What Instagram Creator Accounts Mean for Influencer Marketing

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Influencer marketing is right at home on its most prominent social media platform, Instagram. By 2020, Instagram influencer marketing is set to reach $2.3 billion.

With over 1 billion users, the network enjoys massive popularity among the general public and is central to the strategies of marketers across the world, who regard it as the most important social media channel for influencer marketing.

The growth of Instagram and its importance within marketing spheres has meant increased demand from brands and influencers to improve the level of support and resources to execute impactful marketing campaigns.

Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, launched its subscription feature to help support its creator community and boost the ability of influencers to make better use of the platform.

Instagram has followed suit with Instagram Creator Accounts, which grant users more flexibility and insights into how posts are performing for better campaign results.

What Are Instagram Creator Accounts?

Influencers and marketers who are familiar with Instagram marketing likely know that most create business profiles in order to get additional campaign insights.

With the introduction of Instagram Creator Accounts, even more insights are being offered to users. This includes the ability to manage posts and more comprehensive analytics options including:

  • audience demographics
  • weekly follower counts
  • reach / impressions

In its initial trial period, Creator Accounts were only available to those with over 10,000 followers. This has since been opened up to universal use for anybody.

Now, users can transfer their personal account or business account in a few short steps in the app’s settings. Once finalized, Instagram Creators have a set of tools in their repertoire.

4 Instagram Creator Account Tools

Here are four tools available through upgrading to an Instagram Creator Account:

1. Instagram Creator Account Insights

Creator Accounts are similar to business accounts in that they provide insights that regular users don’t have access to. Detailed insights range from gender, age, location, as well as which content your audience engages with most.

Instagram Creator Accounts also offer supplemental insights including:

  • net follower changes
  • graph of how many people followed or unfollowed you
  • all posts for the time series of your graph
  • recap of previous week’s follower growth that shows Feed and Stories posts for a given day

2. Instagram ‘Stories About You’

‘Stories About You’ is a dedicated feature exclusive to Instagram Creator Accounts which helps streamline the interaction process.

Previously, interactions with Stories that mentioned your handle took place in the inbox. Stories About You seeks to improve this process, aggregating all Stories mentions of you and turning them into a singular story reel.

This reel is accessed by tapping the heart icon, then ‘Mentions’ under ‘Stories About You’.

There are minor exceptions to how ‘Stories About You’ functions. For example, for private accounts which you do not follow, mentions from them will not be added to your reel. And when your account is mentioned by someone but they only share it with their close friends, you will not see this activity.

3. Instagram Creator Account 2-Tab Inbox

Creator Accounts add another tab to your existing inbox. The two tabs are labeled the ‘Primary tab’ and the ‘General tab.’

Primary tab: This is used for messages that have the highest priority for you, and you’ll continue to receive notifications as usual for this tab
General tab: This is for everything else. Direct messages which are moved here have notifications turned off by default, effectively meaning DMs are less of a hassle for those with substantial followings

4. IGTV Creator Episodic Series

As part of Instagram’s wider goal of muscling in on the long-form video market that has become such a boon for online video giants, IGTV has also seen the influence of creator tools benefit its functionality.

Keen as ever to diversify its content, Instagram has just launched a new toolset for the IGTV platform. This extensive update allows creators to organize their videos on a distinct page and denote episodes with a badge to differentiate them from other videos they create.

It also features an option to automatically play the next episode (similar to YouTube and Netflix’s autoplay functions), and the opportunity to turn on notifications for clips within IGTV series.

Benefits Of Instagram Creator Accounts For Influencers & Brands

There are many benefits for both influencers and brands with the addition of new Instagram Creator Account features to utilize, notably:

  • more in-depth insights into followers
  • filtered inbox for direct messages
  • more detailed creator profiles
  • Creator Studio access on desktop
  • ability to create shoppable posts with brands
  • more influencer data for better influencer discovery

Drawbacks Of Instagram Creator Accounts

There are still, however, a couple of shortcomings in the new offerings available with Instagram Creator Accounts:

  • can’t post content through the Creator Studio desktop platform
  • no API connection for third-party tools—the Instagram API only supports business profiles for third-party tools

Should You Switch To An Instagram Creator Account?

The benefits of upgrading to an Instagram Creator Account are there for all to see. The change definitely addresses some long-standing issues that influencers have had with the platform over the years, particularly with regards to insights and direct messaging.

At present, however, the lack of a connection between Creator Accounts and the Instagram API could prove to be a large stumbling block for many.

This will be the case for influencers and brands who have established routines and practices for their campaigns which will be disrupted by the inability to use third-party tools for analytics and auto publishing, for example.

What Instagram Creator Accounts Mean For Influencer Marketing

Instagram has always been ahead of the curve and shrewd in its ability to please its top talent with effective monetization opportunities. It’s the reason Instagram is still here and other social media networks, like Vine, have died off.

This latest effort, in conjunction with the recent announcement of the added tools for IGTV, seems to indicate that Instagram is focused on giving influencers added capabilities to aid their influencer marketing strategies.

As ever with social media, keeping your stars happy is a top priority. We just recently saw the boost Microsoft’s livestreaming service, Mixer, got when it tempted Twitch’s top streamer in a multi-year mega deal.

Instagram will continue to keep its biggest stars onside, which generally means giving them more creator tools, perks, and marketing opportunities.

The impact of totally removing support for third-party tools is one of the more interesting aspects of this update—something to keep an eye on as more users jump over to Instagram Creator Accounts. This has been a long-term strategy to bring influencers over to using their in-app analytics and insights, and the improvement of these services will be key to keeping them happy.

Influencer Rates: How Much Do Influencers Charge?

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Digital marketing professionals are treating influencer marketing—a burgeoning industry that’s set to reach $5-10 billion by 2020—more and more like its own media channel. In fact, two-thirds of marketers planned to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2019, with 17% of companies deciding to allocate over half their marketing budget for influencer marketing.

That said, marketers have struggled to ascertain the cost of influencer marketing. This is because the industry is still in its infancy and influencer rates are disclosed sparingly. The growing issue of fake followers and inauthentic influencers have also contributed to fluctuating influencer rates.

