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Tag: Instagram

How To Stop Instagram From Tracking Everything You Do

June 14, 2020 No Comments

Though the Facebook-owned app doesn’t give users complete control, there are ways to limit the data it collects and the types of ads you see.
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How Instagram hiding likes affected influencer marketing

April 25, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Back in November 2019, Instagram removed “Likes” in order to improve engagement, boost mental health, and user participation.
  • As influencer marketing by its nature was very reliant on the likes count, it is still proving to be one of the best ways for marketing in the COVID-19 situation.
  • So how have Instagram influencers managed to measure performance?
  • Founder of Spark Eighteen Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd shares some observations and insights with examples.

Likes have been an important part of influencers’ businesses and the removal of Instagram likes has impacted them both positively and negatively. Due to this change, we can see them moving to new platforms.

In November 2019, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri provided an official statement of expanding the test of hiding “likes” to more markets around the globe. The statement came months after the initial implementation of the idea in countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. Currently, it is being tested in India as well and only a few accounts can see this feature in their accounts.

Why did Instagram feel the need to do that?

Since the beginning “Likes” had been an important algorithm to check engagement on the posts. Therefore, the removal of it will make a huge impact on how users will engage with posts.

According to CNBC, Facebook, (which owns Instagram) has touted this move as an effort to reduce bullying on the popular social app. While other experts feel that Instagram’s take on hiding likes will make users feel less self-conscious about their posts not getting much engagement.

Some also argue that it will lead to more people sharing content while not thinking about the number of likes they want to achieve on it. It will create a more healthy environment online.

In the end, social media is a place where one should feel free to express themselves and not feel pressurized by the number of likes they should possess.

Also, it is important to note that, you can still see the number of likes on your posts — just not others. This makes it problematic for some Influencers who often gauge on likes to see how well a post is performing. How will the phenomenon of Instagram hiding likes affect them?

The effect as seen on influencers

Likes are important for an Influencer. It gives validation to their work.

Influencers have always seen likes as a measure of performance. Since likes as a phenomenon will be no more, these influencers will have to search for better ways to engage with their audience or maybe just focus on meaningful content eh?).

According to Business Insider, several influencers may haven’t seen any change in their business and brand deals. The influencers who have been affected are already seeing a lesser number of likes on their posts which makes it harder for them to reach new audiences.

Think of it from a marketing perspective. Although influencers might still be able to see likes on their posts, brands and agencies will have to create direct access to find out this information.

Brands and agencies approaching an influencer can see the number of followers they have but that metric alone cannot define how “engaged” an audience is.

Likes are powerful. If we see a post that has a huge amount of likes, it instantly becomes attractive and grabs our attention. But now organic growth will be paid more attention.

Shift of social media platforms

With the growth of social media platforms, it is very clear to assume that Instagram is not alone in the game. It might be the most popular social app currently but it will not take any other app much time to take over.

Take TikTok for example. Many influencers have shifted their gear towards this platform for the major advances it provides.

It has only been three years since the app has been in the market and it is already growing at an immense rate. Over a billion people now use this social media platform worldwide. @lorengray, American singer and social media personality is now TikTok’s most successful account outside China, with 42.1 million fans.

With influencer marketing reaching TikTok, the app has provided a platform for influencers to make content and generate an audience through it. Since the app has such a wide reach, brands want to find ways to promote their products here. What better way than through an influencer, right? There were a lot of hashtags in the past that worked amazingly well on Tik Tok.

Example of #toofacedpartner

Instagram influencer marketing #toofacedpartner

Influencers posted videos of themselves doing makeup routines with a before and after demonstrating their transformations. A lot of famous influencers participated in this campaign and the reach was a staggering 35 million TikTok users. The campaign’s tag has so far got a relatively meagre 9.4 million views and was a huge success. (Source: MediaKix)

Did you know that TikTok influencers with 2.5 million or more followers charge $ 500-800 per post? On the other hand, Instagram influencers earn an average of $ 100 per 10000 followers. ( Source: 99Firms )

Also, even Instagram promotes itself on Tik Tok.

Other than TikTok the other two growing platforms, Snapchat and Pinterest, are also making moves in the market. The US Snapchat users in January 2020 stood at over 101 million. On the other hand, 58% say that Pinterest helps them make shopping and purchasing decisions. (Source: Sprout Social )

So it looks like Instagram might have to face some competition.

