TAKUMI TRENDS LETTER #30 📈
Insights from the creator-sphere 🌎
Welcome to the TAKUMI insights subscription 📊.
• Influencer Marketing • Social Updates • Creator Culture • Industry Insights •
TAKUMI’s insights team is curating the most impactful industry news and weekly developments for brands, right here 👇.
Facebook launches Reels globally, betting on 'fastest growing' format | 22nd Feb 2022
“The focus on Reels comes as younger users have flocked in large numbers to rival platforms like TikTok. Internal research from Meta, leaked by former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen, showed young users have been on the decline since 2012 and “only users 25 and above are increasing their use of Facebook”.
TAKEAWAY 🔥: For many of us, Reels are nothing new; for others, the announcement of a global roll-out means they will finally be acquainted with the TikTok copycat video feature 📹. Reels are just one of many elements that make up the Meta ecosystem, but with the undeniable popularity of short-form video, it was about time they reached the 150 countries in which TikTok is already available and thriving. Reels will also be granted a greater presence on Facebook: much like on Instagram, a Reels label on users' feeds will boost video discovery and users will be able to share videos in Stories too. A 'remix' option will be Meta's answer to the beloved 'duet' and 'stitch' tools on TikTok, while the option to turn live or longer videos into Reels will leverage Facebook's strengths in the long-form video space.
Ultimately, if Meta intends to drive more users and creator talent to Reels it has to compete with the various monetisation opportunities available to creators on TikTok, so it's no surprise that new incentives are also set roll-out 💸. The Reels Bonus programme will expand into more countries, and it's been announced that new ad banners and stickers will give 55% of generated revenue to creators. For Meta to succeed in drawing younger generations to Facebook, it will have to draw the creators first.
YouTube is adding new ways for creators to make money with Shorts and shopping | 10th Feb 2022
“YouTube is expanding the ways creators can monetize their content, interact with viewers, and generate new ideas for their channels. The new features are being teased today in a lengthy blog post by YouTube’s chief product officer, Neal Mohan, and will roll out throughout the year.”
TAKEAWAY 🔥: YouTube is the second most popular social media platform behind Facebook and it's ability to withstand an increasingly crowded, fast-evolving landscape is down to the tools and features that play to YouTube's strengths, enabling it to move with the times. The platform recently announced a slew of new features to be rolled out this year, heavily geared towards creators 💫. Firstly, users will have the ability to respond to comments with a Short, which isn't a surprising addition given the success of TikTok's own reply tool which has since been adopted by Instagram for Reels. 🛍 What's more, new ways for creators to monetise their Shorts will ensure that the best creator talent remain active on the platform, while shoppable Shorts will add new advertising opportunities for marketers.
With over 15 billion daily views of YouTube Shorts, brands should be considering how they can incorporate this channel into their marketing strategies. Another feature will allow creators to collaborate on live videos; a hugely exciting prospect for brands considering ambassadorships or longer-term partnerships. Brands could sponsor these videos, or pursue joint partnerships with two creators who together can promote a product either through subtle product placement, or a more overt approach like recommendations and product Q&As; the latter would be an effective way of reaching large, engaged audiences who are already keen to interact with the creators they follow. Lastly, updates to YouTube Studio will give creators new insights and a better grasp over their interactions and viewer behaviour, equipping them with innovative content ideas that they can translate into Shorts or Lives 📈.
YouTube's proposed new features do well to compliment one another, improving incentives for creators, opportunities for brands, and an overall better experience for users as a result.
Hustle and hype: the truth about the influencer economy | 24th Feb 2022
“The ethics and politics of beauty trends are rarely discussed in a world where influencers happily sell their following to the highest bidder.”