Through careful execution and measurement of our own influencer marketing strategies, we at Mediakix have identified trends in influencer rates for the past four years. We’ve also taken note of the various factors that commonly dictate the cost of working with influencers.

Influencer Rates Have Increased Over The Years

Influencer rates have climbed an average of 50% per year since 2017. We calculated this percentage based on a set of trusted influencers that Mediakix has worked with over the years. These influencers represent varying tiers, categories, and pricing levels.

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Between 2016 and 2017, influencer rates increased 47%. A year later, the average rate jumped 60%, and between 2018 and 2019, it went up 53%.

This year-over-year trend can be attributed to several factors, and it does not mean that the price of influencer marketing will increase indefinitely. Many marketers, in fact, are opting to work with lower-tiered, cost-effective influencers or are optimizing their influencer strategies to spend more efficiently.

What Challenges Do Increasing Influencer Rates Pose For Marketers?

Rising influencer rates is a trend that’s to be expected—influencer marketing is a rapidly evolving industry that continues to gain traction across numerous business verticals. Influencers have honed their craft and influencer strategies have become more sophisticated, driving up demand. This gives influencers the control to hike their rates.

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Increasing influencer rates is feared by marketers—so much so that nearly 40% of U.S. marketers agree the rising cost of influencers is a leading challenge in the space. This turbulent pricing model poses a major pain point to marketers who are trying to harness the power of influencers. Measuring ROI is already difficult, and the fact that rates are on the rise is enough to cause concern amongst marketers on a budget.

In order to combat increasing rates, marketers and influencers should prioritize influencer authenticity. Partnering with influencers who represent your brand’s values and who truly back your product or services as opposed to one-off, transactional engagements will ensure their audience responds well. It will also help stabilize influencer rates and generate positive ROI.

10 Factors That Affect Influencer Rates

There’s a host of factors that can determine how much an influencer charges. It’s rare that an influencer charges a flat rate. One travel influencer said in an interview with Digiday, “Everyone now can set their own rate based on what they are able to get,” meaning influencers charge in a manner similar to any business offering a service.

While not an exhaustive list, the following should be taken into consideration to calculate influencer rates:

  1. Social Channel – Will the influencer publish sponsored content on Instagram, YouTube, or some other social channel? Depending on the social channel, the format, messaging style, audience type, creator resources, and other factors will vary. Influencers may have a flat rate no matter what platform they post on, but many alter their rates accordingly.
  2. Size – How many followers or subscribers does the influencer have, and how many will they potentially reach? Influencers with massive followings typically command higher rates, while influencers with more modest fan bases will cost less. This is not always the case, but more impressions generally translate to higher cost.
  3. Engagement Rates – How much engagement does the influencer generate on organic versus sponsored content? A mega-influencer may have more followers, but how much of their audience is meaningfully interacting with their content? Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.
  4. Category – What category does the influencer specialize in (e.g. fashion, lifestyle, family)? Popular niches such as fitness or beauty tend to have more influencers available, making their category more competitive. Less popular areas, such as tech or gaming, may be pricier because their area of expertise is hard to come by.
  5. Content Format – What type of content will the influencer create (photo, video, Story, blog post, etc.)? Based on the format of the sponsored content, influencers will spend varying degrees of time and resources to create it. The more time and resources used to produce the content, the more it will usually cost. The lower the input, the lower the cost. Also consider the value derived from specific types of content. For example, an in-feed Instagram post might get buried within user’s feeds. A Story, however, may entice viewers to convert right away.
  6. Campaign Deliverables – How much content will influencers have to create? Is it a one-off campaign in which the influencer publishes a single sponsored YouTube video, or will they publish a series of videos featuring your product over a longer period of time? Some campaigns require bigger time investments and more deliverables, whereas some are simpler and take less time to execute.
  7. Seasonality & Demand – Is your campaign seasonal and how in demand is the influencer you want to collaborate with? Q4 (think: holiday promotions and prep for new year) typically comes with the highest demand, driving up influencer rates. Additionally, in-demand influencers can command higher fees.
  8. Reuse & Licensing Rights – Do you plan to reshare or repurpose the influencer’s sponsored content? Some influencers may charge more for your brand to reuse their content. Don’t forget to outline these terms in your influencer contract.
  9. Exclusivity – Do you want the influencer to sign an exclusivity clause that prohibits them from promoting competitors for a set period of time? If so, consider the fact that influencers who agree to this are eliminating another potential source of income, especially if they’re in a competitive niche. This element can jack up the price of an influencer engagement.
  10. Production Costs – Will the influencer have to factor in production costs (e.g. video equipment, editing software, etc.) to ensure professional quality? Remember, low effort normally means lower cost relative to a collaboration that requires high effort. If an influencer is expected to produce a high-quality video, the influencer will need top-of-the-line equipment, a professional videographer, more detailed editing process, and any other elements necessary to professionalize the end product. If so, expect the influencer rate to rise.

Estimating Influencer Rates With Influencer Tiers

Ever find yourself asking, “How much do Instagram influencers make per post?” Marketers can use influencer tiers to bucket creators by relative price ranges. Tiers represent brackets of influencers depending on their number of followers. We’ve broken down influencer tiers for Instagram—the channel rated the most important for influencer marketing strategies in our 2019 survey.

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  • Nano-influencers – 1,000 – 10,000 followers
  • Micro-influencers – 10,000 – 50,000 followers
  • Mid-tier influencers – 50,000 – 500,000 followers
  • Macro-influencers – 500,000 – 1,000,000 followers
  • Mega-influencers – 1,000,000+ followers

Knowing the reach of an influencer is not a hard fast way to determine Instagram influencer rates, but it does give marketers an idea of what price tag to expect.

How Much Do Instagram Influencers Cost By Tier?

We can break down Instagram influencer rates into the six influencer tiers:

Naturally, as influencer tiers progress, influencer rates also increase.