What new can we look forward on Instagram?

Loyalty over Likes

Brands build relationships with influencers who have better engagement. Somehow, likes have been seen as a way to measure engagement. It isn’t true since you cannot judge how the audience is engaging with a user only through likes. The removal of likes will help a brand understand if the influencer has a loyal and trustworthy audience or not. The engagement rate will play a huge role here.

Instagram influencer marketing loyalty over likes example Instagram influencer marketing loyalty over likes Dalgona coffee example

Shivesh is a self-taught baker and a food blogger. He posts amazing recipes on his social media channels. He gives importance to the visual part while presenting anything on Instagram and that is the major reason why people connect with him. Apart from this, he helps his audience with delicious recipes as well.

More meaningful content

Likes grab attention but what will an influencer do if likes aren’t visible anymore? Maybe focus on meaningful and real content? Instagram will be a much better place if users start focusing on the right content.

Studies show that people are influenced by authentic and relatable content that brands and influencers can easily generate. For example, Ranveer Allahbadia of beer biceps leaves no stone unturned when it comes to helping people with fitness, fashion, motivation, health, and lifestyle-based content.

Instagram influencer marketing creating more meaningful content

Not focusing on vanity measures anymore

Likes are already out of focus and it’s high time that people stop focusing on metrics like follower counts as well. It will help users not focus on whether they are having more followers/like and focus on other relevant stuff. This will create a more positive and healthier space online.

With this shift on Instagram, brands can focus on real marketing and look ‘behind the scenes’ at how a creator is performing. Some of the key areas that they can focus on are:

  • Comments: It includes the conversations built up by influencers with their audience and helps in tracking the engagement with them.
  • Insights: Ask for metrics of how the posts are performing and evaluate them through the number of saves, shares, and reach.

Follower growth

Insight on the increase in followers in past months/ weeks can give you a fair idea of how well audience is willing to connect with a particular influencer Brands and influencers can seek the help of these tools to measure metrics and ways to measure performance.

Keyhole

It helps marketers measure the impact of social media & influencer campaigns. It also helps you figure out which of your internal trends are providing the best results, giving you a glance into what activities are driving the most follower growth over time.

Iconosquare

It is a paid app that provides analytics and tools to grow your business on Instagram and Facebook. It also offers post scheduling and content planning tools and helps in understanding how your posting frequency relates to or drives either new followers or ones that are lost. There are many more tools. You can also use Instagram’s built-in analytics section which gives accurate data.

For so long, Influencers (and even normal users) have relied on likes as a measure to check progress. Instagram, by hiding likes, has given hope for a better online environment.

Although, it may (or may not) completely change the game for some influencers online. Any which way, we are looking forward to what will be this new deal.

What are your views on this feature, let us know in the comments.

Aayush Narang is the founder of Spark Eighteen Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd a digital marketing agency. He is a startup evangelist, an entrepreneur, business and tech enthusiast.

The post How Instagram hiding likes affected influencer marketing appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Instagram prototypes “Latest Posts” feature

February 14, 2020 No Comments

Instagram users who miss the reverse chronological feed might get a new way to see the most recent pics and videos from who they follow. Instagram has been spotted internally prototyping a “Latest Posts” feature. It appears as a pop-up over the main feed and brings users to a special area showing the newest content from their network.

Instagram Latest Posts

For now, this doesn’t look like a full-fledged “Most Recent” reverse-chronological feed option like what Facebook has for the News Feed. But if launched, Latest Posts could help satisfy users who want to make sure they haven’t missed anything or want to know what’s going on right now.

The prototype was discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, the master of reverse engineering who’s provided tips to TechCrunch on scores of new features in development by tech giants. She generated the screenshots above from the code of Instagram’s Android app. “Welcome Back! Get caught up on the posts from [names of people you follow] and 9 more” reads the pop-up that appears over the home screen. If users tap “See Posts” instead of “Not Now”, they’re sent to a separate screen showing recent feed posts.

We’ve reached out to Instagram for a confirmation of the prototype, more details, and clarification on how Latest Posts would work. The company did not respond before press time. However, it has often confirmed the authenticity of Wong’s findings, and some of the features have gone on to officially launch months later.

