Would You Pay $56 to Talk to a Human at Meta?

ALSO: Where would those lucrative American ad dollars go, if TikTok gets banned in the country?

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Would You Pay $56 to Talk to a Human at Meta?

ALSO: Where would those lucrative American ad dollars go, if TikTok gets banned in the country?

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META • Soon to Improve Its “Verified” Program?

After Elon Musk started selling the verified blue checkmarks, and after the shock wore off, Meta too decided they wanted some of that cash.

It came out with Meta Verified which, for businesses, costs USD$56 per month, if you wanted both Facebook and Instagram. It offers a handful of mild perks, though it’s pretty clear the big benefit to the monthly subscription was getting that vanity checkmark.

How’s that program been going? Apparently not as well as Meta had hoped. Social Media Today estimates that less than 1% of its user base signed on, which is on par for similar programs out there like X’s and Snapchat’s.

That might be why Meta is thinking about throwing more things into that subscription — a couple of which could be beneficial to marketers.

The company is surveying some users asking what features they’d consider valuable — included in that list:

  • Faster review times for ad campaigns

  • The ability to add up to eight links per month to your products or web sites on Instagram Reels.

  • An actual support phone line with an actual human being, though they say those people could only help with “common issues”

ONE THING NOT ON THE LIST: BETTER REACH.

That’s a key selling point on X, where the bigger a subscription package you buy, the more distribution your posts get. Meta initially had that as a benefit of its plan, but backed away from it before it launched.

COLOR ME SKEPTICAL.

These make great bullet points on a landing page, but we’ve seen that promises of better support from social media platforms — even support you pay for — often doesn’t pan out. Over at X, many people have said they still can’t get support, even though they have the Premium subscription.

As a test, we tried to get our podcast’s Instagram account verified. Paid the money, waited a day, then got an email saying we didn’t qualify, and Meta just kept the money anyway.

Also, whatever goodwill there was in the blue checkmark has been withered away. If anyone can buy it, why is it special?

The very act of selling checkmarks erodes their perceived value, so really, the more subscriptions that Meta sells, the less it’s worth either way, unless you’re factoring in the other elements.

And those do have value, especially more direct access to Meta support, but I’m not sure that it’s worth the ongoing investment for most, with the features only offering marginal, periodic value, even for brands.

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AMAZON • One-Click Product Pages

Amazon continues to push AI in its merchant offerings, and soon will let sellers make product pages with a single URL.

Basically, you give it a link to your external product page, like on Shopify or something, and it will generate a product page on Amazon for that item. The AI will write its own description and lift images from your site.

Of course, you’ll want to review that text, as AI has a habit of just making things up, though Amazon claims “nearly 80 percent” of users accept the auto-generated text.

A COUNTERFEITER’S DREAM?

And if you’re thinking — hey, that’s going to make counterfeiting super easy, you’re right. Amazon reminds you that’s against the rules, but didn’t spell out any specific guardrails they have in place to prevent that sort of thing.

BUILDING A SUITE OF AI TOOLS

Amazon’s other AI tools include photo generation for sellers, and Rufus, a chatbot for shoppers, which has had its share of peculiar quirks.

This new instant product page feature is rolling out now and should be available to all sellers in the U.S. in the coming weeks. 

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TIKTOK BAN • Where Would the Ad Dollars Go?

Digiday has a great piece up today about how a potential TikTok ban would affect marketers. And what would happen to TikTok itself without the lucrative American ad dollars.

Let’s say, hypothetically, the ban does happen, and marketersare forced to activate their contingency plans. A lot of money would suddenly be up for grabs in a hotly contested ad market.

​​For now, it’s hard to say with real confidence where that money would end up. After all, it’s not like TikTok’s growth has come at the expense of one corner of the market or a specific incumbent. If anything, the dollars pouring into that business have come from everywhere. So it stands to reason that the same logic would apply if money started to flow out of the company.

One place that money won’t go (probably) is to TikTok in other markets. That’s not really how marketers allocate their ad dollars. They do so at a country level, not a global one. That leaves the likes of Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat — i.e. anything with a short-form video ads business — as potential places for all that money.

And there could be a lot of money up for grabs. Reports from sources like The Information, combined with analysis from media experts like Brian Wieser, suggest that TikTok may have generated around $18 billion in ad revenue last year.

As for specific numbers, the piece suggests Meta could capture about 25% of TikTok’s U.S. ad revenues in the event of a ban (which actually sounds a little low to me). And YouTube would be the second choice for media buyers.

That said, for now, Digiday quoted agency executives as saying they’re not seeing any advertisers pull budget from TikTok for the time being. It is, as they say, wait and see.

The whole piece is definitely worth a read; it’s at Digiday and it’s called “TikTok’s potential U.S. ban stirs marketers, spurs contingency planning.”

TIKTOK • Audio Templates Feature Popular Stars

Part of what makes TikTok a compelling platform for marketing is its engaging content — and a lot of that has to do with how sound is used in the app.

TikTok says 73% of users will stop and look at an ad because of the audio used in it.

That’s partly why the company is releasing a new audio feature called “Sounds for Business – Voice Clips.”

These are 18 voiceover audio templates you can use in all of your TikTok videos. Recorded by superstar TikTok creators like Devin Halbal, Good Children, Sani Sisters and Very Gay Paint, these free tracks can add some of the platform’s most recognizable voices to your videos.

They are, of course, pre-cleared in terms of rights.

You can find all 18 templates in the Commercial Music Library.

From the mobile app, navigate to Add Sound and click Commercial Sounds, where you'll see Discover, Favorites and Playlists. Scroll through Playlists to find Sounds for Business and select a track to get started.

TIKTOK • Search for Unanswered Topics to Exploit

TikTok is also revealing some new analytics around what people are searching for on the app.

They’re calling it “Creator Search Insights” and the idea is that you’d be able to see what’s trending and perhaps jump on board. A screenshot from TikTok promoting the new feature shows three trending topics:

  • You left a paw print shaped hole in my heart

  • double glaze apple fritter

  • sea wash denim

Those are pretty generic, but luckily you can drill down into specific topics closer to your brand’s industry, like Sports or Science.

Creators can see which topics are most popular based on a popularity score or the Recommended Topic label next to the search term. These topics have a high potential for engagement and creators can reference these labels as they shape their content strategies and chart their creative direction.

Also, helpfully, you can find so-called “gap topics” which are topics that are being searched for a lot, but don’t have many videos coming up as search results. This is something YouTube has offered since 2022.

This is currently only available in some countries; no word on when it will roll out globally.

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