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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.
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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

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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.

The Growing Trend Of Influencer Events

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By now we’re familiar with many of the most common techniques employed by brands in influencer marketing. Whether it’s a long-term partnership with an influencer or a push on a special day, competitors are always looking for campaigns with variety to stand out in a crowded space.

What Are Influencer Events?: How Brands Dedicate Events To Influencers

With budgets for influencer marketing increasing year-over-year, brands and marketers are wondering what the next big type of campaign is for the industry.

This brings us to influencer events; an increasingly popular type of campaign in which influencers are invited to exclusive gatherings, getaways, or mainstream events in order to promote products and services for brands.

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The primary appeal of these campaigns lies in the influencer A-listers which power them, brought together by brands looking to maximize potential reach by getting big-hitters on social media in the same room. Why this trend has picked up more recently and the different kinds of influencer marketing events you can expect to see is what we investigate below.

Types Of Influencer Events By Category

Beauty Influencer Events

These are the types of influencer events that are among the more established in the industry. Makeup brands are keen to get influencers in the same posts for extra bang for their buck. They often have the means to bring together mega influencers to feature in sponsored posts.

Influencer marketing events can be extravagant. Tarte Cosmetics, for example, are well known for gifting their sponsored influencers elaborate all-expenses-paid trips to Bangkok or Hawaii, to name a couple. Naturally, these trips lend themselves well to video formats beyond Instagram, with YouTube beauty vloggers enjoying the benefits too.

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Aloha🌺 #trippinwithtarte

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Fashion Influencer Events

Similarly, influencer events in fashion is a common occurrence, as you might expect. You’ve got the usual suspects, such as Revolve Festival at Coachella—an event organized by the online retailer which attracts some of the biggest names in the industry.

Such was the popularity of this year’s event, Revolve rented out an entire hotel, hosting 140 influencers. Chief Brand Officer Raissa Gerona refers to it as their “Super Bowl”, with co-founder Michael Mente noting it’s a bigger event for the brand than Cyber Monday. Revolve’s influencer marketing events don’t end there either, with the brand noted for flying influencers all over the world for fashion shoots.

Other brands are getting in on the act too. Outdoor clothing company Backcountry recently hosted a 4-day influencer event in Moab, Utah, for sponsored creators. From climbing to yoga, some of the biggest influencers of the outdoors and travel scenes were invited to the event, giving Backcountry a ton of exposure.

Fitness Influencer Events

Fitness brands have been comfortable with influencer marketing as long as any fashion or cosmetic retailer. Companies like GymShark lead the way with gathering the industry’s biggest stars to act as their ambassadors.

As opposed to other industries, GymShark’s gatherings, as with other well-known fitness brands like Myprotein, often involve meet-ups or challenges, mixing influencers with the public for exposure.

This strategy is evident with other brands too, such as Lululemon and their large-scale events promoted on Instagram. Their ambassadors can typically be found heading up smaller events like hosted classes. There is certainly an emphasis across fitness brands on more interaction with the public than aforementioned beauty or fashion brands.

Gaming Influencer Events

Gaming lends itself perfectly to influencer events. Large mainstream events, like TwitchCon, provide the perfect opportunity for brands to pair up star influencers of the gaming industry for big promotions.

It’s worth noting that many of the brands who engage with gaming events are non-gaming brands, like Hershey’s and Doritos—an indication of the mainstream appeal of gaming influencers.

In a sense opposite to fashion influencer events, fans flock to massive stadiums to watch their favorite gamers streaming at events.

Larger mainstream brands are keen to make influencers, particularly top streamers, the main attractions at expos. Expect to see this trend continuing at gaming conventions by partnering top pro gamers and brands for events like the upcoming Evo 2019 and BlizzCon 2019.

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Blogger Influencer Events

Aside from influencers who distinctly fall into categories, there are also campaigns launched by brands not necessarily seeking to target a very specific audience. These will typically involve bloggers who don’t fall so readily into one industry or another. Lifestyle influencers are a good example of this and are popular with brands for their wide appeal across a range of sought-after demographics.

For example, Macy’s, in a recent launch of limited edition watches, sponsored influencers from a variety of backgrounds to help promote the line. Models; shoe designers; software designers—diverse disciplines brought together by a brand to promote a product typically outside of their field.

Other Influencer Events

There are some influencer events that don’t really fit into any of the established events that we might be used to seeing. Instagram’s Kindness Prom, for example, invited influencers to an event in Venice, California to raise awareness of cyberbullying. It also follows the company’s enhanced bullying feature, a new algorithm which aims to combat bad behavior on the platform.

How To Throw An Influencer Event

There are several considerations to make before organizing an influencer marketing event. The elephant in the room is the cost. This, of course, depends on the industry and the type of event needed. Those Tarte getaways, for example, were estimated to set them back a cool $300,000. Be prepared to set aside an appropriate budget to pull off an influencer event.

