December 3, 2019: Facebook releases tool for bulk content exports; TikTok attempts to further separate from its Chinese owners; brands and creators on TikTok look to be first-movers; influencers continue to find new ways to monetize their influence; Pinterest launches Pinterest Shop
Here’s what’s worth snowing this week, and cheers to all you who’ve worked nonstop during this busiest retail weekend of the year. This one’s for you:
All You Want for Christmas is to Export Your FB Content
Facebook is releasing a new tool that will allow its users to transfer photos (and videos) directly to Google Photos via encrypted transfer.
Currently, the tool is only being released in Ireland but will be available for all users in the first half of 2020. Why Ireland first? In addition to Ireland being the location of the company’s international HQ, this is largely due to EU privacy laws and criticism from regulators that its size and control over data hinders competition.
What will this tool look like?
Let’s be honest, those Facebook albums from college aren’t doing us any favors – but no one wants to be that friend to delete those memories from the only place keeping them alive. Now, instead of having to save and download individual photos and videos one by one, users will be able to export content in bulk to Google Photos, resulting in massive time and energy savings. As well, an added benefit is the perceived security that comes with backing up content to Google vs. Facebook.
The feature comes as part of the Data Transfer Project, an agreement between Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter to make it easy as leftover Thanksgiving pie to transfer information between services. Is this purely a play to foster competition or to save face? Let’s be honest, it’s probably the latter.
While currently this functionality doesn’t currently extend to Instagram, if (and when) it eventually does, influencers will have the ability to catalog content from Instagram which offers more opportunities for legal and creative control over their data and content.
Even in the name of user privacy, it’s RARE that Facebook plays well with its Big Four competitors (or anyone, really) and sharing data with Google. However, given Google’s failed attempt to form a social network (RIP Google+), it’s likely Facebook could view this exchange as a non-competitive play, knowing there is no real risk of sharing this type of data.
TikTok’s Move to be on the U.S. Government’s Nice List
Over the past week, TikTok has taken additional steps to further separate itself from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.
WTF is the CFIUS?
On November 4th, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) began an investigation into the safety of the personal data on TikTok, specifically verifying that personal data on TikTok is stored securely in the United States and will not be compromised by Chinese authorities.
As well, the U.S. Army is currently reviewing whether TikTok, which it has used for recruitment (as well as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms), poses a data security or intelligence risk because of its Chinese ties. For now, it has told soldiers to stop using TikTok “immediately” when a possible security issue was brought to the attention of Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy earlier this year.
And it’s complicated.
In October (even before the CFIUS investigation), ByteDance started to separate its operations completely from China. Perhaps anticipating some extra attention from the U.S. government (and its current resting grinch face), it also hired external auditors to evaluate the integrity of the personal data and its storage, confirming that data is entirely stored in the U.S. with a backup in Singapore.
That is snow laughing matter! What is TikTok saying?
“No, TikTok does not censor videos that displease China. And no, it does not share user data with China, or even with its Beijing-based parent company. All data on TikTok users worldwide is stored in Virginia, he said, with a backup server in Singapore.” – Alex Zhu, Musical.ly founder and current executive at TikTok
TikTok may be the third most downloaded, non-gaming app of the year (behind WhatsApp and Messenger), but it’s certainly not immune to scandal. This investigation calls into question the ability of Chinese companies to do business in the U.S., especially amidst the trade war. As TikTok continues to attempt to separate itself from its Chinese roots, it’s hoping to avoid the fate of Bejing-based Grindr (ICYMI it was owned by gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd), who’s executives recently agreed to the CFIUS’ request to divulge the app surrounding issues of personal data and security.
Not Unrelated: Marketers & Creators Sleigh TikTok Campaigns
In comparison with the other leading social platforms, TikTok’s sponsorship marketplace has been relatively slow to develop. This, as a result, has given rise to a new industry of marketing agencies and influencers zeroing in on TikTok capes to meet that challenge.
With music being a core part of the app, some TikTokers have found their niche working with music labels, like Sony and Universal, to create and produce videos as part of a larger effort to help a particular song go viral. According to TikToker Alejandro Baigorri, “[the music labels] hire us by campaign. They are usually pretty specific, not only on the content of the video but when to publish and what you should put in the description.”
