Instagram Gets Into Creator Subscriptions

Edition #7

Happy Friday! My primary goal with this newsletter is to provide as much value as possible to anyone who takes the time to read it. In an effort to more fully achieve that goal, I’m planning to add a new section dedicated to questions from readers. If there’s a specific question that you have, no matter how macro or micro, send in your question here (it’s anonymous). I look forward to strengthening the newsletter by getting your questions answered!

Today’s Edition:

  • Instagram starts to test subscriptions with select creators

  • YouTube provides creators with a tool to showcase their value to advertisers

  • Pinterest shares shopping behaviors and interests for men

Instagram Launches Subscriptions To Allow Creators To Charge For Exclusive Content

Instagram has launched a new Subscriptions feature, allowing creators to charge for exclusive access to Live videos and Instagram Stories content.

The feature is initially available to 10 U.S. creators, athletes, and actors, including Alan Chikin Chow, Sedona Prince, Aliza like Ibiza, Jordan Chiles, and Lonnie IIV, who now have a Subscribe button on their profile.

Creators can choose from eight different price points, ranging from $0.99 to $99.99 per month. Users who purchase a subscription will receive alerts about exclusive Live broadcasts and see subscriber-only Stories. Subscribers will also receive a purple Subscriber Badge next to their names that will make it easy for creators to spot them in comments and DMs.

Creators can view information related to subscriptions, such as total estimated earnings, total subscribers, and new subscriptions. They aren't currently able to export a subscriber list, but Instagram says it will work on this in the future.

Patreon has shown how subscriptions are a proven way for creators to monetize their content and reach their most loyal fans. As a result, social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and most recently Twitter, have started to support in-app subscriptions for creator monetization.

Creators could use Subscriptions to do subscriber-only live Q&As through Live, share behind-the-scenes moments through Stories, and even charge for recurring services such as fitness or cooking classes.

Subscriptions could also provide new opportunities for branded content, such as brands providing creators with exclusive promo codes to share with their subscribers or having them go live to preview unreleased products. Subscriber-only content would reach significantly fewer people than if creators shared content with all their followers, but the impact could be greater due to the deeper connection and more intimate experience between creators and paying fans.

Even though Subscriptions are a win for creators, it will likely be an uphill battle. The challenge for creators will be in choosing what content to share with subscribers versus what content to share with everyone, especially since Live videos and Stories are content formats that have existed on Instagram for a while now. Because content on Instagram has historically been free for all users, there will need to be a shift in perception by users as they start paying for content that they may have previously accessed for free.

Despite this, there are a number of things that work in Instagram's favor. There is, of course, the convenience factor. Creators will not need to navigate a complicated integration like they sometimes must do with Patreon or other third-party platforms. Secondly, creators can leverage the audience they have already built on Instagram directly instead of having to push them somewhere else. Lastly, Instagram won't take a cut of subscriptions, allowing creators to maximize their earnings.

YouTube Introduces A Media Kit Feature To Help Creators Secure Branded Content Deals


YouTube has introduced a new Media Kit feature to help creators secure branded content deals.

Through Media Kit, creators can create a shareable overview of their channels, including their bios, featured videos, channel stats, audience demographics and interests, past paid partnerships, contact information, and more. The bio and featured video sections of Media Kit are customizable, but changes to these sections will not be visible on creators' public profiles.

The Media Kit can be downloaded as a PDF for creators to share directly with brands and is discoverable through BrandConnect, YouTube’s in-house influencer marketing platform.

Media Kit provides creators with a new way to show brands what they can offer for sponsored content. Most creators, particularly those experienced in working with brands, typically have some form of a media kit that they use when proactively pitching partnerships or when approached by brands.

YouTube's Media Kit, which pulls information directly from a creator's channel, is now available for creators who lack a media kit or who want to upgrade their existing media kit. With all of the information available in one place, creators don't have to worry about compiling it or keeping it updated. They can put more of their time and effort into creating content.

Media Kit also makes creators more discoverable in BrandConnect, making it easier for brands to find them and dramatically increasing their chances for paid partnerships.

Recently, social media platforms have stepped up efforts to launch or improve in-house solutions that connect creators and advertisers.

In October, Instagram started testing a marketplace for creators and brands, and TikTok recently invited more creators to join TikTok Creator Marketplace. Now, YouTube joins in on the action by enhancing creator discovery and its influencer marketing platform.

Over the next few months, Media Kit will be available to creators in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

Pinterest Reports Men Are Planning To Shop A Lot More This Year

In a new report based on Talkshoppe data, Pinterest says that men are expected to do a lot of shopping this year.

According to the report, "75% of men in the study are planning to spend more this year to bring their goals to fruition." These range from big goals like eating better and finding work-life balance to simpler changes such as socializing more and spending time with friends. When it comes to the specifics, men in the study planned to see more movies (55%), go out to eat more (55%), host more parties at their homes (50%), and find more activities to do with their family (60%).

The study also revealed that men shop differently from other audiences. They tend to be more brand conscious and are willing to spend more on brands that they know or trust.

For Pinterest specifically, 80% of men said they use Pinterest because the platform is personalized to them. They also agree that shopping on Pinterest typically leads to them finding something unexpected that they enjoy.

Along with the data, Pinterest also provides a number of recommendations of how brands can capitalize on these trends. The platform recommends strategies like aligning content messaging with key moments (such as seasonal holidays, cultural events, and big life moments) and highlighting new products that can help men pick up new hobbies.

