Influence Weekly #230- Influencer-led podcasts are proving popular for advertisers

Influence Weekly #230
April 29th, 2022
Executive Summary
  • Influencer-led podcasts are proving popular for advertisers
  • Southwest Gas launches pro-fossil gas social media campaign
  • Loren Gray x Revlon
  • Mavrck raises $135M, buys Linkin.bio maker Later
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Great Reads

Justin Moore: How To Land And Negotiate Your Dream Brand Campaign
I started Creator Wizard about two years ago to help advise creators how to be more business savvy because it’s badly needed…. And it’s really actually the most, the thing I’m most excited about these days.”

Justin’s experience making money as a full-time content creator alongside his wife gives him excellent credibility in creator economics, making Creator Wizard a natural project for him. 

He initially got the idea for Creator Wizard after seeing creators with between 10,000 and 150,000 followers who weren’t big enough to have a manager but were making decent money. However, these creators had no one to guide them on how to negotiate sponsorships, diversify their income, and much more. 

“And so like, that’s really what I wanted to the people who I want to serve with this content and this education and my courses and all that stuff because I feel like they just, there’s no one serving them right now.”

Mid-Tier Creators
Justin shares that many creators who have between 10,000 and 150,000 followers are in an advantageous position because many brands can’t afford to pay $40,000 to $100,000 for a single post by a big influencer. 

“I think that one of the reasons why it’s actually much more advantageous to be a creator in that kind of mid-tier range is because your opportunities will just be a lot more and more brands and agencies will get excited about working with those types of creators, and the prices aren’t exorbitant.”

2K is trying to develop the next generation of streamers
Rodrigo stands out from other TikTok-famous musicians, however, in that her songs were popular outside of TikTok as well. Sour, the album from which her TikTok hits came, landed an Album of the Year nomination after a massive opening on the Billboard charts. Starring on a Disney show certainly helped give her music extra visibility, but TikTok helped pave the way for her music to make a cultural shockwave too. Rodrigo broke the record for most Spotify plays in a week with “Drivers License”—only to break that record with “Good 4 U.” That kind of virality can’t be attributed to one factor, but it’s clear that it wouldn’t have happened without TikTok.

But for many of the Best New Artist nominees, TikTok wasn’t just a reinforcement but also a launching pad. Giveon’s “Heartbreak Anniversary,” a nominee in the Best R&B Song category, featured in an internationally popular dance trend on the app, with people performing a dance routine loosely based on the song’s lyrics in front of a partner or others, with some of those dance videos ending up with millions of views. “Heartbreak Anniversary” is a slow R&B ballad, but thanks to Filipino creator Marc Daniel Bernardo, who came up with the dance and performed it with his dance partner Katkat Manimtim in February 2021 (a year after the song’s release), the song became one of the app’s more enduring tracks last year. (Sadly, as the TikTok Creator Fund is not open to creators in the Philippines, the creators do not make income off of their TikTok content.) The song went viral in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia before reaching the top 20 on the Billboard 100 and eventually going platinum.
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Campaign Insights

Shiseido takes a 'Netflix-like' approach to its unpaid YouTube strategy
Kumai is not a typical influencer choice for beauty brands. Her professional background is in the culinary arts and broadcast journalism, and she currently has less than 3,000 YouTube subscribers (though she does have 184,000 Instagram subscribers). Dawes said that Shiseido was interested in working with Kumai precisely because of her atypical influencer background, as well as due to her Japanese heritage. What’s more, she drove “success” for the brand when she mentioned it while discussing beauty products on the “Today Show.”

The series with Kumai is broken down into sections, with the first two episodes focused on the Japanese approach to layering. There are also videos about sun protection, skin-care ingredients, sustainability and Shiseido’s refillable products, among other topics. There are also appearances by Kumai’s mother and sister in videos discussing her Japanese heritage.

“I never had a desire to walk on set with a ‘pre-written’ concept or show,” said Kumai. “This realist approach to my directing and storytelling has enabled [Shiseido and me] to create the J-Beauty series… Shiseido was open-minded and fresh in their approach.”

The Shiseido team has several goals in mind for its YouTube series. First and foremost, Shiseido is trying to reach a broader and younger audience, including men. The brand also wants to attract more subscribers and get them to watch several videos on its channel. And it wants to drive year-over-year increases across organic video views and engagement via likes, shares and comments.


Influencer-led podcasts are proving popular for advertisers
There’s no question that influencers are in high demand among marketers. But it’s not just Instagram posts and TikToks they’re after. Some are finding a backdoor to reaching their coveted followers: influencer-led podcasts.

