Influence Weekly #232 - Meta says it will now pay creators for Reels

Influence Weekly #232
May 13th, 2022
Executive Summary
  • Meta says it will now pay creators for Reels
  • Colgate in 'Smile Out Loud' via Red Fuse
  • Weird, Unpolished Sports Content Is Thriving on TikTok
  • How MrBeast's Feastables Sold $10 M of Chocolate Bars

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Great Reads

Meta says it will now pay creators for original content in Facebook Reels
Meta recently said it would prioritize original content in its algorithms. Now, it’s going to pay for it.

To help fend off the TikTok threat, Meta announced this week it will now dole out additional bonuses to Reels creators who are publishing original content on Facebook. The company warned that this change to payouts could see some creators losing money, while others gain, when compared with their prior performance. It’s also introducing a new incentive called “Challenges” that enable Facebook Reels creators to earn up to $4,000 per month for meeting certain goals.

Not to be confused with hashtag challenges — where a company asks its creator community to post about a certain topic — Facebook’s Challenges are a way to progress through a series of bonuses to reach a maximum payout.

Each month, creators will be able to participate in a set of sequential, cumulative challenges which build upon one other. For example, the creator might first earn $20 when at least five of their Reels reach 100 plays each. After they accomplish that goal, another would be unlocked — like earning $100 when 20 Reels reach 500 plays each. This progress would continue throughout the 30-day period, then reset at the beginning of the next month to start a new set of challenges.

US podcast ad revenue to reach $2 billion in 2022 and top $4 billion by 2024
In 2021, U.S. podcast advertising revenues rose to $1.4 billion, surpassing the $1 billion mark for the first time, a revenue increase of 72% year over year, according to the study. IAB also forecasts that the market will exceed $2 billion in 2022 and will be over $4 billion by 2024.

Eric John, vice president, IAB Media Center, said, “The report indicates significant growth ahead, with advertisers buying podcast impressions at scale while tracking delivery, effectiveness, recall, and results. Buyers will expect advanced brand safety solutions, audience targeting, and measurement, and we look forward to working across the ecosystem to create standards that serve creators, listeners, publishers, and brands.”

The audio format is growing extremely fast and is driven by three key factors, the study found. This includes the ongoing increase in podcast listeners and content as well as increased use of automated ad tech and growth of ad spending in the “Other” categories that historically had lower spend volumes (sports, religion, etc.).

There has been a surge in listeners and content, and advertisers are taking notice. ListenNotes estimates there are about 2.2 million podcasts in 2022, while other sources cite more than 3 million podcasts. The number varies since many podcasts either have few episodes or may not be active. EMarketer predicts U.S. adults will increase the listening time by 15.1%.

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Campaign Insights

Taco Bell asks diners to swap out mundane meals via TikTok dance challenge
Taco Bell is introducing “Taco Swap,” a campaign that looks to encourage consumers to swap out mundane meals for free tacos, per details shared with Marketing Dive. The campaign will run in more than 25 markets around the world.

The chain will dole out free tacos as part of the effort, which includes a dance challenge on TikTok and Instagram Reels in partnership with influencers from several countries. The initiative is part of the brand’s larger “I See A Taco” platform, which was developed with agency Deutsch LA.

“Taco Swap” builds on a previous campaign titled “Tacos IRL,” which helped to drive the highest sales week in Taco Bell’s history, and represents the chain’s latest effort to be closer to youth culture.

Colgate in 'Smile Out Loud' via Red Fuse
Red Fuse, WPP’s integrated global team for Colgate-Palmolive, has launched an optic white toothpaste and a teeth whitening device called # SmileOutLoud.

SmileOutLoud challenges traditional and unrealistic beauty standards with the insight that we are at our most beautiful when we smile from the heart. The video and visual assets present a contrast to beauty and luxury advertising, where models will rarely smile.

The stars of the campaign: Thai/African Influencer Suzie Waddee and real-sized beauty queen Ann-Scott Kemmis, both shun the idea of so-called “perfect” teeth and are shown unapologetically displaying their biggest and brightest smiles.

Lyndon Morant, marketing director IMC said: “This is the first time an oral care brand has addressed the beauty issue head on with a campaign that inspires a deeper level of self-confidence. For us, oral beauty is not defined by perfection but rather the unapologetic way in which you smile with whatever type of teeth you have and with stories of people who live this belief every day.”

