Category Archives: fashion

How Olympic Celebrities Are Cashing In On Influencer Marketing

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5 Olympians Cashing In On Athlete Sponsorship Deals On Instagram

In the past decade, Instagram has grown to become one of the largest social media platforms in existence and in turn, an extremely viable advertising platform. Marketers now spend an estimated $1 billion per year on influencer marketing on Instagram alone and that figure is slated to reach nearly $2.4 billion by as early as 2019.

Many individuals have carved out careers for themselves on Instagram by posting engaging content and attracting large followings. Additionally, it has become increasingly common for celebrities, athletes, musicians, models, and more to leverage their fame to promote brands on Instagram.

Here we’ll examine how five athletes, all Olympians, are using their global dominance and widespread appeal to cash in on influencer marketing.

Michael Phelps Partners With Colgate For Its #EveryDropCounts Campaign

American swimmer Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) is the most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals (23 of which are gold). Phelps also won eight medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, cementing a record for the most medals won at a single Olympics.

Phelps is a global swimming icon and maintains a family-focused Instagram account with over 3.3. million followers. To date, his widespread influence has led to lucrative partnerships with brands among the likes of Blue Apron, Colgate, and Little Tikes.


Phelps recently collaborated with toothpaste brand Colgate for a unique cause marketing campaign unified by the hashtag #EveryDropCounts. The initiative seeks to raise awareness surrounding water conservation while simultaneously promoting Colgate.

In the form of three sponsored Instagram posts, Phelps encouraged followers to turn the faucet off when brushing their teeth to help save up to eight gallons of water a day. Through the campaign, Colgate effectively uses Phelps’ influence for good while simultaneously positioning itself as an eco-friendly brand.

A recent survey indicates that 87% of consumers are willing to switch to a brand if it’s associated with a good cause. In light of this, Colgate’s #EveryDropCounts campaign is likely to sway consumer purchase decisions.

Additionally, Colgate’s partnership with Phelps enables the brand to deliver its message through a trusted and often idolized public figure who has access to an enormous Instagram audience.

Related Post: Influencer Marketing vs. Celebrity Endorsements: Which Is Better?

Serena Williams Teams Up With Tempur-Pedic

Tennis legend Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) is one of the most successful American athletes of all time. Her win at the 2017 Australian Open was a historic match against her sister, Venus, and cemented her 23rd grand slam title. Additionally, she holds four Olympic medals.

Many see Williams as the epitome of female power. Her Instagram offers a diverse mix of tennis snapshots, moments from her life away from the game, and recently, photos of her newborn daughter Olympia Ohanian.

Unsurprisingly, her global stardom has led to more than 7.6 million Instagram followers and collaborations with Nike, Beats By Dre,, and more.


One notable brand Williams has partnered with for influencer initiatives is Tempur-Pedic. The above sponsored post features a professionally shot video clip of Williams playing tennis and listing various sleep benefits. The video also highlights Williams as a loyal, 10-year Tempur-Pedic customer using text overlay.

In conjunction with the video, Williams offers a personable caption that calls attention to her increased need for quality sleep as a new mom. In doing so, she introduces a pain point that many parents can relate to and presents Tempur-Pedic mattresses as the solution. As a professional athlete who values rest and recovery, Williams is well positioned to promote the mattress brand.

Related Post: Is Ronaldo’s $1B Nike Deal Considered Influencer Marketing?

Lindsey Vonn Collaborates With Bounty

Lindsey Vonn (@lindseyvonn) is the first American woman to ever win an Olympic gold medal for downhill skiing. Since her historic win at the 2010 Vancouver Games, she has gone on to win several World Cup Championships and built a reputation as incredibly resilient in overcoming injuries. She enters the Pyeongchang Games as a heavy favorite.

No stranger to social media, Vonn maintains 1.3 million Instagram followers. Her account offers a look into her grueling training schedule and highlights exciting moments in her life outside of skiing.


In anticipation of the 2018 Winter Games, Vonn collaborated with Bounty to create a humorous video advertisement promoting the brand’s paper towels. To promote the video ad, Vonn published a series of sponsored Instagram posts featuring short clips from the original advertisement.

The above sponsored video highlights select bloopers from the commercial. The post peaks viewers’ curiosities, effectively driving traffic to the full-length ad, while also providing Vonn’s followers with exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

By poking fun at her own mistakes, Vonn’s post comes across as humorous and relatable, and creating an affable advertisement for Bounty.

Shaun White Overcomes Obstacles With Beats By Dre

Historically referred to as the “Flying Tomato,” Shaun White (@shaunwhite) is arguably the world’s most accomplished snowboarder. He started competing professionally at the age of 13 and boasts two Olympic gold medals and 23 X Games medals. In Pyeongchang, he aims to win a third gold medal in the snowboarding halfpipe event.

