return back to the standard player page. An expanded video chapters feature has also been revealed; a new list view that shows all the chapters for the video that you are viewing. Lastly, a new set of “suggested actions” has been added – small recommendations such as ‘rotate your screen,’ that are designed to heighten the viewer experience.
TikTok stars pressure judge to block Trump’s TikTok ban
TikTok’s battle with Trump took on a new turn this week, with a group of the app’s creators leading a lawsuit that resulted in the president’s planned restrictions being blocked. The creators argued that they would lose access to their followers in the event of a ban, as well as the “professional opportunities afforded by TikTok.” The November 12 ban would have blocked companies from providing internet hosting services that would have allowed TikTok to continue to operate in the U.S. A big win for the TikTok community and a timely reminder not to underestimate the power of influencers.
Uber’s new ID policy raises privacy concerns
Uber Eats delivery drivers in Victoria are now required to photograph the ID of any customers who order alcohol to verify their age, in a development that has been met with mild scepticism by the Australian information commissioner and the Victorian privacy commissioner.
Uber Eats, however, has insisted that the pictures won’t be retained. Per the Guardian, a spokeswoman for Uber Eats said any photos of ID documents would not be held on the phones of delivery drivers and that any photos would feed into the driver’s app and would only record the customer’s date of birth and ID expiry date, after which time it would be deleted.
Spotify announces new ‘exposure’ policy
In an uncanny invocation of an age-old idiom that’ll be familiar to anyone who has completed freelance work at a reduced rate in exchange for “exposure”, Spotify has announced a new feature for artists and labels seeking to increase exposure in exchange for lowered royalty payments. In a statement issued overnight, the digital streaming platform announced their new function allowing creators to boost their visibility through Spotify’s algorithmic music selector that the app defaults to on the radio and autoplay functions.
“In this new experiment, artists and labels can identify music that’s a priority for them, and our system will add that signal to the algorithm that determines personalised listening sessions,” the statement reads. “This allows our algorithms to account for what’s important to the artist.” Accepting these new terms, however, “won’t guarantee placement to labels or artists.”
This edition of the Tuesday Tune-Up features reporting by Hannah Currey.