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This Week in Apps: TikTok shops for advertisers, Microsoft makes app store changes … – TechCrunch

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Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.

Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and suggestions about new apps and games to try, too.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newsletters

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TikTok is ready for advertisers, e-commerce, it says

Image Credits: TikTok Shopping

At TikTok’s online event, TikTok World, the company announced a range of new initiatives, product updates and advertising formats in an effort to woo more marketers to its platform. On the e-commerce front, TikTok expanded its set of shopping partners beyond pilot partner Shopify. Earlier this year, the video platform began piloting TikTok Shopping in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, in a deal that allowed Shopify merchants with a TikTok For Business account to add a Shopping tab to their TikTok profiles and sync their product catalogs to the app to create mini-storefronts. Now, TikTok is rolling out to new brand partners for TikTok Shopping, including Square, Ecwid and PrestaShop, with Wix, SHOPLINE, OpenCart and BASE coming soon. It also introduced a fuller slate of solutions for TikTok commerce, including ad products and later this year, a TikTok Shopping API. The app now offers a trio of in-feed ad products for online shopping: Collection Ads which feature swipeable and tappable product cards; Dynamic Showcase Ads (DSAs), which are automatically generated ads; and Lead Generation ads.

The company also presented its new plan to ramp up advertiser investment with a new promise of “brand safety” and the launch of several new and interactive ad formats, ranging from clickable stickers to “Choose Your Own Adventure”-type ads to “super likes” and more. The ads are meant to encourage TikTok users to tap, swipe and use gestures to interact with the ads’ content. There’s even an ad where users get to direct the storytelling, and a mini page that lets brands connect users with their message directly in the TikTok app.

Image Credits: TikTok (super like)

To date, marketers haven’t carved out as much of their spending for TikTok compared with other major platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. But TikTok parent company ByteDance has been making inroads in the global ad market, with annual revenue across its apps more than doubling in 2020 to reach $34.3 billion. In the U.S., TikTok was expected to bring in $500 million in 2020, up from $200-$300 million in the year prior, according to a report by The Information. (Some of that is from in-app purchases, of course.)

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As TikTok has scaled its ad business, its ad prices have been steadily increasing, too. Bloomberg noted this summer it was jacking up home page takeover ads, its most valuable real estate, to more than $2 million on top days — like holidays. Reuters also noted that TikTok saw a 500% increase in the number of advertisers that were running campaigns in the U.S. from the start of 2020 to the end, though ad sales were still small compared with other major platforms. That continues to be the case in 2021. In fact, TikTok was not even broken out in eMarketer’s recent tabulation of U.S. ad revenues, where it’s instead lumped into an “Other” category with other, smaller social networks (like Tumblr), which, combined, are expected to reach $1.3 billion in 2021.

The company also this week announced a new milestone with 1 billion monthly active users worldwide.

Image Credits: eMarketer

Apple finally lets users review its own apps

Apple has put itself on equal footing with its rivals by allowing users to rate and review its first-party apps that are available for download in its App Store. That means users can now leave reviews for built-in apps like Mail, Music, News, Stocks and Calculator and others. Some apps are holding up better than others. News is sitting at 2.5 stars as users complain about ads, even in the paid version, personalization elements, nags to buy Apple News+ and more. Podcasts has just 2 stars, Apple Music has 3.5 stars. Fitness is doing well with 5 stars, and Wallet app has a solid 4.

The change likely came about due to increased regulatory scrutiny over the App Store, which critics argue gives Apple an unfair advantage over its competition. That could have included not displaying user sentiment and feedback about Apple’s own apps.

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Microsoft Windows store opens to third-party storefront; your move, Apple?

Remember when Apple last year argued that its commission rate wasn’t so high because the wider market for apps and games had already determined that 70/30 was a standard split? At the time, it pointed to other major app stores’ policies, including the Amazon Appstore, Galaxy Store and Microsoft Store as points of comparison with its own App Store. (See below)

Image Credits: Analysis Group

Well, Apple would probably appreciate it if everyone would look away from those app stores now. And particularly don’t look too closely at what the updated Microsoft Store is doing!