Influencers have flocked to podcasts en masse in recent years, with some success. Logan Paul’s show is in the top 50 pods globally across platforms, according to Chartable. In 2018, podcast company Cadence13 teamed up with United Talent Agency to create Ramble, a podcast network dedicated exclusively to social media stars like Emma Chamberlain and the D’Amelio sisters. And The Bachelor franchise’s many contestants-turned-influencers practically have a podcast category of their own, given the number of pods they host.

Just like they post ads on social, these influencers also endorse brands on their podcasts, often evangelizing for 60 seconds or longer about the companies they choose to work with.

“These are real celebrities, and to be able to do these types of brand deals with them is unprecedented,” Lizzy Denihan, head of partnership strategy and operations at Audacy’s Cadence13, told Marketing Brew. “When you’re getting your thoughts, your creative, your messaging read in their voice, there’s a huge value in that.”


How Ellesse Took To TikTok To Grow Brand Beyond 90s Nostalgists
Having been engaged for the campaign, MediaCom set about appraising the online retail space to see where Ellesse could add value to the e-commerce experience. Research into both Generation Z and millennials demonstrated a disconnect between the time they spent online and the actual motivations they have for making a purchase: fully three-quarters of the target audience are more motivated by in-store experiences than the products themselves.

As a result, MediaCom attempted to put the experience back into shopping by launching a live shoppable TikTok concert featuring the musician Zara Larsson. The e-commerce functions of TikTok meant that while audiences were watching the concert, they could purchase any of the Ellesse looks being showcased by Larsson and her back-up dancers.

The concert was promoted in advance using the hashtag #BeBold, by which users could submit videos of themselves dancing for potential inclusion in the concert video. MediaCom also enlisted nine TikTok celebrities – all garbed in Ellesse clothing – to promote the live event.

The results
In the run-up to the gig the campaign received over 700,000 dance video submissions, while the actual live experience generated 4.2bn hashtag views and 92m engagements, which the team noted far exceeded all its success metrics.


Southwest Gas launches pro-fossil gas social media campaign
Facing pressure from policies to electrify buildings away from gas use, Southwest Gas appears to have launched a pro-fossil gas marketing campaign with paid social media influencers. The TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook posts identified by the Energy and Policy Institute fail to clearly disclose the utility’s involvement in the sponsored posts.

The marketing agency Ignite Media and its subsidiary Carusele are listed as the ‘promoters’ of the social media posts, which tout the benefits of fossil gas. The PR firm disclosed itself as the advertiser instead of its client for the sponsored posts – a practice at odds with guidance provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Most of the posts include link-shortened URLs that lead to the Southwest Gas website, but any viewers who do not click those would not see clues of the utility’s involvement.

In a one-minute TikTok post by lasvegasgal, Laci Cerrone, the account’s owner, reads out gas industry talking points while cooking eggs on a gas stovetop. Cerrone then proceeds to gush about her gas clothes dryer and a gas fireplace. That TikTok post does not include any link to Southwest Gas’s web site or otherwise name who paid for the ad. A similar Instagram post by Cerrone disclosed Carusele, an influencer marketing company owned by Ignite Media. Cerrone’s Instagram profile includes a link to the Southwest Gas website.


 
Interesting People

I’m a gardening YouTuber with 235,000 subscribers
Kalem Berntsen, aka The Kiwi Grower, makes very popular YouTube videos about plants. For IRL, he tells Shanti Mathias how he grew an influencer career and why plant content is so hot right now.

I’ve always been interested in plants. I grew up in the Coromandel near the beach and forest which developed my passion for nature. I first got interested in succulents and cacti, realising how easy they were to propagate, taking a little leaf and growing a whole plant. And then my family built a wildlife pond, and I became interested in aquatic plants. As a teenager, I got into fruit trees and growing food, especially unusual and rare fruits. 

I started making videos when I was 19. I was experimenting with growing things from seed, and I decided to try growing a coconut from a store-bought fruit. Surprisingly it worked, it sprouted, and I hadn’t seen any information about people documenting coconut growing online. The video unexpectedly became quite popular and helped me connect with other gardeners around the world. I decided to keep uploading other things I was growing. It didn’t feel that intentional, or like I had an end goal, it was just something fun to share what I was passionate about. I’ve always been a creative person. 


