Meta's New Game Changer: Branded Content Search

Meta adds a search for branded content, TikTok pushes Shop, Linkedin updates Newsletters, and Amazon faces creator backlash.

Meta

Today’s Edition

  • Meta launches a search for branded content posts

  • TikTok is phasing out Storefronts and reportedly banning links

  • LinkedIn updates Newsletters and debuts a Brand Partnership label

News, Insights & Trends

Meta's Ad Library Now Includes Branded Content

Meta has expanded its Ad Library to include Branded Content. This allows users to search posts tagged with the "Paid Partnership" label, which typically occurs when creators share content on behalf of a brand. Users can filter their searches by platform (Facebook or Instagram), business, or creator, as well as by specific date ranges. The information available for each piece of branded content includes the date posted, the creator's handle, the brand partner, the type of content (Post, Reels, Stories), and a link to view the post. (Watch a demo here)

This expansion is in compliance with the European Union's Digital Services Act (DSA), which mandates that platforms maintain searchable and publicly accessible databases for ads and other commercial content.

Why it Matters: The DSA is focused on safeguarding users and protecting their individual rights, but it is also leading to new tools and changes that benefit marketers and creators. For marketers, this can offer valuable insights into the influencer marketing strategies of their competitors and others in their industry. They can see whom their competitors are collaborating with, what Meta platforms and content formats they are investing in, and even view examples of sponsored content to identify trends that they could potentially leverage in their own influencer programs.

For creators and talent managers, it can offer insights into the types of creators that their target brands are collaborating with. They can also understand what types of content these brands typically look for and when these brands are most likely to work with creators. This can help them make more informed pitches to brands, potentially leading to more opportunities.

TikTok Phases Out Storefront for TikTok Shop

TikTok announced that it will discontinue its Storefront feature on September 12th. Storefront enabled Shopify and other e-commerce merchants to sync their product catalogs, add a dedicated shoppable tab to their TikTok profiles, and include product tags in their videos. As an alternative, TikTok is promoting its new e-commerce solution, TikTok Shop. There have also been reports that TikTok plans to block external e-commerce links such as those to Amazon, but it has denied these claims.

Why it Matters: TikTok has been gradually promoting TikTok Shop over the past few months, aiming to build a robust e-commerce business. The discontinuation of the Storefront feature and the potential ban on external links could help the platform gain more traction in this sector. However, these moves are not without risks, particularly concerning the latter point. While TikTok has denied any plans to ban external e-commerce links, the idea is not entirely far-fetched. A few months ago, some creators found themselves unable to add links in their bio to app stores.

As a platform committed to supporting creators, banning external links like Amazon could be counterproductive. Many creators monetize their TikTok efforts by promoting Amazon affiliate links. Restricting the ability to share these links would not only reduce the income for creators but could also encourage brands that focus on boosting sales for their products on Amazon to seek partnerships with creators on alternative platforms.

TikTok Introduces Search Ads Toggle

TikTok introduced the Search Ads Toggle, a new feature that auto-generates ads to be displayed within search results by leveraging existing ad content. These ads come with a "sponsored" label and are served to users based on relevance. The toggle is activated by default, but advertisers have the option to toggle it on or off both during the post-creation process and in the middle of an ongoing campaign.

Why it Matters: The feature streamlines and optimizes advertising on TikTok, allowing brands to run Search Ads alongside their regular in-feed ads. The functionality is especially useful for targeting Gen Z, who increasingly use social media platforms in a manner similar to traditional search engines like Google. As users actively search for specific content or products, Search Ads enable advertisers to engage these high-intent audiences more effectively. Both TikTok and Instagram, which recently announced Ads in Search, have been expanding their advertising capabilities to compete more directly with Google.

Amazon Faces Creator Backlash Over $25 Video Incentives for Inspire

Amazon is currently running a limited-time offer for its Amazon Influencer Program. The e-commerce giant is offering creators $25—provided they meet certain qualifications—to create shoppable videos for Inspire, its TikTok-like shopping feed. Creators can submit up to 500 videos to earn a maximum of $12,500, in addition to commissions for the sales they drive. The videos must be informative and feature at least two Amazon products in the same category, such as product reviews, product comparison videos, ranking videos that list the best products in a certain category, or gift guides. The offer ends on September 22nd, or when Amazon reaches a cap of 35,000 videos. Amazon has since received significant backlash from creators for this offer.

Why it Matters: The negative press surrounding Amazon's low compensation offer is not surprising, especially when considering the company's success and the criteria for video submissions. Although the fee is below industry norms, some creators may still find the offer appealing due to the additional sales commissions. Amazon is not unique in this approach; other platforms like ByteDance's Lemon8 have also offered low payments to incentivize creators to post on its platform. This trend seems likely to continue as platforms try to increase the adoption of new features and tools, but platforms should proceed carefully to avoid backlash, which Amazon is currently experiencing.

LinkedIn Announces Updates to Newsletters as Daily Readership Triples to 1.3 Million

LinkedIn announced updates for Newsletters. Here’s what’s new in the update:

  • Revamped Article Editor: All editing tools have been centralized into one location to streamline the writing process. Customization options like drafts and SEO settings are now located closer to the publishing settings, making for a smoother editing and publishing experience.