See also  TikTok Announces New Partnership with LiveRamp to Help Advertisers Better Target their ...

This June, the Microsoft Store updated its revenue share terms and policies to offer more favorable terms. App developers using Microsoft’s payments platform will now see an 85/15 revenue share, while game developers will see an 88/12 split as of August 1. More importantly, (non-game) app developers are allowed to use third-party payment processors in their own apps and retain 100% of the revenue.

This week, the Microsoft Store announced it will allow third-party app store apps as well. The company says it will make third-party storefront apps discoverable in the Microsoft Store on Windows, including Amazon and Epic Games, over the next few months. There is no requirement for these stores to also list their apps and games inside the Microsoft Store, if they choose to go this route. And they can use their own payment processors and keep the revenues.

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While being presented as a major win for an open ecosystem, the reality from a consumer’s perspective is that this doesn’t change much. You could always download third-party apps and third-party app stores, like the Epic Games Store, on Windows devices.

Image Credits: Microsoft

But in the broader regulatory environment, it’s a deft move. It immediately reduces the potential regularity scrutiny that could have landed on Microsoft — after all, the company is still tapping into the revenue streams for the apps and games it hosts, in some cases. And it would like that to continue! However, now Microsoft will be able to say developers on its platform have choices — they can distribute their apps with their own payment mechanisms and they can package their games into storefronts to avoid commissions, too.

This, in turn, will point the finger back at Apple and Google as being the platforms that are being slow to catch up with where the market is headed. And it could potentially keep Microsoft’s name out of any forthcoming legal battles or new app store legislation. In the meantime, Microsoft’s expanded and redesigned store — which will include storefront apps, PWAs and alternative browsers, too — has a better shot at becoming a place where users actually want to shop.

The question of third-party storefronts has been a longtime point of contention between Epic Games and Apple — the gaming company wants to offer its own distribution system from within the App Store to reach iOS users and retain the revenue it generates. But this issue extends further back than Apple’s latest fight with Epic. Apple has banned third-party app store apps for years, as they had been used in the past as a way to artificially inflate app store rankings. The storefront apps claimed that all they offered was another way to discover new apps, of course. But even that was a threat. Apple has always wanted to own discovery — and the ad dollars that accompany paid discovery, too.

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While anyone who understands app ecosystems knows that a PC platform like Windows is not at all a direct comparison to a closed ecosystem like iOS and the App Store, it was Apple itself that had listed Microsoft, among others, as points of comparison. Apple said “everyone else was doing x,” so it should too, when it came to commissions. Now the company will have to hope that regulators can pick up on the nuances between a Windows app store and its own.

Apple Updates

  • Some users are reporting CarPlay issues with iOS 15 and iPhone 13, which is leading CarPlay to suddenly crash whenever someone tries to play music through Apple Music or third-party apps, like Spotify. This is a pretty serious complaint, with users filling online forums with their issues. Such a bug would be acceptable in a beta release, but in a public build it’s definitely not.
  • The latest iOS 15.1 beta fixes the “Unlock with Apple Watch” bug which was preventing users from unlocking their iPhone 13 with their Apple Watch.
  • Apple reminded developers to get ready for the iPad mini’s new display. The company said if developers were following best practices with Auto Layout and size classes, their app’s interface will dynamically adapt to the new dimensions. If, however, they added UIRequiresFullScreen=YES to the app’s Info.plist in order to keep your app full screen during multitasking, they’ll instead need to recompile with Xcode 13 and the SDK for iPadOS 15 to take advantage of the full screen size.

Android Updates

  • Google announced the return of the #AndroidDevSummit, which is now taking place October 27-28. The event will detail the latest updates in Android development directly from the Android team, and will give developers the ability to connect with other developers around the world.
  • Google published a post to answer developers’ top questions it has received about the new Android Game Development Kit.

E-commerce & Food Delivery

  • Food delivery app Deliveroo entered the grocery delivery market with a new service, Hop, that will now deliver fresh food and other grocery items to customers in just 10 minutes. The service is the result of a partnership with the British supermarket chain Morrisons.