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Tips For Hosting An Influencer Event

  • WiFi – Get off on the right foot by having a reliable wifi connection for your influencers. At the end of the day, the whole point of them being there is to create content and upload to social media, typically at specific times. Don’t rely on their unlimited data plans!
  • Agenda – Have a clear and detailed plan for when and where you need your influencers during your event. As you can see, despite flying its ambassadors halfway around the world, Tarte still has a clear and specific itinerary for its influencers. Don’t be too constrictive, though, they’re not going to want to feel like their on the job 24/7, so allocate downtime.
  • Giveaways – If you’re familiar with the sight of influencers having giveaway competitions for their fans, it’ll be because a brand is keen to have a longer-lasting campaign than could reasonably be expected with an event. Events are short, but influencers can continue to do giveaways long after its ended, meaning more exposure for the brand.
  • Location – This can be make or break for an event. And it doesn’t necessarily mean flying your stars to a tropical island. It just means having a finger on the pulse of what your audience wants to see. There’s a good reason cosmetic brands fly beauty influencers to Tahiti and gamers have just as much impact in-front of a computer monitor.

How To Plan An Influencer Event

  • Have the audience in mind: It’s no good planning an incredible event for your influencers if your target audience is not interested in it. As we just touched on, location is everything; there would be little point in flying a gaming influencer livestream to Hawaii for a shoot.
  • Make it stand out: Influencers are spoiled for choice, with invites to events left and right. Make your event interesting and shareable. Remember; they’re content creators—if they haven’t got their phones out and engaging with the event then it’s not interesting enough for them.
  • The hashtag: Give your event a specific hashtag for influencers to use and be clear about what your expectations for it are during the campaign.

How To Get Influencers To Come To Your Event

You likely know the answer to this one already, but if you want to attract influencers to your event you’re going to have to pay up to get them to attend. Don’t rule out inviting smaller influencers to your event (especially if they’re local), as they often provide great ROI and are eager to get involved.

Once attendance is sorted, be prepared to foot the bill for other expenses too—hotels, flights, activities, food and drink. Be prepared to have swag bags on standby to keep them interested and engaged.

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What To Expect With Influencer Events In 2019 & Beyond

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the biggest influencer events and meet-ups are led by the biggest brands. They are typically invite-only for influencers and can be very exclusive even in those spheres.

These events will likely continue to be headed by big brands; particularly the more extravagant ones, but events of all sizes are likely to increase in popularity. Expect to see this trend increase in popularity as brands look to improve their strategies and look for new avenues to expand their influencer marketing output.

Exclusive Interview With Julius CEO, Steve Oriola

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Industry Spotlight: Julius CEO Steve Oriola Discusses The Future & Trends Of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing, albeit a young and ever-changing landscape, has started to reveal industry titans across influencers, social media channels, and influencer marketing companies. From agencies to influencer marketing platforms, and amidst fierce competition, a select handful of companies are rising to the top.

Julius—a leading influencer marketing software solution—is a company whose expertise in the space has enabled brands to execute influencer searches, activate campaigns, track deliverables, and analyze campaign results with great efficiency. Julius prioritizes brand safety by carefully vetting each influencer profile with the aid of human review.

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In an industry where best practices seem to be overshadowed by misconceptions and challenges, Julius brings clarity and ease. Leading the charge are Julius’ experienced executives, including CEO, Steve Oriola.

As a B2B veteran and SaaS expert, Oriola’s resume is impressive. He’s earned various leadership roles at successful businesses, including two as CEO before Julius. Now, he brings his skills to the influencer marketing table.

We sat down with Oriola at this table, and invite you to pull up a chair to discover unique insights into the rapidly evolving industry as he discusses where influencer marketing is headed, the common challenges, and what’s in store for Julius in 2019 and beyond.

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in influencer marketing.

I’ve been in the B2B SaaS space since 2001—a long time—working entirely on marketing and sales applications.

My understanding of influencer marketing was admittedly limited, until I met Julius founder, Mark Gerson, in 2017. I spent the subsequent year getting a deeper understanding and realized what an important new tactic this is for marketers. It became clear to me that traditional marketing tactics were diminishing in effectiveness as media consumption has shifted.

If you want to reach younger demographics—like my own kids—this is the way to do it.”

I grew increasingly excited about the business and joined as CEO in August 2018.

2. When did Julius get started? Give us the background on your company’s history.

Julius was founded by Mark Gerson, who first started the sports company, Thuzio, in 2012 with former NFL player, Tiki Barber. They thought influencer marketing was an interesting space and decided to turn it into a business, which they spun out of Thuzio. Julius garnered significant funding in 2017.