Agencies, on the other hand, have emerged that work with brands and influencers to create TikTok-specific content, with the goal of starting viral challenges. Specifically, brands and agencies have partnered with artists like Ariana Grande to make music specifically for the app and brands like ELF Cosmetics have also worked with agencies and Grammy-winning producers to create original songs for the app, like the “Eyes Lip Face” which resulted in nearly 18,000 imitation videos when it launched in early October.
Is TikTok the new MTV? As TikTok continues to emerge as a leading social media platform, what’s interesting is the creation of audio content specific for TikTok (in addition to video). “Sound on” has never been such an asset. If brands and agencies are partnering with influencers to create short-form viral moments and songs, how does that then change the creative process for song/album production, marketing, and sonic/audio branding? Since TikTok is primarily an awareness play rn, do you just drop the chorus (or three to test) on TikTok in an effort to gain momentum through virality and then the full song and then the album on Spotify? Will TikTok emerge as a mainstream distro platform for music, similar to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music?
Nonetheless, as TikTok continues to be a breeding ground for viral content, specifically through music, it will be interesting to see how this changes the standard content creation process for songwriting and music marketing.
Check it Twice: Insights from 50+ ITC Brands
We analyzed 55 influencer-to-consumer (ITC) brands to uncover insights from revenue, engagement, website traffic, and how the highest-performing ITC brands got their start.
Give me the scoop.
As influencers find new ways to monetize their influence, capitalizing on their existing audiences is a growing trend. Influencer-to-consumer brands such as Glossier and Jeffree Star Cosmetics have reached new heights proving their effectiveness and profitability. Below we take a look at some of the key insights:
- On Instagram, ITC brands garner less engaged communities than their influencer owners. Influencers have 4.4x larger audiences and 2.2x more engagements per post on Instagram than their brands do.
- YouTubers drive website traffic to their ITC brand sites better than Instagram influencers. Youtubers generate 2.6x more website traffic to their brand.com per month than Instagram influencers.
- Mega-Influencers drive more website traffic to their ITC Brand sites better than macro-influencers. Mega-influencers drive 2.23x more traffic to their ITC brand websites than macro-influencers.
- Most influencers that now have ITC brands started off by creating capsule collections. 60 percent of influencers worked with an established brand before launching their own ITC brands.
We expect to see expansion in the ITC space as the influencer growth journey takes shape. Starting with collaborations and moving to partnerships, collections and launching their own brands, influencers have shown a propensity for finding new streams of revenue. This leaves brands (venture capitalists, social media platforms, and legacy brands) in a place to share their guidance and expertise and funding to help guide and launch these new businesses.
As both ITC and DTC brands work to disrupt and achieve a heightened level of success, imitation is a given. This can be dangerous for some industries (cosmetic dupes with bacterial contaminants? No thank you), but beneficial to others. Is Amazon copying your product the biggest sign of success or the worst threat of copyright infringement?
Our opinion? Both. Imitation is a sign of flattery after all – especially if you can make it a marketable moment. As brand awareness increases and as consumers are better able to advocate for cheaper alternatives (vs. supporting the original creator’s brand), it will be interesting to see how budding ITC brands as well handle the dynamics of dupes.
Pinterest’s Gift for your Coworker Who Missed Small Business Saturday
Just in time for the ho-ho-holiday season, Pinterest has partnered with 17 small business creators to launch Pinterest Shop.
Don’t be elfish – tell me more!
Pinterest Shop is intended to be a place to discover creative and fun gifts from small businesses all of which have been hand-curated by Pinterest. All of the Pins in the shop are shoppable Product Pins and meant to drive consumers to a unique gift – something they won’t find in “every other box store.”
Similar to Instagram launching @shop account that brings together posts from brands that sell products on the app, Pinterest is bringing a similar focus to mission-driven creators in its new Shop Board. Not only does this emphasize and validate the mission-driven focus of creators, but it also highlights Pinterest’s support for influencers through the creation of a standalone page dedicated to boosting exposure, awareness, increasing sales, and aiding in the development of communities.