Augmented Reality

  • Snap and WPP partner on augmented reality, with The AR Lab. The partnership aims to help brands use AR to build immersive consumer experiences, including e-commerce experiences.

Fintech

  • Robinhood partners with Snap to bring its short-form “Snacks” videos to Snapchat’s Discover section twice per week. Snacks aim to offer easily digestible and engaging financial news and education. Snacks will also roll out to a subset of Robinhood customers in its own app soon.
  • Google is killing its plans for its mobile banking service Plex, The WSJ reported. The service worked in partnership with traditional banks like Citigroup and smaller credit unions, and worked with Google Pay.

Social

  • Instagram announced it’s “pausing” a planned version of the social media software aimed at children younger than 13. The news of the pause followed critical reporting by The Wall Street Journal, which revealed Facebook’s internal research where the company was looking into data indicating the social media app caused anxiety and mental health issues in teenaged girls.
  • Facebook was grilled in Congress over how its apps impact teens’ mental health. The hearing came in the wake of The WSJ’s release of the “Facebook Files,” leaked internal research that indicated the company has been aware of the negative impacts of its form of social media on teens. Senator Blumenthal said his staff tested the issue by creating an account pretending to be a 13-year-old girl and was pointed to accounts featuring extreme dieting, eating disorders and self-harm. But the highlight of the hearing may have been when he asked Instagram to end the “finsta,” clearly having no idea what that meant.
  • TikTok settled its lawsuit with the voice actress who was the app’s original text-to-speech voice. The actress said TikTok used her voice without permission. TikTok has since switched to a new voice.
  • TikTok announced its first NFT drop. The company is leveraging content from some top creators, including Lil Nas X, Grimes, Bella Poarch, Rudy Willingham and Gary Vaynerchuk who will release one-of-one and limited edition NFTs. The drop appears to be more of an experiment with the NFT market, rather than a start of a larger initiative for the time being.

Messaging

  • Messenger rolls out cross-app group chats, allowing Facebook Messenger users and Instagram users to join chats together. Other new additions include polls in Instagram DMs and a group typing feature for group DMs (which shows you which friends are typing, regardless of the app they’re using). Instagram users will also be able to use Messenger’s Watch Together feature to view Instagram posts like Reels and IGTV videos at the same time.
  • Google’s Gboard is ditching its “Minis.” The selfie-based stickers were Google’s attempt to offer its own Bitmoji or Memoji type of feature, but the feature must have demonstrated low usage as it’s now being killed.
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Streaming & Entertainment

Image Credits: Clubhouse

  • Clubhouse adds clips and replays for asynchronous listening, better search and spatial audio for Android. The biggest news here is that Clubhouse can now be used to record shows for use as podcasts, something Twitter said it was also bringing to Spaces.
  • Spotify rolls out listener polls and Q&As to all creators through its podcast creation app, Anchor. When the podcast is published on Spotify, the polls and Q&As will appear at the bottom of the podcast’s episode page on the Spotify mobile app, both iOS and Android. Listeners can then follow the prompt to respond to the poll or Q&A in the app.
  • A fix for a bug with Spotify that appears to be draining the iPhone battery on iOS 15 is being fixed, the company said. In the meantime, Spotify suggested disabling Background App Refresh, under Settings -> General -> Background App Refresh.
  • Disney+ has topped $1.5 billion in worldwide consumer spending on its mobile app, reports Sensor Tower.