Back in mid-2016, Instagram switched away from a reverse-chronological feed showing all the posts of people you follow in order of decency. Instead, it forced all users to scroll through a algorithmic feed of what it thinks you’ll like best, ranked based on who and what kind of content you interact with most. That triggered significant backlash. Some users thought they were missing posts or found the jumbled timestamps confusing. But since algorithmic feeds tend to increase engagement by ensuring the first posts you see are usually relevant, Instagram gave users no way to switch back.

Instagram previously tried to help users get assurance that they’d seen all the posts of their network with a “You’re All Caught Up” insert in the feed if you’d scrolled past everything from the past 48 hours. Latest Posts could be another way to let frequent Instagram users know that they’re totally up to date.

That might let people close the app in confidence and resume their lives.

Mobile – TechCrunch


Yo Facebook & Instagram, stop showing Stories reruns

January 23, 2020 No Comments

If I watch a Story cross-posted from Instagram to Facebook on either of the apps, it should appear as “watched” at the back of the Stories row on the other app. Why waste my time showing me Stories I already saw?

It’s been over two years since Instagram Stories launched cross-posting to Stories. Countless hours of each feature’s 500 million daily users have been squandered viewing repeats. Facebook and Messenger already synchronized the watched/unwatched state of Stories. It’s long past time that this was expanded to encompass Instagram.

I asked Facebook and Instagram if it had plans for this. A company spokesperson told me that it built cross-posting to make sharing easier to people’s different audiences on Facebook and Instagram, and it’s continuing to explore ways to simplify and improve Stories. But they gave no indication that Facebook realizes how annoying this is or that a solution is in the works.

The end result if this gets fixed? Users would spend more time watching new content, more creators would feel seen, and Facebook’s choice to jam Stories in all its apps would fee less redundant and invasive. If I send a reply to a Story on one app, I’m not going to send it or something different when I see the same Story on the other app a few minutes or hours later. Repeated content leads to more passive viewing and less interactive communication with friends, despite Facebook and Instagram stressing that its this zombie consumption that’s unhealthy.

The only possible downside to changing this could be fewer Stories ad impressions if secondary viewings of peoples’ best friends’ Stories keep them watching more than new content. But prioritizing making money over the user experience is again what Mark Zuckerberg has emphasized is not Facebook’s strategy.

There’s no need to belabor the point any further. Give us back our time. Stop the reruns.


Social – TechCrunch


Instagram tests Direct Messaging on web where encryption fails

January 16, 2020 No Comments

Instagram will finally let you chat from your web browser, but the launch contradicts Facebook’s plan for end-to-end encryption in all its messaging apps. Today Instagram began testing Direct Messages on the web for a small percentage of users around the globe, a year after TechCrunch reported it was testing web DMs.

When fully rolled out, Instagram tells us its website users will be able to see when they’ve received new DMs, view their whole inbox, start new message threads or group chats, send photos (but not capture them), double click to Like and share posts from their feed via Direct so they can gossip or blast friends with memes. You won’t be able to send videos, but can view non-disappearing ones. Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri tweeted that he hopes to “bring this to everyone soon” once the kinks are worked out.

Web DMs could help office workers, students and others stuck on a full-size computer all day or who don’t have room on their phone for another app to spend more time and stay better connected on Instagram. Direct is crucial to Instagram’s efforts to stay ahead of Snapchat, which has seen its Stories product mercilessly copied by Facebook but is still growing thanks to its rapid fire visual messaging feature that’s popular with teens.

But as Facebook’s former Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos tweeted, “This is fascinating, as it cuts directly against the announced goal of E2E encrypted compatibility between FB/IG/WA. Nobody has ever built a trustworthy web-based E2EE messenger, and I was expecting them to drop web support in FB Messenger. Right hand versus left?”

A year ago Facebook announced it planned to eventually unify Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct so users could chat with each other across apps. It also said it would extend end-to-end encryption from WhatsApp to include Instagram Direct and all of Facebook Messenger, though it could take years to complete. That security protocol means that only the sender and recipient would be able to view the contents of a message, while Facebook, governments and hackers wouldn’t know what was being shared.