TAKEAWAY 🔥: This piece by Symeon Brown maps the rise of LA based fashion brand Fashion Nova and the role influencers have played in making it the "juggernaut success it is". In the extract, taken from Brown's book about the influencer economy, Fashion Nova is just one - maybe the best - example of a broader issue; a microcosm of fast-fashion brands and the tactics with which they engage and leverage aspiring influencers. Fashion Nova attracts its brand ambassadors with the allure of the 'NovaBabe' ideal; those who fit the Kardashian-Jenner aesthetic of curves, racial ambiguity (or full-on 'blackfishing') and A-list inspired fashion rooted in hip-hop culture. Those who fit the beauty standard perpetuated by Fashion Nova, and are persuaded to join the illustrious group of VIPs. In other words, the brand's tactic is "turning a generation of young women into mass marketers without a care for what it is they are selling".
But is this really the 'truth' of the influencer economy? It's definitely an element, but it isn't the entire picture 🔎. The labour exploitation associated with fast-fashion brands, not to mention the environmental implications, have been exposed; so too have the guilty parties involved in perpetuating these practices. Social media has made it impossible for these issues to remain unnoticed, and cancel culture has helped to police anyone taking part.
Digitally-native Gen Z are the rebels with a cause- many causes - and increasing purchase power. Their mantra is 'cruelty-free', which applies to both the environment and the treatment of workers, 🌱 which has given rise to the socially-conscious consumer whose purchase behaviour is increasingly value-driven. They demand transparency and trust not just from brands, but from the people who promote them; the influencers. This demand has given rise to the 'genuinfluencer', an individual with a large social media presence and following, with both a niche and a social conscience. They are best defined by their brand partnership philosophy, to only work with brands who align with their values and concerns, as well as their commitment to being responsible digital citizens 🙌. They are trusted sources of information, spokespeople on societal and ethical issues, and play an important role in users’ mental health.
We in the biz prefer to call them content creators; and at TAKUMI they are known as creators with influence 🔥. Our Whitepaper found that over a third of consumers (36%) believe social media creators have a greater influence on them if they show a social conscience or strong ethical stance – rising to 47% among 16-24-year-olds and 52% among 25-34-year-olds. Influencers are reality stars, celebrities, and in many cases, NovaBabes; but it's creators with influence who are driving the influencer economy forward, professionalising the industry as both brand ambassadors and consumer advocates. They are the truest reflection of influencer marketing today 🪞.
Twitter Launches New Bot Labels to Identify Bot Accounts In-Stream | 16th Feb 2022
“Twitter’s using the voluntary labels as a means to help highlight ‘Good Bots’, as opposed to bot accounts that are used for negative purpose.”
TAKEAWAY 🔥: Bots can be a thorn in the side of influencer marketing, misleading marketers with skewed engagement rates and false follower counts 🤖. More advanced technology and thorough vetting processes are necessary to combat the rise of content creators with large followings of bot accounts, to distinguish inflated vanity metrics from the genuine, more valuable ones. It's easy to forget that, in a different context, bots aren't all bad news. Instagram bot tools, for example, usually involve integrating AI with your own, genuine account, to help you align new audiences with your content, and grow your interactions. While some can perform micro-interactions on your behalf, they don't post, follow/unfollow or comment: the behaviours typical of spam accounts 👾. Although this might be effective for accounts wanting to grow their presence, how helpful is it for those on the other end of the interactions? How might it skew their performance? 📊.
While bot accounts aren't inherently harmful, there are those that exist for negative purposes and have a hand in the spread of misinformation. The 'good bots' of Twitter share everything from live traffic and weather updates, to breaking news stories, so giving these sorts of accounts the option to self-disclose via a tag is a step towards weeding out the good from the bad, providing users with an added layer of transparency around the content they are consuming 🙏. This is even more necessary of late, given the huge tensions and concerns mounting throughout the world and the misinformation disseminated by Putin. How this could translate to other platforms is a complex matter, but for Twitter it should help to set an overarching precedent, that disingenuous or misleading content is out ❌.
We’ll be back soon with more insights and updates.
Like what you see? If you want to find out more about TAKUMI and how we can help bring your campaigns to life, get in touch!