  • Nano-influencers – Free products or nominal amounts of money (up to $500).
  • Micro-influencers – A couple hundred to a few thousand dollars ($200-$4,000).
  • Mid-tier influencers – Anywhere from a couple thousand to ten thousand dollars ($2,000-$10,000).
  • Macro-influencers – A few thousand to several thousand dollars ($5,000-$25,000).
  • Mega-influencers – Several thousand to hundreds of thousands ($10,000-$150,000).
  • Celebrities – Several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars ($20,000-$500,000).

How To Find Influencers Within Your Brand’s Budget

In order to identify influencers that won’t break the bank, brands should first determine their influencer marketing budget. Without knowing how much you’re willing to spend on influencer marketing efforts, it will be more difficult to find influencers within an affordable price range. To find influencers within your budget, brands can:

  • set influencer marketing goals and develop a strategy
  • leverage influencer discovery tools
  • partner with an influencer marketing agency

Determine Your Brand’s Influencer Marketing Goals & Strategy

Influencer marketing budgets often stem from your brand’s goals, as well as the strategy you employ. Perhaps your goal is brand awareness, so achieving social engagement and earning new followers are important KPIs. Or maybe your sole objective is to drive sales. Your influencer marketing strategy will vary depending on your campaign goals. Once you’ve established your goals and strategic plan, you can move forward with identifying influencers appropriate for your brand’s budget.

Use Influencer Discovery Tools

By leveraging tools, such as influencer databases or free discovery resources, brands can pinpoint influencers who are better financial fits. Influencer databases give marketers the ability to research reputable influencers using filters and other search parameters. This can help ensure your brand spends within your means.

Work With Experienced Agencies

Another alternative is working with an influencer marketing agency, such as Mediakix. An agency strategizes, executes, and manages influencer marketing campaigns and boasts unmatched expertise in the space. Agencies also have insights into influencer rates due to their working relationships with trusted influencers. In effect, agencies are experts at budgeting for campaigns of all sizes and will help your brand find influencers within your budget.

How Do You Know If An Influencer Rate Is Reasonably Priced?

As mentioned earlier, influencer rates can be unpredictable. Below are a few ways marketers can best determine if an influencer rate is fair:

  • measure return on influencer marketing investment
  • evaluate previous campaign performance and influencer rate cards
  • consult our industry influencer rates chart for price guidelines

Influencer Marketing ROI

By understanding how to measure influencer marketing ROI, marketers can better assess if the price was worth the results. ROI is the percentage of each dollar invested that will yield a profit. Start by asking, “Did my campaign drive positive ROI?” Positive results can mean you simply achieved your goals, but it technically means you spent efficiently.

For example, a campaign that drums up temporary buzz around your brand may not be worth the cost of working with an expensive influencer and all the associated costs that come along with it if it doesn’t translate into tangible value. But a campaign that sustains long-term benefits, like immediate sales and lifelong customers, is likely worth the investment.

Previous Campaign Results & Influencer Rate Cards

If you’re tasked with deciding whether an influencer rate is justified before moving forward with them, do some extra research into their past branded collaborations to see what kind of results they generated. If they’re well-known in the space and can provide insights into previous campaigns, you should be able to judge if their rate is reasonable.

It’s also a good idea to request an influencer rate card—something many influencers will have prepared for advertisers. Once you’ve compiled enough influencer rate cards, you’ll begin to understand and anticipate the going rate more successfully.

Industry Influencer Rates

You can also use our influencer rates chart that breaks down cost by influencer tiers as a general guide. A rate that seems suspiciously out of line from these guidelines can be a red flag. Unless there’s a good reason (e.g. the influencer has agreed to strict terms and conditions and will have abnormally high production costs), influencer rates should typically fall into the ranges we’ve outlined.

In the end though, influencer rates will continue to shift amid the changing tides of the influencer marketing industry—and there are always outliers. Depending on a myriad of factors, influencers will charge at their discretion. It’s up to marketers to use their best judgment to strike a fair deal.

To best position your brand, establish various influencer relationships, run diverse influencer campaigns, and measure the ROI of all influencer efforts. Better yet, learn how our team of experts can help your brand generate ROI with top influencers here.

PewDiePie Sub Count Finally Hits 100 Million—3 Reasons It Happened

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After much anticipation and support from his avid fans, fellow creators, and the YouTube community as a whole, PewDiePie’s sub count has hit the 100 million mark—the first individual YouTuber to reach the milestone. Only one other YouTube channel—a music record label called T-Series in India—has surpassed the 100 million mark, currently sitting at 109 million subscribers. As the most followed YouTuber, PewDiePie earns a reported $12 million each year.

So, how did PewDiePie get here, and how are brands capitalizing on his his ascent into the YouTube Spotlight?

PewDiePie Subscribers Show No Signs Of Ebbing

Having officially earned the label as the YouTuber with the most subscribers, PewDiePie’s reputation as the most popular YouTube creator (not to mention, the richest YouTuber) has been in effect for quite some time. YouTube recently paid tribute to his success on the platform over the years, dating back to 2011 when PewDiePie’s sub count hit 10,000.

His YouTube channel has only continued to grow, despite a few gaffes that landed him in hot water with YouTube, supporters, and sponsors, as well as a tragic event that apparently tarnished his name relatively lightly.

3 Reasons Why The PewDiePie Sub Count Reached 100 Million (And How It Will Surpass The Milestone)

Through the ups and downs, PewDiePie has remained a top YouTuber for three reasons:

  1. PewDiePie produces engaging and authentic content that resonates with viewers.
  2. PewDiePie knows how to successfully come back from controversies through genuine apologies, trust, and transparency.
  3. PewDiePie earns major brand sponsorships that align well with his interests.

In 2019, PewDiePie has been on the fast-track to recovery from past slip-ups, and the monumental achievement of amassing 100 million subscribers as an individual creator cannot go understated. To learn how exactly he achieved such a feat, we can look to his origins as a YouTuber, the fandom he acquired, and the multiple brand sponsorships he nabbed.

Who Is PewDiePie?