This report is beneficial to marketers as it helps them understand key behaviors and interests among the Pinterest community and learn how to capitalize on them. Pinterest usage by men has been relatively low since the platform's creation, but it is currently one of the fastest-growing demographics. The platform is now reaching 27% of U.S. men aged 25 to 54.

Pinterest has never been the first platform that marketers consider when trying to reach men, but this new data and the growing community reveals the opportunity for marketers to utilize Pinterest as a means to reach this demographic.

YouTube and Twitch have a disproportionately high number of male users and offer a higher level of brand competition than other platforms. Due to the fact that most brands aren't using Pinterest to reach men, brands who put effort into the platform or who experiment by sharing their own content or collaborating with creators on branded content can potentially reach men who are looking to spend money.

An interesting aspect of the growth of the creator economy has been its impact on the user bases of social media platforms. Similar to Pinterest, LinkedIn is currently experiencing a huge increase in Gen Z users on the platform.

Quick Hits

The number of Pinterest users interested in NFTs is growing. In a recent episode of Means of Creation, Pinterest Global Head of Content & Creators, Silvia Oviedo Lopez, revealed that searches for NFT artwork on Pinterest have increased sevenfold since the summer. She said that people are coming to the platform to discover NFT art, find educational resources related to NFTs, and be inspired by others.

Pinterest is essentially a visual search engine, so it's not surprising that users are searching for NFT related topics. Of all the social media platforms, Pinterest would be the most natural to support NFTs, whether through integrations with NFT marketplaces like OpenSea or launching its own marketplace. Considering that Pinterest is a destination for discovery, inspiration, and purchasing, as well as a growing Gen Z userbase, NFTs would be well suited for the Pinterest experience. Having recently launched TwoTwenty, a division that drives innovation on the platform, we should expect Pinterest to capitalize on NFTs in some form over the coming months.

Apple launched Listen With to help listeners discover podcasts. Listen With is a new editorial franchise where artists, authors, filmmakers, journalists, influencers, and other podcasters share their favorite podcasts. Each collection features a few shows and includes quotes from the curators on their selections.

With Listen With, Apple looks to leverage the power of influential figures to help drive podcast discovery. Companies tend to rely on people creating and sharing content across their own channels in order to increase awareness, but this is an example of how curation can also be a part of the mix. This is very similar to the recent trend of brands such as West Elm collaborating with creators on curated shops on their websites to share their tastes and style. As influencer marketing proves, consumers prefer to hear from individuals rather than corporations. By engaging individuals to share their own podcast recommendations, the recommendations will be received as more credible and could drive listeners.

YouTube is phasing out YouTube Originals to focus on other initiatives. YouTube's Chief Business Officer, Robert Kyncl, announced on Twitter that YouTube Originals will cease so that the company can focus on other initiatives like the Creator Shorts Fund, Black Voices, and Live Shopping, which it believes will have a greater impact on even more creators. In the future, the company will only fund the Creator Shorts Fund and the Black Voices program.

While a number of cultural figures like Kevin Hart, Ellen DeGeneres, and Katy Perry were featured in original programming, YouTube Originals failed to make a significant splash. Its shift of focus to Creator Shorts Fund, Black Voices, and Live Shopping is understandable given the growth of the creator economy. With these initiatives, YouTube can address some of the most important trends currently happening in creator monetization, short-form video, and live shopping. Although Originals may have entertained some users, its impact was limited to the few stars and creators that got original shows, whereas these other initiatives can affect thousands of creators. Every social media platform aims to become the go-to platform for creators, so it's important to be able to positively influence creators at scale.

LinkedIn launched a new feature for its Newsletters product to increase discovery. In a follow-up to granting more creators access to Newsletters a few weeks ago, creators can now feature their newsletters in the Featured section of their profile. Company Pages with 500 followers or more will also soon gain access to Newsletters.

LinkedIn's latest updates demonstrate its continued commitment to building new features, tools, and experiences around formats that help creators drive conversation and connect with their audiences. By allowing creators to showcase their newsletters on their profiles, they will be able to convert profile visitors into subscribers and grow their audience. This enhanced discovery can be attractive to creators who either want to launch a newsletter but aren't sure what platform to use or creators who already have a newsletter but want to tap into their established audience on LinkedIn. With new features such as editing and analytics coming down the road, newsletters are poised to become a more integral part of the LinkedIn experience.

Twitter launched its new “Tweet it into existence” campaign. In a play on the phrase "speak it into existence," the platform displayed billboards with tweets from celebrities and athletes like Patrick Mahomes, Issa Rae, Megan Thee Stallion, and Bubba Wallace, who tweeted their dreams years ago and ultimately achieved them.

The positive nature of Twitter's campaign will make it one of the best campaigns of 2022, but it's also a great example of user-generated content at its best. UGC is not only powerful in driving awareness, but also instrumental in building community. Thanks to these billboards, a whole community is forming around the #TweetItIntoExistence hashtag on Twitter, as people share the dreams that they intend to manifest. As with influencer marketing, UGC is expected to play a significant role in brand marketing strategies going forward.

What I’m Reading

  • Synthetic media signals a new chapter for influencer marketing (Meta For Business)

  • A virtual human beyond marketing: Meet Dermalogica’s Natalia (Vogue Business)

  • Crypto enthusiasts meet their match: Angry gamers (New York Times)

  • Spain will regulate influencers promoting cryptocurrency (The Verge)

  • Marriott seeks TikTok creators to drive content around loyalty program (Marketing Dive)

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