Written by Benn Tan, Erasmus William and Denicia Lew.

Tiktok launches E-commerce Feature within Platform

Tiktok, the social media platform that confounds Millenials but speaks to Gen-Z audiences worldwide, has now released a new e-commerce feature. Termed Hashtag Challenge Plus, Tiktok will now allow users to purchase products related to sponsored Hashtag challenges within its app. Users are first encouraged to post videos with a brand product, using the sponsored hashtag and participating in the viral hashtag trend. They can then proceed to purchase a brand’s product without ever leaving the platform.

Grocery chain Kroger, the first to use this in-app feature, is currently running a sponsored hashtag challenge campaign with several influencers, who will kickstart the campaign by posting videos promoting the sponsored hashtag, #TransformUrDorm. College kids are then encouraged to post their own videos of their dorm room transformation using the hashtag, which they can then use to navigate a new discover tab to view and buy items from a curated marketplace of Kroger products.

As Tiktok looks to increase its advertising capabilities, current features include helping brands put their sponsored hashtag in its main Discover feed for increased visibility and running in-feed video ads that appear in-between content from users as well as full-page ads that appear when the app is launched.

Facebook and Instagram designed a new app for close friends

Facebook is working on a new messaging app called ‘Threads’. The new app is designed to be used with your "close friends list" on Instagram and would allow users to share details like location, speed and battery life. Users will also have Instagram's full suite of creative tools at their disposal, including text, photo and video messages.

The public will be curious as to how it will be different from the abandoned project, Direct, a standalone messaging app that Instagram had been developing since late 2017. 

Expect a lot of synchronization between Threads and Instagram on its messaging platform, as it looks to chip away the appeal of apps like Snapchat and Tiktok. 

At the moment, there was no word on when Instagram expects to launch Threads.

Illustrated screenshots from Threads, a new messaging app from Facebook and Instagram The working logo for Threads, a new messaging app from Facebook and Instagram (Image taken from theverge.com)

You may soon be able to follow your favourite topics on Twitter

Twitter is testing a new feature on Android: letting its users follow topics. Once the feature goes live, you will be able to follow your favourite trends and topics, just like how you follow other users.

With this, you will be able to receive updates on your favourite TV shows, sports teams, games, on your home feed. Don’t want spoilers to the next Marvel movie? So over an overexposed conversation? You can temporarily mute the topic altogether too. 

The move from Twitter seeks to lower barriers to entry for new users, who may not know who to follow when starting out. It also enables users to engage with topics that greatly interest them, as well as join and participate in communities more easily.