Gaming

Image Credits: Netflix

  • Netflix launched three new casual mobile games in Poland, Italy and Spain as a members-only perk. “Card Blast” is licensed from U.S.-based Rogue Games, while “Shooting Hoops” and “Teeter Up” come from Canadian developer Frosty Pop. They joined the other “Stranger Things” games Netflix licensed from BonusXP. The new titles will be made available through a new “Games” tab inside the Netflix app, which directs members to the games’ listings on the Google Play Store. Here, they’ll download and install the game, then use their Netflix credentials to begin playing. The company also acquired gaming studio Night School Studio, makers of Oxenfree.
  • BlueStacks launched a cloud gaming service called BlueStack X that offers free streaming of Android mobile games across the web, iOS, Android, Mac, PC and Linux. The service uses its now.gg hybrid cloud technology, combined with Amazon’s AWS Graviton, and offloads some of the compute and graphics rendering to local devices.
  • Epic Games is making its parent verification system available for free. The system, which helps parents give their consent so kids under the age of 13 can play games, was acquired as part of Epic’s purchase of kid tech startup SuperAwesome. The tech is used in a number of popular games like Fortnite and Pokémon GO.
  • Tencent’s “Honor of Kings” has topped $10 billion in player spending since its launch in 2015, setting a new record for mobile games, according to Sensor Tower data. The game made more than $2 billion in 2021 alone.

Health & Fitness

  • The proof-of-vaccination app Portpass has exposed personal information, including the driver licenses, of hundreds of thousands of users. CBC News received a tip that user profiles on the app’s website were publicly accessible, but verified that email addresses, names, blood types, phone numbers, birthdays, as well as photos of identification like driver licenses and passports can easily be viewed.

Travel & Transportation

Image Credits: App Annie

  • Uber, Booking.com, Google Maps and Waze dominate summer travel apps by worldwide downloads. Google Maps was the most downloaded travel and navigation app (based on the three months ending July 31, 2021). Uber was the second-most downloaded app and No. 1 in monthly active users worldwide.

Utilities

Image Credits: Apple

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  • Apple Maps rolled out its 3D maps to more cities, including London, LA, New York and San Francisco. The experience, launching with iOS 15, follows several years of investment in Apple’s mapping platform to make the app more competitive. With 3D maps, Apple Maps users will be able to see more details for areas across the city, including their neighborhoods, commercial districts, marinas, buildings and more, along with elevation details, new road labels and even custom-designed landmarks — like Coit Tower in San Francisco, Dodger Stadium in LA, the Statue of Liberty in NYC and Royal Albert Hall in London.
  • Google Maps is adding a wildfire layer to its apps that, when turned on, will display nearby fires marked on the map. Tapping one will bring up its live outline as of an hour or so ago. The app is also expanding a tool for calculating tree canopy cover in cities and further automating virtual address creation with Plus Codes.
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Productivity

Image Credits: Apple

  • Apple gave its iWork suite a notable update. One of the standout features is the addition of a live video feature in Keynote, which lets you place a live camera view or screen capture view as video objects on a slide. These live video objects can be resized or styled with masks, frames, drop shadows and reflections. Users can also connect multiple external cameras for more interactive demos using different camera angles. Other new features include an optimized mobile experience for Pages; support for Pivot Tables and Radar charts (a new chart type that makes it easy to visually compare multiple variables) in Numbers; and support for new translation features across the suite of apps.
  • Yahoo is developing a new calendar app called Day, with help from Jeremy Le Van — who co-founded the popular calendaring app, Sunrise, which sold to Microsoft for over $100 million.

Government & Policy

  • South Korea tells Apple and Google to turn in their compliance plans with the country’s new app stores law by mid-October. The law now bans app store operators from forcing developers to use their own payment systems — something that’s at the heart of the Epic-Apple lawsuit in the U.S.
  • Google blasted EU antitrust regulators for ignoring Apple when it launched a bid to get the European Commission to annul the €4.34-billion ($5.1 billion) fine related to the anti-competitive nature of its Android OS.
  • A new payments rule in India will impact tech companies, including Apple, Google and others. The Reserve Bank of India’s new directive requires banks, financial institutions and payment gateways to obtain additional approval for auto-renewables transactions worth over 5,000 Indian rupees ($67) from users by conducting notifications, e-mandates and Additional Factors of Authentication (AFA). Tech companies have been warning customers and partners in India to expect a surge in declined transactions.

