Influencer Marketing Trends

Now Trending in Influencer Marketing: Social Media Platforms Make Influencer Collaborations Easier

By August 1, 2019 No Comments
There has been a monumental year for influencer marketing as it marked a seismic shift in consumer trust – whether that be institutional, governmental, or on social media.


According to Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer, 44 percent of people no longer trust traditional social media companies (e.g. Facebook). Similarly, growing negative attitudes and perceptions regarding influencers’ authenticity as a result of high-profile scandals (e.g. Fyre Festival) have compromised consumers’ and marketers’ trust in influencers’ value and influencers’ worth. However, despite these shifts in trust and perception, the amount of time consumers are spending online has remained constant.


According to Hootsuite’s Digital 2019 Report, there are 230 million active social media users in the U.S., equating to 70 percent of the country’s total population. Moreover, these individuals are also highly active, spending an average of 2 hours and 4 minutes per day engaging with content on social media platforms.


While staying in touch with friends and family remains consumers’ primary motivation for using social media (50 percent), consumers are now increasingly likely to turn to social media to view “funny and entertaining content” (42 percent) and social media is now the second-most prevalent channel for brand and product research. As well, consumers are coming to social media platforms to engage with creators. On Instagram specifically, 68 percent of people come to the platform to interact with creators.


Where influencers are responsible for driving user adoption and engagement to social platforms (vs. brands), platforms are forced to optimize for influencers’ experiences if they want to be influencers’ platform of choice. One of the ways platforms are doing this is by making it easier for influencers to collaborate with brands and in turn, generate revenue.


Below we look at some of the platforms paving the way for influencer-brand collaborations. Specifically, we look at new features, influencer and brand marketers‘ perspectives on these new features and what they mean for your influencer marketing strategy.


Instagram Releases Branded Content Tool

In June 2019, Instagram rolled out a new ad format that allows brands to promote branded content posts from creators as ads within the Instagram feed. “Sponsored” and “Paid partnership with …” text appears on Branded Content ads when they run in Instagram’s feed, along with the brand name being part of each post, which Instagram called “an important piece for our continued investment in ads transparency.”


Previously, influencers could amplify a non-tagged sponsored post, a brand could amplify a brand-tagged sponsored post to its followers, or a brand could repurpose an asset in an ad unit to promote beyond that audience.


With the new tags, Instagram not only opens up the tagging feature to micro-influencers, but also allows brands (not influencers) to amplify posts to audiences beyond influencers’ followers, boosting brand awareness and engagement.


Influencers’ Take: Brands lack education on the feature. According to Jane Ko from A Taste of Koko, “I don’t see too many brands asking me to use the partner tag and still prefer me to put #ad or #sponsored for influencer marketing campaigns. Most brands have their partner tag closed so influencers cannot tag them without permission … Ideally, with this branded partnership tool on Instagram, brands should be able to go in and boost our branded posts but brands are having difficulty doing that on their end. I’ve heard feedback from brands and agencies that they are unable to or don’t know how to. I still have agencies and brands that will pay me to boost my own post and then reimburse me because they can’t do it on their end.”


Our Take: Paid media boosting options provide influencers with new and more efficient ways to collaborate with brands. By easily allowing marketers to scale influencer campaigns to their target audiences via paid media, more emphasis is put on the influence content and less on the followers. Also, it’s a move towards greater transparency and monetization. You can assume that brand-tagged sponsored posts receive less visibility in the feed and almost all will require paid amplification to reach your target audience.


Instagram Launches In-App Checkout

Instagram launched in-app checkout for shoppable posts from more than 20 different brands, including: Nike, Adidas, Dior, ColourPop Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Outdoor Voices and more.
Instagram will keep a small cut of the sales for facilitated purchases and it’s partnering with PayPal to process the payments. Additionally, by seeing what products, sizes, and styles users purchase, Instagram could use that information to serve better and more relevant ads to users on the platform.


Our Take: From shoppable tags, the shopping collection tab, and rumors of a standalone shopping app, Instagram has gone from photo-sharing app to a frictionless all-in-one shopping app. If your brand isn’t part of the beta launch, start planning now by making sure your shopping catalog is uploaded to Facebook so that when this feature does roll out widely, you’ll be able to act quickly.


What’s Next? It will be interesting to see if Instagram will eventually grant creators access to this new feature – for instance, will creators be able to add the checkout button on brand-tagged sponsored posts, enabling marketers to better track sales and fueling deeper partnerships between brands and influencers? The result is a massive improvement in experience from using a trackable link/coupon code in bio and will likely provide influencers with better metrics into the impact their content is having on sales.


Reddit Tests Creator Tipping Option

In March 2019, Reddit began testing a tipping option to pay platform creators. With the update, users would have the opportunity to offer monetary “tips” to creators, providing a whole new motivation for Redditors to post. In turn, creators would have the opportunity to earn up to $100 real-world dollars, as opposed to “Karma,” Reddit’s current on-platform credit system (which holds no monetary value).


The tipping option is, essentially, a CPA-based model – creators don’t get any compensation up-front, but the ceiling is unlimited This could strengthen Reddit’s communities and increase the amount of content on its platform, while also encouraging more users to promote their on-platform presences, expanding Reddit’s reach and audience. But, there are various elements that could also be problematic, like the amount of content repurposing and reposting on the platform, which isn’t a problem for users right now, but adding a financial incentive could change the game (think FuckJerry’s recent stolen content scandal).


Our Take: In the same way that Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest are embracing creators, Reddit is now finally starting to embrace creators in its own way. Along these lines, it makes sense that Reddit would begin testing this tipping option user-to-user, instead of platform-to-user. If the platform is going to eventually compensate creators, it’s important to first understand how the community adapts to this new economic system – observing what norms, patterns, and types of behaviors arise – before developing its own payment system.


What’s Next? With tipping, Reddit is essentially introducing a new norm: performance-based creation. Although Reddit isn’t the only platform to test a tipping system (Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch have, as well), it will be interesting to see if the idea of users incentivizing creators based on content value will begin to cascade to other platforms.


Download our latest Q1 2019 Influencer Marketing Quarterly Trend Report to learn more about some of the key social media updates and influencer marketing trends affecting the influencer marketing sphere and informing your influencer strategy.