September 17, 2019: Facebook releases a plethora of new features for creators; Instagram copies TikTok for latest feature; Influencer Marketing Association is formed; Amazon tests publishing tool as extension of Influencer Marketing Program
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
Lights, Camera, Action: Facebook Updates Video Features for Creators
During a session at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) on Monday, Facebook took to the stage to announce a handful of updates aimed at video creators and publishers.
Live Video: Through the Live API, creators and publishers now have access to a “rehearsal” feature to broadcast live only to Page admins and editors in order to test formats before going live to wider audiences. Additionally, creators and publishers will also be able to trim the beginning and end of live videos, and can live broadcast for as long as eight hours (as compared with the previous limit of four hours). Lastly, and possibly the biggest update to Live Video on Facebook, publishers will be able to use apps that enable them to stream to more than one streaming service at once by simulcasting via the Live API.
Watch Party: Facebook also announced updates to Watch Party, which include the ability for Pages to schedule a party in advance to build hype, support for “replays” that will allow those who couldn’t attend the party to still view the content, the ability to tag business partners in branded content, and new analytics (e.g., Minutes Viewed and Unique 60s Viewers).
Creator Studio: An updated dashboard includes a visualization layer in Loyalty Insights to help creators see which types of videos fans want to see by measuring which videos drive return viewers. Additionally, a new Distribution metric will score each video’s performance based on the Page’s historic average on a range of metrics, including: OneMinute Views, Average Minutes Watched, and Retention.
Instagram & IGTV Scheduling: Creators will now be able to publish and schedule their Instagram Feed and IGTV content for up to six months. Currently, the feature is open to all creators (and publishers) with Facebook Pages. In a few more months, Instagram Feed and IGTV drafting and editing will also become available.
What does Facebook have to say about all of this?
“We’re focused on creating video experiences that put people at the center, and we’re committed to building ways for publishers and creators to grow, understand their audiences and build deeper connections with their communities through video. The features we’re announcing today were built based on feedback from our community of video creators and publishers.”
For so long, Facebook (and by association Instagram) has lagged behind social media platforms in the development of its creator-first experience design. Now, with Facebook appearing to actually listen to creators, letting creator POVs and input dictate product design and development, it will be interesting to see how this impacts creators’ attitudes towards Facebook–especially given the fact that influencers don’t see Facebook as a particularly useful platform in engaging their fans and followers.
Our take? Native Instagram Post and IGTV scheduling is game-changing. With the ability to schedule posts up to six (!!!) months in advance, creators (and brands) will be able to build out and populate content calendars with the same rigor with which they would handle their other channels.
Not Unrelated: Facebook Goes All-In On Creators
Last Tuesday, Facebook announced it is testing a range of new features for creators and public figures on the platform to reach new audiences, engage with their communities, and expand monetization options.
How is Facebook helping creators reach new audiences?
Collaborative Stories: Similar to Group Boards on Pinterest, Facebook’s Collaborative Stories feature allows multiple creators to contribute to the same Facebook Story during specific events.
Discovering New Public Figures to Follow: To help creators and public figures get discovered by new audiences on Facebook, the platform is testing a feature in the News Feed that recommends public figures someone might be interested in based on indicators such as people they already follow and content they’ve engaged with on Facebook.
What about helping creators engage with their communities?
Fan Replay Stickers: This feature lets people using Pages to create a call-to-action on a Story, prompting followers to respond with photos or videos. Creators will then have the ability to reshare fan responses on their Stories.
Can you talk about new monetization options?
Expanding Shopping Options: In addition to adding “swipe-up” links to Facebook Stories, Facebook has also given creators the ability to tag products in Facebook photo or video posts, with plans to expand to Facebook Stories in the near future. Additionally, the platform is simplifying the checkout experience for shoppable posts, enabling in-app purchasing for tagged products on Facebook.
Facebook Stars for Video Creators: Although initially created only for gaming creators, video creators can now use Facebook Stars to reward their superfans, allowing fans to buy Stars and send them to creators while they’re streaming.
As platforms continue to fight to keep users engaged, the solution isn’t more ads but rather more creators. After all, 68% of people come to Instagram to interact with creators. Facebook (and its family of apps) continues to release new features and monetization options aimed at becoming creators’ platform of choice, with its latest features seeming to directly rival that of YouTube.