Security & Privacy

  • A new Android malware called GriftHorse is believed to have infected more than 10 million Android devices across 70+ countries. The malware subscribes users to premium SMS services, generating between $1.5 million to $4 million per month.
  • Mozilla previewed new features to Firefox on Android that will help protect users’ passwords from hackers and breaches. The features will allow users to create, use, autofill and safely unlock passwords with a fingerprint or face. The features will be rolled out with the Firefox 93 update on Tuesday, October 5th.

🤝  Netflix acquired its first gaming studio with the purchase of Night School Studio, the independent game developer known for narrative-driven titles like Oxenfree, which produces games for both mobile and consoles. The acquisition came less than a day after Netflix launched three new casual mobile games in Poland, Italy and Spain, and a month after it released two games that were tie-ins to the “Stranger Things” series.

🤝  French mobile gaming company Voodoo acquired Beach Bum, a game studio based in Israel that specializes in tabletop and card games. Deal terms were not disclosed but sources say the price could be a few hundred million. Beach Bum has generated $70 million in revenue over the past 12 months.

💰 PSPDFKIT, which offers software that allows developers to enable document collaboration, signing, markup and more, in their own apps for web and mobile, raised €100 million ($116 million) from Insight Partners to continue to grow its business. The company’s tech is now approaching 1 billion users in 150 countries.

💰 Stockholm-based insurance tech startup Hedvig, which offers property, travel and accident insurance for younger adults, raised $45 million in Series B funding led by Anthemis. The company has around 70,000 customers for its app, available on iOS and Android.

💰 Fintech app Betterment raised an additional $160 million, including a $100 million credit facility and a $60 million Series F equity round led by venture capital firm Treasury. The company, which now has around 700,000 clients and $32 billion under management, is valued at nearly $1.3 billion.

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Pearl: Wellness Reminders

Image Credits: Cephalopod Studio LLC

I love that the App Store still supports (at least, for now) small, single-purpose indie apps like Pearl. The app is great if you’re the kind of person who gets energized by motivational quotes or just needs to be reminded to chill, be calm, breathe, work toward your goals or anything else. With Pearl, you can turn Apple’s push notification system from a thing of annoyance into a thing that brings hope and purpose. The app lets you add images to motivational quotes or any other message of your choosing to create custom push notifications that will appear randomly throughout your day. Mac, iPhone and iPad are supported. Free download with a $1.99 one-time in-app purchase for multiple notifications.

Quiver Quantitative 

Image Credits: Quiver Quantitative

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Have you ever wondered which politicians own a stock you’re looking into? Or do you wish you could see what the WSB folks were into without having to constantly check in with that community? Maybe you like to read Reddit for crypto ideas? In other words, if “alternative data” is your thing, Quiver Quantitivative is a destination that makes it easier to access, by pulling from public records and message boards and putting it all in one place. While we can’t recommend making investment decisions off alternative data, as a research tool, the Quiver Quantitative app is an interesting find. The app was updated this week with a new dashboard tracking stock trading by U.S. Representatives, a new dashboard tracking off-exchange trading and a new dashboard tracking Reddit cryptocurrency discussions.

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TikTok Expands Creator Tipping and Video Gifts, Providing More Monetization and Marketing Options

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TikTok continues to expand its creator monetization tools with the addition of video tipping and virtual gifts for regular uploads, in addition to live-streams in the app.

To be clear, live tipping and digital gifts have been available for selected live-stream creators via its Creator Next program since last year. This new expansion brings the same functionality to regular TikTok videos, which will add another way for users to generate direct income from their TikTok videos.

TikTok Creator Next

As you can see in these screenshots, shared by social media expert Matt Navarra (via Dan Schenker), to be eligible for the new Creator Next program, users will need to have at least 1,000 followers, and will need to have generated more than 1,000 video views in the previous 30 days.

Though TikTok does note that these requirements vary by region – TechCrunch has reported that creators need to have at least 100k followers to qualify in some cases.

As explained by TikTok:

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The new Tips feature allows people to directly show gratitude to creators for their content, much like recognizing exceptional service or giving a standing ovation. As is standard for tipping in person, with Tips creators will receive 100% of the tip value.”

Tip payments will be processed by Stripe, with creators required to sign up to manage their earnings in the app.

