Instagram Tests A Pin To Your Profile Option

Edition #20

Good morning! Earlier this week, Mavrck shared some exciting news for the creator economy – we’re joining forces with Later, a leading social media marketing and commerce platform for small business owners and creators, which provides scheduling, analytics, and link-in-bio tools. Mavrck and Later will work together to solve creator measurement and monetization at scale to benefit brands and creators alike.

This move reflects the shifting dynamics in the creator economy, which is seeing companies acquire, merge, or launch new entities that support both brands and creators. As a result, you can expect more consolidation as the creator economy grows and matures.

Other news that you probably already know – Elon Musk is buying Twitter in a $44 billion deal. The world's richest man has plans for Twitter that include promoting free speech. However, his proposed hands-off moderation approach has caused concern for many people as it may lead to an increase in hate speech and harassment. Since the deal may take six months to close, no significant changes are expected to occur immediately, but Twitter may look quite different in the future. This could be a good thing for LinkedIn as people seek out similar, alternative platforms.

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Today’s Edition:

  • Instagram tests a Pin to your profile option

  • TikTok rolls out Interactive Add-Ons globally for In-Feed Ads

  • LinkedIn allows creators to showcase a link on their profile

Creators Get More Control & Customization With Instagram’s Pin To Your Profile Option

Instagram started testing a Pin to your Profile option. Select users can pin up to three posts to the top of the post grid on their profile. Those participating in the test can access the option by going to a post, tapping the three dots in the top right of the screen, and selecting Pin to your profile.

This option offers more control and customization for creators since they can highlight specific posts so that they appear first to profile visitors. Creators can use it to showcase their best content, increase visibility for sponsored content that they create for a brand partnership, or simply maintain a particular aesthetic for the first few posts.

Using the pinning feature, creators can increase the likelihood that profile visitors will become followers by pinning their top content. Marketers can also extend the life of their branded content by having creators pin it for a period of time. As algorithms change frequently, features such as these help increase the amount of attention that content receives, regardless of when it was initially published.

Until now, creators could only highlight specific posts through Instagram Story Highlights, which appear above the grid. However, this has limitations, such as requiring profile visitors to click into the Highlights to view the posts.

Recently, TikTok launched its own pin post feature. Creators have widely used it to highlight their most popular videos, particularly those that have become viral. Twitter has also supported this feature for a long time, which many creators use to highlight a tweet featuring the latest edition of their newsletter or popular thread they’ve written.

Industry News

TikTok rolled out Interactive Add-Ons for In-Feed Ads globally. With Interactive Add-Ons, marketers can interact with users through ads featuring pop-ups, stickers, and other visual elements. Interactive Add-Ons come in two varieties - Standard and Premium. Standard add-ons are suited to driving lower-funnel marketing activities such as clicks and conversions, while Premium add-ons generate brand awareness and brand recognition.

Here’s a breakdown of notable add-ons:

  • Pop-out Showcase: A pop-out element to showcase products and drive clicks to a product page to move users down the sales funnel.

  • Super Like 2.0.: Eye-catching floating icons that appear after users engage with an ad, followed by a pop-up card inviting users to a landing page.

  • Gift Code Sticker: A pop-up featuring an exclusive promotional code to increase conversions and drive loyalty from new and existing customers.

  • Countdown Sticker: A visual scrolling timer to build buzz around ongoing and upcoming events.

Marketers gain new tools with Interactive Add-Ons to capture the attention of their target audience and prompt them to take action. This is essential as Suzy research indicates that TikTok users who engage with brand videos through likes, comments, and shares are most likely to move down the sales funnel. According to the research, these types of users are 150% more likely to buy a product or service from the brand and 40% more likely to visit the brand’s website or app.

Brands are already using paid media to achieve business and marketing objectives. With new interactive elements, marketers can supercharge their ads and make them more engaging. This can help boost consumer engagement, drive brand recall, and increase conversion rates. With marketers increasingly turning to both organic and paid opportunities for their marketing efforts on TikTok, Spark Ads, which allow them to amplify creator content, layered with Interactive Add-Ons, can be a powerful combination.

Interactive Add-Ons launched just a few weeks after TikTok started testing Search Ads, another impressive ad product showcasing the platform's commitment to innovation.

LinkedIn now allows creators to showcase a link on their profile. With Creator Mode enabled, users have the option of adding a link at the top of their profiles, which they can customize. Also being added to the platform are new analytics for Groups, captions for Audio Events, and a new video trimming tool for native video.

