MotoTalks Podcast - Episode 3: The Evolution of Content Creation
It’s no secret that content creation has evolved tremendously over the last 5-10 years, and even in this past year as we all relied more heavily on technology to keep us entertained and connected from home. This month, Chris and Doug:
Chris Francica 0:05
- Connect with special guest Chris Eyerman of TikTok (2:40 -14:30)
- Dive deeper into the ways mobile photography and videography have advanced with consumer demand and behavior (14:31 – 18:13)
- Uncover some of the major trends we’re seeing in the industry today (18:14 – 25:15)
Welcome back to our third episode of Moto Talks. I'm Chris Francica
Doug Michau 0:10
and I'm Doug Michau!
Chris Francica 0:11
Today, we've got a great topic for you, we're going to be diving into something entirely new the evolution of content creation. In an increasingly digital world, these days ruled by social media, it's no surprise that mobile content creation has evolved tremendously over the past few years, especially over the last year in 2020. So in today's episode, we're going to discuss how consumers are taking advantage of better mobile cameras, as well as new tools to tell their stories, whether personally or professionally.
Doug Michau 0:40
You know, Chris, I'm so amazed at some of the photos I see taken nowadays, I almost have to do a double take and look like they're coming from a DSLR. But instead, they're coming from smartphones with all these awesome features, like, especially the portrait mode photos, and I can't believe especially some of those close ups that people are taking with the macro photography. It's pretty exciting for me.
Chris Francica 0:58
Yeah, I think you're right, we've really seen a convergence of a lot of the the tools and features that you'd expect from professional cameras have made their ways onto a smartphone. So we'll talk about all of that, as well as the whole ecosystem across hardware, software, apps, and even networks, how that's evolved over the last decade to make this new style of photo and video content possible. Plus, we'll highlight a few key Motorola devices including our new Moto G stylus 5G device, and some of the features we've recently launched to foster this creativity and help people capture the moment more easily. And last, but certainly not least, to help us dive deeper into this topic. We're excited to have special guest Chris Eyerman, head of creative lab North America at TikTok joining us later today. It's time for the Moto minute where we quickly recap everything that Motorola's been up to in the past month. And our podcast today actually is inspired by some of the recent happenings at Motorola, right Doug?
Doug Michau 1:56
That's right Chris. In North America, we recently launched our newest device the moto g stylus 5G. We're really thrilled to have this device. It's the first time we brought 5G to the Moto G franchise and making 5G accessible to even more people. The Moto G stylus 5G is the best of both worlds combining both the incredible power of 5G connectivity with a unique stylus experience allowing consumers to capture their best ideas and also share them in a flash. Another exciting piece of news from last month was that Motorola welcomed the newest addition to our North American sports sponsorship. The Milwaukee Bucks. Our partnership brings iconic Motorola battling logo to the left shoulder of the Bucs, Jersey. Be sure to follow the action on social media and via hashtag Hello, Milwaukee.
Chris Francica 2:40
Alright, Doug, thanks so much for that great recap. So now we're really excited to bring on our special guest, Chris eyerman, who's head of the creative lab in North America at TikTok, Chris, thanks so much for joining us today. Why don't you kick things off by telling us a little bit about your role as the head of the creative lab, and kind of what the creative lab does for the app?
Chris Eyerman 3:00
Yeah, thanks, guys. So I've been a Tiktok for a little over a year now. Creative lab is TikToks culture and innovation consulting, consultancy for brands and creative companies. So we're sort of a team that's very focused on understanding the culture of the platform and our community. And we're really focused on helping brands become creators and creating all kinds of new solutions that solve business problems through this kind of new media culture and commerce paradigm The TikTok represents so I lead that team and I've been building that team, we have creative lab teams all over the world.
Doug Michau 3:33
But maybe for those listeners out there that may need some help understanding content creation and how it applies to everyday consumers, not just YouTube, video bloggers or social media influencers. Can you help us kind of define content creation?
