April 14, 2020: The impact of COVID-19 on creators; brands leaning into #CreateForGood campaigns; how misinformation spreads; IGTV gets a redesign; and the gaming streaming wars intensify
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
Now Trending: Impact of COVID-19 on Creators
As the near-term effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic continue to be felt across the global economy, creators are doing their best to adapt. Recently, we surveyed 675 creators and influencers from the Mavrck Index to understand how, exactly, COVID-19 is impacting creator and consumer behavior.
What were the major trends?
Influencers have shifted their content: The large majority of influencers (72%) have addressed the pandemic within their content, but say they are still posting their typical content that their followers want to see. More than 15% of influencers have leaned into posting about the pandemic, shifting their content to primarily be about COVID-19, or its impact.
Engagement with influencer content has stayed the same or increased: 34% of influencers are seeing that their engagement is increasing. Interestingly, more than 50% of the influencers who said they changed their content to primarily be related to the pandemic have seen an increase in engagement.
Engagement has increased for certain categories and personas: The following content categories were most likely to see increases in engagement rates: fashion/accessories (41%), fitness (40%), travel (36%) and parenting (34%).
Most influencers want to participate in #CreateForGood campaigns: 69% of influencers said they have not participated in a campaign to help with the COVID-19 impact but are interested in doing so.
More than a third of influencers have, or may soon, decrease their rates: As brands continue to pull back marketing spend, some influencers, too, are having to cut back on their rates in order to continue to secure brand deals. When asked if they’ve adjusted their rates because of the impact of COVID-19, 37% of influencers surveyed said they have decreased their rates already or may decrease them in the future.
Creators and influencers have, and will continue to be the ones driving conversation – even during times of crisis. But creators and influencers don’t just want to be part of the conversation, they want to help — and they’re actively looking for brands to facilitate campaigns to do just that.
Most influencers want to participate in brand campaigns by providing what they think their audiences would need or want right now (think: providing uplifting or entertaining content, raising money for non-profits that help with the impact of COVID-19, showcasing their talents or content to teach or inspire others).
By leaning into #CreateForGood campaign themes and messaging, brands have the opportunity to collaborate with influencers to make a real impact – and here’s how.
Not Unrelated: Brands Lean Into #CreateForGood Initiatives
Brands across the world have come together to #CreateForGood. Below we round up some of the biggest and most inspirational campaign examples.
Apple encourages ‘Creativity to Go On’: In the brand’s newest ad, Apple and agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab brought together real footage of families, creators and celebrities around the world. Each is working on a skill, sharing a gift or using creativity to bring a new idea to life. The spot is a beautiful example of how even the most unexpected and depressing times have silver linings, specifically in the ways they bring us all together.
Nike ignites unity with its ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ campaign: With sports and athletic activities of all kinds on hold, those trying to maintain their health and fitness have faced a range of challenges. Despite space being limited for many, the emotional weight of economic uncertainty along with fears of COVID-19’s toll on friends, family and communities, working out can seem near impossible. Nike, doing what Nike does best, partnered with some of its star athletes to convey unity across all levels of athletics, with its latest “You Can’t Stop Us” campaign. The ad is part of a much larger quarantine-era commitment by Nike to help people stay active, including live streaming workouts from Nike master trainers and fun interactive competitions.
NFL launches ‘Stay Home Strong’ PSA: In addition to ramping up fundraising efforts, committing an initial $35 million to COVID-19 relief, the NFL also released a PSA featuring over 50 current and former NFL players and coaches encouraging people to stay home while finding opportunities to make the most of the situation. According to NFL CMO Tim Ellis, prior to developing and launching the ad, the league did research with its fans to understand how they were feeling overall and where sports fit in.
There is no better time to utilize your company’s marketing dollars to make a positive impact for the communities who are most affected by COVID-19 — and many influencers want to use their influence for good. Not sure where to start? We can help.
Tracking the Spreading of COVID-19 Misinformation
A new report from Reuters Institute has found that celebrities, politicians and influencers have played a key role in spreading COVID-19 misinformation on social media, even though their relative share in the discussion is very small, compared to overall conversation.
Tell me more.
