Facebook’s plan to take on Musical.ly may involve more than just its own take on a lip syncing feature.
They’re also working on “Talent Show,” which would allow users to compete by singing songs then submitting their audition.
The feature isn’t live, but was rather an uncover in the Facebook’s code by Jane Wong.
Wong has a history of uncovering yet-to-launch features or those still in testing through the use of reverse engineering tactics.
She’s spots things like Instagram’s first time-well-spent feature, Lyft’s bike program, and Instagram’s new ways of displaying IGTV videos.
In the case of “Talent Show,” Wong discovers an interface that allows users to pick songs, and then start recording themselves singing the track.
The app’s code also makes references to the feature as “Talent Show” and includes mentions of elements like “audition” and “stage.” The auditions load as videos, Wong notes.
How Is Facebook Benefiting From The Talent Show Feature?!
The development would offer Facebook another way to take advantage of its more recently acquired music licensing rights.
The company, starting last year, began forging deals with all the record labels – including the majors like Universal, Sony, and Warner, and several others, as well as the indies.
The deals mean Facebook won’t have to take down users’ videos with copyrighted music playing in the background, for starters. But the company also said it planned to leverage its rights to develop new “music-based” products going forward.
One of those is Lip Sync Live, an almost direct copy of the popular tween-and-teen lip syncing app Musical.ly, which today has 200+ million registered users and 60 million actives.
Like Musical.ly, Lip Sync Live – which is still in testing – a way to broadcast your lip sync recordings to friends.
Talent Show (assuming the code analysis is on point) seems to take a different angle.
Instead of lip syncing for fun, people are actually singing and competing. It’s similar to the newly launched app FameGame.
However, Wong notes that the feature may be restricted to Facebook Pages, similar to Facebook’s new trivia game show feature.
So, it may offer those partners who’re using Facebook to build out games on their own pages.
Also, Talent Show sources the music via the new Rights Manager, used by record labels to track copyrighted tracks’ usage on Facebook.
Over the years, Facebook has taken aim at any other social app that gathers a following and then reproduces its own version of the app’s key draw – as it did with Stories, Snapchat’s biggest differentiator.
It’s no surprise, then, that it now has Musical.ly in its sights, with regard to lip syncing.
And with the Talent Show feature, it may challenge YouTube as the place where new talent can be discovered, too.
Just days after Facebook’s stock dropped $123 billion in value, Twitter’s shares are also down nearly 20 percent.
The microblogging service recorded a drop of 1M monthly users in Q2, with 335M overall and 68M in the U.S.. International users stayed consistent, with U.S. numbers down from 69 million in the previous quarter.
Bloomberg reported that Twitter’s share price dropped by 17 percent in early trading following the earnings announcement.
The market seems spooked that Twitter has failed to grow in the U.S.. Indeed, one year ago it recorded 68 million users on home turf, and while it has grown its international presence by a fairly modest 3.5 percent over that period, there are doubts as to whether Twitter can increase its audience.
The company itself said it expects to see its monthly active user count drop by “mid-single-digit millions.”
Twitter’s Monthly Active Users
“When we suspend accounts, many of the removed accounts have already been excluded from MAU or DAU, either because the accounts were already inactive for more than one month at the time of suspension, or because they were caught at signup and were never included in MAU or DAU,” Twitter further explained in its release.
The company did say, though, that its work with SMS carriers and reallocation of resources, are the reasons why it is forecasting more user number declines.
While Twitter can (just about argue) that its daily user number grew by 11 percent in the quarter — a little higher than 10 percent in Q1 — the company doesn’t actually disclose this number.
The stock drop will be frustrating for executives because, in its favor, Twitter had a record quarter of profit. GAAP net income came in at $100 million with revenue climbing 24 percent year-on-year to reach $711 million. Adjusted EBITDA came in at $265 million — Twitter is predicting it will decline to $215-$235 million in the next quarter.
That profit was above analyst forecasts of $70 million but, following Facebook’s epic crash this week, investors want to see growth potential… and that means more users. Unfortunately, that’s Twitter’s Achilles heel.