Felix Kjellberg, the man otherwise known as PewDiePie, is the most followed influencer on YouTube. He originally started a YouTube account in 2006, but the official PewDiePie channel came about in 2010. PewDiePie’s appeal as a sensational online personality caught on quickly, leading to his burgeoning sub count.

What Initially Caused PewDiePie’s Sub Count To Skyrocket?

As a comedian, gamer, and commentator, PewDiePie began racking up hundreds of subscribers early in his career at a time when being a “professional” YouTube creator was not widely recognized. The content format of his videos proved wildly successful, with unique energy, entertainment, and authenticity that directly fed into his ever-climbing sub count.

By 2012, he amassed 1 million subscribers. By late 2013, he reached nearly 19 million subscribers and emerged as the most-subscribed YouTuber twice during that year.

In the few years after this astronomical growth, PewDiePie’s sub count continued to swell and he accrued well into the billions of video views. In 2016, he hit 50 million subscribers while also partnering up with other popular YouTubers in an original series. The rapid acceleration would soon be met with controversies over racial slurs, anti-semitic commentary, and other loose language. Nonetheless, PewDiePie’s sub count kept climbing, gaining 7 million in all of 2017 and another 6 million in December 2018 alone.

PewDiePie Sub Count Climbs As Fans Engage With & Brands Sponsor His Content

To PewDiePie’s credit, his knack for rallying millions of fans to support him through thick and thin has enabled him to catch the attention of many brand sponsors interested in leveraging the benefits of influencer marketing. Anyone familiar with the influencer marketing industry understands that an impactful influencer campaign hinges on the authenticity of the influencer-brand partnership.

How PewDiePie Fan Engagement Propels Growing Sub Count

As with any influencer marketing campaign, meaningful engagement with fans and followers usually determines whether the partnership is a natural fit. Influencer audiences are notoriously skilled at detecting inauthentic partnerships and consequently, respond negatively to sponsored content that doesn’t align with the influencer’s non-sponsored content.

While PewDiePie’s reputation has been tainted by controversial behavior, his overall conduct and heartfelt apologies have cushioned his falls from grace. Some brand sponsors dropped him in the aftermath of his offensive language, and the PewDiePie sub count may have suffered temporary lulls, but he remains one of the most influential YouTube creators and online personalities to date.

This is due in large part to his ability to draw in viewers from all corners of the globe, generate consistent and genuine engagement, and rebound from blips with minor reputational damage. All this leads to more YouTube users hitting the red subscribe button, more engagement, and scalable growth.

This is what brands yearn for—raw, unadulterated, and authentic engagement that translates into positive impressions and potential customers for brand sponsors.

How Brands Sponsor PewDiePie On His Journey To 100 Million Subscribers

PewDiePie has been involved in notable influencer marketing campaigns over the years, especially within the gaming category. Due to his status as a mega-influencer, working with PewDiePie is not easily attainable and comes with a big price tag.

PewDiePie’s brand collaboration roster includes GFUEL, Volvo, LG, Mountain Dew Disney, as well as Archero and Cheetah Mobile—both campaigns run by Mediakix.

By the standards of top tier influencers, PewDiePie does not endorse that many brands. However, he has recently struck more brand deals with the intention of having genuine brand relationships.

10 Steps Brands Should Follow To Partner With Influencers

Crucial to executing an influencer marketing campaign, brand sponsors must follow some basic steps in order to partner with PewDiePie, or any influencer for that matter:

  1. Understand your audience and know who you’d like to target
  2. Set goals and determine which KPIs you’ll use to measure campaign performance
  3. Identify the social media channels that make sense for your campaign’s goals
  4. Determine your campaign budget
  5. Spend time researching and vetting the right influencer(s)
  6. Reach out to influencer(s )and familiarize them with your brand / product
  7. Communicate campaign goals and expectations with influencer(s)
  8. Craft a rock solid influencer agreement
  9. Allow influencer(s )to exercise creative freedom and to have input on campaign strategy
  10. Ensure sponsored content is properly disclosed and transparent

Closely following these guidelines can enable brands to collaborate with the likes of PewDiePie and ultimately elevate their brand. While the PewDiePie sub count continues to accumulate more faithful followers, many brands will clamor at the opportunity to work with PewDiePie on creative, high-ROI influencer campaigns. Just keep in mind that brands whose mission aligns with that of an influencer’s and whose brand/product influencers actually believe in will have a better shot of developing a healthy influencer relationship.

How Much Will PewDiePie’s Sub Count Continue To Increase?

With the trajectory of PewDiePie’s sub count on a steady incline for the last several years, we have little reason to think it won’t continue to grow. If PewDiePie maintains his influence through engaging entertainment, authentic sponsorships, and constantly-evolving material, more YouTube users will subscribe to his channel. In turn, this will fuel his content’s success, even on a platform that continually undergoes algorithm changes and updates.

Furthermore, as the epic battle between PewDiePie and T-Series carries out, buzz about PewDiePie’s sub count will likely reinforce its growth. And if PewDiePie continues to partner with brands for unique influencer campaigns while diversifying his content, his numbers will inevitably grow. By 2024, expect to see the PewDiePie sub count reach well over 200 million.

We look forward to tracking the outrageous growth of PewDiePie’s sub count and subsequently, his immense influence for years to come.

What Is Mixer? A Quick Guide To Microsoft’s Liverstreaming Platform

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What Is Mixer?

Recent headlines are buzzing about Ninja’s new livestreaming home, but what is Mixer?

Mixer is a video game livestreaming platform, much like giants Twitch and YouTube Gaming, both of which have been competing with each other for several years.

Despite increased buzz since Ninja’s announcement that he’d exclusively stream on the platform, Mixer has been around for over three years—first launched as Beam before being acquired and later rebranded by Microsoft.

Mixer is available online, through iOS and Android, and integrated into the Xbox One as standard. Currently, it’s not available on other systems like the PS4 or Nintendo Switch.

The tremendous spike in popularity of Mixer is almost entirely due to Microsoft signing on Ninja, the most watched Fortnite streamer in the world, in an exclusive deal. The news was particularly striking as Ninja previously streamed on Twitch. The change has left many in the gaming community to question what his move will bring.