Yet Stamos explains that historically, security researchers haven’t been able to store cryptographic secrets in JavaScript, which is how the Instagram website runs, though he admits this could be solved in the future. More problematically, Stamos writes that “the model by which code on the web is distributed, which is directly from the vendor in a customizable fashion. This means that inserting a backdoor for one specific user is much much easier than in the mobile app paradigm,” where attackers would have to compromise both Facebook/Instagram and either Apple or Google’s app stores.

“Fixing this problem is extremely hard and would require fundamental changes to how the WWW [world wide web] works” says Stamos. At least we know Instagram has been preparing for today’s launch since at least February when mobile researcher Jane Manchun Wong alerted us. We’ve asked Instagram for more details on how it plans to cover web DMs with end-to-end encryption or whether they’ll be exempt from the plan. [Update: An Instagram spokesperson tells me that as with Instagram Direct on mobile, messages currently are not encrypted. The company is working on making its messaging products end-to-end encrypted, and it continues to consider ways to accomplish this.]

Critics have called the messaging unification a blatant attempt to stifle regulators and prevent Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp from being broken up. Yet Facebook has stayed the course on the plan while weathering a $ 5 billion fine plus a slew of privacy and transparency changes mandated by an FTC settlement for its past offenses.

Personally, I’m excited, because it will make DMing sources via Instagram easier, and mean I spend less time opening my phone and potentially being distracted by other apps while working. Almost 10 years after Instagram’s launch and six years since adding Direct, the app seems to finally be embracing its position as a utility, not just entertainment.


Social – TechCrunch


Instagram adds Boomerang effects as TikTok looms

January 12, 2020 No Comments

TikTok has spawned countless memes formats from its creative effects, challenging Instagram for the filtered video crown. Now nearly five years after launching Boomerang, Instagram’s back-and-forth video loop maker is finally getting a big update to its own editing options. Users around the globe can now add SlowMo, “Echo” blurring, and “Duo” rapid rewind special effects to their Boomerangs, as well as trim their length. This is the biggest upgrade yet for one of mobile’s most popular video creation tools.

The effects could help keep Instagram interesting. After so many years of Boomerangs, many viewers simply skip past them in Stories after the first loop since they’re so consistent. The extra visual flare of the new effects could keep people’s attention for a few more seconds and unlock new forms of comedy. That’s critical as Instagram tries to compete with TikTok, which has tons of special effects that have spawned their own meme formats.

Starting today, people on Instagram will be able to share new SloMo, Echo and Duo Boomerang modes on Instagram” a Facebook company spokesperson tells TechCrunch. “Your Instagram camera gives you ways to express yourself and easily share what you’re doing, thinking or feeling with your friends. Boomerang is one of the most beloved camera formats and we’re excited to expand the creative ways that you can use Boomerang to turn everyday moments into something fun and unexpected.”

The new Boomerang tools can be found by swiping right on Instagram to open the Stories composer, and then swiping left at the bottom of the screen’s shutter selector. After shooting a Boomerang, an infinity symbol button atop the screen reveals the alternate effects and video trimmer. Mobile researcher Jane Manchun Wong spotted Instagram prototyping new Boomerang filters and the trimmer last year.

Typically, Boomerang captures one second of silent video which is then played forward and then in reverse three times to create a six second loop that can be shared or downloaded as a video. Here are the new effects you can add plus how Instagram described them to me in a statement:

  • SlowMo – Reduces Boomerangs to half-speed so they play for two seconds in each direction instead of one second. “Slows down your Boomerang to capture each detail”
  • Echo – Adds a motion blur effect so a translucent trail appears behind anything moving, almost like you’re drunk or tripping. “Creates a double vision effect.”
  • Duo – Rapidly rewinds the clip to the beginning with a glitchy, digitized look. “Both speeds up and slows down your Boomerang, adding a texturized effect.”
  • Trimming – Shorten your Boomerang with similar controls to iPhone’s camera roll or the Instagram feed video composer. “Edit the length of your Boomerang, and when it starts or ends.”

