August is traditionally a busy month for the games industry due to one important event – Gamescom. This year, the event was entirely virtual, so meetings and networking sessions were held in Zoom calls, while game announcements were made during livestreams rather than on-stage.
It was a busy month in marketing and social media as well, as the latest buzzword ‘metaverse’ continued to work its way into the business lexicon. Here, we’re once again diving into the news headlines that made us pause for thought this month.
TikTok introduces Stories
Social media firms have no qualms about borrowing features from one another – TikTok itself served as the inspiration for Instagram’s Reels and general pivot to video – but now TikTok is looking to expand its services with one of the most widely adopted features across social media – Stories. Stories are short videos that users can post which are deleted after 24 hours, allowing users to quickly share a snapshot of their lives. Stories originated on Snapchat and have since been adopted on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, although Twitter removed their story function – called Fleets – at the start of August.
These limited-time videos now appear in a slide-over sidebar, but the feature has only been rolled out to a select few users. On other apps, particularly Instagram, Stories provide a quick and easy way for brands to share content and links, and is often more visible to users than a regular post. Stories also provide a robust advertising opportunity, allowing ads in video or still image formats. The question is – will users respond to TikTok Stories when so many other apps offer the same service? Time will tell.
Instagram removes swipe-up on Stories
Speaking of Stories, Instagram has made a tweak to the way its ads work by taking away the ‘swipe-up’ function. The function allowed verified users with over 10,000 followers to provide links within Stories, which was often used to link to products or external sites. The function has been replaced with a link sticker and will still only be available to the limited pool of verified users.
It’s a small change, but one that will have a big impact on advertisers and brands. Users can change the appearance of the link, changing its size and position. Followers will now be able to react and reply to posts with links in them – something that wasn’t possible with the swipe-up function.
Mobile gamers spend $1.7bn per week
While all of gaming had a significant boost in response to the pandemic, the mobile sector seems to have soared to new heights and is showing no signs of coming down. Mobile data firm App Annie reported this month that, in the first half of 2021, mobile gamers spent a whopping $1.7 billion per week on iOS and Google Play games per week. The staggering figure represents a 24% year-on-year increase and a 40% rise from pre-pandemic numbers. The top games users spent in were Roblox, Genshin Impact, and Honor of Kings.
Snapchat launches market research tool
Life just got a little easier for marketers who use Snapchat with the launch of a new market research tool made specifically for the app. Snapchat Trends allows marketers to research keywords and terms based on volume of mentions in the app.
The data is gathered from public Stories and My Stories that have been viewed by a large group of people, providing a new level of visibility on trends that are emerging in the app. The tool also allows users to view snaps related to their chosen terms, or browse top trends in their area. It’s not a huge innovation – Pinterest already implemented a similar function based on Google Trends – but it will certainly make marketer’s research tasks a lot smoother and quicker, and that’s a good thing in our books.