White’s Instagram is largely a celebration of his passion for snowboarding and features photos and videos of him competing and training. In addition to snowboarding content, he also shares snapshots of his worldwide travels with his following of more than 738,000. To date, he has partnered with Beats By Dre, Omega, and other top brands.


In October 2017, just months before the 2018 Games, White sustained a head laceration while training in New Zealand. Many feared that the injury would prevent him from qualifying for the Games.

In the wake of the injury, White took to Instagram to alert fans that he would be okay in the form of a sponsored photo in partnership with Beats By Dre. The photo depicts White lying in a hospital bed wearing Beats By Dre headphones, his face still bloody.

Within the caption, he connects his drive to overcome the injury with the Beats By Dre brand by saying, “I’ve always lived my life by pushing the limits,” positively associating the consumer electronics company with progression, risk-taking, and resilience. The photo itself also capitalizes on the buzz and awareness around the Olympian’s injury.

Related Post: Why Google Sent 15 YouTubers To The Rio Olympics [Case Study]

Simone Biles Partners With Olympic Sponsor Coca-Cola

Though only 20 years old, Simone Biles (@simonebiles) is widely regarded as one of the most talented U.S. gymnasts of all time. At the 2016 Rio Olympics she won five medals, four of them gold. Biles has also won the most world championship gold medals of any female gymnast and has confirmed she intends to compete in the upcoming 2020 Games.

Biles primarily utilizes Instagram to showcase her life outside of the gym and regularly posts photos of family and friends. Her engaged Instagram following of more than 3.4 million has led to partnerships with Beats By Dre, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, and more.


In order to promote Coca-Cola, an official sponsor of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Biles shared one sponsored Instagram post. The Instagram boomerang depicts Biles and two other American Olympians, Missy Franklin and Summer Sanders, seated in a bobsled.

Within the caption, Biles extends support to fellow Coca-Cola athletes Nathan Chen, Amy Purdy, Elana Meyers Taylor, and Mac Bohonnon, all of whom are competing at the Winter Games.

By featuring other athletes in the post Biles positions Coca-Cola as a brand that supports a wide array of Olympic athletes. Additionally, by tagging their accounts she drives traffic to the other athletes’ Instagram accounts, which also contain Coca-Cola sponsored posts. This strategy effectively widens the brand’s online reach.

Related Post: How Coca-Cola Reaches Its Global Consumer Base On Instagram [Case Study]

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The post How Olympic Celebrities Are Cashing In On Influencer Marketing appeared first on Mediakix | Influencer Marketing Agency.

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The 5 Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns That Won Social Media’s Heart

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How Doritos, Ford & More Create Standout Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns On Social Media

Revered by some, loathed by others, Valentine’s Day is one of the most polarizing holidays on the calendar. For the romantic, it offers an opportunity to celebrate the love in their life. For the unrequited, it can prove to be an uncomfortable and painful 24 hours. However, these contrasting views on the holiday are exactly what makes it such a hot topic on social media year-after-year.

For brands, these passionate views and opinions open up incredible opportunities to speak to and connect with a wide variety of audiences. Knowing this, ad agencies, social media influencers, and other content creators launch their best Valentine’s day blog posts, tweets, and videos leading up to February 14th each and every year. Ranging from works that offer gift guides and DIY tips, to satirical skits and sketches, to fiery rants, these posts are rich fodder for conversations with people from around the world, comprising a variety of different demographics, who have their own relationship with the occasion.

Valentine’s Day Marketing & Spending Statistics

According to Google Trends, current worldwide searches for “valentines day gifts” have doubled since 2017, while U.S. searches have almost tripled for the same time period. These numbers are commensurate with a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, which indicates U.S. consumers will spend $19.6 billion on the holiday in 2018 — the second-highest since the survey began — up from $18.2 billion in 2017.

The NRF also expects average spending per individual to increase from $136.57 to $143.56, with 25-34 year-olds spending the most at an average of $202.76. The NRF found that while the bulk of spending is expected to be focused on a person’s significant other/spouse, individuals are also giving to other family members, children’s classmates/teachers, friends, pets, and co-workers.

Furthermore, 27% of those not expected to celebrate the holiday are planning to “treat themselves” or make alternative plans.

The NRF projects peoples’ spending to focus on several popular Valentine’s Day buying categories, including candy, greeting cards, flowers, jewelry, clothing, an evening out, “gifts of experience” i.e. sporting events, concerts, etc., as well as gift cards/gift certificates.