  • Multiple Newsletters: Creators are no longer limited to hosting just one newsletter. They can now manage up to five newsletters.

  • Auto-Follow Feature: When a user subscribes to a newsletter, they will automatically start following the creator. This enables the subscriber to easily stay up-to-date with the creator's other content, like feed posts.

Why it Matters: The updated editor simplifies both writing and publishing, providing a welcome upgrade from its clunky predecessor. The ability to host multiple newsletters gives creators the flexibility to cater to different audience interests, making their content more relevant to subscribers. The auto-follow feature serves as an additional tool for audience growth, targeting users who have already expressed interest in a creator's newsletters. This new feature complements a previously released function that automatically turns those who send a connection request into followers.

LinkedIn’s latest updates to its Newsletters come as the platform has seen a threefold increase in daily readership over the past year, now boasting 1.3 million daily readers.

LinkedIn Rolls Out New Brand Partnership Label to Enhance Creator Transparency

LinkedIn has rolled out a Brand Partnership label. When crafting a post, creators can toggle on this label to indicate they have been compensated for the post. Once published, the label is displayed under the creator's name. In addition to the label, creators need to adhere to local laws and guidelines, adding any mandated disclosures for branded content.

Why it Matters: The label aligns with LinkedIn's vision to further establish itself as a destination for creators. Beyond enhancing transparency, it might also draw more brands to collaborate with LinkedIn creators. With a clear way to signify these partnerships, it paves the way for more monetization avenues for creators. The label may also include additional functionality, such as the ability for creators to share post performance with their brand partners in the future.

Spotify Empowers Podcasters with New Customization and Analytics Tools

Spotify is adding new features for podcaster creators. These include:

  • Customized Show Pages: Creators can personalize their podcast show pages with bios and social media links, and feature a recommended "Best Place to Start" episode for new listeners.

  • Host Recommendations: A new tab will allow creators to suggest two other Spotify content pieces, be it another podcast, album, playlist, or audiobook.

  • Curated Episode Previews: Creators can now select which clips from their episodes will appear in Spotify’s discovery feeds.

  • Promotion of Subscriber-Only Content: For those utilizing Patreon or similar services through Spotify's Open Access, banners can be added to promote exclusive content.

  • Advanced Analytics: A revamped dashboard offers in-depth analytics on show performance and monetization metrics, like Ambassador and Automated Ads as well as Subscriptions.

Why it Matters: Spotify's new features provide creators with greater control over their presence, new ways to collaborate with other creators, and deeper insights into the performance of their shows. The ability to add links to social media accounts can help creators expand their following beyond the Spotify ecosystem. Features like "Best Place to Start" allow creators to showcase their best content. "Host Recommendations" introduces a new way for creators to collaborate, such as engaging in a recommendation swap with another creator, which can help them tap into a new audience. The advanced analytics enable creators to better understand their performance, offering opportunities to make adjustments like writing stronger episode descriptions to increase discovery and listenership.

BeReal Adds New Social Components

BeReal launched new features, including a Friends of Friends feed that shows posts from a user's extended network. This replaces the original Discovery Feed. Users can choose to share posts either only with friends or in this wider feed through a new audience setting. BeReal has also added Pins and Mentions features. Pins allow users to showcase up to three favorite posts on their profile, while Mentions enable tagging other accounts in post captions.

Why it Matters: These features add more social components, as well as features that are commonly found across mainstream platforms like Instagram and TikTok. The Friends of Friends feed aligns more closely with BeReal's goal of showing users content from those they care about most, rather than from celebrities or other influential individuals. Pins offer a curated profile look, and Mentions make it easier to tag relevant accounts, such as those that are also featured in a user’s BeReal.

Apple Introduces New Podcast Analytics and Distribution Tools

Apple introduced new tools for podcasters. They include:

  • Subscription Analytics: A new dashboard will offer creators insights into metrics such as free trial starts, paid subscriptions, conversion rates from free trials to paid subscriptions, and estimated subscription revenue.

  • Delegated Delivery Expansion: This feature, which lets creators publish subscriber-only episodes directly to Apple Podcasts from their hosting provider, is adding new partners like Podbean and Podspace.

  • Linkfire Partnership: Starting this fall, creators can generate Linkfire smart links that lead to landing pages for their podcasts, as well as to their social channels, newsletters, merch stores, and live events. Real-time engagement metrics like play, listens, traffic sources, and click-through rates will be available.

Why it Matters: Apple's new features for podcasters signal a more direct engagement with the creator economy. They offer podcast creators tools for deeper listenership analysis. They also simplify the podcast publishing process by expanding Delegated Delivery partners. This development is noteworthy, especially since Apple often faces criticism for taking a 30% commission on in-app purchases. Platforms like Spotify and Gumroad have been vocal about these fees. The new features could help to change the narrative, underscoring Apple's important role in the creator economy that is often overlooked.

What I’m Reading

  • What Gen Z wants from influencer marketing and brand social media (AdAge)

  • TikTok’s plan to take on Spotify and Apple Music (Semafor)

  • Sorry, But LinkedIn Is Cool Now (Bloomberg)

  • Behind the scenes of “petfluencing” (Marketing Brew)

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