“With Video Gifts, also available today, creators can now collect Diamonds not only by going LIVE but also by posting videos. This also gives people an all-new way to interact and engage with content they love.”

TikTok live gifts

That will provide expanded capacity to generate real money from posting, without having to go live, which will open new doors to many TikTok creators.

In addition to this, TikTok’s also lowering the threshold for those who can list their profiles in its Creator Marketplace brand collaboration platform, which enables businesses to find TikTok influencers to partner with on in-app campaigns.

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TikTok Creator marketplace

Up till now, creators have required 100k followers to qualify for these listings, but now, TikTok is reducing that number to 10k, which will further expand available opportunities for both users and brands.

That could make it much easier to find relevant creators to partner with, in a lot more niches, which will add more considerations into your TikTok posting and engagement process.

As noted, these are the latest in TikTok’s broader efforts to provide comparable monetization opportunities, in order to keep its top stars posting to the platform, as opposed to drifting off to YouTube or Instagram instead, which have more established monetization systems.

The advantage that other apps have in this respect is that longer videos can include pre-roll and mid-roll ads, facilitating direct monetization, which TikTok can’t utilize given the shorter nature of its clips. As such, it needs to look to alternate funding methods, which will also include eCommerce listings, with direct product displays now the primary source of income for the Chinese version of the app.

The platform’s continued growth facilitates even more opportunities in this respect, with more brands looking to tap into the various opportunities of the platform, and partner with creators to maximize their presence.

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How popular, and valuable, direct tipping and gifting can be is more variable, as some dedicated fan bases will pay, while others will see no reason to donate for what they can already access for free.

But even so, it adds more opportunity, and the lower thresholds for monetization will see many more opportunities across the board in the app.

See also  Harrisburg house with underground cave tied to history goes viral on TikTok
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Shorter Videos Are In Demand. Here’s How Different Social Media Platforms Are Reacting.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With TikTok and Instagram Reels slowly conquering social media marketing, there’s no mistake: Short videos are in demand.

The average length for most, if not all, business videos is only six minutes long. And that number is set to decrease as consumers look for shorter videos.

With that in mind, why are short videos in demand? What platforms are implementing short-form videos the best? And most importantly, how can they benefit your business?

TikTok – Changing consumerism, one video at a time

Where shorter videos are concerned, TikTok has always led the industry. What started as a merger with Musical.ly quickly became one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. And what made it so famous? The same concept that made Vine viral short videos.

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TikTok has over 1 billion active users, twice as many as Snapchat and Pinterest. For reference, Twitter only has 397 million users. With such a massive user-base, the only thing keeping the platform alive are the 15-second-long videos.

But why are short videos so popular? Simple – people don’t have time on their hands. When they open apps like TikTok and Instagram, they’re more likely to spend time watching shorter videos.  And businesses are already catching up.

The impact of Instagram Reels

With the invention of Stories by Snapchat, other platforms like Instagram caught up on short videos. Instagram Reels presents adults and young users with a more straightforward way to tell others about their day. It employs quick photos and videos that are only available for 24 hours instead of being permanently posted. Now engagement is encouraged, especially after Instagram included the “Swipe” option. This has allowed e-commerce sites to both advertise their products and make instant messaging easier.

See also  Cincinnati menswear store goes viral on TikTok

Youtube has joined the bandwagon

While YouTube is more or less a platform for long-form videos, its recent update offers shorter vertical videos. Known as YouTube Shorts, the feature allows creators to engage with their audience in under 60 seconds.

But YouTube has another trick up its sleeve, and this one is mainly towards advertisers. It is “YouTube TrueView” and is the primary advertising technology for YouTube. Through this, advertisers can promote long or short videos, with some being skippable after five seconds.

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However, since most people are unlikely to click on longer ads, YouTube now offers 6-second non-skippable ads. The clickthrough rate for shorter 15 and 30-second ads is around 70%, a whopping number for any business.

It’s time to say goodbye to IGTV

With Instagram’s IGTV coming off as less captivating than its Reels and video posts, it has decided to remove IGTV. Instead, it has a separate section for videos. These videos will appear on a person’s profile and can be viewed from the Instagram app.

