January 15, 2019: Amazon’s influencer marketing push; Moët & Chandon’s three-tier influencer program; Instagram allows users to re-gram posts to multiple accounts; Publishers begin recycling Instagram Stories to Facebook; Your guide to TikTok
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
Amazon’s 2019 Influencer Push
Amazon is turning up the heat on its Influencer Program, most recently making headlines for recruiting and accepting “thousands” of micro-influencers into its program. According to leaked deal terms, commissions are as high as 10 percent for Amazon’s private fashion line and as little as one percent for video games and consoles.
What is Amazon’s Influencer Program?
Oh, you mean the program that’s been quietly running for two years? The Influencer Program is under the company’s Affiliate Program and it lets influencers who are accepted into the program create custom Amazon storefronts with exclusive URLs to showcase recommended products of their partner brands to their followers.
As Danielle from @danielle.faretra shared, “the [influencer sign-up] process was quite easy and standard. They contacted me with an inquiry to gauge my interest in the program. Within 24 hours I was approved and they provided steps to set up my storefront. Creating my product lists was super easy and they have very easy to understand directions in all aspects.”
Talk to me about Amazon’s influencer approach.
It’s evolving. Previously, Amazon’s Influencer Program had largely relied on “big name” mega-influencers like Mark Cuban and Jillian Michaels but, after failing to takeoff, the company has since opened up the program to include micro-influencers (and it’s about time). Also, unlike other influencer marketing programs, the company isn’t paying influencers to simply deliver a message. Instead, Amazon’s influencers are paid based on the business value that they generate via referral and affiliate links. In other words, commissions are based on products sold. Will this be the new preferred incentive model? Too soon to tell.
From Amazon Prime to Amazon’s Influencer Program, there’s a program for every Amazon customer that provides relevant opportunities for each to tell their world about Amazon products in ways that are most influential. And while Amazon’s Influencer Program has been relatively slow to kick off, the recent expansion of the program to micro-influencers underscores the company’s understanding of the value that influencer marketing holds.
As Amazon continues to emerge as a marketing discipline in its own right, marketers need to be cognizant of the variety of programs that Amazon offers, with special attention paid to its emerging voice, video, and influencer technologies. As your brand evolves its Amazon-facing strategy, make sure you are fully maximizing Amazon product pages, leveraging the 12+ social-proof widgets to guide decision-making and accelerate the path-to-purchase.
Not Unrelated: Proof Any Brand Can Replicate Amazon’s Influencer Marketing Strategy
Moët & Chandon has spent the last two years implementing a highly selective, centralized approach to influencer marketing. The strategy involves a three-tier structure: the top tier comprises of just five influencers who are part of a year-long ambassador program; the middle tier is staffed with “amplifiers” contracted to widen the reach of certain campaigns throughout the year; and the bottom tier is filled with micro-influencers to ensure year-round, evergreen coverage.
As Parma put it, “Influencers who influence for influencing’s sake are not as press worthy… that doesn’t mean they’re not important and don’t play a role in the influencer world, but people who are experts in their own world definitely make our lives a lot easier from a PR perspective.”
Like we’ve been saying forever, influencers offer so much more value than the content they create (or the number of followers they have; they are subject-matter-experts in their own rights, and possess so much relevant industry knowledge. Marketers who use influencers for their influence alone are doing it wrong.
Seeing Double on Instagram
Instagram has added a new feature that lets users publish posts to multiple accounts at the same time.
The feature, which was first spotted in testing in December, was rolled out to “provide a better experience for people who often post to multiple accounts.” But, unless each of your accounts has the same audience, this type of mass blast publishing is no longer relevant.
For so long, Instagram’s founders had held off on creating a native re-gram feature, encouraging a platform centered around original content creation. While this feature may pump more content into the Insta ecosystem, it will be repeated content, duplicated across multiple accounts. The feature also downplays the importance of analytics, personalization, and contextualization when creating content. What works for one account is unlikely to work for another unless both accounts have identical audiences and similar themes.
While Instagram is trying to foster meaningful time spent on the platform, it seems strange that they would release a feature that is intended to increase duplicative content and likely result in more passive scrolling.
Reducing, Reusing and Recycling Stories
Publishers have begun recycling their Instagram efforts for Facebook Stories.
Tell me more.
Efficiency is the name of the game. Facebook Stories have become an increasingly attractive option for publishers, partially because they are easy to implement and do not require extra resources beyond what they are already making for Instagram Stories. The release of last month’s “swipe-up” feature for Facebook Stories also helped make the case for story-repurposing, since publishers now have the ability to drive traffic back to their websites.
PSA: The swipe-up feature is only available if a Facebook Page owner has a verified Instagram account and cross-posts their Instagram Stories that have swipe-up links to Facebook Stories. A Facebook spokesperson said that the company will soon test the ability for Facebook Pages to share links organically in Facebook Stories.
You know it, I know it, and Zuck & Co. know it: feed-based content is on the outs. It’s why Facebook is still working to make Facebook Stories take off with the same energy they’ve seen with Insta Stories and Snap. Last April at F8, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox declared, ”The Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share stuff with their friends sometime in the next year.” In October, Zuckerberg echoed a similar statement, noting that Stories will surpass sharing into feeds in the “not-too-distant future.”
With ongoing declines in news feed engagement, Facebook Stories remain a test-and-learn opportunity for brands – especially as Facebook continues to test new features for Stories, the most recent being an option to share events to Stories. Repurposing influencer-generated Stories is a great way to offer your
Facebook fans authentic, behind-the-scenes looks at products, services, and features. In order to repurpose an influencer’s story on your own branded account, the influencer will need to tag your brand in the post, so always make sure to include that in the campaign brief.
TikTok: A Marketer’s Guide
TikTok, the short-form video app formerly known as Musical.ly, has quietly taken over the internet. Here’s what you need to know:
What is it?
TLDR; Vine 2.0.
The app, which first launched in China in September 2016 and has since expanded worldwide, is a video-sharing app that allows users to upload 15-second videos set to music, often with the creator lip-syncing along. These videos can then be enhanced by a range of editing features, such as Snapchat-like augmented-reality filters and the option to speed up or slow down the footage. There are also opportunities for collaborations between users; if you reply to a video, you can do joint videos on a split screen.
Just how much has it grown?
A lot. In September, TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in monthly installs in the App Store, and in July, it hit 500 million global monthly active users, with six million U.S. downloads as of November. While it’s still only a fraction of the size of Facebook (2.27 billion MAU) and Instagram (1 billion), it’s far ahead of Twitter (336 million) and Snapchat (186 million).
Are there ads?
Not yet – according to TikTok’s head of global marketing, they’re focused on the “Consumer experience first, but [they] do have plans for [ads].” Although there are no ad units for brands or formal monetization products for creators (yet), agencies have been paying closer attention to TikTok and brands like Universal Pictures have even experimented with running influencer campaigns on the app.
Although TikTok is currently not as popular as Instagram, it is more popular than Snapchat and it’s a major destination among younger Millennials and Gen Z-ers. TikTok could serve as a huge opportunity for brands and marketers to reach a younger demographic. With the understanding that TikTok has been exponentially growing in popularity, marketers should begin to explore and familiarize themselves with the app. Who knows, TikTok could end up replacing Vine.