But first, let’s explore the differences of Mixer vs Twitch.

Mixer Vs Twitch Vs YouTube Gaming: What Is The Difference Between Popular Livestreaming Platforms?

When comparing Mixer vs Twitch, notable differences between the platform features make them unique propositions for streamers and viewers:

Mixer Platform Features

  • Device Accessibility – Does not support PS4, but offers a built-in encoder making it easier for plug-and-play streaming. It also allows co-streaming and cross-platform support—a great option for co-op gaming.
  • DVR Capabilities – No DVR functionality, however, the platform has the lowest latency, meaning interaction with viewers is more responsive and has little lag.
  • Monetization Options – Offers the lowest requirements for entry into the partnership program, including a 2-month account age and 2,000 followers.

Mixer allows co-streaming, in which up to three friends can chat and stream their gameplay in a single viewing experience.

Twitch Platform Features

  • Device Accessibility – Supports PC, PS4, Xbox One, and mobile devices, making it the most accessible platform.
  • DVR Capabilities – No DVR functionality, meaning users have to wait till a stream is completed before watching it back.
  • Monetization Options – Twitch Partners are selected on a case-by-case basis, meaning it’s moderately difficult to monetize content.
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YouTube Gaming Platform Features

  • Device Accessibility – Does not support direct streaming from Xbox One or iOS devices, and requires a third-party encoder for PC streaming.
  • DVR Capabilities – Integrated DVR functionality; users can rewind upto 3 hours during a live stream.
  • Monetization Options – Streamers can monetize with Google AdSense, but being accepted as a partner requires 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours watched in the past 12 months, making it the most difficult platform for streamers to monetize.

Livestreaming Platform User Differences

Users

The most obvious difference to address is Mixer’s current user base. The platform has always been significantly smaller than Twitch and YouTube, mostly operating on the periphery of the streaming landscape.

Twitch has an average of 15 million daily active users and 100 million monthly active users, while YouTube Gaming has 1.5 billion monthly active users. Mixer attracts only 10 million monthly active users.

Creators & Streamers

Platform streamers and creators are numbered 69,000 on Mixer in Q4 2018 compared to 1.5 million on Twitch and 750,000 on YouTube Gaming.

Viewership

Content on Mixer was watched a total of 89 million hours in Q1 2019, still a long way off from Twitch’s 2.7 billion hours of content watched in the same period.

Mixer’s Top Streamer

There’s little doubt that Amazon-owned Twitch is going to be a tough nut for Microsoft to crack. We have seen, however, the substantial impact that Ninja’s arrival has had on the platform’s numbers. After less than a week on the network, he had already become the most popular streamer on the site with over 1 million subscribers.

Mixer Downloads

In addition, the app has had a surge in popularity, rocketing from no. 747 all the way to no. 1 on the App Store, doubling the amount of downloads. On Android, the app was hovering just outside the top 10 on the Google Play Store.

Why Did Ninja Drop Twitch For Mixer?

Most have been quick to assume that a big check from Microsoft was the primary motivation for Ninja to leave Twitch and start exclusively streaming on Mixer.

Both parties have kept radio silence on what exactly the deal is worth, the only information available is educated guesses from fellow streamers familiar with these kinds of contracts.

We can’t be sure what Ninja is receiving as compensation, but we can be fairly confident that he was tempted by a superior offering to his Twitch earnings, and is likely to be on a multi-year contract.

Aside from the money aspect, it’s worth remembering that Twitch has become oversaturated with streamers vying for the attention of the huge audiences watching games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and League of Legends.

The competition between streamers is intense, and the well-documented burnout felt by creators is becoming a real concern. As the face of Fortnite streaming, and arguably the game itself, a lot of pressure has fallen on Ninja himself.

The move to Mixer offers him lucrative earnings and the ability to potentially branch out into other games away from Fortnite. There are already rumors that the move is in anticipation of supporting Microsoft’s Project Scarlett and video game Halo Infinite as it is about Mixer itself.

Will Livestreaming Audiences & Gaming Creators Make The Switch To Mixer?

This is the question on everybody’s lips. Will audiences remain loyal to Ninja and keep using Mixer? Or will they find someone new on the familiar platform, Twitch?

We know that downloads and viewership of Mixer have increased consistently over the last few years. Q2 2019 saw another improvement for the year for Microsoft, with 119 million hours watched, up from 89 million in Q1 and a 37% year-over-year increase—and this was before Ninja’s involvement.

These are positive signs for the platform and seem to demonstrate the kind of potential audience numbers that creators will consider when choosing which streaming service to make their home.

Furthermore, many in the Twitch community feel that the platform is lacking in monetization opportunities and creators are suffering as a result. Ninja himself has previously expressed discontent with Twitch for the “rigorous schedule” streamers need to keep up their income and a community which is only “out to look for the next guy.”

Not all streamers will be offered the same incentives that Ninja has received, but if Mixer can give frustrated Twitch creators compelling reasons to try out the platform and be successful, there’s ample opportunity for migration to the livestreaming network.

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How Will Gaming Influencers Monetize On Mixer?

Mixer is Microsoft’s way of attempting to gain entry into the lucrative livestreaming industry. On top of the recent Fortnite World Cup, we’ve also seen the emerging mainstream popularity of TwitchCon and the willingness of major commercial brands endorsing streamers.

Mixer’s Creator Monetization options

The monetization options being offered to Mixer streamers mirror many of the existing avenues available on Twitch.

Subscriptions

Channel subscriptions are a little more expensive at $7.99 on Mixer compared to Twitch’s $4.99 for a basic account. A tipping-like tool called Embers—Mixer’s answer to Twitch’s Bits—allows fans to essentially purchase digital emotes that they can donate to their favorite streamers.

Currency

Mixer also has a platform currency, Sparks. Viewers can earn Sparks passively by simply watching streams. They are then transfer these to the streamer, who can effectively cash them in once they reach a certain threshold.

Advertising

Mixer at present doesn’t have third-party advertising on its platform, though it does offer streamers the opportunity to earn “synthesized ad revenue” through display ads on their page.