The change they made here is that videos posted to the Instagram feed can be up to 60 minutes long. The exact reason for doing this is not confirmed. But it seems like Instagram wants a seamless platform where short and long videos co-exist.

This makes long videos more accessible to users using the Instagram app. And it helps promote video tutorials that people typically do not consume on social media apps.

Another significant change is that Instagram videos that are longer can be monetized, a feature not available on Reels. This significantly shifts the focus towards creators who don’t sell a service and want to gain cash through Instagram.

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Does this mean long-form videos are out of the picture?

With short-form videos becoming more popular among consumers, will long-form videos die out? While it’s highly recommended for any business to create videos as short as possible, the answer isn’t that black and white.

See also  Harrisburg house with underground cave tied to history goes viral on TikTok

While short-form videos will drive traffic from new users, long-form videos are better for brand loyalty. Shorter videos will get more engagement and show up on new users’ feeds. But longer videos will be the backbone of your business.

Of course, that depends on what service you’re offering. Ecommerce companies will want to direct their attention towards short-form videos and ads. However, long-form videos are better suited for when you want to go in-depth about product details. That is, of course, only after you’ve grabbed the user’s attention with a short-form video.

Companies that offer webinars will benefit from longer videos. And so will companies that post interviews. However, promos and how-to videos should remain under a minute or two, depending on how long the tutorial needs to be.

Essentially, ask yourself two questions:

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  • First, can the video content be summarized in a short-form video?
  • Do you want to merely catch the attention of the consumer or develop brand loyalty?

The correct formula is neither short nor long, but a mix of both.

What this all means for an entrepreneur

Short-form videos hold substantial market value, especially for new businesses. Take the example of the Dollar Shave Club. What started as a viral video on YouTube grew to become a behemoth of a brand.

And that’s not where the examples end. There are countless success stories like this one that prove the value of short videos.

Short videos have a higher clickthrough rate, and for entrepreneurs, that’s all you need. Short videos are of particular interest to people with ecommerce businesses. For example, 84% of people say they are more compelled to buy a product by watching a video. And the statistics keep on showing a friendlier short-video market.

See also  Russian court fines Tiktok 1.5 mln roubles for not deleting banned content

There is no doubt that short-form videos are gradually creeping up the graph. And while long-form videos are great for information and brand loyalty, shorter videos are better for PR.

This begs one last question: Are videos beneficial for you? The answer is – yes!

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How to Make a TikTok Video: Beginners Start Here

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Let’s face it, TikTok is the moment.

And with 1 billion monthly active users, it’s time to join the action and get your brand out there to a wider audience!

Want to learn how to make a TikTok Video but don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! We broke down all the steps and tools you’ll need to make a viral-worthy first video and make sure your debut is anything but cringe.

Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.

How to create a TikTok account

First things first, you’ll need to create a TikTok account.

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There are different ways to sign up for one: you can use your phone number, email address or social media account. Here’s how to do it using your phone number.

1. Download TikTok from Google Play or the App Store.

2. Open the TikTok App on your iPhone or Android.

3. Click the “Me” or “Profile” icon at the bottom-right of your screen.

profile icon on TikTok

4. Choose a method to sign up (we’re choosing “use phone or email”)

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sign up for TikTok using phone or email

5. Enter your birth date and phone number (make sure this is accurate because it’s how you’ll retrieve passwords and confirm your account).

enter birthday when signing up on TikTok

6. Enter the 6-digit code sent to that phone number (see, told ya!)

7. You did it! Celebrate by scrolling TikTok for too many hours.

How to make a TikTok video

Here’s how to get started on your very first TikTok video. Luckily for you, it’s way easier than learning this TikTok Shuffle dance.

1. Hit the + sign at the bottom of your screen.

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2. You can upload photos and videos from your phone’s library or make a video directly using the TikTok camera.

