September 10, 2019: YouTube launches fashion & beauty hub; TikTok and NFL announce two-year partnership; Twitch releases public beta for Apple TV; H&M launches employee ambassador program
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
YouTube, But Make It Fashion
Just in time for New York Fashion Week, YouTube launched a new hub for all things fashion and beauty on its platform.
Werk it, YouTube.
Go to YouTube.com/Fashion and you’ll see videos from creators, live streams of runway shows, a beauty section, and collaborations with fashion brands. With the launch of /Fashion, YouTube is bringing together the platform’s most popular creators to work with some of the leading fashion brands, pairing the fashion industry with creators who consumers already know, love, and trust (see: the Dolan Twins and Louis Vuitton, which received more than four million views and hit YouTube’s trending page).What’s YouTube saying?
“A lot of brands focus on campaigns and branded content, which is an incredible resource and definitely sets the tone for what they’re trying to say, especially for seasonal-based fashion brands, setting the message of the season. But what we’re trying to get brands to wrap their heads around is how to create original content.” – Derek Blasberg, director of beauty and fashion at YouTube
According to a blog post from YouTube, the number of fashion and beauty channels on the platform grew more than six times between 2014 and 2018, and racked up billions of views in the past year alone. Let’s be honest… while interest in fashion and beauty content on the platform is undoubtedly growing, one of the primary reasons why YouTube is doing this is because of the ongoing brand safety issues that it continues to face. With dedicated categorical hubs, YouTube has more editorial supervision over the content served in these sections, which allows the platform to increase relevance and credibility all within a controlled environment.
Since YouTube seems unable to control and police the content and behavior on its platform (see: $170 million fine for violating children’s data privacy last week), is the future of the platform dedicated destinations for categorical content? On the surface level, this would make sense because of the increase in control and authority that YouTube would theoretically have to manage bad actors, while increasing brand-safe destinations for marketers to invest. However, the platform has proven unable to even keep its dedicated hubs safe (see: scandals involving child abuse and nightmarish content on its YouTube Kids app).
TikTok Gears Up for NFL Season
Ahead of the NFL’s 100th season, the NFL and TikTok announced a two-year partnership to bring NFL content to worldwide fans.
#WeReady to hear more
The partnership includes the launch of an official NFL account in addition to a series of NFL-themed hashtag challenges designed to provide opportunities for brands around the NFL content. In the NFL’s TikTok debut, the organization ran a #WeReady hashtag challenge, in which users were encouraged to create videos showing which teams they’re rooting for before the season officially kicked off last weekend.
What’s TikTok saying?
“TikTok is a destination where fans can feel like they are a part of the team and we look forward to showcasing content from the NFL that is exciting, authentic, and surprising to the TikTok community.” – Mayan Scharf, Global Partnerships at TikTok
What’s the NFL saying?
“TikTok [is a] natural extension [of our media strategy because it reaches a] fast-growing global audience of NFL fans and future fans.” – Blake Stuchin, VP of Digital Media Business Development at the NFL
With more than 500 million monthly active users who spend an average of 52 minutes per day engaging with content on the app, TikTok is establishing itself as one of the most popular social apps in the world.
In addition to the short-form content on TikTok, what makes the platform so addictive is largely a function of how it leverages AI to inform its algorithm. Unlike Facebook and the majority of social networks that optimize their news feed algorithms based off of who you’ve engaged with (leaving you limited to the confines of who you’re connected to), TikTok’s AI optimizes based on what you’ve engaged with, leveraging thousands of tags per single piece of content to do so. In an environment like TikTok, influencers are able to amass followings because of the content they publish – not just because of who they are or how many followers they have.
Is social proof a power of the people or a power of the post? As AI-driven social proof becomes more about the content users engage instead of who created it, influence moves away from people and towards the actual content itself. As the center of influence shifts even further away from vanity metrics and towards high quality content on other platforms, can we anticipate more platforms to be and act more like TikTok?
Twitch is Coming to Apple TV
Twitch has released a public beta of its Apple TV app through Apple’s TestFlight program, giving users a chance to try out the service before it goes live.
What’s Twitch saying?
“We don’t want to be too prescriptive, so explore the app, watch streams, and try out different features. If you find a bug, the app crashes on you, or you encounter other issues, send us your feedback.”Can you give me a refresh on Twitch?
The Amazon-owned streaming service has been around since 2011 and is the leading live streaming platform for gamers and video content creators. Viewers can watch their favorite streamers do anything live: painting, cooking, podcasting, camping, and e-sports, among other categories. In 2018, more than 560 billion minutes of content was streamed on Twitch and daily active users hovered around 15 million. In 2019, with 4.5 million monthly streams up 33% from 2018, the platform is continuing to expand its user base and mainstream popularity. Additionally, the average time spent on Twitch is around 95 minutes per day, which is 3x the amount of time that users spend on platforms like Instagram.
As Twitch continues to gain momentum in the long-form content space, the move to Apple TV makes it an obvious play from the user and platform perspectives. It’s also another proof point to the ongoing trend of convergence among streaming platforms and connected TV devices as consumers’ preference for OTT content grows.
For influencers (and brands), this is a massive test-and-learn opportunity. Based on Twitch’s statement about the beta, it seems like not even Twitch knows (or wants to put boundaries around) what the key content should be. This, paired with the recent updates to make it easier to create on Twitch, also speaks to its prioritization of creator adoption and finding new audiences as it seeks to keep creators happy by expanding their own potential reach and, thus, monetization potential.
Inside H&M’s Employee Ambassador Program
H&M launched its first official employee ambassador program, H&M Insiders, to ladder up to its external influencer program, H&M League.
Give me the inside scoop on H&M Insiders
To start, H&M Insiders is launching with 15 employees from stores and offices across the U.S., who were chosen based on their content, personality, location, brand values, and style. According to H&M, the year-long program will highlight how ambassadors “incorporate H&M into their everyday lives, from edgy outfit styling to chic home decorating.” On HM.com, the company has a dedicated page for the Insider community, where each of the 15 ambassadors are featured and consumers are invited to click a link to “Shop Their Style.”
Taking a page from the EXPRESS playbook with an inclusive ambassador program composed of customer advocates, influencers, and employees, brands are starting to realize that influence does not start and stop within the confines of social feeds. As consumers’ circles of influence extend from feeds to forums, and reviews to in-store experiences, brands’ influencer marketing strategies need to reflect this diversity. The question is – why limit employee ambassadorship to just 15? For this moment in time, where the majority of retail purchases still happen in store, legacy retail’s greatest asset and liability is their physical retail footprint.
As well, this shift in how marketers are expanding their influencer marketing strategies suggests a deeper integration with overall customer experience strategies, signaling the industry’s evolving maturity (we’ve also written an entire book on how to do this here). Store associates can be the front lines of your influencer army, or simply bystanders. How marketers leverage this resource could be the difference between H&M and Forever 21.
In a new article from Bloomberg, Delta Air Lines CMO Tim Mapes says Millennials’ quests for selfies in front of historic monuments and international icons is actually driving demand for flights: “Travel today is all about the selfie shot in front of some dramatic place with someone you care about. That’s the travel currency of today.”
Blame it on the fo-fo-fo-fomo.