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Meta Takes Next Steps Towards VR Social With the Expansion of Horizon Worlds

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Meta has announced that it’s making its Horizon Worlds VR creation and interaction platform available to all users in the US and Canada, which will serve as a key introduction to VR for many new Meta VR users who are set to find a headset under the Christmas tree this year.

As explained by Meta:

“Horizon Worlds is a social VR experience where you can create and explore together. Since launching as an invite-only beta last year, we’ve been amazed by the community that’s begun to form and inspired by the unique experiences they’ve built.”

As you can see in the video, Horizon Worlds is kind of like the main city in The Lego Movie, where users can build whatever they like, and invite others to join in the experience. There are also various applications and options within Horizon where you can meet with friends and hang out, or play games, take quizzes, etc.

Though no legs. Legs are not welcome in the metaverse, at least at this stage.

The expansion of access to Horizon Worlds comes at a key time, with sales of Quest 2 headsets already three times higher than previous VR devices, based on estimates. Last month, Qualcomm, which provides chips for Quest units, said that Meta had already sold 10 million Quest 2 systems, and while Meta hasn’t provided any official sales figures, the indicators are that many more people are now paying attention to VR, which has likely been boosted by the company’s metaverse-inspired name change.

Given this, it’s expected, as noted, that there’ll be quite a few Quest 2 units encased in festive wrapping paper right now, and with these new users set to come online in the next few weeks, Meta will need to provide compelling experiences, and ideally, social VR tools, to capitalize on that attention.

While AR is set to play a big part in the next stage of digital engagement and interaction, the real, true vision of a fully immersive metaverse, which forms a computer-generated alternate reality, where anything is possible, can really only happen in VR.

That’s the vision Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg showcased back in October at Facebook Connect, when he unveiled the ‘Meta’ name change.

The only way to engage in fully immersive environments like this is via a VR headset, which is another reason why the expansion of Horizon Worlds is significant, and why Meta is keen to get it out there, and get the ball rolling in broader adoption of VR, which will also include new games (Meta’s adding a new ‘Arena Clash’ 3v3 laser tag game today, while other, more advanced games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ are coming the VR soon) and other experiences.

Eventually, Horizon Worlds could be the next evolution of social media interaction, and as VR adoption increased, so too does the impetus for other people to get their own unit, in order to join their friends in this new experience.

The next stage of digital engagement is coming soon, as is the metaverse and more immersive creative options for connection.

Horizon Worlds is available to download for free on Quest 2 here.

Source: socialmediatoday.com

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InScribe and James Madison University Partner to Create New…

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Interactive Communities Deliver Support and Encouragement to the School’s Growing Adult Learner Population Working Towards Degree Completion and On-the-Job Advancement

(PRWeb January 11, 2022)

Read the full story at https://www.prweb.com/releases/inscribe_and_james_madison_university_partner_to_create_new_state_of_the_art_student_digital_communities/prweb18425733.htm

Original Article: prweb.com

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TikTok Is Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile

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I’m not entirely sure what value this might bring, but TikTok is reportedly working on bringing back the option to see who viewed your profile in the app over the preceding 30 days, which would provide more transparency over user interest.

As you can see in these screenshots, uncovered by app researcher Kev Adriano (and shared by Matt Navarra), TikTok looks to be testing an opt-in functionality that would enable you to see who’s checking out your TikTok profile, while users would also be able to see when you’ve checked out their profile as well when this feature is switched on.

Which TikTok used to have, as a means to increase connections in the app.

As you can see here, TikTok used to provide a listing of people who’d checked out your profile, with a view to helping you find others to follow who may have similar, shared interests. TikTok removed the functionality early last year, amid various investigations into its data sharing processes, and with several high-profile cases of TikTok stalkers causing real-world problems for platform stars, it made sense that it might not want to share this information anymore, as it likely only increases anxiety for those who may have concerns.

But I guess, if stalkers wanted to check out your profile they wouldn’t turn the feature on, so maybe, by making it opt-in, that reduces that element? Maybe.

I don’t know, I don’t see a heap of value here, and while I can understand, when an app is starting out, how this sort of awareness might help to increase network connections, I’m not sure that it serves any real value for TikTok, other than providing insight into who’s poking around, and likely increasing concerns about certain people who keep coming back to check out your profile again and again.

Maybe there’s a value for aspiring influencers, in reaching out to potential collaborators who’ve checked out their stuff, or maybe it works for hook-ups, if that’s what you want to use TikTok for, which is why the opt-in element is important.

