Hyperconnect, Key to social platform success: reflecting the ‘user voice’

Published : Friday, January 29, 2021, 8:10 am
ACROFAN=Jae-Yong Ryu | | SNS
- From tailored engagement features to high standards of community safety — proactively reflecting the needs of “MZ” generation users

Social platforms that are popular among the so-called “MZ” generations (Millennials and Generation Z combined) seem to share a common practice: they listen to their users and structure products according to direct feedback. As the protagonists in a new digital era, MZ users are shaping social services through their demands for live, interactive content against a safe and friendly community backdrop.

■ Hakuna Live enables diverse experiences and ensures safe communities

Hakuna Live, the second hit project launched by Seoul-based video and AI technology company Hyperconnect, takes the traditional live streaming concept — where one “mega host” broadcasts to many — and enhances it via multi-way communication modes. Dubbed ‘social live streaming’, Hakuna helps every user find his or her place in the social universe — from light chat to counseling, quiz shows, rap battles, casual games and more. As entertainment consumption continues its shift online in the era of COVID-19, Hakuna Live is rapidly growing by introducing MZ-targeted features. For example, Hakuna’s “Guest Mode” allows up to four to co-broadcast simultaneously through a split screen layout, enabling a diverse playground-like experience; Augmented Reality (AR) Avatar mode allows streamers and guests to express themselves with fun, facial data-based characters. This year, Hakuna expects to expand upon its Guest Mode with “Group Chat Live’, allowing up to six people to chat together, further blurring the traditional lines between entertainer and entertained

Critically, Hakuna Live is acutely focused on maintaining a safe online community and has spared no expense in building advanced artificial intelligence-powered monitoring systems that can automatically detect and report and variety of unwanted content. Hyperconnect also assembled a Community Safety Supervision Committee in November 2020, consisting of former partners from reputable law firms and former judges. Hakuna Live is currently serviced in 10 countries — including Japan, Turkey, India, North America, and Taiwan — and is planning to expand its MZ-focused launch even further this year.

■ After the success of ‘Snow', Naver’s ‘ZEPETO’ gains ground through a user-first focus

The augmented reality avatar platform ZEPETO, operated by Naver Z, now counts over 180 million amongst its global subscriber base — in just two years after its launch. ZEPETO is a product squarely aimed at the MZ users with its 3D avatar environment that uses the latest in facial recognition and AR technology. ZEPETO has also actively catered towards MZ users through its partnerships with generation-relevant content, reportedly earning over 12 billion won from its partnership with Big Hit Entertainment and YG Entertainment and 5 billion won from its partnership with JYP. ZEPETO’s success follows the positive feedback that the Naver-owned ‘Snow’ received from users after adding augmented reality capabilities to its camera app.

■ Facebook’s shift towards “followers” over “likes”

To keep up with the needs and feedback of its younger users, Facebook too recently announced plans for a meaningful overhaul to its platform. For example, on pages used by public figures, the 'Like' function — which has been the target of much negative press — has been dropped in favor of focusing on 'follower' count. This change, which positions Facebook as something closer to YouTube and Instagram, is intended give creators a firmer indication of their fan base Facebook had reportedly tested the deletion of ‘Like’ in a number of markets and ultimately made the determination based on user feedback. Facebook will also introduce a dedicated news feed and Q&A function for active exchanges between friends, colleagues, and fans — a step towards deepening “communication” between users, which is highly valued by MZ generations.

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