February 19, 2020: FTC votes to review influencer marketing rules & penalties; YouTube launches creator tipping feature; TikTok’s NBA All-Star Game debut; How beauty brands are redefining integrated influencer marketing strategies; Apple updates “Quick Look” AR feature
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
“When in Doubt, Disclose it Out” – The FTC
The FTC has unanimously voted to update its Endorsement Guides for Advertising so that undisclosed influencer marketing posts on social media trigger financial penalties.
Ok, so how is this different than before?
While the FTC had previously outlined when and how influencers should disclose their partnerships with brands, it had never specifically outlined the penalties for not following these rules (if, in fact, there even were any— case in point, Sunday Riley). Now, the FTC is saying enough is enough, and is outlining clear financial penalties for rule-breakers.
What’s the FTC saying?
“When individual influencers are able to post about their interests to earn extra money on the side, this is not a cause for major concern. [However,] when we do not hold lawbreaking companies accountable, this harms every honest business looking to compete fairly.” — Rohit Chopra, Federal Trade Commissioner
The low-down on FTC requirements
Simply put, any time an influencer posts any type of content (photo, video, rating, review) and has a financial, employment or personal relationship with a brand, there needs to be a disclosure. For approved language and best practices for each type of content on the various social networks, check out our Incentivized and Sponsored Content Disclosures best practices here or get it straight from the source.
Did someone say politics?
On Friday, Facebook said that political candidates, campaigns and groups can use paid branded content across its platforms as long as there is still a proper disclosure, a clarification prompted by a move from Michael Bloomberg’s campaign to pay Instagram influencers to post memes on behalf of the presidential candidate.
As seen with the case above, even when using Branded Content Tags on Instagram (or any “native” branded content tool on a platform), there still needs to be a disclosure in the caption for any commissioned content. This includes content that was commissioned in exchange for free, gifted or even discounted products.
Notably, the FTC is placing the liability on the company, not the influencer. When considering how, historically, certain cases have been used as the building blocks for new policy changes, it makes sense that first, the FTC needs to make examples out of brands who have the budgets and can pay the fines, not influencers. It’s likely that once the precedent for brands has been established, influencers will be held to the same standard.
For brands executing influencer marketing campaigns, it’s important to leverage a technology platform, like Mavrck, that can validate that influencers are using proper FTC disclosures and, if they aren’t, can flag those that do not comply. To learn more about our FTC compliance offerings, chat with a member of our team here.
Round of Applause for YouTube’s Creator Tipping Feature
YouTube has, once again, followed in Twitch’s footsteps and is beta-testing a new monetization tool for creators: clapping.
What is clapping?
Officially referred to as “Viewer Applause,” the feature allows viewers to purchase a clapping animation that appears over the video they’re choosing to support. Unlike Super Chat, where the highlighted Chat appears for all viewers to see, with viewer applause, the animation is shown only to the buyer and the creator.
To enable the feature, creators need to go into their dashboard to enable the option. For fans, they’ll see the option to support a creator by clicking on an icon next to the like and dislike buttons. Fans can spend $2 on a clap, with the ability to spend up to $500 per day, or $2,000 per week on any of the various creator monetization features (i.e., Super Chats, Super Stickers and Viewer Applause). YouTube has confirmed that it will take 30 percent of donations — the same cut it takes from the donations made through Super Chat.
Creator monetization continues to be a big focus for all social platforms. As we continue to preach, the platform that “wins” creator monetization also wins creators’ preference as their platform of choice.
Round of applause for YouTube (if you have more than $2 to spare), who has sought to expand creator monetization beyond just ad revenue. Although still currently in testing with select creators, what’s particularly noteworthy about Viewer Applause compared to Twitch’s existing creator monetization tools is that it can be used for all videos,not just livestreams. This opens up the possibility for an always-on feature for fan monetization on YouTube, something that doesn’t currently exist on Twitch, as well as an opportunity to earn money beyond ad revenue. As well, where YouTube is continuing to give creators a bigger cut of the revenue they’ve earned directly from fans through these monetization tools (creators earn 70 percent on YouTube and 50 percent on Twitch), it’s likely we could begin to see more creators migrate from Twitch to YouTube if their audiences are willing to follow them.
TikTok’s NBA All-Star Debut
Team Lebron may have won the NBA All-Star Game, but much like the Super Bowl weekend, TikTok and its stars, again, seemed to appear on top.
There was the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, where Aaron Gordon started his dunk by bringing out TikTok superstars Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio and Addison Rae onto the court, who proceeded to lead the cheerleaders through one of their choreographed dances, shown on national TV. Then at halftime during the All Star game, Jalaiah Harmon, the fourteen-year old responsible for the “Renegade” dance that has swept TikTok, showed the world her famous dance — again, on national TV.
And in between both? Virtually all of the NBA All-Stars participating in the weekend’s activities also participated in dances with famous TikTokers which were then posted on not only each team’s TikTok accounts, as well as on accounts from publishers like ESPN and Bleacher Report, but also on the teams’ and publishers’ Instagram accounts.
