Instagram will now show you who you interact with least frequently in case you want to unfollow them. In an effort to help you keep your feed clean and relevant, today Instagram is launching “following categories” that divides the list of who you follow into batches, including “most seen in feed” and “least interacted with.” That way if someone annoying or boring is overwhelming your feed, or there’s someone whose content you’ve proven to not be interested in, you can easily remove them. Time to axe those courtesy and pity follows.
“Instagram is really about bringing you closer to the people and things you care about — but we know that over time, your interests and relationships can evolve and change,” a spokesperson tells me. “Whether you graduate, move to a new city, or become obsessed with a new interest and find a community, we want to make it easier to manage the accounts you follow on Instagram so that they best represent your current connections and interests.”
To access the feature, go to your profile, then “following,” then you’ll see the categories you can explore. You’re also able to sort who you follow by earliest to latest and vice versa, in case you want to clear out your earliest adds or make sure you actually care about the latest people you followed.
By increasing the density of high-quality posts in your feed and Stories by getting you to unfollow irrelevant accounts, Instagram could boost ad views. You’ll come across fewer lame posts that might make you close the app so you instead keep scrolling and fast-forwarding while racking up ad impressions. Instagram reportedly hit $20 billion in 2019 revenue according to Bloomberg, and soon it may start running ads in IGTV while splitting revenue with creators.
I’ve been asking Twitter to build unfollow suggestions since 2013, but Instagram beat them to it. Even with filtered feeds, the algorithms can get things wrong and show too much of people you don’t care about.
Following back or adding someone who asks has become part of the modern-day social contract. It can be rude and cause drama to refuse, so people just bloat their following list. Manually sorting through, trying to remember who people are and if you see them too often or constantly ignore them can be a slow and emotionally draining chore. With Instagram now 10 years old, Twitter 14 and Facebook 16, we’ve had a long time to accidentally screw up our social graph.
Perhaps unfollow suggestions took this long because no app wants to overtly shame specific people. But Instagram’s approach via clear, quantifiable categories is just vague enough that you probably won’t screenshot them and show the friends it said to nix. With that sensitivity, Instagram has pulled off the rare feat of improving the user experience while simultaneously benefiting its revenue engine.
Twitter announces ‘Super Follow’ subscriptions – TechCrunch
Twitter reveals its move into paid subscriptions, Australia passes its media bargaining law and Coinbase files its S-1. This is your Daily Crunch for February 25, 2021.
The big story: Twitter announces ‘Super Follow’ subscriptions
Twitter announced its first paid product at an investor event today, showing off screenshots of a feature that will allow users to subscribe to their favorite creators in exchange for things like exclusive content, subscriber-only newsletters and a supporter badge.
The company also announced a feature called Communities, which could compete with Facebook Groups and enable Super Follow networks to interact, plus a Safety Mode for auto-blocking and muting abusive accounts. On top of all that, Twitter said it plans to double revenue by 2023.
Not announced: launch dates for any of these features.
The tech giants
After Facebook’s news flex, Australia passes bargaining code for platforms and publishers — This requires platform giants like Facebook and Google to negotiate to remunerate local news publishers for their content.
New Facebook ad campaign extols the benefits of personalized ads — The sentiments are similar to a campaign that Facebook launched last year in opposition to Apple’s upcoming App Tracking Transparency feature.
Startups, funding and venture capital
Sergey Brin’s airship aims to use world’s biggest mobile hydrogen fuel cell — The Google co-founder’s secretive airship company LTA Research and Exploration is planning to power a huge disaster relief airship with an equally record-breaking hydrogen fuel cell.
Coinbase files to go public in a key listing for the cryptocurrency category — Coinbase’s financials show a company that grew rapidly from 2019 to 2020 while also crossing the threshold into unadjusted profitability.
Boosted by the pandemic, meeting transcription service Otter.ai raises $50M — With convenient timing, Otter.ai added Zoom integration back in April 2020.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
DigitalOcean’s IPO filing shows a two-class cloud market — The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “DOCN.”
Pilot CEO Waseem Daher tears down his company’s $60M Series C pitch deck — For founders aiming to entice investors, the pitch deck remains the best way to communicate their startup’s progress and potential.
Five takeaways from Coinbase’s S-1 — We dig into Coinbase’s user numbers, its asset mix, its growing subscription incomes, its competitive landscape and who owns what in the company.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Paramount+ will cost $4.99 per month with ads — The new streaming service launches on March 4.
Register for TC Sessions: Justice for a conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion in the startup world — This is just one week away!