The effects aren’t entirely original. Snapchat has offered slow-motion and fast-foward video effects since just days after the original launch of Boomerang back in 2015. TikTok meanwhile provides several motion blur filters and pixelated transitions. But since these are all available with traditional video, unlike on Instagram where they’re confined to Boomerangs, there’s more creative flexibility to use the effects to hide cuts between takes or play with people’s voices.

That’s won TikTok a plethora of ingenius memes that rely on these tools. Users high-five themselves using an Echo-esque feature, highlight action-packed moments or loud sounds with Duo-style glitch cuts, and conjure an army of doppelgangers behind them with infinity clones effect. Instagram Stories has instead focused on augmented reality face filters and classier tools like layout.

TikTok Screenshots

Hopefully we’ll see Instagram’s new editing features brought over to its main Stories and video composers. Video trimming would be especially helpful since a boring start to a Story can quickly lead viewers to skip it.

Instagram has had years of domination in the social video space. But with Snapchat finally growing again and TikTok becoming a global phenomenon, Instagram must once again fight to maintain its superiority. Now approaching 10 years old, it’s at risk of becoming stale if it can’t keep giving people ways to make hastily shot phone content compelling.


Social – TechCrunch


Instagram adds Boomerang effects as TikTok looms

January 11, 2020 No Comments

TikTok has spawned countless memes formats from its creative effects, challenging Instagram for the filtered video crown. Now nearly five years after launching Boomerang, Instagram’s back-and-forth video loop maker is finally getting a big update to its own editing options. Users around the globe can now add SlowMo, “Echo” blurring, and “Duo” rapid rewind special effects to their Boomerangs, as well as trim their length. This is the biggest upgrade yet for one of mobile’s most popular video creation tools.

The effects could help keep Instagram interesting. After so many years of Boomerangs, many viewers simply skip past them in Stories after the first loop since they’re so consistent. The extra visual flare of the new effects could keep people’s attention for a few more seconds and unlock new forms of comedy. That’s critical as Instagram tries to compete with TikTok, which has tons of special effects that have spawned their own meme formats.

Starting today, people on Instagram will be able to share new SloMo, Echo and Duo Boomerang modes on Instagram” a Facebook company spokesperson tells TechCrunch. “Your Instagram camera gives you ways to express yourself and easily share what you’re doing, thinking or feeling with your friends. Boomerang is one of the most beloved camera formats and we’re excited to expand the creative ways that you can use Boomerang to turn everyday moments into something fun and unexpected.”

The new Boomerang tools can be found by swiping right on Instagram to open the Stories composer, and then swiping left at the bottom of the screen’s shutter selector. After shooting a Boomerang, an infinity symbol button atop the screen reveals the alternate effects and video trimmer. Mobile researcher Jane Manchun Wong spotted Instagram prototyping new Boomerang filters and the trimmer last year.

Typically, Boomerang captures one second of silent video which is then played forward and then in reverse three times to create a six second loop that can be shared or downloaded as a video. Here are the new effects you can add plus how Instagram described them to me in a statement:

  • SlowMo – Reduces Boomerangs to half-speed so they play for two seconds in each direction instead of one second. “Slows down your Boomerang to capture each detail”
  • Echo – Adds a motion blur effect so a translucent trail appears behind anything moving, almost like you’re drunk or tripping. “Creates a double vision effect.”
  • Duo – Rapidly rewinds the clip to the beginning with a glitchy, digitized look. “Both speeds up and slows down your Boomerang, adding a texturized effect.”
  • Trimming – Shorten your Boomerang with similar controls to iPhone’s camera roll or the Instagram feed video composer. “Edit the length of your Boomerang, and when it starts or ends.”

The effects aren’t entirely original. Snapchat has offered slow-motion and fast-foward video effects since just days after the original launch of Boomerang back in 2015. TikTok meanwhile provides several motion blur filters and pixelated transitions. But since these are all available with traditional video, unlike on Instagram where they’re confined to Boomerangs, there’s more creative flexibility to use the effects to hide cuts between takes or play with people’s voices.

That’s won TikTok a plethora of ingenius memes that rely on these tools. Users high-five themselves using an Echo-esque feature, highlight action-packed moments or loud sounds with Duo-style glitch cuts, and conjure an army of doppelgangers behind them with infinity clones effect. Instagram Stories has instead focused on augmented reality face filters and classier tools like layout.

