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The reach of social media stars is rapidly transcending the digital space, evidenced by the recent partnership between MCN StyleHaul and Time Inc., the United Nations tapping YouTubers as “Change Ambassadors,” and an amendment that will allow YouTube shows to win Primetime Emmy awards. Meanwhile, Snapchat encountered a minor speedbump and Instagram implemented changes to help make advertising easier for companies.
In our weekly influencer marketing roundup, we examine these and other notable developments and explore how current digital trends will affect marketers.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Snapchat’s valuation remained $16 billion in spite of a recent $175 million infusion from Fidelity Investments. The LA Times also noted that the photo- and video-sharing app has doubled its workforce (to 600 employees) ahead of a projected revenue of $300-$350 million in 2017 though the latest round of valuations may hinder the company’s breakneck growth. Just in 2016, Snapchat has rolled out with a series of updates and features that forecast its future as an advertising channel powerhouse. Presently, many of the world’s top brands have taken to Snapchat to execute brand channel takeovers with the platform’s top social influencers.
To see how marketers are presently measuring their Snapchat marketing efforts, see our post here.
According to The Guardian, Facebook-owned Instagram no longer allows Snapchat or Telegram “add me” links on user profiles. Tech industry gurus viewed the move as a way for Facebook to make its messaging service, WhatsApp, more competitive, though a spokesperson for Instagram claimed the link blocking strategy was to protect Instagram’s integrity, stating, “That’s not the way our platform was intended to be used.” Promoting content across multiple platforms has become an effective way for social media marketers to reach new audiences, and Instagram’s changes may handicap the success of social media and/or influencer marketing campaigns.
The internet is still growing, this according to Facebook’s annual connectivity report. By Mark Zuckerberg & Co.’s estimation, around 3.2 billion people gained access to the internet by the end of 2015, a global penetration rate of 43%. The report also found that 90% of people not connected to the internet lived in developing countries and were mostly women.
Graph courtesy of eConsultancy
Dwindling television audiences has prompted a gradual shift in the allocation of marketing dollars, and a recent eMarketer study found that digital ad spending will surpass spending on TV advertising for the first time in 2017. According to the study, advertising on television will total $72.01 billion (35.8% of total media ad spending in the US) in the coming year, while digital ad spending will be approximately $77.37 billion (38.4% of total spending).
This week, one of YouTube’s most successful MCNs, StyleHaul, joined forces with publishing giant Time Inc. (owner of Travel + Leisure, InStyle, People, Fortune, Life, Essence, and Entertainment Weekly, among others) to begin creating and distributing millennial-focused sponsored content for partners like Walgreens (Tubefilter). The partnership is the latest in a long line of collaborations between traditional publishers/advertisers and influential YouTube channel/MCNs and marks the increasing prevalence of non-digital publishers in the digital marketing space.
Move over Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Game of Thrones, YouTubers like Lilly Singh and PewDiePie could be next in line to win television entertainment’s most prestigious award. According to Stephanie Milot of PC Magazine, the Television Academy will expand its short-form categories for 2016’s Primetime Emmy Awards to include digital content from Maker Studios, Fullscreen, AwesomenessTV, and YouTube Red. “Our industry is aggressively, quickly, and creatively evolving the various ways episodic stories are told,” Chairman and CEO of the Television Academy Bruce Rosenblum said. “Our Board of Governors felt that this expansion of short-form categories begins the process of ensuring that Emmy-worthy creativity will be rewarded, irrespective of format or platform.”
The war against digital advertising wages on, leaving marketers to find new and creative ways to reach internet audiences. Statistics gathered by EConsultancy show more than 57% of Americans use some form of ad blocking on their desktop computers and 20% use ad blockers on a mobile devices. EConsultancy also cited a study by PageFair and Adobe, which claimed that ad blocking cost publishers $22 billion in 2015.
Influencer marketing offers brands a way to get around ad blocking software. Learn more here.
To illustrate the influence of YouTubers, not just in marketing but on a global, social level, the United Nations has asked seven of YouTube’s top female creators (Louise Pentland, Yuya, Taty Ferreira, Ingrid Nilsen, Jackie Aina, Hayla Ghazal, and Chika Yoshida) to serve as “International Change Ambassadors.” The social media stars, which have over 20 million subscribers and more than 2 billion video views collectively, will create content that educates audiences about gender inequality in hopes of eliminating gender discrimination (TenEighty).
Photo courtesy of Google
Instagram recently crossed the 200,000 active advertiser mark, but the photo-sharing app still trails far behind parent company Facebook’s 2.5 million advertisers, according to Marketing Dive. To make the platform more appealing to marketers, Instagram will now allow businesses to create profiles (like Facebook’s brand pages), provide additional measurement data, and let companies buy ads on mobile devices. For marketers, the moves will make Instagram’s advertising platform easier to use and facilitate the creation of single campaigns that can run on both Instagram and Facebook. As one of the top social channels where younger demographics and Millennials spend vast amounts of time each day, more brands are realizing the critical importance of marketing on Instagram through sponsored content alongside the platform’s top social influencers.