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
Twitter plans to double revenue by 2023, reach 315M daily users – TechCrunch
Just ahead of its 2021 virtual investor day on Thursday, Twitter this morning announced its three long-term goals focused on user base and revenue growth, and a faster pace of shipping new features across its platform. The company said it aims to “at least” double its total annual revenue from $3.7 billion in 2020 to $7.5 billion or more in 2023. It also expects to reach at least 315 million mDAUs — that’s Twitter’s self-invented metric for “monetizable” daily active users — by the fourth quarter of 2023.
That would represent a roughly 20% compound annual growth rate from Twitter’s base of 152 million mDAUs reported in the fourth quarter of 2019, the company noted in a new SEC filing.
Active user growth has been difficult for Twitter — the growth tends to be slow or even flat, at times. Per Twitter’s most recent earnings, mDAUs in the fourth quarter 2020 had reached 192 million instead of the 193.5 million expected, for instance. Investors are used to Twitter under-delivering on this metric — or even inventing its own user base metric to hide that its monthly user growth sometimes declines.
In any event, Twitter’s longer-term plans indicate it believes it will finally be able to deliver on user growth — perhaps aided by its investment in new features.
In its filing, Twitter said it would “double development velocity by the end of 2023,” which means doubling the number of features shipped per employee that “directly drive either mDAU or revenue,” it said.
On this front, Twitter has been fairly active in recent months. Late last year, it launched its “stories” feature called Fleets to its global audience. It’s also now testing new features including a Clubhouse rival, Twitter Spaces, and a community-led misinformation debunking effort known as Birdwatch. And it acquired newsletter platform Revue, which is already now integrated on the Twitter website. The company has made smaller acquisitions, as well, to build out product teams, including with social app Squad, stories template maker Chroma Labs, and podcasting app Breaker.
New features may help to attract increased Twitter usage, but revenue growth will also come from diversification beyond advertising. Twitter has spoken several times about its plans to build out a subscription product, which the company said would begin in 2021 but wouldn’t impact Twitter revenue in the near-term. The company has also said it may investigate other areas of monetization, like tipping and various paid consumer-facing features.
Today, Twitter said publicly it plans to reach the $7.5 billion or more target by “growing our audience and gaining advertising market share in both brand and direct response.” But the company did not speak to its plans for subscriptions.
Investors are already responding favorably to Twitter’s announcements this morning. Twitter stock is up by nearly 7% as of the time of writing.
New Facebook ad campaign extols the benefits of personalized ads – TechCrunch
Online advertising can be a “pretty dry topic,” as Facebook’s head of brand marketing Andrew Stirk acknowledged, but with a new campaign of its own, the social networking giant is looking to “bring to life how personalized ads level the playing field” for small businesses.
The Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found campaign will include TV, radio and digital advertising. Individual businesses will also be able to promote it using a new Instagram sticker and the #DeserveToBeFound hashtag on Facebook.
The campaign will highlight specific small businesses on Facebook, including bag and luggage company House of Takura, whose founder Annette Njau spoke about the benefits of digital advertising at a press event yesterday.
“What those platforms allow us to do is, they allow us to tell stories,” Njau said. “I can’t tell this story on TV, I can’t tell this story in a huge magazine because it costs money and I don’t know who will see it.”
These sentiments are similar to a campaign that Facebook launched last year in opposition to Apple’s upcoming App Tracking Transparency feature, where apps will have to ask for permission before sharing user data for third-party ad targeting. In response, Facebook claimed that it was “standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere,” though the social network also pointed to these changes as one of the “more significant advertising headwinds” that it expects to face this year. (Apple’s Tim Cook, in contrast, has said that these changes provide consumers with the control that they’ve been asking for.)
When asked how this fits into the broader dispute with Apple, Stirk said that while Facebook has been publicly opposed to Apple’s changes, this campaign is part the company’s longer-term support for small business.
“There is a degree of urgency in the fact that … small businesses are hurting right now,” he said.
Head of Facebook Business Products Helen Ma added that this is “very much an extension of the work that we did on the product side at the very start of the COVID period,” which included the launch of the Businesses Nearby section and a #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag.
In addition to launching the campaign today, Facebook is announcing several product changes, including a simplified Ads Manager dashboard, new options for restaurants to provide more information about their dining experiences and more information about personalized ads in Facebook’s Business Resource hub and Instagram’s Professional Dashboard.
The company also said it will continue to waive fees on transactions through Checkouts on Shops through June 2021, and will do the same for fees collected on paid online events until August 2021 at the earliest.
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