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Google Commission Drops, Facebook Creator Monetization & More

Avatar Jess Ailion | 31.3.21

Google Play Drops Commissions to 15% from 30%

Following Apple’s shift in the same direction last year, Google will lower the commission it takes from in-app digital goods and services sold on its Play Store as of July 1. The commission lowering, from 30% to 15%, will only apply to the first $1 million of revenue earnt from the Play billing system each year. Anything earnt over $1 million will still be subject to a 30% cut per dollar going to Google. 

Just for some context, according to Google 97% of apps globally don’t sell digital goods or services, and so are not affected by this change. 

Contrary to Apple’s commission drop, which doesn’t apply at all to apps where a developer’s platform revenue exceeds $1 million, Google will offer the drop to any app of any size. 

Unfortunately, although Google will be lowering their cut of app developers’ future revenue to an extent, the change doesn’t combat the issue that developers offering apps on Google Play Store are unable to use a third-party billing system. This hostility towards competition is shared with Apple too. 

Google Introduces “App Install Optimization”

App size has always been an issue to contend with in the mobile world. The smaller the app size the better for a whole host of reasons, from faster load times to lower churn rates (a user is more likely to keep an app if it doesn’t take up too much of their precious device storage). 

Google has been working on reducing app sizes for many years, recently optimizing the code that’s downloaded onto each device with an app. Recently, they announced their “app install optimization” for the Google Play Store. App install optimization is designed to recognize which parts of an app you use first after installation. After enough people implement this, Google will be able to optimize the app to download and run faster. All of the data will be combined to highlight trends and identify the most important app features generally. 

Your contact details won’t be collected in the process, in accordance with Google’s privacy policy. Any content that’s part of the app you choose to optimize won’t be collected either. 

The main benefits of this crowdsourced feature relate to speed. The aim is that apps will be quicker to download, open and run. Anything that improves the user experience like this is a positive for app marketing and retention rates. The less friction in the user journey means the less likely users will drop off. Also, taking up less of a user’s phone storage is another incentive for them to keep your app downloaded on their device. 

The potential is that apps download on a feature by feature basis, so if there’s a feature you don’t use within an app, it may never be downloaded onto your device. 

App install optimization is not available in the Play Store just yet, but it’s been referred to in Google’s latest release and is on its way to users very soon. It can be turned off in settings, and that doesn’t stop you benefiting from the data acquired from other users.

Apple’s Virtual WWDC21

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference this year will be held virtually on June 7-11. It’s free to join the conference online. Typically, attending WWDC puts you among the first to know about Apple’s newest features, tools and technologies. This can help give you clarity going forward in the app development world, encouraging innovation. 

Facebook Introduced New Ways for Creators to Monetize Their Content

Social networking app Facebook has introduced a whole host of new ways for creators to make money from their content, including short-form video, in-stream ads for livestreams, fan subscriptions in more locations and more. 

It appears Facebook is recognizing the importance of short-form video as a means of monetization by updating their eligibility rules surrounding in-stream ads. Previously, videos had to be at least three minutes long to be eligible, but now this is not a requirement. 

Creators will also be able to earn money by viewers sending them “stars”. Each star will be equivalent to $0.01. Some livestreams that are compatible with the Stars feature will offer users the chance to claim free stars as an incentive for viewers to use them.  

Although fan subscriptions already exist on the platform, the feature will now be offered in an additional ten countries across Europe (and New Zealand). 

YouTube & Snapchat Expanding Their TikTok Rival Features

Spotlight is Snapchat’s rival to TikTok, and in mid-March Snapchat began its global expansion of the short-form video feature. The feature has huge potential for advertising within the app. A few months earlier, Spotlight was launched in eleven countries, with a pledge from Snapchat to distribute $1 million to content creators daily as an incentive for using the platform. Now, Spotlight has been rolled out in three more countries (India, Brazil and Mexico) too. 

Although their payout scheme is an obvious attempt to entice users to use the platform, it can’t last forever. The hope is that increased content variety spurred by the scheme will eventually lead to increased engagement. Following that, more engagement should lead to more in-app advertising and the option for sponsored videos. 

Fellow video streaming platform YouTube has now introduced its own short-form video feature, Shorts, to the United States. Creators can make videos of 15 seconds or less using a sequence of shorter videos, music overlays, text overlays, hands-free filming and speed controls, exactly like TikTok. Users will be able to find Shorts on YouTube’s homepage and scroll through them vertically.

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