4th August 2023
X continues its metamorphosis, Snap is rewarding Lens Creators, Google is adding more AI into its products and Meta has updated brand safety and behavioural tracking.
The visual changes to the App formerly known as Twitter have continued this week with the Twitter bird icon being upgraded to the new X brand on iOS handsets around the world and TweetDeck being renamed XPro. Also this week, it was being reported that X was allowing those who had paid to keep their blue verification ticks, a service now called XBlue, to hide them from other users.
X has also rolled out its ‘Ads Revenue Sharing’ program for creators globally. The service will hand out $5m to creators in the first payments. In order to qualify, X users will need to subscribe to Blue (formerly Twitter Blue) or Verified Organizations, must have ‘at least 15M impressions on your cumulative posts within the last 3 months’, and must have at least 500 followers. Payments will be processed by Stripe, in which Musk was an early investor.
Snapchat is also rewarding creators, announcing a new Lens Creator Rewards program this week, with creators being given up to $7,200 per month if their creation is a top-performing Lens with high engagement in the United States, India and Mexico.
Meanwhile, Google has been busy continuing to experiment with and embed AI into its product suite. YouTube is running tests using AI to auto-generate video summaries, with the output beginning to appear on the watch and search pages but only for some viewers and only for English language videos at present. The summaries are intended to provide a quick overview of a video, letting the user decide if it’s what they want to watch and don’t replace video descriptions written by the video creator.
Additionally, YouTube announced the expansion of its creation tools for YouTube Shorts. Shorts, a competitor to TikTok and Instagram's Reels, now offers users the opportunity to remix, add effects or stickers, and go live, all aimed at boosting creativity. With Shorts now being watched by over 2 billion users globally every month, these new tools should enhance content production for creators.
Perhaps more significantly, there are reports that Google Assistant could be getting an AI makeover. An internal email, first seen and reported by Axios, states that the Assistant team leads: “see a huge opportunity to explore what a supercharged Assistant, powered by the latest LLM [large language model] technology, would look like,” with the email going on to describe some of the organizational changes required to achieve this. There is no further detail at present, but with Google launching its own AI Bard, this is not completely surprising news.
Finally, Meta made an announcement this week that it intends to change the legal basis that it uses to process certain data for behavioural advertising for people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland from ‘Legitimate Interests’ to ‘Consent’. There is no date given for the change of approach. The official statement continued: This change is to address a number of evolving and emerging regulatory requirements in the region, notably how our lead data protection regulator in the EU, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), is now interpreting GDPR in light of recent legal rulings, as well as anticipating the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).” Meta’s statement further said that the decisions do not prevent personalised advertising on its platform.
Meta has also announced a number of new brand safety controls. It has expanded its brand suitability verification for Instagram Feed; added four new languages - Arabic, Chinese, French and Portuguese –to inventory filters and third-party brand suitability verification elements for Facebook and Instagram and finally, is testing a new inventory filter option on Reels, expanding the capacity for ad partners to ensure brand safety in content placement.
The rapid pace of innovation across social media platforms continues, with X, Meta, Google and Snapchat all adding functionality and tweaking their offerings. As always, how the changes are received and adopted by advertisers, users and creators, will determine who comes out on top.