There are no plans of monetizing Threads right now: Shweta Bajpai, Meta

Shamita Islur
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Shweta Bajpai, Meta

As part of the Social Samosa 30 Under 30 Jury, Shweta Bajpai, Meta shares insights on where the future of social commerce is headed, the way influencer marketing is shaping it, Twitter rival Threads, AI and how young professionals can leverage Meta.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta has been going through significant changes in technological developments with their new app Threads. There have been changes in their monetization offerings for influencers and advertising opportunities provided for brands too. 

According to Statista, around 98% of the platform’s annual revenue is generated by its Family of Apps. The vast majority of the Meta platforms’ revenue is produced through advertising taking up to US $113,624 million worldwide. 

We spoke to Shweta Bajpai, Director, Fin-Serv, Media & Travel at Meta to understand the future of social commerce, changing consumer patterns on social media, newly launched Threads, and more.

Edited Excerpts:

Social commerce is on the rise, with more users looking to make purchases directly on social media platforms. How does Meta envision the future of social commerce and the integration of shopping experiences within its platforms?

For us, I think the best way social commerce is manifesting is through what's happening on conversational commerce. Social buying’s innate nature is fairly conversational.

For sellers present only on Instagram, Instagram Messenger and WhatsApp are the social platforms where conversational transactions take place. We find that aspect super exciting. It's evolved from being social commerce to what’s happening on conversational commerce.

The other aspect leading to its rise is influencer-led commerce, specifically in beauty and fashion categories, Whether it is live shopping, influencers talking about a certain product, leading users to exclusive shopping channels or commerce channels where those products that can then be bought are some areas where they are becoming fairly interesting.

The team social commerce has now evolved to conversational commerce and influencer-led commerce rather than the term representing the whole entirety of what shopping experiences and social platforms could look like.

During SM Live, you mentioned that reels contribute to many consumers' purchase behaviour. Can you give us an insight into how reels will shape the future of social media marketing?

Across all our platforms, I would say Instagram is the one where users spend the most time. Within Instagram, reels account for the majority of the time spent. That’s one factor that determines the future. The second factor is the user-generated content.

According to statistics that are openly shared, reels get created every minute by about 40% of Instagram users. With multiple reels created on the platform by users, established influencers and reel ads that you come across, users’ attention span is also decreasing. 

It becomes imperative for brands to create content that is fairly eye-catching and human-led, and the product message needs to come across through subtle integration, rather than in-your-face brand positioning. For example, humorous content sells on reels. 

Brand content will decide how they want to shape the opportunity. That's where reel-led marketing is evolving because it's a service that’s clearly viral.

Virtual influencers are a growing trend in the social media landscape. How do you see virtual influencers impacting the traditional influencer marketing industry?

Right now, across the set of influences we have, the content that tends to win is the one that comes across as the most authentic where the user is able to see the influencer for who they really are rather than the brand’s mouthpiece.

The whole point of influencer marketing is the authenticity of the influencer present, so I think it's super early for us to say if AI-generated marketing will take over.

Also Read: #SS30Under30: Revealing the nominees

With subscription-based blue ticks, how do you think influencer marketing will change?

We launched IG Verified in India less than a month ago, it’s super early to determine how it will go and it’s only been three months since its release in various parts of the world. We first started it in Australia where the push was to say that when a brand tries to communicate to its users, it has to come from a trusted source.

I think the first set of beneficiaries from IG Verified will be brands who look for a trusted presence since influencer-led communication has become an important part of their strategy.

With the launch of threads and Meta bringing in more changes for the users, how do you think the future of social media is shaping up?

Right now, Threads is only meant for user engagement. It has obviously grown far faster than we would have envisioned. There are no plans of putting a monetization angle to it as of now. But it’s exciting considering it’s been a long time since a new app has been launched.  

We are already seeing some of the brands and influences creating content and it’s happened in no time. That's super exciting. But it’s very early to say how it will influence the marketing.

The ethical use of AI is a growing concern. What steps is Meta taking to ensure that AI algorithms used in social media marketing are transparent, unbiased, and respectful of user privacy?

For us, AI is a way to ensure user privacy. Users on Meta are spending the majority of their time across our three main services - Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

If we were to use the information gained via interactions on those platforms, that would be an invasion of privacy. But at the same time, when larger brands, CPG companies and media companies come to us for advertising, they really value their customer information.

So how do you manage these two?

We use AI to help brands decide how they should present their content. We have created a bunch of automated products. One of our products is called actually ‘Advantage Plus’, where the machine analyses users’ behaviour to ultimately show which creative works well for the user.

Now, it's a huge leap of faith for many advertisers, specifically the ones who keep creating campaigns every day. It’s about using the information about what people really value to show them what they want to see on our platform.

What are your expectations from 30under30?

So I've been through some of the profiles and I am impressed with what they have achieved at such a young age. What I am really looking for is some kind of innovation specifically on digital platforms.

With products and technology evolving, there also needs to be an ability to balance it and do what's good for society. I am looking at profiles who are able to take a privacy-first approach and have the ability to think about how they can ensure that their marketing communication is strong but doesn't tread the line in terms of ethical interest.

What is your message for the participants of 30under30?

So my message for the participants will be to ‘Continue to innovate’. I wish to see more innovation from the set of folks on the Meta platforms.

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