Chris Eyerman 3:47
Yeah, content creation can be defined as so many things. Right now. I think it really depends on the platform that you're looking at. And but I want to talk mostly about TikTok because it's probably why you all invited me here at because I actually really believe it's the most important place for anyone to be creating content right now, no matter who you are. The first thing to understand about TikTok is that it's a community entertainment platform. It's not a social media platform. So that's kind of actually like a paradigm shift away from what most people are used to. What I love about it is we've made it really, really easy for anyone to make content and build an audience because because of our creation tools, our algorithm and this sort of culture of co-creation that exists on the platform.
So if you don't use TikTok, and you aren't sure how content creation works there, it basically boils down to those three things we have, we've built a ton of really great creation tools, effects, and we've an extensive music library. So it makes it really simple for anyone to create the type of entertainment that used to require like expensive technology and years of experience. Entire teams of people, you actually don't need those things anymore. The algorithm that we've built helps anyone build an audience, almost any because it puts your content in front of viewers that already love whatever it is that you're about. In our we see that our audience growth rates are really high and really fast for almost everyone because your content gets seen. And then the third thing that I think is the most important is that TikTok sort of has this culture of co-creation that lowers the barrier of entry for almost anyone to create content and then to be seen, so every piece of content, and every idea on TikTok is re-mixable, and our algorithm actually rewards people for like putting a spin on someone else's content. And we see we see a lot of success stories in our community every day, with with just everyday people making content, and then turning that into something more.
Thanks, Chris. One thing we've seen as well is that the pandemic really impacted content creation and the tools or platforms use and certainly TikTok has been a benefactor of that we've seen it blow up during the quarantine number of users. And I know even I joined in over the past year. Well, that apps growth is undeniable. And in fact, we're even pre loading the TIC Tock app on some of our Motorola devices going forward, just to help all consumers. But how do you feel the pandemic impacted the amount and type of content that's been created on social media? And did you see any app rates increase as well?
Well, I love that y'all are pre loading TikTok on my devices. I think there's we've seen a lot of growth and evolution over the last year. So we obviously saw that when everyone was stuck at home over the last year, you know, the world felt upside down, our platform actually became this kind of unexpected respite. And it was less about like the polarity and the news and a lot more about individual and community creativity. So we saw people creating content, and then we saw them inviting their friends to take part. And then we saw entire households and families making content together over the last year. And really, that's kind of happened across everything.
So we've seen an explosion of content creation around pretty much pretty any topic or interest you could imagine. And then alongside that, we've also seen an explosion of new content creators. So like in terms of usage, like, while the pandemic ignited usage in a way that none of us expected, I don't think this is going to slow down as we back open back up either. A lot of people are using TikTok right now. And we're really excited to see how creators are going to use the tools they've gained over the last year to start engaging with their platform with the platform into their living rooms. And I think when it TikTok really starts hitting the streets all over the world, it's going to be this kind of supernova of creativity. So I'm really, really excited to continue to follow what our Creator community is going to do.
Chris Francica 7:41
That's really interesting that you said that people kind of turn to TikTok almost as an escape, which is different, I think, than how they view other. I know you said that you don't consider TikTok social media, but other traditional social media apps, I don't think are necessarily viewed that way. What are some of the common threads common themes that you see for the content that people are putting on TikTok that kind of makes it an escape?
Chris Eyerman 8:06
I mean, we've actually seen that people come to TikTok because it uplifts their spirits. This is something we we've just been kind of talking about recently. So that people are definitely coming here for an escape. I mean, the the basic stuff you see is that the content on TikTok, it feels a lot more authentic, it feels a lot more real relatable, it's it's sort of everyday people doing stuff. And that's really actually like, because of a lot of things. I mean, we're seeing a influence undergoing a dramatic shift. Right now we're seeing TikTok accelerate this trend that was happening, where influence was moving from celebrity to everyday people. We're seeing that people don't really want to chase likes anymore. You know, it's it's, it's about creators about the community that's built around the Creator. And I think the biggest thing, actually, in terms of like, what the content that we're seeing, working and what's most popular is it's all about co creation. That's sort of the heartbeat of our platform, the content that's most popular on our platform has really high co creation value. So it's either usually like a response to something that someone else has created, or it's an original idea that inspires others to create.