Smile Out Loud builds on Colgate’s diversity awareness mission across the region by building on positive reinforcement in otherwise unspoken or taboo subjects.

Kenny Choo, regional executive creative director Red Fuse, APAC said: “Our team has combined Colgate-Palmolive’s business vision and product offering to create some of the category’s most groundbreaking and innovative work, mimicking the product itself.”

Social media Influencers cash in as presidential election approaches in Kenya
In an ordinary office in the north of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, Ian James Mwai is holding on to his two mobile phones: he doesn't want to miss an opportunity to promote the party he works for on social networks.

The 23-year-old is one of a growing number of influencers who are offering their services to candidates to influence the 9 August presidential election.

"This election is going to come down to very little," Ian James Mwai told AFP. "A politician who chooses to ignore social networks would be a fool.

Half of Kenya's 50 million inhabitants are under 35, and 12 million Kenyans use social networks.

Influencers, therefore, offer politicians the opportunity to spread their ideas, respond to criticism or even start rumours about their opponents.

Creating and raising a hashtag costs 400 euros per day
Interesting People

Adnan Albakri: Reviewing Food Critically And Honestly
Adnan Albakri, founder of 514eats, shares his 10-year journey reviewing restaurants on his blog and Instagram. When Adnan started, being an “influencer” was not a career path, and social media was in its early stages. There was also a huge lack of restaurant reviews.

“I used to just find new restaurants to eat at because again, back then, there wasn’t yet all of these Yelp and Foursquare [websites], and they were maybe either starting or not yet [established]… but there were no pictures.”

The lack of review websites and pictures led Adnan to read professional food critic reviews from local newspapers. Eventually, he decided to improve upon what the critics were doing at the time. 

“Where I came from was, okay, I like what the critics are doing, but their business models are outdated. They barely have any pictures.”

When asked about his methodology for writing about restaurants, Adnan shares, “my motto is integrity, anonymity, meaning I don’t announce myself, honesty, meaning you are good or bad, and unannounced.”

He notes that his typical writing process is slower because writing isn’t his favorite part of the process. Taking photos and editing them is a faster part of the process that he enjoys. 

TikTokers are changing the narrative around modest fashion
Can a mini skirt be worn modestly? The answer is a confident yes, when layered over baggy trousers, explains 26-year-old TikToker Maha Gondal.

Modest fashion inspiration has surged on TikTok as well as Instagram, with influencers expanding the narrative around what it means to dress modestly. The hashtag #modestfashion currently has over 1.3 billion views on TikTok. Gen Z and millennial content creators are leading the way, often leaning away from more traditional wear, such as abayas and kaftans, and experimenting with fashion and layering in a way that gives a contemporary spin on modest dressing. And, there’s a growing cohort of male modest fashion influencers like UK-based creator Mohamed Sharif who incorporates traditional Islamic pieces such as the kufis (the short, rounded cap that is often used as a Muslim prayer head covering) into his everyday “Scandi-minimalist” aesthetic.

“Gen Z is very experimental and creative, and the same goes for modest fashion,” says Gondal. “Layering is huge — you can really make any piece of clothing work.” This opens the doors to brands not specifically targeting modest consumers. Gondal, whose TikToks have received over 5 million likes, has turned to names such as Ssense, Farfetch and Ganni. It’s important for brands to understand that modest dressing is not always rooted in religious choice — many people choose to dress modestly for other reasons, ranging from personal aesthetic considerations to work requirements.

Michelle Phan, Dan Howell, and why YouTubers never log off
For three years, Dan Howell didn’t post anything on YouTube, and for his 6 million subscribers, this was a very big deal. As one half of the longtime vlogger duo Dan and Phil, he was known for writing and performing sketch comedy, internet culture commentary, and occasionally more serious vlogs about mental illness. A typical Dan and Phil endeavor, be it a book or a world tour or a series, might be called something like “The Super Amazing Project” or “Interactive Introverts,” nodding to early memes associated with “smol bean” culture. Naturally, they became superstars, particularly among teenage girls.

But after posting a coming out video in 2019 called “Basically I’m Gay,” Howell went completely silent on the platform. That was until last week, when he returned with a feature film-length monologue on why he quit YouTube in the first place.

For years, digital creators have been trying to convey the ennui of this supposed dream job: they’re lonely, they’re burnt out, they’re built up then tossed aside by unfeeling algorithms and corporate bureaucracy. They feel stuck between the kinds of content that makes them money and the content they actually want to produce.

