We bring you October’s latest developments in the world of social media and digital marketing so you can stay at the cutting-edge of the industry.
1. Cultural Recovery Fund
Cultural institutions across the UK have been celebrating their awards on social media. Over £1.57 billion is being provided to venues, festivals, museums and more through the Cultural Recovery Fund. Whilst not every business was fortunate enough to receive a grant, it’s certainly a step forward for the live events industry. This funding provides a lifeline to venues like Electric Brixton, who cannot open under current guidelines.
Our advice to anyone who’s received the grant is to not neglect your communications strategy. Maintaining a clear voice in these ever-changing times is more important than ever. If you would like to learn more, click here.
With the emergence of a 2nd wave, it’s unlikely we’ll see nightclubs and venues opening any time soon. With winter fast approaching, outdoor shows are becoming less and less feasible. What these cultural institutions sorely need now is a roadmap that guides the path towards re-opening.If you’re a DJ, Performer or another form of ‘creative practitioner’, you can apply for grants of up to £10,000 through Arts Council England. The fight to make the voice of the live events industry heard continues. To find out how to get involved, check out the #WeMakeEvents movement.
2. Instagram Turns 10
Earlier this month saw the 10th anniversary of Instagram. Starting off with just 25k users on its first day, the photo-sharing app now has over 1 billion registered accounts. This makes it the 2nd-largest social media platform in the world, after parent company Facebook (2.6 billion).
Instagram has seen many developments over the years, but none more pivotal than Instagram Stories – over 500 million people use the feature every day. If you’d like to learn more about what makes the stories format so popular, read our blog piece. The platform continues to evolve even after 10 years, the biggest recent addition being Instagram Reels.
To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Instagram sneakily added the ability to change your app icon:
Alongside this comes some significant changes in social commerce. For example, you can now tag products directly in ads:
In theory, this means a customer could buy advertised products without ever having to leave Instagram. Similarly in IGTV and Reels you can now provide mid-video shopping links:
Instagram is keen to push social commerce as it provides new revenue streams whilst also providing users with a fun way to shop. E-commerce businesses can potentially streamline their sales funnel by cutting out their website from the customer journey.
3. WhatsApp Announces New Business Features
Much like with Instagram, Facebook is keen to monetise WhatsApp, which has a staggering 2 billion users. As a messaging app rather than a social media, they’ve so far struggled to find a revenue stream that doesn’t infringe on users’ privacy. WhatsApp Status, its long-forgotten stories feature, never replicated the success of IG Stories.
Instead, WhatsApp is focusing on expanding its in-app shopping options, giving brands new tools for managing their interactions to maximise its business potential. This is a sensible move, seeing as 175 million people message businesses on WhatsApp a day.
WhatsApp did hint in this blog post that they’ll be charging businesses to use the ‘advanced’ features, without specifying what these are. They’ll most like take commission from any sale that happens within the app.
Regardless, this move adds another string to the bow of e-commerce businesses. It’s clear that Facebook believes the future of shopping online lies within social media and messaging apps, rather than on websites. We’ll be exploring this idea in a future blog piece, so stay tuned!
4. Zoom Launches Paid Events Platform
It’s hard to think of an online service that defines 2020 more than Zoom. The video-calling software has become the go-to for businesses across the globe, with over 300 million daily users. Even the E1MA team got in on the act, taking full advantage of its custom background feature:
Now it seems Zoom is officially moving into the live-streaming space by introducing new event discovery and monetisation features.
“OnZoom is a comprehensive solution for paid Zoom users to create, host, and monetise events like fitness classes, concerts, stand-up or improv shows, and music lessons on the Zoom Meetings platform.”
OnZoom will support events with up to 1,000 virtual attendees. It includes its own ticketing system, so tickets can be sold without the need for a third-party. Alongside this update comes enhanced security features such as end-to-end encryption, so users have the safest online experience possible.
This can only be good news for businesses and creators. The popularity of live-streaming exploded following the initial lockdown in March and April. They saw a decline in viewership over the summer months, but as winter draws near and restrictions tighten, we’ll probably see a resurgence.
This could also be useful to musicians and DJs. Other streaming services such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitch are not only difficult to monetise, but have often stringent rules around copyright usage. Aside from this, it raises an important question: are consumers willing to pay for live-streams they previously received for free?
5. Microsoft Release ‘Clarity’, a Free Website Checker Tool
It’s been in beta since 2018, but Microsoft finally announced the general release of Microsoft Clarity yesterday. In case you’re not familiar, Clarity is a free tool that lets you analyse user behaviour on your website. It provides a wealth of data including heatmaps, where people click and more.
Presentation-wise, it has a simple, Google Analytics-style dashboard. This tool has major potential for e-commerce businesses who are looking to improve the user experience of their website. Clarity lets you observe where customers are entering from and dropping off – invaluable information that can be used to optimise your website and increase conversions.
We share tons of excellent social media updates on our Twitter (@E1MediaAgency) so make sure to follow!