Doug Michau 9:16
And I wanted to shift gears a little bit. You talked earlier about lowering the barrier of entry with the exhaustive set of platform tools, from the green screen screens to interactive effects. It's no doubt that they played a huge role in making videos go viral on the platform. Do you see the popularity of these video effects? taking the place of the camera video effects on smartphones? Or how do you see TikTok and it's rolling and capturing your typical pictures and videos?
Chris Eyerman 9:46
Yeah, I mean, honestly, I think people are going to use whatever tools or effects allow them to easily make amazing content, right. So I think if it lets lets you make something cool and if it gives you an opportunity to connect with your audience, it's portable. Those are probably the things that mostly matter. I mean, we see a lot of camera video effects from third party apps make it onto TikTok and we obviously see a lot of hours spread out to other platforms. But I think the more important question is like how much does it camera or video effect enable co creation, like I was talking about before.
A lot of apps can be intimidating because you don't know where to start, right. So on TikTok, you can pick almost any effect and you can instantly see how people have used it. So I already know how to use the text voice tool that lets you put narration over video, whether I'm trying to create something absurd or like super emotional, because I've seen that on TikTok so many times, or I know how people are using, we released a effect a few weeks ago called the Versa Iran to dress where you get to dress up as Marie Antoinette. And because people have created so much stuff with that I know how to use it. And I also probably know what song to add to my video, when I think that's the cocreation is are really the thing, right? So it's like when you see other people creating with a specific effect, when you see trends starting to build off that it makes it really easy for you to jump in and make something. So I think in that sense, TikTok will probably we're gonna we expect that it's going to continue to be a hub for the best camera in video effects. And I think that actually like effects creation is going to be a massive economic opportunity for creators and businesses over the next decade as more people embrace content creation.
Chris Francica 11:26
So I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about the future. So a lot of the things that you just mentioned, are, you know, have been driven by some of the technological capability that's been developed over really only the last couple of years. You know, from our perspective, Motorola, we've been around a long time we've seen, you know, the dawn of, of cell phones, the dawn smartphones, we've gone from phones that have zero touch capability to those that now have full touch screens for drawing and note taking, and editing and annotating and all these different capabilities, which has really kind of transformed not only what you get out of the phone, but also what you can input, which is really where the kind of content creation comes in. And we're really almost now at peak creativity with all these new tools being developed. How do you see the next few years? How do you see this evolving even further?
Chris Eyerman 12:22
Well, there's a lot of trends you can look at. I mean, I think we're definitely going to see more people create a short form video, more people creating content that is really, really good that maybe they wouldn't have been made a few years ago. And we will we expect, we're going to continue to see a lot of growth on TikTok. And then we think outside of that con euro, you're also looking at content creation change in a lot of ways right now. So like we were talking about effects a few minutes ago, I'm actually when I think about effects, I'm pretty interested in the broader economy that's emerging around virtual goods and skins and Collectibles right now. I think the market for cosmetic skins and video games, it's something like $40 billion a year and loot boxes, people are spending about $15 billion a year on. And when you look at NFT's and other emerging technologies that are on top of that, you're really seeing that people are starting to place a lot of value around virtual items. They're starting to use them to explore identity, gender and beauty. There's they're spending a lot more time creating these virtual items, because it's a really tremendous social currency. So there's a lot of cool emerging trends in that space, I think, through a TikTok lens, like you're also seeing people embracing effects on the platform. And again, I just think that where augmented reality and virtual items and video content all kind of come together, it's gonna be really interesting to see how it evolves.
Chris Francica 13:55
Yeah, all this, I think is fascinating just how much apps like Tiktok have really empowered the average person who was probably experimenting and creating the stuff on their own, but maybe only sharing with a small group. And now as you said that you've really elevated that group to become, you know, almost as you said, we're talking about NF T is creating its own industry. Right. There's a lot more to it now. Chris, thanks so much for joining us. This has been a fascinating conversation. We really appreciate you taking the time to come on and answer our questions and learn to help us learn a little bit more about content creation. Tik tok, of course.