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3. If recording directly, hit the Record button at the bottom of the screen. Hit it again when you’re done recording. The default video mode is “Quick” which is for 15 second videos but you can switch it to “Camera” for more editing options and longer videos (15s, 60s and 3 mins), or “Templates” to create a specific style of video.

record button on the bottom of TikTok screen

4. Tap the check mark when you’re done shooting all your footage.

tap checkmark after shooting footage

5. Make any edits or changes on the post page. All your edits are on the right sidebar of the screen. Also, add music or sounds by hitting “Add sound” at the top of the screen.

add sound on TikTok

6. Post that video and share it everywhere! Make sure to include a description with some hashtags so it finds its way to your audience.

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post video on TikTok with description

How to make a TikTok with multiple videos

Instead of taking one long video, why not capture shorter videos and edit them together to make your TikTok video? Here’s how to do that (and you don’t need a film degree).

1. Hit that “+” sign to start your video

2. You can either shoot multiple videos directly by hitting that record button after each clip, building up your video with different shots. Or, you can hit the “Upload” button next to the record button and add multiple videos and photos you have stored on your phone.

3. Select all your media and tap Next.

4. You can now sync sound across your videos and make adjustments (or try “Auto sync” which will do the syncing up for you.)

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sync sound on TikTok

automatically sync clips

5. Hit Next when done. You’ll be brought to a preview screen where you can further add sounds, more effects, text, and stickers.

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hit next and add suggested sounds

6. Tap Next when you’re done editing your video and proceed to the Post screen.

7. Remember to throw in a description and some hashtags and bingo-bango-bongo you’re the Steven Spielberg of TikTok!

5 things to know before creating your first TikTok

TikTok style is less polished than other types of video

Don’t worry about being too precious with your videos. On TikTok, videos are meant to be candid, and natural—and they should show off your personality. Things like perfect edits, smooth transitions or flawless lighting shouldn’t get in the way of your idea and your own charisma.

Sure, there are lots of editing options, effects and filters to choose from (what the heck is the difference between B3 and G4 filters anyways?) but the real star is you —or, at least all 6 of these friends belting out Lady Gaga for the #caughtinabadromance challenge at this bachelorette. If that’s not candid, I don’t know what is.

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@ariellehartford

That finger stole the show! 😂😂😂 #bachelorettetrip #gatlinburg #caughtinabadromamce

♬ original sound – Arielle Hartford

You don’t have to dance

Good news! You don’t have to spend 2 hours trying to perfect the LaLisa dance tutorial to make sure your video stands out (unless you want to, then no judgment over here!).

There are so many different ways to engage your followers that don’t involve you popping and locking in your living room in front of a ring light (but again, no judgement if you do, except maybe from your pet and their adorable judging eyes).

You also don’t have to attempt whatever this is.

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@sdavidrodriguez

♬ Grab Da Wall & Rock Da Boat – 504 Boyz & Weebie

Hashtags can help more people see your post

It’s no secret a good hashtag can go a long way on TikTok. Strategic use of hashtags will help people find your videos who don’t already follow you, and maybe even see it on their For You Page (FYP).

Find the best hashtags to grow your views and help get your content recognized by the algorithm. You worked so hard on it, might as well show it off to as many people as possible.

The right song can go a long way

Attaching a trending song to your video or audio from a popular TikTok video can help it get seen by more people. This app has a big music following (lots of new songs are intentionally promoted through the app to help them climb the music charts) so lassoing your video to one of these shooting stars is only going to help you get on more FYP and in front of new audiences.

@suzyjonesmusic

♬ original sound – Suzy Jones

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Your greatest asset is you

Don’t overthink it, just come up with a simple idea and let your personality shine through. The sense of intimacy and community that TikTok brings is why people love this app—it feels personal.

Even if you’re doing a TikTok challenge or trend that’s popular, the thing that will make you stand out is your unique take on it. It’s not about gimmicks but about putting your best self out there. Nothing should feel too staged or self-aware (that’s cringe territory). Pretend your audience are your good friends and approach it with that energy!

@janikon_No, I can’t re-record this, I’m laughing too hard #fyp♬ original sound – Stu (he/him)

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