Howell enumerated these reasons and more, all of which are good reasons to quit a job you hate. Another, less discussed one, however, is something I’ve come to call “YouTube brain.” Compare it to “Twitter brain,” in which spending too much time on Twitter results in someone becoming argumentative and perpetually outraged, or “Instagram brain,” (image-obsessed and overly materialistic), or “TikTok brain,” (unquestioningly devoted to the latest slang or trend before moving on to the next one). YouTube brain, from the perspective of the YouTuber as opposed to the viewer, is what happens when you are both creatively and financially subject to the whims of other people’s attention spans for years at a time, weighed down by neverending demand for more content for dwindling returns.

How Digital Brand Architects is pushing to close the creator wage gap
DBA  runs a mentorship program for Black creators that provides training on negotiation tactics and meetings with brands and social media platforms. The DBA mentorship program debuted in 2021, and has since had graduates like Joyy Navon and Fly.nanced. According to the company, any content creator who identifies as Black or African-American, and has between 25,000 and 90,000 followers on a social platform, can apply to the mentorship program. But most prominently, DBA’s mission includes advocating on behalf of BIPOC creators by ensuring clients receive equal pay and opportunities across the board. The mission has become especially important in recent years. Last year, an MSL study showed that Black influencers typically make about 35% less than their white counterparts. 

Ernest James, senior vp of special projects at Digital Brand Architects, said online creators “have historically been white and thin, but that’s no longer the case.” As the space matured, James explained, many advertising budgets moved into the “influencer bucket.” According to a January 2022 eMarketer report, three out of four marketing dollars are spent on influencer marketing — totaling about $4.14 billion this year.

This led many brands to invest heavily in both major and micro-influencers over the past decade, which has created a gray area when it comes to creators’ contracts and rates, James said. Given the opaqueness of contracts, the creator industry has had little transparency around rates and expectations — and as a result impacted how creators of color negotiate their terms. “Racism is rooted in every industry, and so we focus on nurturing talent from all different marginalized backgrounds,” James continued. He added that inclusivity in advertising has taken center stage over the past few years.

Industry News

YouTube is testing a memberships gifting feature with select creators
YouTube is testing a new membership gifting feature with a small group of creators, the company announced this week. The company launched a beta version of Channel Memberships Gifting, starting today, which essentially allows users to gift paid memberships to each other. Channel memberships, which are YouTube’s version of Twitch’s subscription offering, allow subscribers to pay a monthly fee to access extra benefits while also supporting creators.

With Memberships Gifting, a creator’s channel members can buy a set number of channel memberships in a single purchase that YouTube will then gift out to other viewers in a creator’s livestream. Viewers who receive a gift membership will get one month of access to a creator’s channel membership. Users need to opt-in to be able to receive gifted memberships on a channel by clicking “Allow Gifts” on a gift membership announcement that appears in the live chat when someone has purchased gift memberships.

YouTube will then distribute gift memberships to viewers based on how much they interact with a creator’s channel. For example, loyal viewers who often interact with the channel are more likely to receive gift memberships. If you’re selected for a gift membership, you’ll see a personal live chat message and also receive an email. Viewers who receive gift memberships don’t pay any charges and the creator receives their usual revenue share from each transaction. It’s worth noting that existing channel members are ineligible to receive a gifted membership.

Weird, Unpolished Sports Content Is Thriving on TikTok
Inter Miami, which has the second-most TikTok followers in MLS despite having launched its account in January, developed a strategy centered on “making our fans feel like insiders,” said Bianca Rodriguez-Lamas, the club’s director of digital. That includes offering followers unique point-of-view moments, from fans’ marches to the stadium to jersey preparation and post-match celebrations. 

“Humanizing the club as much as possible” is key, Rodriguez-Lamas said. Other team and league staffers agreed. Videos that are relatable and spontaneous are two other core characteristics to successful sports TikTok content, they said. 

Gordon Weigers, senior manager of digital strategy and editorial content for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, said casual and unscripted Q&A sessions between players have resonated with followers, while the LA Galaxy’s Adam Serrano, director of digital, said that fans on TikTok want to see the personalities behind the players. Footage of players competing in rock, paper, scissors, hugging a child or signing autographs is “a perfect avenue to give people insight into who they are” through TikTok, Serrano added.

