July 17, 2019: YouTube and Facebook introduce new monetization options for creators; Pinterest debuts new video features for creators; Twitch posts second biggest-quarter with 2.72bn hrs live-streamed; marketers still struggle with influencer marketing measurement
Here’s what’s worth knowing this week:
YouTube Gives Creators New Ways to Make Money
Last week at VidCon, YouTube announced new and expanded monetization options for creators.
The new features include more subscription options, additional merchandise partners and new ways to receive tips on live streams. Here’s a breakdown of the biggest and most important updates:
Levels for Channel Memberships: Dubbed one of creators’ most-requested features, the Channel Memberships feature prompts fans to pay $4.99 per month to access unique badges, new emojis, and special perks including exclusive live streams, extra videos or shoutouts. With membership levels, creators have the option to add five different price tiers for Channel Memberships, with each providing different perks.
New Merchandise Partners: At VidCon 2018, YouTube announced that it had partnered with Teespring on a pilot merchandising option, enabling creators to choose from more than 20 items and sell them via their channels. This year, YouTube added five new partners: Crowdmade, DFTBA, Fanjoy, Represent and Rooster Teeth for creators to expand their own brand merch mix.
Super Stickers: Super Stickers, which viewers can purchase during live streams to show support for creators, expand on the growth that YouTube has established with chat tools like Super Chats, where followers can pay to have their message be pinned to the feed during live streams. According to YouTube, Super Chats are now the biggest revenue source for roughly 20,000 channels, a 65% year-over-year increase since 2018. More than 90,000 channels have received Super Chats from users and some streams earn more than $400 per minute from the feature.
What’s YouTube saying?
“Early last year, creator revenue on YouTube from Super Chat, Channel Memberships and merch was nearly zero. Today, these products are generating meaningful results to creators across the globe. In fact, thousands of channels have more than doubled their total YouTube revenue by using these new tools in addition to advertising.”
YouTube’s moves to appease creators’ demand for new monetization options comes on the heels of efforts that have had the opposite effect (see: YouTube’s monetization requirements). And it’s no surprise that these new features are independent of YT’s brand safety efforts, providing creators more control and stability. It’s likely that YouTube is also trying to counteract recent monetization moves from rivals Twitch and Facebook (see below), which have the potential to impact YouTube’s ability to attract and retain new creators.
Where YouTube continues to thrive is in its ability to monetize its platform for creators – especially given the built-in adoption of new features that were initially introduced by Twitch (i.e. Super Chat, Super Stickers). With the latest updates, YouTube is introducing additional ways for creators to monetize their community beyond advertising and brand sponsorships, ultimately keeping creators happy (from a revenue standpoint) while also rewarding their business savvy. It’s not about creators’ creativity, per se, but their ability to play within YouTube’s new rules of engagement.
Not Unrelated: Facebook Introduces Ways for Creators to Actually Make Money
Also at VidCon, Facebook announced a handful of new monetization options for creators, which include more paid groups, ad placements, and packs of Stars that viewers can buy and send as tips during live streams.
Updated Brands Collabs Manager and Creator Studio: For starters, there’s an updated Brands Collabs Manager that lets creators better manage audience engagement and improve ad-targeting. The Creator Studio update includes a Monetization Overview section that compiles earnings from Facebook, Instagram, and IGTV. Here, creators will have the choice to include non-interruptive advertising formats, such as pre-roll or image-based ads. But, TBD if these updates will be enough to win over brands and creators.
Subscriber-Only Groups: Facebook is tweaking its fan subscriptions tool, which lets fans pay a recurring monthly payment (usually $4.99) to support creators in exchange for perks like discount codes and merch. Starting last week, creators that offer fan subscriptions can also offer subscribers access to subscriber-only Groups as an additional incentive for paying the monthly fee. In exchange, fans and followers can interact with creators in a more intimate setting, where Facebook says it hopes people can “form deeper communities and stronger bonds” with each other. YouTube plans on taking a 30% cut (!!!) of these subscriptions starting in January 2020. What Facebook gives to drive adoption, it takes away to gain revenue.
Facebook Stars: Facebook is testing more ways for creators to make money directly from their fans. Facebook Stars, which were originally designed for the gaming community on FB Live, are now being rolled out to a small set of video creators to receive one-time support from fans and followers.
What’s Facebook saying?
“Our hope is that content creators can turn their passion into a meaningful business with the money that they earn through one or both or multiple of the products in this suite, depending on what makes sense for them.” – Kate Orseth, Facebook Director of Media Monetization
The platform that’s notorious for stealing features from competitors is at it again (but also, this is everyone at this point). It’s no secret that Facebook wants to lure creators from YouTube, so what does Facebook do? Introduce a mix of YouTube-esque/Patreon features to better support creators’ efforts on the platform in its push for more video content.
Despite Facebook’s recent push towards more creator-friendly features, it’s still hard for creators to earn revenue – especially from ads. Not to mention, if Facebook plans on taking a 30% cut of creators’ subscriptions like they say they will (compared to the 12% Patreon takes for a similar service), it’s likely creators won’t see value in creating new content (esp. long-form) exclusively for FB.
Still Connected: Pinterest Debuts New Video Tools for Creators
Last week, Pinterest introduced four new video features for creators to reach their audiences including an improved video uploader, a video tab on business profiles that allows creators/brands to feature all their videos in one place, an analytics tool to help creators/brands better analyze their traffic and performance insights, and a new Pin Scheduler tool that lets creators/brands schedule videos ahead of time.
What are brands saying?
“As early adopters to video on Pinterest, Tastemade has successfully driven over 1 billion video views and 200 million engagements YTD, while growing our following 100% YoY. It’s clear that Pinterest users are hungry for videos that are both entertaining and actionable.” – Larry Fitzgibbon CEO & Founder Tastemade
What’s Pinterest saying?
The company says they’ve observed a 31% increase in searches for “inspirational video” since 2018 and that “Pinners are 54% more likely to say they’re inspired to action by videos on Pinterest compared to videos on other platforms.”
As consumers shift their viewing habits to mobile video and advertisers boost spending to match, there’s a massive demand for video across all platforms. As seen with YouTube, Facebook and now Pinterest, the race among platforms isn’t for more advertisers, it’s for more creators. Where YouTube and Facebook have chosen to prioritize creator monetization through the development of new revenue streams, Pinterest has looked to differentiate itself and attract creators through its platform offerings.
Following the platform’s IPO in April, it continues to make improvements to attract both creators and marketers to the platform – recently building out new e-commerce features and, with the latest updates, new tools to help boost organic video content.
Twitch Leads the Live Stream
Twitch continues to lead its rivals in live-streaming video. Despite experiencing its first decline in hours watched in Q2 2019, Twitch had its second-biggest quarter to date, with more than 70% of the hours watched during the quarter.
According to a new report from StreamElements, Twitch viewers live-streamed a total of 2.72+ billion hours in Q2 (or 72.2% of all live hours watched) compared with 735.54 million hours on YouTube Live (19.5%), 197.76 million on Facebook Gaming (5.3%) and 112.29 million hours on Mixer (3%).
Despite Twitch’s widespread popularity, the majority (75%) of Twitch’s viewership comes from people tuning into the top 5,000 channels. Out of the 2.7 billion hours watched in Q2, these top 5,000 channels drove 2 billion of those hours watched.
Interested in learning more? Check out the full report here.
Can you give me a refresh on Twitch?
Twitch is the leading live-streaming platform for gamers and video content creators. Viewers can watch their favorite streamers do anything live – from painting, cooking, podcasting, camping to esports. Users subscribe to a streamers channel, tune in during scheduled sessions and consume hours of content, making Twitch an ideal platform to sponsor creators on if your audience is on it.
As seen with all of the stories covered this week, gaining creator preference is really two-sided: helping them gain an audience and helping them earn revenue. While Twitch currently owns the viewership, Facebook and YouTube carry the audience and creator support, even more so with their new offerings. In order to compete, Twitch needs to diversify its offerings beyond gaming and e-sports which, with its Prime Day Twitch Sells Out live-stream later this week, is its first real test.
For brands whose audiences are on Twitch (think: food/bev, CPG, gaming, sports), partnering with the platform’s top streamers/creators presents an opportunity to reach an increasingly difficult demographic in an environment that values loyalty, truth, and authentic connection. Where Twitch is centered around live interaction, marketers can partner with creators to host/co-host streaming events to answer questions and speak to product promotions (think: AMAs, Q&As), making product recommendations more authentic, interactive and in real-time.
Measurement Is Influencer Marketing’s Next Frontier
Global advertisers are spending as much as a third of their digital budget on influencers but are still struggling in quantifying the value of these programs.
Despite the speed at which the influencer marketing industry is growing, most measurement capabilities and attribution models lack the sophistication necessary to truly quantify influencer impact. The majority of marketers are still focusing on impressions and engagements as the primary metrics for influencer performance, despite the fact that social engagement metrics alone have no proven correlation to business or marketing value. Nor do these metrics quantify to the tangible business value social influencers and people with influence can generate.
Depending on what your brand objectives are, sales and brand lift studies are more advanced ways to quantitatively measure the impact influencer campaigns are having on top and bottom-funnel metrics. For instance, a leading CPG brand worked with Mavrck to measure and understand how exposure to its influencer campaign impacted brand perception, awareness, favorability and purchase intent. TLDR; the brand saw double-digit lifts in favorability and intent.