There are barely more people checking Facebook every day compared to previous quarter.
Facebook is still growing, however, it’s clear that GDPR combined with a saturated market isn’t helping the company by any means.
This is why Facebook is trying to change the narrative.
For example, for the first time ever, Facebook shared a new “family of apps audience” metric.
There are 2.5 billion people using at least one of the company’s app — Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.
So it’s clear that Facebook thinks Instagram and its stories represent the future of the company.
But this is going to be bring some questions to life in then next few months as it’s unclear if Instagram can generate as much money as Facebook’s main app.
Measuring Facebook’s Losses
$123,400,000,000 is a big number. It’s hard to wrap the mind around how much this kind of money represents given the scale of these massive companies. As TechCrunch’s Jon Russell pointed out, bitcoin’s entire market capitalization is currently $141 billion. So it’s like nearly all bitcoins disappeared overnight.
Who would have thought Facebook could be more of substance than bitcoin?
Even if you compare it to significant tech companies, this is a huge loss.
For instance, Netflix is worth $158 billion right now. Twitter’s market cap is only $33 billion.
It’s like Facebook did away with nearly 4 Twitters in market cap overnight. And I’m not even talking about Snap, which is only worth $17 billion.
Innovating Facebook’s Business Model
Most people have been focused on Facebook’s losses for now. But now it’s time to look at Facebook’s business model and understand what’s causing this these losses to happen.
Facebook is one of those once-in-a-lifetime, incredible success stories.
It did become a massive business in just a few years, but it also has a dangerous business model.
Thousands of employees are looking for ways to collect more data. Business teams can then sell expensive ads because they’re perfectly targeted.
And the best way to optimize efficient ads is by making addictive products that consumers feel like they need.
If you spend more time looking at stories, you’re going to be exposed to more ads. Period.
That’s why Facebook optimizes for engagement. It gets us (users) outraged, we become sad, and we like and we share the post. This is how Facebook makes money.
2018 is a turning point for Facebook.
People will look back at this moment as an inflection point in the company’s trajectory. But it’s still unclear if Facebook has the answer to its structural issues.
As Instagram continues to evolve, online retailers are REALLY beginning to evolve with it. Ever since Instagram started allowing users to link shopping tags to their posts, some brands have been able to dramatically increase their traffic and sales.
One brand in particular, Natori, has increased its traffic by 1,416% by using Instagram shopping. I’m sorry, WHAT?!
Also, Native Union has increased its traffic by 2,666% by using Instagram shopping. Again.. WHAT?!
So what exactly is Instagram Shopping and how do you use them to increase your brands traffic and sales?
What Instagram Shopping Tags Do For Brands!
With over 800 million monthly active users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social apps, connecting hustling entrepreneurs, brands, and consumers.
The expansion Shopping Tags on Instagram, online retailers can tag their products in their posts.
Shoppable posts automatically provide links to corresponding product pages on your website so that customers can quickly add to cart and check out, or browse the remainder of your catalog.
With 9 shopping posts or more, businesses also get a persistent Shop tab on their Instagram business profile that allows customers to tap to view all products on a post.
5 Ways Your Brand Can Increase Sales Using Instagram Shopping Tags!
Step 1: Make sure your Instagram is set up correctly. This means:
Switch to a Business Profile
Update Any Business Info
Add an Email, Phone Number and Address
Connect Your Facebook Page / SHOP
Share Your Post
Step 2: Engagement is EVERYTHING!
To use the feature, brands need only to push their inventory to Facebook (you can make this visible or not to your Facebook audience).
Once your account is approved and you can post Instagram Shopping content, you’ll see an option to tag your products.
Once this is all setup and ready, your focus should be on engagement!
One question you need to ask yourself [or staff], is if your content is actually increasing engagement?
If you’re not seeing an increase in comments and likes, then it’s going to be difficult converting consumers to your website landing page.
It’s important to view IG engagement as a real way to boost your ROI and clicks to your brand’s website.