Instagram to start testing NFTs with select creators this week
Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced today that the platform is going to start testing NFTs with select creators in the United States this week. Mosseri noted that there will be no fees associated with posting or sharing a digital collectible on Instagram. At launch, the supported blockchains for showcasing NFTs on Instagram are Ethereum and Polygon, with support for Flow and Solana coming soon. The third-party wallets compatible for use at launch will include Rainbow, MetaMask, and Trust Wallet, with Coinbase, Dapper and Phantom coming soon.

Creators and people who are part of the test can now share NFTs that they’ve made or that they’ve bought. You can share these NFTs in your main Instagram Feed, Stories or in messages. Mosseri outlined that only a limited number of people have access to the Instagram test, but the company plans to roll out more functionality related to NFTs in the future once it gets feedback from its initial testing.

“I want to acknowledge upfront that NFTs and blockchain technologies are all about distributing trust and distributing power,” Mosseri said in his announcement. “But Instagram is fundamentally a centralized platform, so there’s a tension there. So one of the reasons why we’re starting small is we want to make sure that we can learn from the community. We want to make sure that we work out how to embrace those tenets of distributed trust and distributed power, despite the fact that we are, yes, a centralized platform. We do think that one of the unique opportunities we have to to make web3 technology accessible to a much broader range of people. And NFTs specifically we think will be interesting not only to creators who create NFT art, but also to people who want to collect it.

Why YouTube focuses on the creator economy to drive viewership
What is YouTube currently prioritizing when it comes to the upcoming season of the Upfronts [and] NewFronts?

Brian Albert: We're going to be talking a lot about our creator economy because it's our creators who've really been fueling our growth over the past several years. No one's really making a distinction between ""Am I watching broadcast cable, online video, or streaming video?"" To viewers out there, it's one and the same because we're so programmed right now in this on-demand world, where you and I can watch whatever we want, whenever we want, across whichever device.

And that's important because we're all essentially voting based on what we choose to watch. Over the years, we've done a bunch of research to understand what drives viewership on YouTube. And what we consistently find is that people care more about the content that relates to their passions and interests [more] than anything else.

Over the last few years, we've paid out over $30 billion to over 2 million creators who are uploading more than 500 hours of content to YouTube every single minute, which is a lot of money. It's over $10 billion a year.
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Great Paywalled Content

YouTube Runs an Exclusive, Invite-Only Shorts Creator Community - Business Insider
YouTube has also begun to quietly nurture the creator ecosystem through a program called the Shorts Creator Community.

Per information available online and conversations Insider had with participants, members within the Creator Community are given "firsthand support" from a partner manager, invited to take part in monthly networking calls with other creators, and receive advice around posting strategies on YouTube's short-form video tool. 

The program appears similar to other initiatives launched by platforms like TikTok and Instagram, which has shared specific guidance with select creators about how to succeed on Reels.

An application form shared on Twitter by the YouTube Creators account states that "perks include access to swag, exclusive workshops, dedicated support from community partner managers, and the ability to be part of a creative community."

A YouTube spokesperson told Insider that the Community was formally established in August, and is currently invite-only. It comprises thousands of creators to date, with more being onboarded every month. In terms of eligibility criteria, the company declined to disclose specifics, but said the program  is focused on active creators using and innovating with Shorts.

How MrBeast's Feastables Sold $10 M of Chocolate Bars Since January - Business Insider
There's no denying the sweet success of MrBeast's chocolate bar company Feastables. The internet star sold more than 1 million bars of chocolate in the first 72 hours after the candy's January launch, and the brand says it has already made over $10 million in sales.

Of course it helps that one of the company's cofounders, Jimmy Donaldson aka MrBeast, has over 94 million YouTube fans. 

While Donaldson, who is based in Greenville, North Carolina, had the original idea for the plant-based, gluten-free chocolate bars, he knew he needed to bring on an expert in the food world. In 2021, his team reached out to Jim Murray, the former president of the protein bar company RXBar, who would become Feastables' CEO and cofounder.

"I was familiar with Jimmy through watching the launch of Beast Burger," Murray told Insider, referring to Donaldson's ghost kitchen chain. "I had caught the news of that, and I really started to understand what was going on in the creator economy."

Before long, Murray and Donaldson began building Feastables' product and team. 

The company raised $5 million at a $50 million valuation from investors including 776, Shrug Capital and Sugar Capital, and built out a team of 13 employees based in Chicago and San Diego, including a vice president of strategic initiatives, senior analyst, and director of web development, according to the company.
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