Of all the new features Facebook has released, it’s particularly interesting to trace the platform’s progression towards social proof and away from vanity metrics (i.e., Likes and Comments). For instance, at the same time the platform is expanding Stars (as part of Facebook’s Stars for Video Creators), the platform is also deprioritizing vanity metrics. Not only are Star symbols more typically used as social proof iconography (i.e., star ratings), but it’s noteworthy that Facebook is incentivizing and gamifying that language – especially with the 2020 election around the corner. Do the release of these new features signal Facebook’s entrance into an era of social proof? TBD, but we’re here for it.
Deja Vú? Instagram Copies TikTok for Latest Feature
Instagram is said to be in development mode for its Story Camera that copies the entire premise of short-form video app TikTok.
The rumored feature, called Clips, would allow Instagram users to record segments of videos into a single video Story and overlay music onto clips, as well as to adjust the speed and time of each clip. Similar to how Instagram ripped of Snapchat’s primary differentiator (Stories), made the feature its own, and quickly surpassed Snapchat in its Stories users, it appears Instagram could be trying to do the same thing here – this time with TikTok. Claaaasic, Insta.
If Instagram does decide to move forward with a full rollout of Clips, new behaviors will inevitably emerge and marketers will need to adjust to a new playbook as they would with any new type of content format. Given the widespread popularity of TikTok among users, creators, and brands, it’s likely that the feature will gain momentum fast – especially with the understanding that Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content that uses its new features. As such, it’s imperative that marketers are prepared and understand best practices prior to launch, as first movers will, undoubtedly, have an advantage. In doing so, marketers have the opportunity to partner with influencers on TikTok who already understand the content format and best practices surrounding it.
Food for thought: if Instagram is more than willing to rip off the front-end of TikTok, is it also willing to experiment with the back-end? In the future, could we see a TikTok-based AI update to Instagram’s news feed algorithm that changes the way we are consuming feed content? TBD; too soon to tell.
Now Presenting: Influencer Marketing Association (IMA)
Last week, the Influencer Marketing Association (IMA) launched as the official trade organization committed to protecting the authenticity and ethics of influencer marketing.
Founded by a group of influencer marketing and communications agency veterans who lead and were among the first in the influencer marketing industry today (including Mavrck’s CEO Lyle Stevens), the IMA is committed to providing members with the most up-to-date influencer marketing tools, resources, best practices, and measurement standards. The organization welcomes agencies, brands, and technology platform professionals who are equally committed to upholding the integrity of the industry, and interested individuals can apply here.
Any word from the IMA?
“We founded the Influencer Marketing Association to help establish parameters and guardrails for this growing and changing industry. We believe in the value of integrating the human element and leading-edge technology while operating under a set of ethical standards to help brands achieve marketing objectives. We hope to be a resource for brands and agencies looking for authentic, credible, objective influencer marketing strategies.” – Kristy Sammis, IMA Executive Director
As the influencer marketing industry continues to grow and evolve, we’re excited to see this organization come together. Among the first critical issues we’d like to see the group tackle are industry standardization, alignment, and rigor when it comes to influencer measurement, influencer compensation, influencer fraud, and influencer ethics, as these tend to be the more amorphous factors of influencer marketing that are critical to the industry’s maturity.
Also, similar to the impact of IAB and how it’s wrapped the digital media and advertising industry with standardization and rigor, this board seeks to achieve the same. Even we can admit that this type of rigor and standardization is not going to be achieved by one “impartial” third body alone, but rather by a governing body.
Amazon Tests Publishing Tool for Influencer Storefronts
As an extension of the Amazon Influencer Program, Amazon is testing a publishing tool that will let influencers share content from their social feeds to their pre-existing storefront pages.
Didn’t Amazon always have this?
Not quite. While Amazon always had product URLs and product curation, the difference here is that Amazon is developing a publishing tool that will allow influencers’ content to be directly pulled into their storefronts. Brands, too, will be able to use the publishing tool to pull in content from their social channels and websites to their storefronts.
Influencer marketing is notoriously hard to measure and Amazon is attempting to capitalize on that by making it easier for both brands and influencers to tie their efforts to the bottom line. While it’s unclear what data Amazon will actually provide to influencers, or if it will launch designated influencer ad products (i.e., retargeting), it’s safe to say that Amazon remains a top platform that influencers are using to engage their fans and followers.