Loren Gray on her new Revlon collab and the Y2K trends she loves
Loren Gray has 54.4 million TikTok followers and 22.6 million Instagram followers. She just turned 20, and on Monday, she debuted a limited-edition collaboration with Revlon. It includes an eyeshadow palette of her own design, dubbed the Revlon x Loren Gray Fierce Angel Makeup Collection Eyeshadow Palette, as well as three Revlon essentials she selected. Gray has been working with the brand since 2020, but this is the first time she’s designed a product of her own. We chatted with the mega-influencer about the new collection, the process of creating (and naming) her own shades and her love for low-rise jeans.

Tell us a bit about your road to working with Revlon?

I started posting videos on Musical.ly when I was 13. I was really big into makeup from the very beginning. I started doing makeup when I was 12. And by the time I was 13, I was doing full winged liner, falsies, the whole nine. When I got the opportunity to work with brands, Revlon was a collaboration made in heaven because I’m such a makeup lover, I’m such a big fan of Revlon, and they’re so incredible to work with.

Is this the first product you’ve created?
This is the first makeup product I’ve ever collaborated on and the first time I’ve had my name attached to makeup at all. It was a super collaborative process. Revlon walked me through the process, and I gave major input every step of the way, from picking the shades to naming the shades themselves. It was really, really fun.

The shade names are really personal to me and my life and include some inside jokes with the fans. For example, I made sure I had shades named after my pets and also my mom’s nickname, “Karaoke Queen.” I also have one called “Big Shrimp.” Don’t ask me where that came from, but it’s a subtle thing the fans will pick up on.


Social Media's Next Wave: Meet Creators, Activists Changing Culture
What makes a creator successful? Maybe it’s their comic timing, the ability to side-eye the camera in selfie mode to match up with the perfect audio cue. Maybe it’s the speed at which they hop on the latest trend, taking it from underground moment to viral movement, or the way that they open up to their followers, sharing their lives. Whatever it is, these creators have got it. 

Meet the Class of 2022, picked by Rolling Stone for their proficiency with the form. Whether they’re spreading their passion, documenting their life, educating their followers, or lip-syncing to a hot new sound, these creators stand out for their ability to connect with an audience and push our whole culture forward.


Cass DiMicco is using Instagram to power her line of jewelry
Cass DiMicco is a fashion blogger turned influencer with her own jewelry company and more than 300,000 Instagram followers. 

After attending Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, DiMicco, 31, worked as an assistant buyer for Lord & Taylor. But she had aspirations to work at a “trendy, fashion-forward” company like Intermix, which is what inspired her to start her blog. In 2017, she quit her job to pursue being an influencer full-time and in 2019 she launched Aureum Collective, her jewelry brand which she runs with her husband in Miami.

“I basically was pretty strategic about knowing that if I built up a following for my personal brand, then I could eventually down the line launch my own brand as well,” DiMicco said.

DiMicco’s target audience are 28-34 year olds in major cities who like to see a combination of designer brands and more affordable looks. DiMicco splits her efforts evenly between running her social media presence and her work with Aureum. 

“I don’t ever want to be going full in on Aureum because my personal brand really helps to connect with my audience and helps sell Aureum on a more personal level,” she said. “And so that’s why I’m constantly balancing between the two.


 
Industry News

Jellysmack Buys YouTube Analytics Firm AMA Digital
Creator economy startup Jellysmack has acquired AMA Digital, a Chicago-based YouTube analytics company, for an undisclosed amount.

Jellysmack said Tuesday that it will use AMA’s data analytics to boost its creator program, which helps roughly 500 content creators grow their audiences and revenues. The company, which has more than 120 employees in Los Angeles and partners with over 80 L.A.-based creators, uses A.I. technology, proprietary data and video editing tools to optimize and launch videos on YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat and other platforms.

“We believe Jellysmack offers the best tech stack available in the creator economy, and the acquisition of AMA will further strengthen our core product to better serve our creator partners,” Michael Philippe, Jellysmack’s co-founder and co-CEO, said in a statement.

Founded in 2019 by Mateo Price, Chicago-based AMA claims to use proprietary data and technology to help YouTubers increase their revenue and viewership. The company says it has generated millions of dollars in incremental revenue for its creators—including popular YouTubers Jesser, Ali Abdaal and Dylan Lemay, among others—who collectively have 60 million subscribers. As part of the deal, Price will join Jellysmack as director of YouTube development.


YouTube expands its Super Thanks monetization tool to all eligible creators
YouTube is expanding its Super Thanks feature to all eligible creators in the YouTube Partner Program, the company announced on Tuesday. The feature lets viewers tip creators for individual uploaded videos. The company says millions of creators in 68 countries will now have access to monetization feature. Prior to this expansion, the feature was available to a randomized number of creators. Eligible creators can now enable Super Thanks via YouTube Studio.