TikTok Screenshots

Hopefully we’ll see Instagram’s new editing features brought over to its main Stories and video composers. Video trimming would be especially helpful since a boring start to a Story can quickly lead viewers to skip it.

Instagram has had years of domination in the social video space. But with Snapchat finally growing again and TikTok becoming a global phenomenon, Instagram must once again fight to maintain its superiority. Now approaching 10 years old, it’s at risk of becoming stale if it can’t keep giving people ways to make hastily shot phone content compelling.

Mobile – TechCrunch


How To Find Ads On Facebook and Instagram

January 6, 2020 No Comments

How to find your own ads on Facebook and Instagram and how to find the ads your competitors are running.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Instagram hides false content behind warnings, except for politicians

December 18, 2019 No Comments

Instagram is giving politicians the same free rein to spread misinformation as its parent company Facebook. Instagram is expanding its limited fact-checking test in the U.S. from May and will now work with 45 third-party organizations to assess the truthfulness of photo and video content on its app. Material rated as false will be hidden from the Explore and hashtag pages, and covered with an interstitial warning blocking the content in the feed or Stories until users tap again to see the post.

This goes an important step further than Facebook’s early attempts to append warnings on links alongside content but that still let users immediately consume the misinformation. In October Facebook announced it would use a similar interstitial warning system.

Instagram will use image matching technology to find additional copies of false content and apply the same label, and do this across Facebook and Instagram content. That could become a talking point for Facebook as it tries to dissuade regulators from breaking up the company and spinning off Instagram. On the other hand, it’s a valuable economy of scale for protecting the internet. Breaking up Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp might lead to worse enforcement through fragmented resources, though it could lead the apps to compete for the best moderation.

Instagram is trying to beef up its safety practices across the board. Today it began alerting users that the caption they’re about to post on a photo or video could be offensive or seen as bullying, offering them a chance to edit the text before they post it. Instagram started doing the same for comments earlier this year. Instagram is also starting to ask new users their age to make sure they’re 13 or older, which I’d previously written it needed to add since it was otherwise feigning ignorance to dodge Child Online Privacy Protection Act violation fines.

One group that’s exempt from the fact checking, though, is politicians. Their original content on Instagram, including ads, will not be sent for fact checks, even if it’s blatantly inaccurate. This aligns with Facebook’s policy that’s received plenty of backlash from critics, including TechCrunch, who say it could let candidates smear their rivals, stoke polarization and raise money through lies. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri has maintained that banning political ads could hurt challenger candidates in need of promotion, and that it would be tough to draw the lines between political and issue ads.

Instagram is luckily less dangerous in this respect because feed posts can’t directly link out to websites where politicians could raise money. But verified users can attach links to Stories, and everyone can have one link in the profile. That means false information could still be knowingly weaponized by politicians on the app, furthering their campaigns at the expense of truth… and people’s perception that they can believe what they see on Instagram.


Social – TechCrunch


Instagram founders join $30M raise for Loom work video messenger

November 26, 2019 No Comments

Why are we all trapped in enterprise chat apps if we talk 6X faster than we type, and our brain processes visual info 60,000X faster than text? Thanks to Instagram, we’re not as camera-shy anymore. And everyone’s trying to remain in flow instead of being distracted by multi-tasking.

That’s why now is the time for Loom. It’s an enterprise collaboration video messaging service that lets you send quick clips of yourself so you can get your point across and get back to work. Talk through a problem, explain your solution, or narrate a screenshare. Some engineering hocus pocus sees videos start uploading before you finish recording so you can share instantly viewable links as soon as you’re done.

“What we felt was that more visual communication could be translated into the workplace and deliver disproportionate value” co-founder and CEO Joe Thomas tells me. He actually conducted our whole interview over Loom, responding to emailed questions with video clips.

Launched in 2016, Loom is finally hitting its growth spurt. It’s up from 1.1 million users and 18,000 companies in February to 1.8 million people at 50,000 businesses sharing 15 million minutes of Loom videos per month. Remote workers are especially keen on Loom since it gives them face-to-face time with colleagues without the annoyance of scheduling synchronous video calls. “80% of our professional power users had primarily said that they were communicating with people that they didn’t share office space with” Thomas notes.