But much like the same feature on LinkedIn, mostly, it seems pretty useless. I mean, it’s somewhat interesting to know that somebody from a company that you’d like to work for checked out your profile, but if they did, and they didn’t feel compelled to get in touch, who really cares?

There is a limited value proposition here, in that getting in touch with those who did check out your profile could result in a business relationship, similar to the above note on potential collaborators on TikTok. But I’d be interested to see the actual percentage of successful contacts made is as a result of these insights.

I can’t imagine it’s very high – but maybe, if you give users the choice, and they explicitly opt-in, there is some value there.

Seems like stalker tracking to me, and potential angst and conflict as a result.

There’s no official word from TikTok as to whether this option will ever be released at this stage.

Source: socialmediatoday.com

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How to Expand Your Reach With Newsletter Advertising

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As marketers search for creative ways to reach new leads, newsletter advertising is becoming a staple in the industry. With effective targeting and high engagement rates, this up-and-coming medium is an effective choice for advertisers of all sizes and budgets.

While newsletter advertising has gained popularity among growing startups like AppSumo, it’s also a go-to for top brands like Lyft and Warby Parker. However, despite its high performance and adoption by leading marketers, its potential is largely untapped.

Because of the lack of education surrounding newsletter advertising, many marketers neglect email in favor of more mainstream, competitive platforms. However, with the right approach, investing in email advertising can help you reach more qualified audiences and get ahead of competitors.

What is newsletter advertising?

Newsletter advertising is the process of placing sponsored content in email newsletters to get in front of subscribers. Unlike other forms of digital marketing, newsletter ads are delivered straight to their audience’s inboxes. Because of this, they’ll often reach readers more directly, bypassing any ad blocking measures.

The Paved platform offers two main types of newsletter advertisements: sponsorships and programmatic ads.

Sponsorships

Newsletter sponsorships are coordinated via a partnership between the publisher and the advertiser. Because each sponsorship campaign is organized individually, they can be custom designed for the newsletter partner. Some publishers will even help tweak the sponsorship design and copy to fit their publication’s style and appeal to readers.

​Sponsored email in The Report newsletter from March 2021

Programmatic ads

Just like sponsorships, programmatic email ads are placed within the body of newsletters to directly reach engaged audiences. However, they’re more similar to social media ads due to their automation, scalability and precise targeting. Whereas sponsorships are coordinated on an individual basis, programmatic ads allow advertisers to run placements across multiple newsletters with a single campaign.

Programmatic ad for Hired in the eWebDesign newsletter

Why newsletter advertising beats other marketing channels

Not only is newsletter advertising a fresh and creative way to reach new audiences, but it also has its share of practical benefits. The advantages of newsletter advertising make it a worthwhile investment for brands in both the short and long-term.

Reach new audiences

The first step in converting new customers is figuring out where to find potential leads. Unfortunately, the rise of VPNs and privacy companies have made it increasingly difficult to connect with audiences online.

According to data by Hootsuite, roughly 42.7% of internet users use an ad blocker. With newsletter advertising, that’s not a problem. By delivering your message in the body of a trusted newsletter, you can market to audiences who can’t be reached through social media or display ads.

Leverage heightened engagement

One of the most valuable aspects of newsletters is their level of reader engagement. It’s not easy to convince someone to give you their email. Therefore, opting in to receive a newsletter is a much stronger signal of interest than liking a page or following an account.

Because newsletter readers are more engaged, email marketing tends to outperform other channels in ROI. Litmus’ 2020 State of Email report calculated an average return of $36 for every $1 spent on email marketing.

Access built-in targeting

Email newsletter lists are often inherently targeted due to their niche content. On the Paved platform, many publishers run interest-focused newsletters based on topics like programming or yoga. Incidentally, this creates a neatly packaged audience that advertisers can leverage for their campaigns.

Programmatic ads allow you to target your audiences even more precisely. On the Paved Ad Network, you can define your target audience, budget and frequency cap. From there, you’ll be able to automatically display your ad in front of individual readers across several newsletters based on their demographic profile.

Join a marketplace to launch your newsletter advertising strategy

Joining a marketplace is the quickest and easiest way to start advertising in newsletters. Instead of reaching out to publishers individually, you’ll be able to request, design and schedule multiple sponsorships in one place.

On the Paved marketplace, you can browse hundreds of newsletters to find the right partner for your brand. Once you’ve booked a campaign, you can exchange messages, send payment and automatically track results through the platform.

Sign up with Paved for free today to unlock all the tools you need to streamline your newsletter advertising campaigns.

Original Post: socialmediatoday.com

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