The bottom line is your engagement is about making real connections with your customers; connections that make them feel important to you and your brand.
A study was done with 30% of millennials who engage with brands on social media at least once a month. At the end, 71% of the participants said they’re more likely to buy from a brand after a positive social media experience.
So, when you get comments on your business profile, it’s VERY important to respond as quickly as possible.
It’s even MORE important that when you do reply, the responses are real and authentic. No copy / paste.
Step 3: Deploy Better Content Than Your Competitors
You can increase your sales using Instagram Shopping by 10x by deploying content that none of your competitors are
The key is getting and staying ahead of the curve because you’re giving your followers something that your competitors aren’t.
Step 4: Provide A Smooth, Enjoyable Customer Experience
Any highly successful sales funnel needs a solid end-to-end customer journey. It takes more than great content to get users to convert to your online store, so always put emphasis on your customer’s journey.
With Instagram Shopping, you’re allowing consumers to fluidly go from a random organic post in their feed, to learn more about the product, to then one simple click directly to the featured product in your online shop.
The skateboard company, Emerica, does an exceptional job of this by displaying their products and directing the customer to exactly what they are considering buying.
Step 5: Track Instagram Shopping Progress
Like any social marketing strategy, one final step should be tracking your progress and looking at how things can be improved.
The same goes for anyone using Instagram Shopping.
Luckily with SimilarWeb.com or Google Analytics, you can track your Instagram metrics.
It’ll also give you reports on how your posts are or ARE NOT helping drive your online sales.
As we become more connected to the brands we love, whether that be via a favorite influencer featuring a product or, from the brand itself, the winning benefit of this tool here is speed!
We can see an engaging post of a product we love, and within two clicks, buy it without ever leaving Instagram.
For any brand to find a winning tactic in a sea of competition and great content, reducing the steps a consumer has to make to go from interested to buying will come out on top.
And best of all, this tool is absolutely FREE! Now … go dominate!
When Tinder first launched in September of 2012, it started out as just a “swipe left or right.” Swiping left means you don’t think someone is appealing and swiping right means you do.
This changed the game, especially for those that may be shy or not confident enough to approach someone in public.
Over time, there have been other dating sites that have tried to compete with Tinder. Some of which are Bumble, the app that only allows the woman to make the first move, Zoosk and eHarmony.
The simplicity using Tinder, however, has been the reason that it’s been the more dominant dating site.
I mean, come on… it’s so easy to just swipe left or right whether you think someone’s “hot or not.”
Tinder Is Amplifying Their Swipe Game!
You know that verse in Miley Cyrus’ song, “We Can’t Stop” that goes, “We can’t stop, and we won’t stop”? Well, that’s exactly what dating app giant, Tinder, is doing right now with their newest feature, Tinder Loops.
And now with Tinder, we’ve got a new experience that’s really going to amplify someone’s swipe game. Tinder’s new two-second Loops, where you can take any video and create a loop from it.
Tinder has already tested Loops in countries like Canada and Sweden, but now they have added a few new markets.
These markets include Japan, United Kingdom, United States, France, Korea, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Kuwait, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.
Tinder also increased the number of images users can upload to nine, in order to make room for Loops without displacing original photos.
Given that Tinder has been testing Loops since April, they now have more data around how it’s been working for users.
For example, users who add a Loop to their profile saw that their average conversation length went up by 20%.
This new feature has also seemed to be very beneficial in Japan, which was launched there in June – certain users say they receive an average of 10% more right swipes if they have a Loop in their profile.
In the era of Instagram and Tinder, users have used pictures to represent themselves online.
But, with all the editing tools available, it also means those pictures aren’t always the most accurate display of personality or appearance.
So with Tinder Loops, these videos help give a new way for people to get to know the real, authentic person they’re chatting with.
Welp.. looks like online shopping is about to get even more expensive.
The U.S Supreme Court has announced that states can start requiring internet retailers to collect sales tax.