As seen during the Super Bowl and again with NBA All-Star weekend, TikTok continues to transcend mainstream culture, both on and off the app. For the second time in less than one month, we witnessed the ultimate crossover between national TV, real-time events (i.e., sports), and mainstream audiences with pop culture moments born on TikTok. This is something that we have not yet seen other social media platforms achieve.
If your brand’s audience is on TikTok and you still haven’t joined, it’s not too late. While achieving first-mover status may be somewhat unattainable at this point in the game, we have now entered a phase where we are starting to see initial learnings and best practices developing — of course, largely a result of those who were first-to-move on the app. Specifically, this Op-Ed published in TechCrunch breaks down how to build a comprehensive TikTok strategy based on what has been observed about its unique content algorithm.
The Beauty Industry’s Influencer Marketing Makeover
As the influencer marketing landscape becomes more crowded, Maybelline and other leading beauty brands have found success activating professional makeup artists as part of integrated influencer marketing strategies.
Talk me through Maybelline’s strategy.
Maybelline hosted its first-ever Glam Grab event in January 2019 as part of a larger effort to inform the professional community about the beauty brand’s launches. In less than one year, what began as a 40-to-50 person event has now transformed to attract 100-plus professionals and has organically led to the usage of Maybelline throughout the 2020 award season. has resulted in the brand receiving free press on behalf of the makeup artists’ celebrity clients.
To further support and capitalize on this initiative, Maybelline hired professional makeup artists Vincent Oquendo and Jenna Kristina last year. Both Oquendo and Kristina used Maybelline products during awards season and did on-call makeup services for influencers throughout New York Fashion Week which, again, resulted in these mega-influencers organically amplifying content on behalf of the brand.
What’s Maybelline saying?
“The pyramid that we’ve all seen is you have your mega-influencers, then you pop in mid- and macro-influencers. But we don’t want to be so reliant on a pay-for-play model. We want to expand relationships among and beyond the pyramid.” — Marnie Levan, VP of integrated consumer communication at Maybelline
No matter what the industry, an integrated influencer marketing strategy that incorporates the full spectrum of influence, emphasizing both new personas and long-term relationships, is key to building a successful influencer marketing strategy.
For the beauty industry, professional makeup artists hold the key to influence. While they may not have the same reach as macro- and mega-influencers, they are the ones “influencing” the influencers and setting the trends for the rest of the industry to follow. They are not only creating the looks for mega and macro-influencers (i.e., celebrities, designers and editors) at industry events that garner maximum content, exposure and press, but are a natural extension of the brand(s) whose product(s) they choose to represent and use on their clients.
Arguably, one of the most powerful assets these professionals can offer isn’t just their makeup expertise, but their content. By partnering with these individuals, brands have the opportunity to amplify their partnership across people and channels. Often times, this organic amplification can occur during large scale industry events (i.e., award shows, fashion week), when professional makeup artists have a handful of macro- and mega-influencer clients whose fans and followers want to see their “getting ready” process. That influencer either organically reposts the makeup artist’s content or creates their own content to highlight their look — and, of course, the brands used to create that look.
Apple’s AR Expansion
Apple has expanded its “Quick Look” feature to let retailers sell products directly in augmented reality.
Refresh me on “Quick Look”
First launched as part of Apple’s ARKit 2 in 2018, “Quick Look” allows retailers to upload stickers or 3D models of the products they offer, which can then be accessed by consumers and superimposed onto the camera image, giving them a preview of how the item would look in a specific environment. Until now, if consumers decided to make a purchase, they needed to go to the brand’s website. With Apple’s latest update, now users can directly buy within the tool using Apple Pay, without ever having to leave the app.
In addition to in-app payment, Apple has also decided to expand upon the concept a little bit, allowing developers to bring a customizable button into the mix. It could be coded to do just about any action a retailer could want (think: a purchase button triggering an Apple Pay prompt on the screen; a customer support chat to let a customer ask about color options; a call-to-action to local retailers who have the product in stock so customers could see it in person). Talk about a streamlined experience.
Apple’s updated “Quick Looks” feature is especially significant because it brings the physical and digital realities even closer through AR content, chat and purchase capabilities.
As AR adoption and its application continues to become more mainstream, the foundation continues to be set for how AR is going to accelerate consumers’ paths-to-purchase. In the present, consumer brands are primarily leveraging AR tools to provide consumers with visual insight into a certain products’ physical appearances (i.e., how a couch fits in a room or how flowers look on a table). The next phase of leveraging this technology, however, will be in providing consumers with the next layer of social proof — something that they can’t necessarily get through physically visualizing the product. For instance, this could be a product’s quality, which can be understood through augmenting ratings and reviews on top of the physical product; or learning how to style or use the product, which can be understood through referencing influencer-generated content; or finding similar products to complement it, which can be understood through a “Customers Also Bought” widget. The possibilities for expanded layers of social proof are quite literally endless with AR.