Coinbase Launches An NFT Marketplace Reminiscent of Instagram

Edition #19

Good morning! On Tuesday, I participated in my first ever Twitter Spaces. Moderated by Lia Haberman and hosted by Social Media Club LA, I discussed my role in influencer marketing, described how to break into the industry, and predicted where I see the space heading. I was joined by other influencer marketers, some of whom are subscribers to this newsletter. If you’re looking for something to listen to today, you can hear the recording here.

I also spoke with Emmy Liederman of Adweek about the rise of influencer-led brands and why more creators are selling their own products and services to drive revenue and extend their influence beyond social media. You can read the article here.

Today’s Edition:

  • Coinbase launches its long-awaited social NFT marketplace

  • Instagram tweaks its algorithm to prioritize original content

  • Spotify expands Video Podcasts to more creators

Coinbase Launches Coinbase NFT

Coinbase launched its long-awaited social marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Coinbase NFT, in beta.

Users can create a profile and buy and sell NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain through the marketplace without any Coinbase transaction fees for a limited time. Also, users can follow other profiles and interact with other users through comments and votes. There is also a Discover feed where users get personalized NFT recommendations based on what they buy, who they follow, and other factors.

Over the next few months, the company plans to launch additional features such as drops, minting, token-gated communities, and the ability to buy NFTs with a Coinbase account or a credit card.

Coinbase NFT is gradually being rolled out with people at the top of the three-million waiting list receiving access before the platform is opened to all U.S. residents 18 and older within the next few weeks.

Coinbase’s approach to its marketplace is unique, compared to the current NFT marketplace landscape. It's more like social media platforms than NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and Rarible, which primarily support NFT buying and selling. In addition to supporting this, Coinbase layers in many other experiences that are quite similar to what exists across social platforms like Instagram. These include customized profiles, the ability to follow others, a personalized feed, and interactive features such as comments. In fact, Coinbase NFT looks like a simplified Instagram, but with NFTs as the content source.

These social experiences not only help to differentiate Coinbase NFT from the rest of the market, but they support the behavior of the NFT communities, which extend beyond transactions. Many NFT communities often go to platforms like Discord and Twitter to connect, interact, and engage with each other. With Coinbase NFT supporting NFT transactions and the social components, it creates a one-stop shop for Web3 enthusiasts.

The importance of community for NFT makes the marketplace attractive to current and new players in the NFT space. It will encourage other NFT marketplaces to consider social experiences for their current marketplaces. With Meta expected to roll out its NFT integrations for Facebook and Instagram, there is also the chance that it will look very similar to Coinbase’s product.

Industry News

Instagram is tweaking its algorithm to prioritize original content. Instagram head Adam Mosseri shared in a recent video that the algorithm is being revamped to highlight original content over reposted content. Because of this, the distribution of net-new content will also be prioritized. Instagram will be less likely to recommend content that has been reposted across multiple accounts. In order to determine whether a piece of content is original or not, Instagram will rely on classifiers.

Mosseri says that this change is part of the platform’s efforts to try to value originality more and reward creators for creating original content as opposed to rewarding aggregator accounts, which tend to reshare creators’ content.

Instagram's latest news is likely to have a significant impact on what users will see going forward. As it tweaks its algorithm to focus on original content, Instagram is once again putting its focus on creators who drive engagement through their original content. In contrast, it devalues reposted content, which is common for aggregator accounts. In spite of their popularity, these types of accounts are primarily based on reposting content from others, or outright stealing content from others.

This is a move that will benefit original creators since they have a greater chance of having their content surfaced to users and growing their following now, over aggregator accounts that the platform previously would recommend. If original content is prioritized heavily and creators start seeing significant benefits from it, it could convince creators to use Reels natively rather than upload recycled TikTok content.

YouTube announced that creators will now be able to use clips from other videos across the platform as part of the expansion of its remix feature. Previously, creators could only use audio clips from other videos, but now they can use up to five seconds from any eligible video. Creators who do not wish their long-form videos to be remixed can opt-out of the feature in their YouTube Studio. Currently, there is no way for creators of YouTube Shorts content to opt out of remixing. When creators create a Shorts video using the remix feature, their video will be attributed and linked back to the original video. Creators can also track what videos of theirs have been remixed in YouTube Analytics.

YouTube brings a familiar functionality to its short-form video feature with the expansion of Remix. Like TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter with their respective short-form video formats, creators can react, respond and put their own twist on existing video content. They lower the barrier to content creation since creators don't have to make everything from scratch while also helping to build a community around short-form content. These have been key in TikTok's growth, which YouTube and other social media competitors are trying to replicate in the short-form video space.

