Welcome back to The Weekly Download – here’s what’s on the hot sheet today:

The future of social audio, levelling the digital playing field, updates to Instagram, new iPhone accessibility for mask-wearers, Twitter’s 2021 Marketing Calendar, plus, the best of Super Bowl LV (so far).

The Future of Social Audio: How Should Brands Prepare?

Social audio is poised to explode – like serious, big-time growth – and brands need to be paying attention.

According to Jeremiah Owyang, a technology industry analyst in relevant markets like social media and the sharing economy, social audio is the “Goldilocks” medium for the 2020s: Text is not enough, and video is too much; social audio is just right.

Owyang’s explanation is perhaps the simplest one to understand why social audio is the next big thing:

“It represents the opportunity for social connection and empathy without the downsides of video. Why is this use case taking off? – humans, stuck at home during quarantine; readily available smartphones and apps; cloud-based technology and easy integration platforms like Agora; the desire for human connection beyond text; and fatigue from too many video conference calls.”

Owyang predicts that adoption of social audio will skyrocket in the months to come, with other digital leaders like Google and Facebook looking for market share. Brands should take note of popular social audio apps like Clubhouse (arguably the leader in this evolving space) and consider ways to get in on the ground floor.

Need some help to refine your current digital strategy for social audio? Reach out to our team today.

Levelling the Digital Playing Field: How News Media Canada is Standing Up to Internet Giants

A new campaign is bringing attention to the power of social giants like Facebook and their “relentless attacks” against local news.

Levelling the Digital Playing Field is an initiative from News Media Canada that is calling out modern-day Goliaths for using their monopoly power to scoop up 80% of online advertising revenues and to free ride on the news content produced by Canadian journalists and publishers.

According to the website, Australia has put in place a comprehensive solution to enable news publishers to counteract the power of the web giants, thanks to support from all the main political parties without new government funding, taxes, or consumer fees. News Media Canada thinks parliament here should do the same.

To learn more about the campaign and learn how you can get involved, visit levellingthedigitalplayingfield.ca.

Instagram Allows Users to Recover Deleted Posts

Instagram’s newest feature will let users restore deleted posts, offering a safeguard against purging by potential hackers.

As of this week, deleted content will be moved to a new Recently Deleted folder for a short time. From there it can either be restored or permanently deleted, both of which will require identity verification.

As explained by , think of it as your desktop’s Recycling Bin — but with a lock on it.

The new feature applies to all Instagram content, including photos, videos, Reels, IGTV videos, and even Stories. Most of these will sit patiently in the Recently Deleted folder for 30 days before they are automatically and permanently deleted.

Apple Introduces New iPhone Accessibility for Mask Wearers

After almost a year of mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic, iPhone users will soon be able to unlock their devices while masked, but there’s a catch — reports say the feature only works if you’re also wearing an Apple Watch.

If the smartwatch is unlocked, users can stare at their iPhones while masked to unlock their devices. The Apple Watch will also notify users each time the phone is unlocked. So while it sounds like a simple workaround, it’s not an inclusive option for those who don’t have access to an Apple Watch.

The feature isn’t available just yet — it’s currently part of the developer beta for iOS 14.5.

Twitter’s 2021 Marketing Calendar Showcases Key Events for Your Digital Campaigns

Each year, Twitter releases a downloadable events calendar to help marketers planning for key dates in the months ahead (for example, did you know next Tuesday is National Pizza Day?)

With so many in-person events modified or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s calendar became somewhat irrelevant. This year, Twitter has adapted the calendar into a living digital guide, ensuring it is as relevant and up-to-date as possible for all marketers.

You can find the marketing calendar on the Twitter Marketing website, which can be further broken down by country/region.

Friday Fun

The Best of Super Bowl LV (So Far)

This weekend marks Super Bowl LV — will you be tuning in? (You can find us huddled around the snack bar!)

Here are some of the best Super Bowl commercials from 2021 that have hit the big screen — so far: