Although Instagram and YouTube remain pack leaders when it comes to influencer marketing (and 2018 sees them solidifying their top positions), offering both creators and brands incentives to participate, Snapchat and, in particular, Facebook are nipping at their heels.
Last year, Facebook spent more than $50 million on Live Video, paying out hefty sums to publishers and celebrities to use the new feature. This year, reports are coming in that Facebook is getting ready to spend more than $3 million per episode of new, TV-like programming.
I’m very positive about these signals and what they mean for the social media giant in terms of content focus. However, what has me slightly worried is Facebook’s new influencer marketing ad product. As of recently, Facebook is allowing brands to directly boost creator posts and that’s something that might change how influencer marketing campaigns are done on the platform.
What Do Direct Boosts Mean for Creators, Brands, and Facebook?
Let me start off on a positive note: previous post-boosting arrangement was a bit clunky – brands had to share a post before they could boost it. This feature eliminates that extra step (with creator’s permission) and gives brand marketers more insight into how a post is performing.
On the other hand, it also jeopardizes the very thing that has made influencer marketing so special: quality organic reach. Moving forward, my main concern is that Facebook algorithm might push down stories that are not funded, forcing brands (and maybe even creators) to spend money to get views and other benefits associated with boosted posts. This ‘pay to play’ approach means that creators and brands won’t have an incentive to create new and original content for the platform and then everyone loses, including Facebook.
Of course, paid advertising can benefit all parties by bringing in more eyeballs, so long as it’s not done at the detriment of quality influencer campaigns (and organic and natural reach). This new feature can potentially pit these two types of campaigns against each other, creating an ‘either or’ situation where one shouldn’t exist. Hopefully, Facebook will find the right balance that will allow more creators to focus their time and energy into creating content specifically for the platform. That would ensure that they have access to a steady stream of fresh, creative, and free content that will keep their users engaged and, by extension, their advertisers happy.
Snapchat Finally Starts Wooing Creators – Will New Features Be Enough?
On the other hand, the other contender for the influencer marketing throne, Snapchat, had a fastest growing community last year but that growth is slowing to a crawl. That’s partly because of Instagram Stories feature – Facebook did a great job copying Snapchat’s own idea and leveraging it against them.
But, there’s more to the story than just competition.
Instead of maintaining a creator-friendly environment and allowing creators to naturally fuel the growth of the platform, Snapchat started alienating people who invested years into building their Snap communities. It’s gotten so bad that Snapchat is the #1 platform creators would cut loose if they had to choose.
The recent introduction of two new features marks the company’s latest attempt to turn the tide. Paperclip feature allows creators to link to outside websites, while Official Stories (now extended to popular creators and not just limited to public figures) packs even more benefits, most notably an increase in discoverability.
Will they be enough to prevent creators from ‘ghosting’?
It’s hard to say for certain.
I believe these new features will provide a strong incentive for some creators to stick around. However, those who already jumped ship might be gone for good. Ultimately, until Snapchat does something to facilitate monetization, investing time into platforms that are more lucrative (such as YouTube and Instagram) simply makes more sense to most creators.
Are New Features Good? It Depends on Who’s Rolling Them Out
I believe that new social media platform features need to be beneficial to creators, brands, and the platforms that roll them out – and that presents a bit of a challenge. Catering to the needs of one group at the expense of others creates an unbalance that can be harmful in the long run. YouTube Community, Amazon’s and Twitch’s expanded revenue sharing deals, and Snapchat’s Paperclip and Featured Stories are all great examples of features that bring value to all parties involved.
On the other hand, Facebook’s latest addition might not be the best one that came out of their shop. Although it simplifies the way brand marketers interact with creators’ posts, it also casts a shadow on the future of creators on that platform. There are other ways to integrate paid advertising into this system without jeopardizing valuable partnerships, organic and natural reach, and great content already introduced by influencer marketing.
SYLO will be keeping a close eye on new developments with Facebook promoted ads, as well as Snapchat’s new features. If you want to get the same insights for your campaigns, check us out at www.meetsylo.com.
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