Instagram Turns to Influencer Platforms and Agencies

Edition #59

Instagram Turns to Influencer Platforms and Agencies

A lot happened this week in the creator economy, but that isn't too different from any other week. Enjoy today's read and the beautiful weather that we have today here on the East Coast.

Today’s Edition:

  • Instagram expands its Creator Marketplace with third-party access

  • LinkedIn offers new ways for users to verify their identity and workplace

  • Spotify helps publishers enter the podcasting space with Broadcast-to-Podcast feature

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Instagram Expands Its Creator Marketplace with Third-Party Access

Instagram has expanded its Creator Marketplace by introducing an API that allows influencer marketing platforms to integrate key features such as Prioritized DMs and Project Briefs. These features enable brands to communicate directly with creators via direct messages and publish opportunities to the marketplace from the convenience of their influencer marketing platform. Additionally, Instagram is extending access to its marketplace to various agencies, who will be able to execute and manage influencer campaigns on behalf of their brand clients.

The marketplace has been around for a few months, but creators have not found it valuable due to the currently limited opportunities. Through expanded access to influencer marketing platforms and agencies, which play a vital role in the influencer marketing industry, there should be more viable campaigns for creators to discover and participate in. TikTok has had success with its own Creator Marketplace through a similar strategy of giving third-party access to influencer marketing platforms like Mavrck and making it available for brands and agencies to use to find TikTok creators for branded content.

YouTube Adds A Dedicated Podcasts Tab to Channel Pages

YouTube has added a dedicated Podcasts tab to Channel Pages. All videos and playlists that creators mark as podcasts will appear under the tab, alongside tabs for other types of content like Shorts, Videos, and Live. Plus, YouTube is testing a feature to showcase these videos and playlists on YouTube Music.

This move is part of YouTube's ongoing efforts to invest in podcasts following the launch of a podcast content destination, a tool for creators and brands to upload podcasts, and Audio Ads for advertisers to reach audiences through podcasts. With a dedicated podcast tab, YouTube reinforces its commitment to becoming a go-to platform for podcasts. This tab also allows creators to better organize and differentiate their various types of content, making it convenient for viewers to find what they're looking for.

TikTok's Video Stickers Offer New Engagement Opportunities for Users

TikTok is rolling out Video Stickers, which allow users to browse and share video clip stickers through Direct Messages. With a "Create Sticker" option, users can create their own stickers by choosing a portion of their videos or videos from other creators (with sticker permissions enabled). These stickers are then added to the user's personal sticker library for easy access and can be saved to the TikTok Sticker Store, where other users can discover and use them.

Video Stickers will help drive engagement in DMs by providing users with another way to interact with each other. It’s another example of how platforms like TikTok and Instagram are building new features around messaging to adapt to the trend of users wanting to communicate in more private settings. Additionally, they can be a growth opportunity for creators who can reach new audiences when stickers they create or stickers their fans create are shared.

LinkedIn Offers New Ways for Users to Verify Their Identity and Workplace

LinkedIn has announced new ways for users to verify their identity and workplace:

  • Through a partnership with the secure identity platform CLEAR, users in the US can provide a US government-issued ID and US phone number to receive a verification section on their profile.

  • Users at over 4,000 companies can verify their place of employment by using a company-issued email address. They can input their work email, and a unique code will be sent to it, which they then use to verify their employment.

  • Companies will soon also be able to use the Microsoft Enterprise Verified ID Platform to issue digital workplace IDs for employees to display their work verification on their profiles.

Social media platforms, from Meta to Twitter and now LinkedIn, are taking steps to help users verify their true identity. While Meta and Twitter charge for verification and tie it to a blue check, LinkedIn provides this service free of charge. This enables more people to verify their authenticity and instills confidence in their interactions with others on the platform.

Pinterest Introduces Safety Controls for Teens After NBC News Investigation

Pinterest will soon add safety controls for teens. Users under 16 will have private accounts with boards and Pins that are not visible or accessible to others. There will also be parental controls that require a passcode for teens to update certain account settings. Age verification will be expanded by requiring users under 18 who attempt to change their birth date to send additional information, like a government ID or birth certificate, to a third-party verification partner.

These updates come after an NBC News investigation revealed online predators using Pinterest inappropriately. While these new safety measures are a good step, more is needed to better protect teens across all social media platforms. Teen safety and privacy have been a hot topic, with governing bodies, parents, and even teens themselves pushing for reform. For example, Utah recently signed a bill that limits how children can use social media.

Snapchat Expands Sounds Library with New Music Licensing Deals

Snapchat has announced an expansion of its Sounds Library, thanks to new music licensing deals with UnitedMasters, BUMA/STEMRA, and SUISA Digital Licensing AG. This will add new music from local and emerging artists to Snapchat’s existing royalty-free audio collection. Users will be able to use this music in Snaps, Stories, Lenses, and messages. In addition, emerging artists partnering with UnitedMasters will have the opportunity to receive grants through the Sounds Creator Fund.

Snapchatters now have even more music options to use when sharing content and connecting with friends. Music has become a crucial part of today's social media landscape, allowing creators to express themselves and viewers to discover new content powered by audio. Recognizing this trend, platforms are continuing to invest in music. Recent notable examples include YouTube’s introduction of Creator Music and TikTok’s launch of Sounds for Business.

Spotify Helps Publishers Enter the Podcasting Space with Broadcast-to-Podcast Feature

Spotify has launched a new feature called Broadcast-to-Podcast (B2P), which enables broadcasting publishers to easily convert their existing content into podcasts. This feature is exclusively available to publishers who use Megaphone, a podcast ad tech and hosting platform that Spotify acquired years ago. With B2P, publishers can input the URL of a live stream of their broadcast, which is then automatically converted into podcast content. The feature also identifies ads, allowing publishers to remove them from the original live stream and insert new ad spots as they see fit.

The launch of B2P is in response to the demand for audio content that can be listened to at one's leisure, rather than being forced to tune in live. By repurposing their broadcasts as podcasts, publishers can enter the podcasting space without investing significant amounts of time and resources in producing recorded podcast episodes. This, in turn, enables them to reach new audiences, such as Gen Z, and generate additional revenue by selling and running new ads. In light of the stiff competition from YouTube, features like B2P can help bring more podcast content to Spotify's service without having to ink expensive deals with creators and publishers.

Artifact, the Personalized News App, Introduces New Social Components

Artifact, the personalized news app launched by Instagram's co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, is introducing new social components. Readers can now create a public profile that includes their name, photo, and bio. They can also leave and view comments, as well as upvote and downvote them. This contributes to a reputation score, which represents the earned trust from the community.

Artifact joins other text-based platforms like Flipboard that are incorporating social media-like features to encourage conversations and facilitate meaningful discussion among its users. It’s also taking a Reddit approach to content moderation by ranking comments based on upvotes and downvotes, in addition to using AI moderation tools.

MIT Platform Strategy Summit: Navigating the Creator Economy

I’ll be speaking at the 11th MIT Platform Strategy Summit in Boston, MA, this summer on July 13th, in a session focused on the creator economy. Alongside event co-chair Peter C. Evans, Ph.D., and other speakers to be announced in the future, we will explore the future of the creator economy and the influential role of social media platforms in shaping its landscape. The session will cover key trends in influencer marketing, the transformative impact of AI, and other emerging technologies. Additional details, including early pricing registration, are available here.

What I’m Reading

  • Is There Life After Influencing? (New York Times)

  • TikTok sister app Lemon8 looks to creators to help it grow to the next level (Digiday)

  • They’re Over Being Real (New York Times)

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