Chris Eyerman 14:30
Chris Francica 14:33
Alright, so let's take a deeper look into some of the topics that we just talked about with our special guest Chris Ironmen from TikTok. He talked a lot about TikToks role in the cultural reset video. Let's take a little bit of a deeper look into the evolution of photo and video features. So if you think about it, 10 years ago, there was really neither the capability nor the consumer behavior around content creation and sharing. Smartphones can take photos and videos. But there was a lot more individual or it's kind of small group sharing. And I know from my own experience back then I had a cell phone. You know, for the first time when I was in college, and I didn't even I didn't have a camera. So I knew that cell phone photos were pretty small and grainy. You didn't really share things to social media apps using a cell phone, you had to have a point and shoot camera. So I really relied on other people to even take pictures that I was then putting on my own social media page. Doug, I don't know if you've got a similar story.
Doug Michau 15:31
Yeah, Chris. I agree. I mean, early on, the pictures that we took, there wasn't a great way to share it. And you know, and again, 10 years ago, the network bandwidth wasn't as fast either. I remember sharing pictures over, you know, MMS, and the problem is, is that they typically downgrade them to like VGA quality, especially when you try to share a video, for example, it was so grainy, sometimes it was hard to decipher exactly what was going on.
Chris Francica 15:54
Let's break this down a little more detail between photography and videography. So you know, one of the things that we've seen over the course of the past 10 years is that more people have started using features beyond just the native camera, open it up and shoot. And what you get is what you get. So obviously, the you know, manufacturers like us at Motorola are providing more types of software features to enhance the photos, but more options in terms of shooting modes. But this is kind of one one area of behavior that we've seen changing as users are moving beyond things like the just the default resolution, they're switching to higher resolutions. And you know, they're they're using more of these different aspects of the device.
Doug Michau 16:34
I think some of the data networks becoming a lot more reliable has been important as well. We've seen, obviously, with the advent of Google Photos coming in 2015, that once you take a photo on your device, you know, it automatically uploads to the cloud. And instantly it's shared amongst family and friends and anyone else that you're sharing our albums with. So you take a photo on a family vacation. Now your grandmother can see it on her Google Display at her house, it's it's become a lot more proliferating as far as sharing that content out with so many others.
Chris Francica 17:04
Yeah, that's right. I think that you open up kind of a host of other things. When you get access to cloud storage like that. I think the other thing that you see with photography is just the rising importance of photo editing software to, and obviously, those features have gotten a lot better over time. But for videography, if we look back 10 years ago, there's data from from the Pew Research Center that says six and 10 smartphone users reported or, or recorded videos or had access to social networking sites on their phones. And YouTube, I think was one of the top websites among that. So you know, it's just over half of people were even doing this.
Doug Michau 17:44
Yeah, and if you look at even today, Chris, watching video on a mobile device, it's just becoming the preferred preference for most millennials and Gen Z. Consumers as well. According to a recent research from snap and Omnicom Media Group, they found that like 61% watched more videos in and on social media apps, such as like Snapchat, or Instagram, and others. And of those respondents as well. More than half 52% said they watched those videos on a smartphone device.
Chris Francica 18:13
And I think it's a similar story also, with photography, as it is with videography, where there's just more tools and there's more capability. So for example, you have shooting modes like slow motion video, which we've seen an increase on for Motorola users. And you know, the the power of 5G, I think is opening up other avenues for what you do in terms of streaming as well.
Doug Michau 18:35
Yeah, I believe that the tools that we're offering really is empowering all the consumers just to become one of the you know, those primary social influencers with all the content and that they have at their disposal now. All right, speaking of camera advancements, we had a conversation with some of our internal camera experts on this topic. Together, we've identified five clear trends that have taken place in the industry over the past couple of years. The first point is a return to the megapixel brace, cameras, they jumped from 12 to 16 megapixels, then we saw the 48, then a 64. And ultimately now with 108 megapixels, and they're moving beyond that very quickly. You can even see this in selfie cameras.
Chris Francica 19:15
We think we you know, in our conversation with the camera team, we think this might continue the trend of higher megapixel devices because the human eye can can recognize differences in resolutions up to several 100 megapixel so they're still you know, even a higher ceiling to go with that particular trend.
Doug Michau 19:33
Yeah, that's right, Chris, and even beyond the resolution. The second point is a proliferation of more cameras in general. So OEMs like Motorola, we're shipping more specialized cameras, for example, the macro mode, cameras, a very big success. cameras that do depth or portrait mode, wide angle cameras, tele zoom, and video that allows users to access custom camera features for specific use cases. The third point really is better and more editing tools.
