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TikTok, livestreaming, and ‘creator economy’ quickly changing social apps landscape – USA Today




Live streaming and the explosion of the “creator economy” are igniting the current rise in social media app use and rapidly changing the landscape, a new study finds.

This year alone, consumers have already downloaded more than 9.2 billion apps and are expected to spend 740 billion hours on them. That includes an estimated 548 billion hours of them live streaming – in top apps including TikTok, Twitch and Instagram, according to mobile data and analytics tracker App Annie in its “The Evolution of Social Media Report” released Monday. 

Other report findings show that this year’s hourly usage on apps will likely surpass last year’s total of nearly 800 billion hours mostly in part to increased use in mobile and other devices due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, App Annie executives told USA TODAY.

App Annie cites the usage surge of Twitch, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. As Twitch initially rose to popularity with gamers and has more than 30 million people who visit the site daily, more consumers are turning to Twitch to make connections outside of game streams from everything ranging from music to comedy, App Annie found.


“Authentic, real-time connection is driving meaningful growth and is set to underpin the future landscape of social media apps,” App Annie said.

Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, Twitch’s head of community productions who’s been with the platform since its start in 2011, told USA TODAY in June that Twitch has empowered millions of creators “who now truly have a ‘job that they love’ that allows them to share their passions with their communities.”

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Many of those passionate Twitch streamers last week participated in a boycott, #ADayOffTwitch, to protest a spate of “hate raids,” on the platform. In response, Twitch said “it’s working hard on improved channel-level ban evasion detection and additional account improvements” to help make the site safer.

App Annie’s report also reflects how some creators are even being encouraged to get paid to produce original content on apps. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said the social network is planning to pay up to $1 billion to those who create content on its platforms through 2022. The company also said it won’t take a cut on creators’ revenue until 2023.


Social media rival Twitter has also proclaimed that it wants to help its content creators make money. Twitter recently added two new features, including Super Follows, which allows users to charge a monthly subscription fee for extra content.The other feature, Tip Jar, allows users to send money directly to their favorite Twitter accounts.

Lexi Sydow, App Annie’s head of insights said the changes are part of an emerging trend. Some of our favorite apps are shifting from primarily texting, chatting and photo sharing to also focusing on gaming, sharing videos and continuous streaming to appeal to consumers, Sydow said.

Consumers are expected to spend an estimated $6.78 billion via social apps worldwide this year, according to the App Annie report. The figure includes American and Japanese consumers spending more than $1.5 billion on app usage during the first six months of 2021.

“It’s a momentous shift and is quickly becoming a really important part of the narrative in social growth,” Sydow said of the consumer social apps spending. She said App Annie projects the apps spending could climb up to $17.2 billion annually by 2025, a 29% increase. 

App Annie’s report also comes as tech giant Apple said it’s letting app developers email their users about ways to sidestep the iPhone maker when signing up for subscriptions. Previous moves could have led apps to be removed from Apple’s popular app store, which is a perennial cash cow for the iPhone maker.


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The App Annie report said TikTok is the most downloaded social and entertainment app in the world for a second straight year. Instagram, which just asked its 1 billion users worldwide to verify their birthdates, has supplanted its parent company Facebook as the second-most downloaded app globally, the report said.

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The rest of the top 10 most downloaded apps include 2020 repeats WhatsApp, Telegram, Snapchat, Facebook’s Messenger and new entrants CapCut, MX TakaTak and PicsArt Photo & Video Editor. The latter three show a shift toward downloading apps that favor videos and creating content, replacing the popular apps Netflix, Likee and Pinterest.


The theme of users preferring to download and use short-form video content and live streaming apps are prevalent, the report said. As a result, many consumers are opting toward paying for sometimes raw and unedited work by creators instead of professionally produced content. 

“Consumers are opening their wallets to the creator economy at a level we’ve never seen before,” the report said.

One app that App Annie says encourages consumer spending is Singapore-based Bigo Live which uses “beans” as a form of “gifting” (giving funds) to content creators during live streams. Other apps with similar practices include Twitch, where users can send “bits,” and TikTok uses “virtual coins” to compensate creators. 

With about 400 million users in more than 150 countries, Bigo Live represents what vice president Mike Ong unapologetically describes in the App Annie report as live streaming becoming “the new social language.”


“We are committed to helping our broadcasters becoming the celebrities of tomorrow,” Ong said.

Sam Yang, App Annie’s senior vice president said it’s hard to keep up with apps because they constantly change due to the landscape and the increased competition to get consumers. 

“What we’re seeing today will likely not be what we see in a year from now,” Yang said. 

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android





Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly


We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.


2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.


Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters





Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?





Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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