So what does this mean for you if you’re an E-Shop-A-Holic like us? Well, you might want to think about getting a second job! HA! Jk… but seriously.
Brick-And-Mortars Are Suffering!
The court’s 5-4 decision is based on the case of Wayfair v. South Dakota, which was a victory for brick-and-mortar businesses; these companies have long complained they are put at a disadvantage by having to charge sales taxes while many online competitors do not.
It was also a victory for states that have said that they are missing out on tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. Close to $40 billion in 2017 alone in lost tax revenue.
According to the New York Times, in the ruling, the court effectively overturned a system that it created back in 1992.
The court ruled in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota that the Constitution bars state’s from requiring businesses to collect sales tax unless they have a substantial connection to the state.
Also, just before the ruling, President Donald Trump tweeted (shown below) about Amazon saying they pay, “little or no taxes to state & local governments,” which was actually false information.
In 2017, Wayfair already collected sales tax on approximately 80% of its orders placed in the United States while Amazon collected sales tax in the 45 states that have already been placing orders through them online.
Not Every Ecomm Store Has To Charge Sales Tax!
In addition to the court’s ruling, it was stated that not all online retailers are required to collect sales tax.
For example, in 2015, South Dakota enacted a law requiring all e-commerce merchants to collect a 4.5% sales tax if they have generated more than $100,000 in annual online sales or more than 200 transactions originating within their state.
Large companies will most certainly be required to collect sales tax, but smaller online retailers will not.
Defining what is considered “small”, will be determined determined by each state. Initially, those online retailers that sell through Facebook Marketplace or eBay are the benchmark.
That being said, as online retailing has grown, the dynamics have shifted. Online retailers are no longer scrappy upstarts competing with more established businesses.
So after writing for the majority in the 5-to-4 ruling, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the Quill decision caused states to lose annual tax revenues of up to $33 billion or more.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
This decision also helped pave the way for the growth of online retail by letting companies sell nationwide without navigating the complex patchwork of state and local tax codes.
As online shopping has evolved over the years both in technology and convenience for consumers, it has taken many years for traditional brick-and-mortars to learn how to capitalize with the IRS not far behind.
As each state implement their own sales tax laws, small online retailers will need help with the logistics of Sales Tax the myriad of different percentages, rates and fees required.
This creates a huge opportunity for software / tech companies to help them by creating platforms to help the smaller ecomm businesses navigate this efficiently, effectively and legally.
Who knows … the way things are going, maybe that will be the next division of AMAZON! Only time will tell.
The ride-sharing company, Lyft, has announced that they are offering free rides for cancer patients in more U.S cities.
Lyft has been offering this free service for just over a year exclusively in Miami and Las Vegas. Now they are expanding to more major U.S cities such as Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Denver, and Atlanta.
Lyft’s free rides for cancer patients will include ride-share to AND from their treatments!
Lyft Partners With American Cancer Society
Lyft is executing these free rides with the help from their new partnership with the American Cancer Society; known as the “Road toRecovery.”
Patients seeking free rides can coordinate with the American Cancer Society by calling 800-227-2345 or visiting www.cancer.org. The ACS, which covers the cost of the rides, will then use the Lyft Concierge service to arrange a ride. (NOTE: These are volunteer Lyft drivers; therefore, they VOLUNTEER to drive these patients for FREE through the Road to Recovery websiteHERE).
Patients merely need to schedule their trip 4-7 days in advance of their treatment. As Lyft clarifies, this free serviceis for cancer-related treatments only.
Patients Will Have Better Access To Treatment!
The Road to Recoveryis going to be very beneficial for patients; especially for those who live in areas where walking, biking, or other forms of transportation may not be an option.
“The best treatment in the world can’t help someone if they can’t access it,” said Megan Wessel, a vice president at ACS. “Access to care is a big problem in our country, therefore transportation programs and partnerships like the one we are launching with Lyft in Miami-Dade County are vital for these patients.”
Hopefully, with the Road to Recovery, these patients will have easy access to the treatments they truly need and deserve.
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