The feature allow viewers who want to show extra appreciation for a video pay creators with one of four pre-set amounts, ranging between $2 and $50. Viewers can now also customize their Super Thanks comment. Previously, if you sent a Super Thanks, the message given to the creator was defaulted to “Thanks!” YouTube says the option to customize your message will drive more meaningful interactions between creators and their fans.

Once you send a Super Thanks, you’ll see an animated GIF right on the channel’s video and can send a comment highlighting your purchase, which creators have the option to heart and like.

“Everyday, YouTube creators help me learn or achieve something new — from baking sourdough during the pandemic to fixing my bike just last week,” Samantha Stevens, the product manager of Paid Digital Goods at Youtube, said in a statement. “Imagine if you could say a special thank you to your favorite creators or show appreciation for specific videos that have taught you something new or helped you. With Super Thanks, now you can.


Mavrck raises $135M, buys Linkin.bio maker Later in creator and influencer marketing consolidation
Mavrck, which operates a platform for brands and media companies to source and engage with influencers for marketing campaigns, has raised another $135 million, and with some of that it’s scooping up Later, a startup that first made its name with a social media scheduling tool for Instagram (its original name was Latergramme), but has since diversified into other social platforms like Pinterest, TikTok and LinkedIn, a Linkin.bio service, and analytics for the creator to track engagement and other metrics.

The Linkin.bio service alone is an interesting asset to pick up: Linktree, a big competitor in that space, just last month raised $110 million at a $1.3 billion valuation. (The financial terms of the Later acquisition are not being disclosed.)

Canadian startup Later hadn’t raised much money (less than $2 million, per Crunchbase) but it was already an influence in the influencer world: it’s been around since 2014, and the Linkin.bio service (launched in 2016) has seen 2 billion+ pageviews, with nearly 7 million creators and small business using Later’s wider product suite for social content scheduling and analytics. Mavrck for its part says that it works with some 5,000 marketers across 500 consumer brands to connect with some 3 million creators, paying out over $200 million to date.

Mavrck and Later will operate independently for now but there will also be more integration: for a start, the Linkin.bio click/engagement analytics will now appear in the Mavrck dashboard.


Creative Juice launches a $50M fund to invest in creators
A banking app built for online creators, Creative Juice announced its $50 million fund to underwrite creator businesses. YouTubers and other social media stars can apply for upfront cash to grow their businesses in exchange for a cut of their revenue over a certain period of time, usually between six months and three years.

It sounds like a loan, but it’s not a loan (at least in the sense that Creative Juice isn’t a bank, so they’re not allowed to say they give loans). They refer to distributing “Juice Funds,” their investments in creators, as underwriting creator businesses or as revenue-based financing. But Juice Funds don’t accrue interest like a loan. And if the creator fulfills the terms of their contract, yet doesn’t make enough money to pay back their Juice Funds before their term is up, then it’s Creative Juice that eats the deficit, not the creator.

So far, according to CEO Sima Gandhi, there haven’t been any issues with creators not being able to pay Creative Juice back. This is in part because Creative Juice is so selective about whom it funds.

“Creators are the next generation of [small and medium-sized businesses] in America,” said Gandhi, who was formerly the head of business development and strategy at Plaid, a fintech unicorn. “If you’re a content creator, you can now set up an Instagram shop, you can sell merchandise, you can sell tickets to things, you can sell food. You can do anything a typical business would do, yet they’re not treated like a business."
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How Much Does a Twitch Streamer Make? Amazon Weighs Changes - Bloomberg
Twitch, the Amazon.com Inc.-owned live-streaming website, is weighing changes to how it pays top talent, said people familiar with the planning, an effort that would boost its profits but would also risk alienating some of its biggest stars.

The updates under consideration would offer incentives for streamers to run more ads. The proposal would also reduce the proportion of subscription fees doled out to the site’s biggest performers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Some changes to Twitch’s monetization structure could be implemented as soon as this summer, the people said. Twitch staff is considering paring back the revenue cut of channel subscriptions granted to the top echelon of streamers in its so-called partnerships program to 50%, from 70%. Another option is to create multiple tiers and set criteria for how to qualify for each one, two of the people said. In exchange, Twitch may offer to release partners from exclusivity restrictions, allowing them to stream on Google’s YouTube or Facebook.

Updates to the partnerships program aren’t finalized and could be abandoned, the people said. A representative for Twitch declined to comment.
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