A smart product, swift traction, and a shot at riding the consumerization of enterprise trend has secured Loom a $ 30 million Series B. The round that’s being announced later today was led by prestigious SAAS investor Sequoia and joined by Kleiner Perkins, Figma CEO Dylan Field, Front CEO Mathilde Collin, and Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

“At Instagram, one of the biggest things we did was focus on extreme performance and extreme ease of use and that meant optimizing every screen, doing really creative things about when we started uploading, optimizing everything from video codec to networking” Krieger says. “Since then I feel like some products have managed to try to capture some of that but few as much as Loom did. When I first used Loom I turned to Kevin who was my Instagram co-founder and said, ‘oh my god, how did they do that? This feels impossibly fast.’”

Systrom concurs about the similarities, saying “I’m most excited because I see how they’re tackling the problem of visual communication in the same way that we tried to tackle that at Instagram.” Loom is looking to double-down there, potentially adding the ability to Like and follow videos from your favorite productivity gurus or sharpest co-workers.

Loom is also prepping some of its most requested features. The startup is launching an iOS app next month with Android coming the first half of 2020, improving its video editor with blurring for hiding your bad hair day and stitching to connect multiple takes. New branding options will help external sales pitches and presentations look right. What I’m most excited for is transcription, which is also slated for the first half of next year through a partnership with another provider, so you can skim or search a Loom. Sometimes even watching at 2X speed is too slow.

But the point of raising a massive $ 30 million Series B just a year after Loom’s $ 11 million Kleiner-led Series A is to nail the enterprise product and sales process. To date, Loom has focused on a bottom-up distribution strategy similar to Dropbox. It tries to get so many individual employees to use Loom that it becomes a team’s default collaboration software. Now it needs to grow up so it can offer the security and permissions features IT managers demand. Loom for teams is rolling out in beta access this year before officially launching in early 2020.

Loom’s bid to become essential to the enterprise, though, is its team video library. This will let employees organize their Looms into folders of a knowledge base so they can explain something once on camera, and everyone else can watch whenever they need to learn that skill. No more redundant one-off messages begging for a team’s best employees to stop and re-teach something. The Loom dashboard offers analytics on who’s actually watching your videos. And integration directly into popular enterprise software suites will let recipients watch without stopping what they’re doing.

To build out these features Loom has already grown to a headcount of 45. It’s also hired away former head of growth at Dropbox Nicole Obst, head of design for Slack Joshua Goldenberg, and VP of commercial product strategy for Intercom Matt Hodges.

Still, the elephants in the room remain Slack and Microsoft Teams. Right now, they’re mainly focused on text messaging with some additional screensharing and video chat integrations. They’re not building Loom-style asynchronous video messaging…yet. “We want to be clear about the fact that we don’t think we’re in competition with Slack or Microsoft Teams at all. We are a complementary tool to chat” Thomas insists. But given the similar productivity and communication ethos, those incumbents could certainly opt to compete. Slack already has 12 million daily users it could provide with video tools.

Loom co-founder and CEO Joe Thomas

Hodges, Loom’s head of marketing, tells me “I agree Slack and Microsoft could choose to get into this territory, but what’s the opportunity cost for them in doing so? It’s the classic build vs. buy vs. integrate argument.” Slack bought screensharing tool Screenhero, but partners with Zoom and Google for video chat. Loom will focus on being easily integratable so it can plug into would-be competitors. And Hodges notes that “Delivering asynchronous video recording and sharing at scale is non-trivial. Loom holds a patent on its streaming, transcoding, and storage technology, which has proven to provide a competitive advantage to this day.”

The tea leaves point to video invading more and more of our communication, so I expect rival startups and features to Loom will crop up. Vidyard and Wistia’s Soapbox are already pushing into the space. As long as it has the head start, Loom needs to move as fast as it can. “It’s really hard to maintain focus to deliver on the core product experience that we set out to deliver versus spreading ourselves too thin. And this is absolutely critical” Thomas tells me.

One thing that could set Loom apart? A commitment to financial fundamentals. “When you grow really fast, you can sometimes lose sight of what is the core reason for a business entity to exist, which is to become profitable. . . Even in a really bold market where cash can be cheap, we’re trying to keep profitability at the top of our minds.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch