Microsoft is exploring an acquisition of TikTok’s operations in the US. Following an extended silence from both firms despite the swirling rumours, Microsoft published a statement on 2nd August saying that following a conversation with US government, "Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States."
This would be a major shift in the tech space. Microsoft already owns one social network — LinkedIn — but the acquisition of TikTok would enable it to enter an entirely different element of the market, and one which seems largely outside of Microsoft's current comfort zone. Microsoft has made various attempts to establish a more significant presence in the social space, particularly in terms of reaching younger audiences, but most of those efforts have fallen flat.
The US government has said a deal in which TikTok is no longer owned by Beijing-based ByteDance must be reached by 15th September, or it will pursue plans to ban the app.
CGI influencers' popularity continues to grow
Lil Miquela, created by the L.A. based firm Brud, can be said to have started the CGI influencer phenomenon in 2016, when she blew up on Instagram. Now she’s a regular face in fashion magazines and fronts a wide range of luxury brands. Until her creators revealed her true provenance, many of her fans were convinced she was a flesh-and-blood teenager. Just like Lil Miquela, Blawko was created by Brud. Sporting streetwear style and tattoos, he describes himself as a "young robot sex symbol." He’s perhaps the most mysterious of all the virtual influencer stars due to the mask that covers half of his face.
Virtual influencers will likely be unavoidable in the next 12 months: They can be available 24/7 and have a personality that can be honed to a perfect brand fit. They can literally be whatever you want them to be. These things are massive plus points for brands because they make for a perfect ambassador.
Pinterest exceeds 400 million MAU
Pinterest is now up to 416 million monthly active users, which means that the platform now has more users than Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn; it looks set to continue growing as ever more people convert to online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those usage trends are likely to become habitual shifts - as more people realize the convenience and benefits of shopping online, that's expected to lead to a more significant upward trend in eCommerce, even after the lockdowns end. That positions Pinterest for even further growth.
Facebook entices TikTok’s influencers
Facebook (parent company to Instagram) is offering high-priced contracts to prominent TikTok creators in order to get them to share their content to Instagram's Reels instead.
Facebook is hoping that Reels, which it openly admits is based on TikTok, could provide an alternative home for TikTok influencers who may be concerned about a potential ban.
LinkedIn publishes new Post COVID-19 Business Recovery Plan
As the COVID-19 pandemic rumbles on, and it may feel like the end is constantly over the horizon, just out of reach. At some stage, though, it will end. It may take longer than anyone would have hoped, but things will change, the tide will shift. That will lead to renewed opportunities for brands. While it feels like we're all on hold, and we're all waiting for that next breakthrough to inform our plans, there are things that you can do, as a business, that will better position you for eventual recovery.
That's the focus of LinkedIn's latest eBook, a 12-page outline of how companies can set themselves up for recovery, post COVID-19. The guide looks at five key areas:
For each, LinkedIn provides tips on key steps that brands can take, based on past economic downturns, in order to set themselves up for optimal recovery.