As we previously mentioned, there are parameters for streamers wanting to be partners on Mixer, but they are generally easier to attain than Mixer’s rivals, making it a good destination for streamers starting out.

How Can Brands Do Mixer Influencer Marketing?

Brands may not be able to directly advertise on Mixer yet, but, as we’ve seen with Twitch endorsements, there’s plenty of room for marketers to raise awareness by partnering with livestream gaming influencers.

We may see a similar trajectory with Mixer influencer marketing as we have with Twitch, which at first saw gaming brands regularly promote on the platform, before mainstream brands tested the waters and then upped their livestreaming influencer campaigns.

With the livestreaming marketing already established, a smaller but still significant viewer base, and a comparatively engaged audience, we can expect major brands to be confident in pushing Mixer influencer marketing campaigns from the outset.

The next time someone asks, “What is Mixer?” you’ll have the information to answer it.

Case Study: Snapchat Real Friends Campaign Leverages Instagram Influencer Marketing To Boost User Growth

snapchat-real-friends-campaign

The Snapchat Real Friends campaign has taken to the spotlight, exposing part of Snapchat’s plan to win back social media users and refocus users’ interests on “real” life. Below, we explore Snapchat’s global campaign and the immediate results of its influencer marketing efforts.

Snapchat Global Campaign Showcases #RealFriends With Instagram Influencers

It’s no secret that the flagship product of Snap Inc., Snapchat, has been having a tough time over the last few years. With Instagram’s Stories swallowing up much of the market share, top influencers have migrated in large numbers to Snapchat’s more lucrative rival.

Snapchat has, however, somewhat steadied the ship in 2019. Overall growth has been underwhelming but consistent, maintaining a solid user base of 200 million. It’s also still wildly popular among younger audiences and gaining traction among those over 25-years-old, too.

snapchat-real-friends-campaign-

Snap has historically been fairly reluctant to conduct large marketing campaigns. Last year the company launched its first TV ad campaign, which took direct aim at Instagram in a bid to mark itself out and revitalize Snapchat in the short-form video social media scene.

This is a key strategy for Snap for 2019 after hiring two new executives in late 2018 and its first Chief Marketing Officer in April 2019 to improve its fortune in its battle with Facebook. The appointments have so far proved very successful for Snap.

Instagram Influencer Marketing Case Study: How Snapchat #RealFriends Campaign Snubs Instagram To Regenerate User Growth

Snapcaht’s global campaign, #RealFriends, seeks to take advantage of Instagram’s increasingly negative perception by users—principally, that the platform landscape is dominated by aesthetic-focused, photoshopped, posed, or otherwise inauthentic content.

This campaign push is an attempt to position Snapchat as the go-to platform for sharing real moments, and not “trying to look pretty or perfect”—as their campaign press release notes in a clear jab at Instagram.

snapchat-real-friends-campaign

This plays into Snapchat’s hands as the pre-eminent “feel good” app. Respondents indicate that 95% of users feel happy while using the app, more than any other social media platform.

Snap is known for having no presence on Instagram, but cleverly used the platform for their influencer marketing push. They partnered with “quote influencers” for the campaign in a hashtag takeover that began on July 29, the day before International Friendship Day.

Goals

  • Drive awareness of Snapchat as the “happy” app for users in contrast to Instagram
  • Promote engagement among followers of quote influencers and emphasize Snapchat’s “real friends” push
  • Establish a brand voice which resonates with users on other platforms as Snap tests new marketing strategies

Approach

  • Channel – Instagram
  • Influencers – Motivational and inspirational quote accounts
    • Sample of 75 influencers
    • 35 mid-tier, 27 micro, 8 nano, 3 mega, 2 macro

Preview of Influencers

Themes

  • The hashtags used were consistent among all posts, with #RealFriends and #FriendshipQuotes featured exclusively
  • Influencers uploaded one post each, a simple solid yellow square with a quotation and the Snapchat logo in the bottom-left
  • The aesthetic remained constant, though there were a wide variety of quotations
  • The post captions all used the same template, simply saying “Brought to you by Snapchat.”

Results (75 posts)

Social Reach

  • Instagram followers targeted: 13,837,430

Engagement

  • Likes: 121,864
  • Comments: 1,900
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 1.25%

Poems Porn

Poems Porn is the largest account that was involved in the campaign. With 2.6 million followers, it is well within the realms of mega-influencer territory. The post features a quotation from Jim Morrison with the caption: “Brought to you by Snapchat. #RealFriends #FriendshipQuotes.” This caption format is followed by all the influencers in this case study.

The post received 23,174 likes and 239 comments for an engagement rate of 0.90%—slightly below the overall average for the campaign.

Positivity Embraced

Positivity Embraced is a micro-influencer boasting 24,000 followers. The account posts quotes almost exclusively on yellow backgrounds, meaning Snapchat’s campaign format fits nicely with the influencer’s established aesthetic style.

The post featured the campaign caption and tags with a quotation from musician Joan Jett, “You don’t lose when you lose fake friends.” The post achieved 1,021 likes and 10 comments for an engagement rate of 4.31%, the highest performer of any post in the campaign.

So She Slays

So She Slays is a mid-tier influencer with 327,000 followers. This account differs from others in that it regularly features personalities who share their stories on their affiliate website. Their post for the campaign notably also featured the same Joan Jett quotation that Positivity Embraced used, suggesting that influencers were given a choice of what to use.

In contrast to Positivity Embraced, the Snapchat promotional upload stands out strikingly on their feed—bright yellow on a mostly white, pink, and pale orange page. With 6,808 likes and 120 comments, the engagement rate was 2.17%, among the more impressive of performers.

Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening is another mid-tier influencer, with 180,000 followers. The majority of content on the account deals with positive affirmation. The sponsored post for Snapchat displays a quotation from Gandhi, with the consistent caption and tags that feature across the campaign.

With 208 likes and 2 comments, this post was the worst performer of the entire campaign, earning an engagement rate of 0.12%. By the standards of typical engagement rates found with this tier of influencers, it’s a low rate and well below the average of the campaign.

