Clorox and Samsung merge branded content and influencer marketing

Credit: AdWeek

AdWeek published an overview of Clorox’s joint strategy for effective content and influencer success with their many brands, underscoring an evolving trend in content creation and distribution trend. This has parallels to a recent interview with Samsung’s US CMO Marc Mathieu, where he described their heavy investment in influencers to essentially do their product marketing for them by creating authentic product usage oriented video content. These are only two recent examples of what we’ve written about previously as a major convergence trend between content marketing and influencer marketing.

Just three months ago, Clorox created an internal creative agency (Electro Creative Workshop) to meet quick turnaround times for brand-safe content for any Clorox product. Now, they’re working closely with well-known influencers such as Hannah Hart, who used Glad products in a branded cooking demonstration. Most of the influencers they select have demonstrated expertise or interest in areas that matter to their customers (such as cooking), though some can also be generally famous, the prime example being basketball star Stephen Curry. But most importantly — all are selected with long term relationships in mind.

There has been a notable increase in concern around influencer fraud recently - the New York Times reported that Twitter is starting a massive, stock-price plunging bot purge tomorrow.

Unilever’s announcement that they will no longer work with influencers that purchase followers has caused many global brands, including Samsung, to speak out about changes to their influencer policies as well. Purchasing followers is a big problem in influencer marketing (as one former influencer recently described in detail in Digiday’s Confessions series) and brands understandably want to ensure they’re receiving a return on investment.

Interestingly, in a recent survey by by influencer marketing agency Activate, 62% of companies still reported that they plan to increase influencer marketing spending in 2018.

The big lesson here is hinted at by the success of Clorox and Samsung in the context of Unilever’s concerns. Brands that are doubling down on influencers understand that content creation and distribution are equally important, and the twin concerns of brand safety and fraud are present in every media format.

Influencers that work long-term for brands have a sizable and verified following, and develop deep content creation relationships. One-off campaigns with micro-influencers have the same upside and downsides as programmatic display and similar economics. It’s a tool in the toolkit, but it doesn’t compare to creating and distributing great content as a key strategic marketing pillar.

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IGTV and the potential effect on big TV ad budgets

Credit: AdExchanger 

Our Founder & Executive Chairman, Eddie Kim, recently wrote a piece for AdExchanger looking at the growth of online digital video in the context of Instagram’s IGTV launch. He addresses a key question — are we at the tipping point for big TV budgets finally moving online? Check out his answer here

Instagram’s $100 billion dollar payoff

Credit: Bloomberg; Citigroup

Bloomberg estimates that Instagram is worth $100 billion, over one hundred times what Facebook paid for the company in 2012. Central to that is the platform’s continued evolution as video consumption hub — between the newly announced IGTV and an algorithm freshly tweaked to provide a more user-centric experience, the platform’s dominance continues to grow.

Just how dominant? Business Insider reported that Instagram Stories user numbers have officially outpaced those of Snapchat despite Snapchat being the inventor of the story format. Facebook has also recently added new features to their own Stories offering (including increased integration with Messenger). Meanwhile, Instagram is now holding marketing classes for brands like Birchbox and Madewell showing just how important it is to driving online and offline purchase.

Don’t mistake this for hype, however: Instagram stands out among platforms for the variety of opportunities it presents to content creators. Recently, The Guardian found through their own experimentation that less polished content can be more effective with Instagram’s younger audience. On IGTV, everyone’s still trying to figure out what works best — publishers are currently experimenting with IGTV’s capabilities by publishing videos around ten minutes long but usually not exceeding 30 minutes. Videos with various subjects and tones have been published in the new format, with mixed results. BBC senior broadcaster Rebecca Donovan of the BBC, in a conversation with Digiday, reinforcedthe point that IGTV should be treated as fundamentally different than other video platforms: “It’s new and exciting, but we’re also cautious. It’s too early to draw too many comparisons with viewing figures.”

With the IGTV launch (and notably as both an in-app link and a separate stand-alone app, unlike Facebook Watch’s long-form hub that is only accessible from FB), Instagram’s reach is due to spread further and faster. We’ll see in the next few months if this starts to increase total attention minutes and average watch rates of video across Instagram as a whole.

Publisher monetization watch: Rolling Stone hybridizes to survive

Credit: Rolling Stone

There was a lot of chatter about Rolling Stone rolling out a new look last week, especially in the wake of recent company shakeups and reorganization post-sale of the iconic brand to Penske Media Group. But whether you’re a winner of 15 National Magazine Awards now getting into "Rolling Stone" branded live events, or a 9-year-old website now providing exclusive content to subscribers at $100 a year like The Daily Beast, the prevailing trend is the same: diversifying monetization.

At 51 years old, Rolling Stone certainly has a brand recognition and credibility advantage to help them diversify effectively, and they’re developing live events and a limited, value-focused publishing schedule. They’re not alone: Bleacher Report’s most recent ventures into events will revolve around the NBA Summer League, appealing directly to it’s sports (and Fortnite) fan audience. With all the subscriber data publications are now getting smarter about, using it to develop appealing live offerings for them makes perfect sense.

Publishers are increasingly finding their own mix of monetization via a combination of branded content, membership, events, and subscriptions. It may not be too far off that the next generation of music or sports fans know an iconic publisher from an in-person or digital experience without having read a single word they’ve written.

12 more browser tabs to open:

  1. Alibaba claims their copywriting AI has passed the Turing test.
  2. Finland’s “Unknown Soldier” branded content film won big at Cannes Lions.
  3. Hearst UK has a new success metric: Engaged View Rate.
  4. Roku’s new ad marketplace is up and running.
  5. The ballad of Go90, the video platform that adopted many video trends early and then flamed out.
  6. Breaking2 is National Geographic and Nike’s latest branded content venture and worth the watch.
  7. Post-GDPR blocking continues with some European publications.
  8. Zico’s Help Yourself campaign gives us ideas for our office.
  9. Consultancies find a lucrative place among the in-housing trend.
  10. Speaking of in-house: The New York Times increasingly heads that way.
  11. Lego dips more heavily into Amazon ads.
  12. Razor brand Billie explores crowdsourcing content.  

Curated and published by Adam Orshan, Brit McGinnis, Janelle Elfar, and Matt Levin in New York City.

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