Remix can also help creators grow their audience and increase their discoverability. For example, creators whose videos are remixed can help drive the views on their original videos and help users discover them.

Despite YouTube's dominance in the long-form video landscape, it's been heavily investing in YouTube Shorts and is seeing benefits so far. As of January, the platform topped five trillion views on YouTube Shorts content alone. This, along with YouTube's investments in other types of video content, including live streaming, is helping to usher in more hybrid video creators, who are creators that leverage all types of video content, including short-form, long-form, video-on-demand, and live video.

Spotify expands Video Podcasts to more creators. After a year of testing, the streaming service gives all creators in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand the ability to upload video podcasts through Anchor, similar to how they upload audio.

To go along with this, it's launching several other new features for video podcasts, including subscriptions, embedded support, video-specific analytics, and interactive capabilities like Polls and Q&As.

By opening up Video Podcasts to a broader group of creators, Spotify will be able to expand its video podcast library, which is currently relatively limited. Podcasts were originally an audio-only format, but more podcast hosts are uploading video versions of their shows to YouTube, aligning it with current market trends. The option for creators to share audio or video podcasts allows them to reach a new audience on Spotify, but the option is beneficial for listeners too. Listeners can now consume podcast content in a variety of ways, regardless of how and where they listen.

Spotify's latest podcast investment comes shortly after documents revealed that YouTube has podcast plans of its own.

Due to platforms like Spotify, Apple, YouTube, Facebook, and even TikTok's interest in podcasts, more brands experimenting with audio advertising, and improvements in measurement tools, expect to see more podcast-based influencer marketing campaigns.

Reddit added new search capabilities. Users looking for particular discussions or conversations can now easily find them by using a new Comments tab in the search bar. They can also refine their search by searching for comments within specific communities. Previously, users would first need to find a relevant community and then dig through individual comments to find specifically what they were looking for. According to a survey that the platform conducted with users, a search bar was one of the most requested features.

Other search-related updates include a simpler design for the search results page and improved search relevance. The improved search relevance allows for less restrictive matching by surfacing results that may not exactly match what users searched, but are still relevant.

Reddit's investments in search make it easier for users to find more content that they are interested in, particularly discussions and conversations around specific topics. By having the ability to find these in a matter of clicks, Reddit's search capabilities are becoming more like Google. This makes the place even more valuable as it is home to crowd-sourced content that spans topics and verticals. Google is still king when it comes to search, but many people rely on Reddit to find personalized experiences and knowledge.

In addition to enabling users to find comments about things they are interested in, the new search experience allows brands to learn about and interact with their relevant communities. A brand could use comment search as a social listening tool to find out how people are talking about their brand. This could then help to inform their marketing strategy, including influencer campaign themes/concepts or even responding to comments about them to drive engagement.

Tumblr introduced a new feature in Tumblr Blaze. The feature lets U.S.-based creators who are over 18 pay to promote their posts as sponsored to a larger audience. Creators can choose from packages ranging from $10 and $150 in exchange for an estimated 20,000 to 150,000 impressions. Sponsored posts will appear to users across their dashboards and run until the number of impressions is reached.

Tumblr follows many other social media platforms that allow users to get in front of larger audiences through a simple, easy-to-use promotion feature. For example, last summer, TikTok launched a similar feature in Promote, where creators can turn their organic videos into ads directly from the TikTok app. However, unlike Promote or Instagram's Boost Post features, there isn't the ability for creators to target specific audiences, which is often one of the most significant benefits for paid media.

Fortunately, Tumblr's stripped-down boost feature doesn't appear to be a problem, as a lot of creators have already taken advantage of it. This is good news for the platform, which has made several attempts to monetize the platform further. Since the summer, it launched a pair of creator monetization tools in Post+ and Tumblr Tips and an ad-free viewing experience subscription in Ad-Free Browsing.

Despite these updates, downloads for the app have been on the decline. In order to reverse this trend, it is likely the best course of action to offer more experiences that appeal to creators.

What I’m Reading

  • Influencers are becoming entrepreneurs and marketers should take notes (Adweek)

  • TikTok and Instagram tags are changing how people cook (Polygon)

  • The NIL policy is changing the game (Mavrck)

  • How a game development company wants to support the ‘future of marketing’ with content creators (Digday)

  • Influencers want pay equity. But what about their kids? (Marketing Brew)