What a Hot Dog Means for AR
There is not a shred of irony in this industry think piece about an AR hot dog. And there probably should be. But once you get past that, it does a good job hinting at what might be next for AR and social. For those of you who haven't seen this silly hot dog, AdAge lauds the tech behind it as a significant breakthrough:
It's so advanced, Snapchat hasn't even gotten around to selling the creature or building one for brands. It... uses the company's 3D "World Lens" technology, which renders the bopping brat as a fully formed creature inside the Snapchat camera. People can walk around it, filming it like it was really there.
Essentially, you can start thinking of these "world lens" AR creations as a more evolved (and flexible) Snapchat Filter. While it is sure to be expensive, it is almost certainly what's next in terms of shareable social content. Not to mention Facebook's plan to democratize the tech with its AR Studio, lowering the bar of entry for brands and users:
Facebook's strategy could represent a real threat to Snapchat because the developer platform gives everyone access to AR... Developers have to apply to participate, but they don't have to promise to buy ads.... It's not hidden away behind massive media commitments with companies like Snapchat.
TL;DR: Snapchat made something awesome and innovative, but Facebook is about to steal it and sell it for cheaper.
Turn Down for What?
Facebook is making it "easier" to "enjoy" videos on the platform! Videos will now autoplay with sound ON in the app. Because that's what everyone really wants, right? This development was hinted at back in February and now, after a few months of testing, they seem to making good on their threat (Read: promise).
So, what does it mean? Well, it might mean that branded videos' performance takes a hit. Anything that disrupts (not in the cool, ad jargon sense, but in a "that's annoying" kind of way) a user's experience is going to be met with frustration. Not to mention, those who might leave a video playing as long as it doesn't disturb them may now be quick to hit the stop button or keep scrolling just so their phone will shut up.
Cheating Instagram's Algorithm
[Pods are] groups of up to 30 Instagrammers (the platform allows up to 30 in a group chat) that work with each other to comment on each other’s posts on a daily basis. The idea is to hack Instagram by increasing engagement. Because of the way Instagram’s algorithm works, this leads to Instagram “favoring” pods, which means influencers in pods often appear in the Explore tab, leading to more visibility.
It's like SEO, but for social media. Effectively, these Pods are using Instagram's own rules to "earn" increased exposure, reach, and engagement on their content. Like Twitter’s issues with bots, this has some implications for brands who are using influencers in their marketing:
For brands, working with an Instagrammer that is part of a pod may mean their own numbers are wrong... If you had hoped to get your message in front of X number of people, if you subtract other pod members, that number is dramatically reduced.
Especially considering an influencer may be part of multiple pods, it makes you wonder how much of this "social celebrity" status is a relatively closed circle. These two articles also offer some interesting details about how pods can skew results ("People commenting on influencer posts aren’t necessarily potential customers, just other influencers"), changing the nature of influencer agreements ("wellShark.. is working with attorneys to put language in contracts with influencers to disclose if they are part of a pod"), and the lengths influencers go to to maintain their pods ("Each time a person posts, that person will share it with the group via a private direct message. Everyone in the pod will then engage with the post, liking and commenting on it...[and] 'comments should be longer than four words because bots post short comments.'”)
Be More Human
Twitter has a bot problem. And it matters—especially for brands and marketers. Industry professionals are rightfully growing concerned about the issue, considering that these bots might communicate with their accounts, follow them, and retweet them… which ultimately results in brands paying for fake engagements. In 2014, an estimate of Twitter bots around 5% of total users. A "conservative estimate" from 2017 puts that number at around 15% of total users. That's… not ideal. And it's not clear that Twitter is taking the matter seriously. Their official stance seems to be that they are looking to battle spam, but that some bots can be good. They also dismiss third-party studies and statistics, claiming "research conducted... about the impact of bots on Twitter is often inaccurate and methodologically flawed," though they fail to really offer anything like a solution.