The much-anticipated internet trends report by Mary Meeker made its annual splash last month, unveiling both predictable and unpredictable insights about the current digital climate. While print consumption continues to decline at a rapid pace, digital consumption has not stopped its relentless growth. Meeker's report found that U.S. adults spent over five hours more a day consuming digital media in 2017 than they did in the previous year. More than half of those hours were spent on mobile. And as adults spend more time online, teens are not-so-shockingly way ahead. New data from Pew Research Center shows that 95% of teens have access to smartphones, and 45% of that group says they're "constantly" online.
As the makeup of digital consumption changes, so does the formula for effective marketing that caters to it. Influencer marketing is quickly becoming a leading strategy for gaining the attention of the social ecosystem's massive audiences. Content from creators provides an 11 times higher ROI than traditional methods. It's a technique that goes beyond age demographics as well. 95% of people say they trust product recommendations from someone they know. And that's the beauty of the creator — it builds a personal relationship between users and consumers that's never happened before.
Platforms like Instagram and Snapchat lend themselves to mobile experiences that are easy to digest for creators and followers alike. But Instagram's partner-in-crime and parent company, Facebook, has a bit of catching up to do, particularly amongst the teen demographic. The same Pew Research Center data found that Facebook ranks fourth in popularity amongst teens, falling behind YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Data from Pew Research Center.
In order to close the gap and stay ahead of the curve, Facebook needs to refine the way they approach influencer marketing. Recent changes within the platform indicate the social giant is already dipping their toes in the creator pool.
Facebook Makes Instagram-like Changes
Facebook has implemented some recent changes to make the platform more friendly for creators, taking many cues from Instagram.
The changes began with the launch of Facebook's Creator app in November 2017. The app is designed to provide more tools for Pages and profiles with large followings. The toolset includes Live Creative Kit, which allows users to add both emoji stickers and intros and outros to their live videos, and features in-depth analytics. Access to Facebook Stories is also available from Creator, including the ability to cross-promote Stories to different platforms.
Shortly after Creator launched, Facebook began rolling out many other Instagram-like tweaks. First, the platform opened up crossposting between the two platforms, allowing you to share your Instagram Stories to your Facebook Stories. When that grew traction, Facebook offered polls in Stories. And once the feature reached 150 million users, it began testing ads within Stories, too. It was a smart move since Instagram Stories have been successful amongst both publishers and creators, serving as a key component to impactful conversion rates.
While Facebook's Creator app has been slowly making its debut since Fall 2017, details about Facebook's greater plan for the app — and the platform's overall efforts around creators — became clear when screenshots of an influencer marketing search engine were leaked in May 2018. Facebook confirmed plans for the influencer tool to TechCrunch shortly after the leak.
A leaked screenshot from Facebook's influencer marketing search engine via TechCrunch.
The search engine is designed to help businesses locate potential creators for partnerships. The tool will start with a group of "lifestyle brands and creators" who can create profiles on the search engine, with details including their own audience size, targeted interests, and examples of branded content. Businesses will be able to search for those creators and see how they match with their own brand through a percentage-based ranking.
Facebook's latest steps toward revenue revitalization will hopefully clean up the current News Feed's oversaturation of traditional ads on the platform. Instead of a quantity-over-quality approach, Facebook has the potential to maximize both user experience and revenue if it can nail down its influencer marketing strategy correctly.
Build a Community of Creators
After Facebook's tumultuous 2016 and 2017, it makes sense for the platform to reprioritize its roadmap. Aside from improvements to user and brand safety, it's wise to shift users' focus to cutting-edge ways to create social revenue. This currently means adapting the best strategies from outlets like Instagram, which currently has a friendlier relationship with its users — including less fatigue around advertising, particularly through creators.
In the current social climate, creators and influencers are experts in certain topics and/or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred creators into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.
RebelMouse has built an entire platform for communities to form, grow, and flourish. Within the platform, communities can be created, governed, and led by publishers. It's a formula designed around personalized and sustainable engagement. We've also ensured that it's easy to use and poses no risks for publishers. Learn more about our Creators Network here.
Let's Create Together
At RebelMouse, we offer a lean tech CMS built for this next wave of publishing and social revenue. We already have tools within our platform that encourage a universe of creators to help validate the message of your brand, and in turn, deliver more ROI. We're also a group of traffic junkies that operate as a creative agency. So even if you can't replatform your site right now, we can help you optimize your content. We'll make sure you aren't just leveraging potential creators, but that you're also making the most out of your site, search, and social.