Creators being able to showcase a link on their profile is the most exciting feature out of the new updates the Microsoft-owned platform is rolling out. This ability enables creators to include a relevant link such as a personal website, blog, business site, newsletter, or portfolio with other key information on their profile. With the link being prominently displayed, creators can drive traffic to a destination of their choice as people come across their profiles. Personally, I’m using the profile link to drive traffic to the signup page for this newsletter and have already seen some success with new LinkedIn connections becoming subscribers.

These updates come after Microsoft reported that LinkedIn sessions grew 22% with record engagements since last quarter. A big part of this is due to the Great Resignation, but its creator initiatives likely contributed. New tools and functionality continue to attract new creators to the platform and encourage existing users to create content.

YouTube is expanding Super Thanks to all creators. After launching with select creators a year ago, the platform is bringing the tipping feature to millions of creators across 68 countries in the YouTube Partner Program. Along with the product expansion comes the option for viewers to customize their Super Thanks messages. Previously, viewers could only use a default message when sending a Super Thanks to creators, but now they can share customized messaging for more personalization.

With more creators being eligible for the monetization feature, it expands the number of creators that can now receive direct support from their most loyal fans. At the same time, it gives viewers the ability to reward their favorite creators for their entertainment. Combined, creators and their fans can deepen their relationship through Super Thanks.

Sarah Amira, a YouTube creator that shares content about living a keto lifestyle with her identical twin Emily as the Keto Twins, shared her excitement about the news with me.

“I am excited that Super Thanks is finally enabled on our Youtube channel. Right now we use a third-party site for donations, but we are hoping that since this feature is integrated into all of our videos it will make it easier for our viewers to donate. Super Thanks is a great option for creators who don’t want the pressure of having a membership but it still gives the viewer the option to support their favorite creators,” she said.

YouTube has always been a power player in creator monetization, and this latest move strengthens that position by democratizing Super Thanks and making it available to a wider range of creators.

YouTube is starting to test ads on YouTube Shorts. During its first-quarter earnings call, the company shared that it's in the early staging of testing advertisements on its short-form video feature. The news comes as Shorts reaches 30 billion daily views, a 4x increase from a year ago. Unfortunately, this increase in Shorts has taken away watch time from its traditional long-form videos and as a result, led to ad revenue below its projections. This has prompted the company to start testing ads on Shorts sooner than it originally planned.

There’s no denying that short-form video is now and the future. TikTok’s popularity has led Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and YouTube to invest in short-form video experiences. Although most brands and creators are leveraging the content format, many of the platforms are struggling to find a way to monetize the format. Because the videos are so short, throwing pre-roll or mid-roll ads on them like what is done on long-form videos would likely damage the viewer experience.

Since short-form video is becoming the preferred format for creation and consumption for many creators, YouTube and others will need to find a way to build an ad product around it. The ad product will need to be able to drive revenue and pay creators, all while not disrupting the viewer experience too much.

Twitch is considering revamping creator payments. According to a report by Bloomberg, the streaming service is considering changes to how it pays creators to drive revenue:

  • It’s considering incentivizing creators to run more ads.

  • It is considering charging a higher subscription fee for some of its most prominent creators, which would result in the platform taking a 70 percent cut of subscriptions as opposed to the current 50 percent. There is also the possibility that it rolls out multiple payout tiers with criteria for creators to meet to qualify for higher payouts.

  • Twitch might offer to release partners from exclusivity restrictions in exchange for them taking a lower payout.

Currently, Twitch is at an inflection point. As the Amazon-owned platform works to increase profits, it has a number of decisions to make that will impact its business and its relationship with creators in the long run. Twitch taking a bigger cut of creators' subscriptions won't sit well with creators, considering how many of its competitors have lower subscription fees. Though releasing partners from exclusivity would benefit big streamers since they could stream on other platforms, this would affect a smaller group of creators.

The streaming ecosystem is led by Twitch today, but if it cannot balance revenue and relationships with streamers, it will lose creators to other streaming platforms, such as YouTube or Facebook. Let the streaming wars continue.

What I’m Reading

  • Mavrck raises $135M, buys maker Later in creator and influencer marketing consolidation (TechCrunch)

  • Influencer-led podcasts are proving popular for advertisers (Marketing Brew)

  • Why non-alcoholic beer brand Athletic Brewing is tapping college athletes as influencers (Modern Retail)

  • Young influencers are being offered cheap procedures in return for promotion. They say it’s coming at a cost. (NBC)

  • Influencers in Belgium given four hashtags to clarify online advertising (Brussels Times)