3. How has Julius changed and evolved since its start?

We established brand equity pretty quickly, and since my joining, have built an entirely new leadership team. We realize we can’t do everything on our own, so we need to establish complementary partnerships—like the one we have with you at Mediakix. Julius is known for the human vetting of our influencer database, which will continue, but we are also employing machine learning to grow our database without losing the depth and quality of human review.

4. What do you get most excited about in the influencer marketing industry?

Great brands can develop large followings, but they’ll never have the level of intimacy with an audience that an influencer has.

The most successful influencers are open, honest, and authentic in genuine ways.”

I firmly believe that people trust people far more than they trust brands. If a brand can align themselves and some of their attributes with that sort of authenticity and trust, they’ll achieve something they could never achieve on their own.

5. What do you find most challenging about influencer marketing?

It’s more about what our customers find most challenging, which is the discovery of the right influencers, and the friction of working with those influencers to execute great campaigns. It’s difficult managing the workflow from beginning to end as a purely manual process with lots of opportunities for error.

Influencer marketing can be more labor intensive than people realize before they dive into it. Reducing this pain and friction is why we’re in business.”

6. In your opinion, where is influencer marketing headed?

First, we expect to see longer-term partnerships between brands and influencers across both macro- and micro-influencers. Right now, talent agencies and creative agencies manage rosters of influencers, but we see brands doing more of that and achieving greater depth of knowledge about their preferred influencers.

Second, influencers are starting to understand the value of being discovered, and in order to win business, they need to be easy for brands to find. How they’re presented on a platform like Julius will become increasingly important to them.

7. What are some common misconceptions marketers have about influencer marketing?

One of the misconceptions of influencer marketing is that it can’t be measured.”

But data can be captured directly from social media platforms to show how effective it is. There’s also research on how influenced consumers are by influencers.

State-of-Influencers Report-Julius-2019

Another misconception is that influencers are just 20-something narcissists who are only in it for the money.”

That may be true of some, but I’ve seen that a clear majority are motivated by true passion and creative expression. We conducted a survey of influencers earlier this year and financial motivations is the #4 reason they do influencer marketing, after being creative, sharing a passion or expertise, and building a personal brand. So, most influencers have pretty pure intentions. And the vast majority (84%) are diligent about following FTC regulations and making sure they’re not perceived as fraudulent.

8. Do you think the influencer marketing bubble is about to burst?

I don’t think influencer marketing is a bubble industry. Beyond reaching an audience, marketers are also using this tactic to significantly increase their creative production capacity. Getting multiple influencers to create branded content enables marketers to repurpose that content through existing channels, without the expense of expanding creative teams in-house.

Combining an intimate connection with audiences and increased production capacity, the tactic becomes too compelling to ignore.

9. What existing or emerging social media channels do you think will have the largest impact on influencer marketing in the next few years? Why?

Instagram has led the social media pack in the last few years, and with IGTV and Stories, it has evolved into more of a storytelling platform. YouTube’s longer format attracted some great storytelling influencers and continues to do so, but it seems like Instagram makes it easier to share a developing narrative with a community of followers. I see both platforms continuing to be major players in influencer marketing in the next few years.

TikTok—a user of the Julius platform—is tapping into youth culture globally in a unique way, and offers users a fun way of sharing their creative talents with the world, while building a following. Although still new for influencer marketing, we believe TikTok could have a significant impact on the market.

We’re also intrigued by the potential of Pinterest as an influencer marketing platform—so much so that we recently formed a partnership with them. Pinterest is unique in that it’s less personality-driven, far more content-driven, and that content has an exponentially longer shelf life than on other platforms. And people are on Pinterest for ideas, often with the intent to buy, shortening the gap between inspiration and purchase.

10. How do you foresee the relationship between brands and influencers transforming in 2019 and beyond?

It goes beyond just a long-term partnership.

There will be a heavier reliance on influencers for strategy, and we’ll see influencers pulled into the virtual team.”

Brands will use them not just to promote and produce content but actually pick their brains and ask for input, sometimes through formal consulting arrangements.

11. What brands exemplify influencer marketing well?

Foot Locker does a great job organically. Its customers care about their influencer strategy. A good example is their #ThatSneakerHasLife campaign which came straight from their audience. The campaign had influencers describe what their sneakers meant to them and was hugely successful.

BJ’s Wholesale Club takes an always-on approach to influencer marketing. They have a core group of micro- and macro-influencers who they work with repeatedly, and fully integrate influencer campaign content into their social media, PR, and other marketing tactics.

12. Do you have a favorite influencer marketing campaign?

My favorite influencer marketing campaign featured Dining with Skyler. I started following her and saw the Emirates campaign of her and her boyfriend chronicling the entire experience. They documented their time in Dubai, which was a promotion of the Emirates airline but also the destination. Skyler got a tour of the food prep on her flight back and continued to thoroughly chronicle the full experience.

It’s probably the most interesting, colorful, and inspiring campaign I’ve seen.”