Reuters noted the most common type of COVID-19 misinformation being shared is “reconfigurated” material — aka a ‘twisting of the truth’ versus an outright lie or misunderstanding. Of all the misinformation being shared, reconfigured information accounted for around 59%, compared to completely fabricated content (38%) and satire/parody (3%).
Not surprisingly, researchers also found that “high-profile users” (e.g. celebrities, politicians, influencers) play a key role in both validating and circulating false claims. This is due to the sheer reach of these individuals which, as a result, has accounted for 69% of the total engagement with misleading reports, despite only contributing to 20% of the total posts sharing false claims.
…and the platforms’ responses?
While platforms are working to address misinformation, and the subsequent reach of those posts, some are arguing that it’s not enough. Reuters discovered that, of the posts rated as false by fact-checkers, 59% of posts remain active on Twitter with no direct warning label, 27% on YouTube and 24% for Facebook.
Despite the fact that people with ‘influence’ were only responsible for producing or spreading 20% of false claims about COVID-19, it’s no coincidence that their posts accounted for 69% of total social media engagement.
With great influence, comes great responsibility. As a brand, if you are partnering with influencers to #CreateForGood, it’s important to share CDC and WHO-verified copy in campaign briefs and posting instructions. While, typically, allowing for creative freedom in sponsored content copy is encouraged, when spreading information around life or death matters, like a global pandemic, it’s important to make sure any copy is verified through credible sources to prevent the spread of misinformation.
IGTV Gets a Refresh
Instagram has rolled out a complete redesign of IGTV, placing creators at the forefront.
The biggest updates are the completely redesigned IGTV homepage that now features a creator up top, tailored to each user based on who they follow and whose content the app thinks might be interesting to them. The app is also getting a Discover tab to surface new and relevant IGTV content as well as a hands-free recording mode. As well, users can now post their IGTV content in their Stories, and instead of a freeze frame, 15 seconds of content will play.
What’s Instagram saying?
“We’re updating IGTV in the standalone app and the Instagram app to make it easier for people to watch and discover great content and help creators reach more of their communities and fans.” — Instagram spokesperson
IGTV is having a moment. Despite originally lacking adoption, we’re continuing to see brands and creators increasingly turn to IGTV to pump out content during the widespread shutdown as a result of COVID-19. With the new design, placing creators at the front and center, it’s likely that we will continue to see creators turn to IGTV. With monetization of IGTV videos also moving closer to a reality, it’s likely that we could continue to see an increase in the amount of engaging content on IGTV, in turn driving mainstream adoption, even after this crisis ends.
The Gaming Wars Continue…
Let’s start with Facebook Gaming.
Facebook launched a new option which enables gamers to organize their own tournaments within the Facebook Gaming platform. Anyone can organize or join or organize a tournament — no matter what level gamer they are, or how casual or serious of an esports competition they may be looking for. While this feature was in the works for quite some time, Facebook decided to release it early to help people cope better in isolation, according to Mina Abouseif, the head engineer behind Facebook Gaming tournaments.
And what about Twitch?
Twitch announced that it is bringing its beta version of Watch Parties, which allows streamers to broadcast Prime Video content, to all of its parties – and then all American creators. This means every streamer in the U.S. on Twitch will be able to watch Prime content with their viewers, regardless of whether they’re a Twitch partner.
With the majority of the world at home, Google decided to give consumers two months free of Stadia Pro, its game-streaming service. Previously, Stadia was only available via a $129 “Premiere Edition” that came with a controller, despite continuing to promise a free “Base” version.
The gaming industry is one of the few that has performed well in the market during the pandemic. Even the World Health Organization teamed up with several big companies in the gaming market, promoting a campaign titled “Play Apart Together.”
With the majority of the world at home, Facebook, Twitch and Google are all making moves to win more of the prized gaming market. Our POV? The biggest winner of this week’s updates is Facebook. For the platform, tournaments provide an immediate way to boost gaming engagement amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, while also furthering Facebook’s broader gaming ambitions. The feature is also a notable differentiator for Facebook’s play in the social gaming space, as the other large streaming platforms haven’t built similar functionalities into their platforms (yet). Twitch Rivals is the closest in terms of functionality, however its application is invite only, geared towards professional streamers.