Takeaways

  • Snapchat is keen to raise awareness of the brand as a feel-good platform in a period when leading social media giants are receiving a lot of flack.
  • Marketing on Instagram could be the first step of more prominent campaigns that the company has shied away from in the past—it’s no coincidence this is after hiring its first CMO in April.
  • Snap Inc. is looking to build upon a recent upturn in success and differentiate itself from Instagram Stories as much as possible.
  • They want to build on the app’s popularity with younger audiences and consolidate gains among the Millennial and Gen Z demographics.

The Future Of Social Media Marketing: Trends Shaping Social Media In 2019

the-future-of-social-media-marketing-trends

The now well-established concerns regarding time spent on social media and its negative effects are part of a growing chorus of voices opposed to the direction of online platforms.

However, despite the consequences of social media addiction, the popularity of social media networks has been growing at a consistent rate this decade. With nearly half the world’s population using social media, there’s no sign of those numbers suddenly dropping.

This leads us, of course, to social media marketing. Today, users spend an average of 142 minutes on social media everyday; up from 101 minutes five years ago.

With usage increasing year-over-year, brands and marketers have been upping their budgets for online marketing to reach lucrative audiences. In influencer marketing, for example, spending on ads has dramatically increased in a short period of time. Estimates suggest ad spend will be between $5-10 billion by next year.

And that’s just one form of social media marketing. Paid social advertising has generated value for brands through many avenues, and marketers are always looking for new ways to leverage online platforms for outreach.

9 Social Media Marketing Trends To Know In 2019

As many of us in the industry know, the landscape of social media changes fast, and strategies for marketing have to constantly keep their fingers on the pulse in order to appeal to key demographics. Marketers work tirelessly to better understand how to keep audiences engaged and which new trends to pay attention to, all in the name of propelling social media marketing campaigns.

So, what does that mean for the future of social media marketing? Below, we dive into the implications of the following social media marketing trends:

  1. Influencer Marketing
  2. Social Commerce
  3. Stories
  4. Social Engagement
  5. Automation & AI
  6. Transparency & Privacy
  7. Personalized Messaging
  8. Paid Social
  9. Optimized Mobile Experience

1. Influencer Marketing

We’ve seen first-hand how much this trend has grown over the last few years; from its beginnings to now being a vital tool in the campaigns of the biggest brands in the world. Its effectiveness has made it an indispensable asset for marketers, particularly for campaigns reaching out to coveted Millennial audiences.

Sponsored content is one of the more familiar forms of influencer marketing. The advantages of sponsored content are three-fold:

  • The ability to market to engaged audiences who are willing to listen to what the influencer has to say.
  • Disseminating the brand’s message in a word-of-mouth manner—a highly effective way of getting a positive response from audiences.
  • Avoiding the dreaded ad-block issue altogether which leaves so many traditional campaign methods in trouble.
social-media-marketing-trends-influencer-tiers

Influencer tiers are one of the primary reasons for the success of the influencer marketing trend. Unlike traditional advertising, the barrier for entry for brands is relatively low.

Marketers can spend as little or as much as they desire on acquiring the right influencer for their campaign. Whether it’s spending big on a mega-influencer or a more tactical strategy of garnering support among nano-influencers, there’s a route for everyone.

Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of this social media marketing trend, not to mention the amount of platforms that can be utilized for a campaign, be it Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, or Twitch.

2. Social Commerce

No one wants hassle when they’re trying to engage with a brand, and no brand wants an unnecessarily long conversion tunnel which leads to less-than-desired results.

That’s where social commerce comes in. Marketing funnels that start directly on social media platforms have a high level of success. Social commerce techniques seek to streamline the process and make the buyer’s journey as convenient as possible for the consumer.

A more familiar route may involve a funnel for website visitors, then email opt-ins, click-throughs for subsequent emails, and finally purchases.

Social commerce takes a different approach by getting consumers to the purchase stage as quickly as possible. The most popular methods typically involve a platform like Facebook Messenger or Instagram Shopping.

Facebook Messenger Chatbot

The journey typically begins with chatbot interaction that enables large reach. These chatbots converse with users on the platform through the same means any other user would, delivering the brand message and starting the sales funnel within the platform itself. The most notable aspect of social commerce on Messenger is the open and click-through rates which are enough to make any marketer’s eyes water.

Shoppable Instagram

social-media-marketing-trends-instagram-shopping

Instagram Shopping features offer brands and influencers the ability to monetize content. This includes product tags, Shoppable Stories, Shopping tab on business accounts, native payments, Shoppable Explore feed, and Shoppable organic posts.

Whether on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, brands are running successful social commerce initiatives. Expect to see this trend to become a more common staple in marketing diets in the future.

3. Stories

The Stories function has brought a new dynamic to several social media platforms. The trend of sharing short-form video with friends was made popular with Snapchat. Now, of course, Instagram Stories has usurped Snapchat and is the most used in the world—an estimated 400 million people use Stories every day; more than double Snapchat.

For marketers, this poses some questions. How can brands use Stories to effectively market to users? How do marketers amplify their message to the crucial Gen Z audience?

With a buying power of $44 billion and an attention span of eight seconds, it should come as no surprise that Stories is a conducive way of reaching teens and younger audiences.

2019 Instagram Top Statistics

Brands haven’t been slow getting their hands dirty with Stories, either. 80% of Instagram users follow businesses and a third of the most viewed Stories come from brand accounts. With that kind of usage and reach among audiences, it’s pretty evident the impact that Stories has in brand awareness.

Never one to shy away from market domination, Facebook has also expanded the Stories feature to its other platforms, Messenger and Whatsapp, in order to corner this lucrative part of the market.

Though users have been fairly slow to adopt Facebook Stories, there is no doubt that the social media giant recognizes the importance of the video format trend for communication.

4. Social Engagement

Social media engagement refers to the interaction that users have with a given campaign. This is primarily measured in metrics like comments, likes, subscriptions, views, re-tweets, and shares.

As brands become more engaged with social media campaigns and invest more money into their social budgets, there is a greater desire to craft high engagement from their promotions.