Chris Francica 20:04
Yeah, so trend number three on editing because we covered this a little bit earlier. But we did a survey of Motorola users in the US that showed 69% of them edit, edit their photos after taking a photo, mostly it's basic editing stuff. But then of those, the majority about 82%, were using the tools provided with them on the phone. So there is still a, you know, significant chunk of people that are going with third party apps. Especially, if you look at usage of photo editing on social media, we see a trend of users doing more editing with the tools that are provided through third party social media apps.
Doug Michau 20:44
That's right, because in one thing, you know, just to make that even easier, that's how we've incorporated a stylus with some devices at Motorola. But what's important is that when we survey those consumers, we see that actually 90% of the consumers with a stylus device, they're very satisfied with it. And one note is that when we introduced the Moto G stylus, and 2020, it actually quickly became our best selling Moto G that year, and continues to be the case. So some of those consumer benefits are that built in stylus, they can do that photo and video editing that you just spoke of. But you can actually do more entertaining things like create a sketch or do some digital artwork. And of course, you could always take notes with that we've seen, for example, a lot of the Playstore apps that are centered around productivity and notetaking really have a tremendous number of downloads, things such as like Google Keep, and even the Moto note application itself has a very high rating.
Chris Francica 21:39
So trend number four is multiple image signal processors. So obviously, this just enables a bunch of different multi camera experiences. One of the ones that Motorola just released earlier this year is called dual capture, where you can basically do a split screen and record a front and rear camera at once. But there's lots of different experiences like that, where you can take advantage of that other trend of you know, adding more cameras to your phone, and you can use more of them at the same time.
Doug Michau 22:08
Yeah, that really creates an immersive experience that you can capture and share with the world around you. And and I just want to point out that the fifth trend then really is using artificial intelligence and cameras. While all these features are standalone is so important, it's even more important, if you can auto detect one to use a certain mode and then switch to it, we've got a couple of features like that and the Motorola devices, and you'll see them in other OEMs as well. features such as auto smile capture. So as soon as people smile, it automatically takes the photo. A couple other examples are spot color. Typically it was in still capture, we're offering that also with video. And then those features such as smart composition that uses the photography rule of thirds to automatically adjust your photo. Any others that you've seen, Chris?
Chris Francica 22:53
Yeah, I think the idea of AI is really just to make it as easy as possible for the average user to take advantage of some of these features.
Doug Michau 23:02
And of course, though, there's still more pain points that need to be addressed in the future, which is gonna require more engineering and features to be developed. I mean, Chris, what some of the pain points that you've personally seen.
Chris Francica 23:14
Yeah, I think, you know, if, if you think about what it's hard to do, right now, it kind of flows from that last point that we talked about on artificial intelligence, it's not always easy to discover some of those features. So just personally, or the, you know, friends that I've talked to, you can see, you know, not everyone knows that these features exist. And then another one is, you know, photo quality of your native camera is different than what it is on social media apps. So for example, not every not every third party app is able to take advantage of all the capabilities you have of the native camera. And so that can be confusing to some people why they take you know, they see different difference in quality between those two areas. So I think, you know, there's other, there's other pain points that we still see a little bit more detailed, but things that that we're working on at Motorola that can continue to, to make strides and just make things easier are around features like object removal. So if you take a photo and there's something in there that you wish wasn't there, you know, using AI, you can kind of erase that. You can do things with anti glare. So you can kind of remove the reflection. There's other things like video drift alert. So if you're at a concert or something, taking a video and you accidentally move, you can get an alert to make sure that you're keeping your subject in the frame. So things like that, that are trying to, again, make it easier, but also just give you guidance on how to use your camera.
Doug Michau 24:44
Thanks so much for joining us for a third edition of moto talks podcast. We hope you enjoyed our discussion and continuing to elevate your content through unique camera features, innovative smartphone apps, software and more. Don't forget if you're listening to us from the Motorola website. You can also find us on Spotify. So be sure to subscribe. Thanks for listening and we'll chat with you again next month.