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Talk Social: 8 September – TikTok’s growing competition from Instagram and Snapchat

Snapchat sees large growth in August

Snapchat has had a record number of downloads in August. According to preliminary estimates from app store intelligence firm, Sensor Tower, the mobile app saw approximately 28.5 million new installs last month – the largest growth in first-time downloads since May 2019.

This growth follows several updates to the Snapchat app, including the launch of in-platform mini-apps, the ability to add music to Snaps and the Disney Eyes Lense which went viral.

It is also possible Snapchat has benefited from the current uncertainty around TikTok. Although not a direct competitor to TikTok,  Snapchat does also appeal to the same younger demographic that favours short-form video content.

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What do Instagram users think of Reels?

A survey from social media content agency Whistle has revealed that almost nine in 10 (87 per cent) TikTok users who have used Instagram Reels say the feature is basically the same as TikTok. Additionally, 61 per cent say they’ll be spending more time on Instagram as a result.

These numbers indicate that many TikTok users who have used Instagram Reels no longer think TikTok is unique and they may spend less time on the app as a result.

The future of TikTok is currently unclear as the Trump administration attempts to force it to sell its US operations to an American company or face a ban. This controversy, combined with increased competition from Instagram and Snapchat, could have a financial impact as brands delay partnership and content creation plans on the platform. 

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The Facebook/Instagram merger continues 

It is no longer just Facebook’s messaging tools that are slowly becoming more intertwined. This week, some app users have received a notification asking them if they would like to combine their Facebook and Instagram Stories feeds.

When accepted, Instagram Stories will appear within the Facebook Stories feed, though with an Instagram rainbow border around the profile circle, as opposed to a Facebook blue one.

This is currently a small scale test to determine how open users would be to combining their feeds. However, if the test goes well, it could be another option for brands to consider.

In some ways, this is an expansion of Facebook’s efforts to integrate its back-end processes, which some have suggested is to help it avoid being broken up by any potential future legislation aimed at curbing its public influence.

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Facebook will pay US users to deactivate their accounts

Facebook is studying the impact of social media on the elections by paying US users to deactivate their accounts ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

In return for $10 to $20 a week, participants’ Facebook accounts will go dark from late September for up to six weeks and users must not access the platforms during that time.

This academic research is aimed at understanding what role social media holds in spreading misinformation and how this impacts voting in the real world.

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New tools available on Facebook Watch

Facebook is continuing to push ahead with its long-form video platform Watch with the launch of several new tools to help users discover more relevant content, based on their interests.

The new topic selection feature is designed to help users better define their content recommendations. Additionally, there is a new section dedicated to live videos, which was recently used to host the UEFA Champions League final.

Although many don’t consider Watch a significant video platform, compared to rivals like Twitch or YouTube, Facebook recently announced that it is becoming more popular, with more than 1.25 billion users every month.

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