While it is still common for brands to spend big bucks on campaigns, they are also recognizing the value in adopting strategies that have lesser reach but drive better engagement.

As we noted earlier, top brands are more comfortable than ever with small campaigns to promote themselves. In influencer marketing, for example, this means partnering with smaller influencers to achieve great engagement metrics among a niche audience.

We’ve seen these methods adopted by some of the biggest brands in the country, including Dunkin’ Donuts. Other brands, like Gillette, have utilized the flexibility of the market to employ small and large influencers for their campaigns.

Brands realize that bigger is not always better. This has led to a decline in vanity marketing for the sake of high metrics and has instead placed emphasis on scoring high positive engagement as well as the consideration of more variables for measuring performance.

As brands become more adept at targeted campaigns, this social media marketing trend is unlikely to dissipate anytime soon.

5. Automation & AI

Social media marketing automation is a natural supplement to the need for greater social engagement. Automation leverages data to streamline processes and improve overall efficiency and efficacy. While it’s viability has strengthened, marketers tend to believe all aspects of marketing will never be fully automated.

But with mass engagement marketing on the decline and personalized marketing on the rise, brands are focused on providing messages which appeal to relevant, niche audiences, as well as deriving clearer insights on these audiences.

This is where automation and big data comes in.

The use of automation in social commerce is a big driver of modern social media campaigns, and it has several other uses, including:

  • Content Creation & Optimization – Produce meaningful content and gauge its resonance with your target audience.
  • Keyword Monitoring – Use social media streams to keep up to date with the latest trends in your brand’s space.
  • Scheduling – Optimize content output and reduce the day-to-day time spent publishing.
  • Ad Optimization – Automatically track social ads performance to determine which ones to pause and which ones to boost.

As social media campaign success continues to be measured by how efficiently it scales business, expect to see automation develop into one of the most prominent social media marketing trends.

6. Transparency & Privacy

As most are aware, transparency and privacy are major issues when it comes to the future of social media marketing.

Traditional advertising in other forms of media, like television, have long-established rules regarding transparency. Social media marketing, however, is new to the game, and there have been teething problems in its relatively short existence.

For one, it’s difficult to enforce rules given the vast amount of social media campaigns across platforms compared to the limited channels and access on TV. While TV advertisers must be thoroughly vetted and pay a hefty fee, virtually anyone can advertise on social media if they’re willing to pay a somewhat nominal fee.

Many users on social media are concerned about online transparency, and social media in particular ranks high. 56% of people want more transparency from businesses online.

This is an especially valid concern given that the primary value in many social media campaigns is trust between the brand and the audience. For marketers, it is important to be ethical in campaigns in order to retain the engagement that makes social media marketing so successful.

Only 9% of social media users are “very confident” that social media companies would protect their data, and in the wake of data scandals which plagued Facebook over the last few years, it’s not all that surprising.

In the influencer marketing world, the FTC has drawn up strict regulations in response to this, but has struggled to effectively enforce them—an overwhelming majority (93%) of social media endorsements violate these guidelines by failing to disclose partnerships.

Respecting privacy and ensuring transparency will continue to be major talking points as the future of social media marketing takes shape.

7. Personalized Messaging

At its core, social media is all about how you engage with your audience. The emphasis is on “social.”

If brands aren’t catering the message to their audience and engaging with them properly, their campaigns will struggle to gain traction. For brands, this means following the same practices that we swear by in the influencer marketing world—establishing a personal connection between products and consumers.

That requires a deep understanding of the key aspects of social media marketing:

  • Audience – Are you marketing your product to the right people? As we mentioned earlier, the market is shifting away from vanity metrics and instead looking to target more relevant audiences with high ROI.
  • Platform – Every social media platform is different—is your product better suited to a certain platform? Is it best displayed through visual means? Perhaps a snappy video on Instagram Stories works best? Or a longer-form explainer is better suited in a YouTube video?
  • Thematic Promotions – Personalized social media marketing enables brands to nurture their connections through a style or theme that they’re “known” for in the promotions. This is usually because they’ve established a positive response from their followers that works and look to continue that response.

Personalization—so long as it doesn’t overstep the bounds of creepiness—will be instrumental in constructing the future of social media marketing.

8. Video

Online video is the dominant form of media on the internet. By 2022, video traffic will account for 82% of all internet traffic.

It’s no coincidence that virtually every social media platform is pushing for video to be a significant part of their ecosystem. Most would probably think of YouTube as the epicenter of the online video world, but other networks are vying for a slice of the pie.

Facebook has been doubling down on its video platform and its usage has been gradually increasing. Instagram has been pouring resources into its IGTV platform, with a view to expanding its advertising capabilities into long-form video.

This is also true of live video streaming, which is an ever-popular feature of the biggest social networks. Whether it’s YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch, social media companies are becoming far more comfortable with and adept at marketing through live streaming platforms.

Twitch, in particular, is a leader in this space. Beyond the typical gaming brands, the popularity of advertising on the live streaming platform has tempted non-gaming brands, too.

Video is here to stay, and in many ways, the future of social media marketing rests on the success of it.

9. Optimized Mobile Experience

Optimizing for mobile is one of the most urgent considerations many brands have to make when launching social media marketing campaigns as consumers’ use of smartphones will continue to account for the majority of their media consumption. By 2020, 3 billion people will have access to a smartphone and an entire generation of people are growing up in a ‘solely mobile’ world.

What does this mean for marketers? It means that creating mobile experiences is not just an aspect of social media marketing—it’s vital.

If the current growth of ad spend continues, mobile will overtake TV to become the biggest medium in the advertising world. This isn’t surprising, as it’s the reason so many social media networks are hedging their bets on mobile video platforms.

For social media marketers, this means tailoring content and campaigns primarily for the mobile user. Brands are growing more confident with mobile social media marketing and using it to further engage their audience—from contests where customers submit videos to effective push notifications.

Ultimately, marketers will prioritize the optimized mobile experience lest they risk falling behind. So, don’t let this social media marketing trend fall off your radar.