There are huge opportunities for businesses to make an impression on consumers during the holiday through creative marketing campaigns. In the piece below, we’ll take a look at five significant and impactful Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns to see how brands have utilized Cupid’s arrow to target and connect with consumers.

1. Ford’s “Speed Dating’ Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaign

Ford’s clever and engaging Valentine’s Day video to promote the Ford Mustang went viral, racking up millions of views in the process.

In the clip, a woman meets several different men for separate blind dates, subsequently inviting each to take a ride in her car — a red Ford Mustang. After surreptitiously interviewing her dates about their lives and interests, the woman hits the gas without warning, and speeds through a parking lot, banking hard, doing donuts, and drifting the vehicle. The men hold on for dear life — some scared, some nervously laughing, some doing their best to enjoy the turbulent ride.

After each of the men were sufficiently freaked out, the woman stops the vehicle and tells them that she’s a professional stunt driver (Prestin Persson) and that the encounter has all been a part of “Ford Mustang’s Speed Dating.” Bewilderment turns to relief as the men get out and meet the camera crew that had been filming everything.

The advertising spot was effective for many reasons, including its play-on-words title, clever product integration, hidden camera setup, and subverted expectations storyline. While Ford has since removed the video from its channel, the clip lives on on other YouTube channels and has acquired more than a million additional views.

Businesses can learn from Ford’s success with this video, looking for smart and unique ways to bring their specific products into holidays like Valentine’s Day.

Related Post: The Best Holiday Marketing Campaigns With Influencers

2. Doritos Ketchup-flavored Rose Bouquets

In another clever and crafty campaign, Doritos flipped the script on men and women in 2016 by designing a bouquet of ketchup-flavored Doritos roses. At its launch, delivery was only available in Canada — specifically Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

The bouquets quickly sold out, not once, but twice. Still, the ad campaign for the bouquet blew up on social media, garnering millions of video views and 56 million earned impressions.

This year, the popular bouquets are once again only available in Canada and, once again, are already out of stock. Thankfully, for Canadians who missed out, as well as other chip-bouquet connoisseurs from around the world, Doritos is offering a DIY guide on their site so that people can make their own versions.

The success of the bouquet campaign would seem to come from the kitschy and ridiculous product at its center, as well as its gender role-reversal premise. Additionally, the limited availability of the unique bouquets made them a hot commodity, drawing even more attention to the creative campaign. In 2018, the campaign continues, but has broadened and adopted the tagline “The Better Way to Boldly Declare Your Love.”

Brands can learn a lot from Doritos’ ketchup-flavored roses campaign. Like Ford, Doritos found a way to attract and engage an audience on Valentine’s Day with a product traditionally unrelated to the holiday. With proper awareness of the market and the right strategy, however, Doritos proved that brands can succeed with their products by challenging convention in fun and shareable ways.

3. Omaze & Celebrity Idris Elba’s Social-Cause Valentine’s Marketing Campaign

Last year, philanthropic-auction platform Omaze partnered with actor Idris Elba to raise money for W.E. Can Lead and provide 1,000 young girls with year-long empowerment workshops in Sierra Leone. Omaze’s means for raising the funds was by offering the winner a Valentine’s Day-themed trip to London, where they would dine and spend time with Elba. Entrants were required to donate a minimum of $10 to W.E. Can Lead for the opportunity to win.

Omaze leveraged Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share two produced videos and other marketing collateral. According to the company, the campaign garnered 1.1 billion impressions, 13.7 million Facebook video views, 30,000 donors, and doubled their original monetary goal, resulting in more than $750,000 raised.

By offering a unique experience with a popular film and TV star for a good cause, Omaze was able to capture the interest of millions of people, as well as media outlets like CNN, BBC, and The Huffington Post. While not every brand has access to a celebrity to promote their message, many brands have seen social-cause marketing success with influencers.

At the end of the opportunity, Omaze reported that Elba, already a well-known and successful star, increased his Facebook following by 100,000. Moreover, each of the top six posts on his page were all related to the W.E. Can Lead campaign. The campaign also won the “Gold Distinction” in the Contest or Promotion category of the 2nd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards.

Related Post: How Walmart’s Charitable #FeedingHunger Campaign Reached Millions On Instagram

4. #RejectedCandyHearts, A Perennial Social Media Favorite


#RejectedCandyHearts isn’t a brand, product, or charitable campaign but, rather, a perennial social media movement. Dating back to 2009 and going viral on Twitter in 2011, the #RejectedCandyHearts cultural phenomenon has become a popular way for social media users to poke fun at the holiday.

Like many viral trends, the #RejectedCandyHearts concept is quite simple: Using Sweethearts — the classic, colorful, heart-shaped candies — as a backdrop, users replace the loving text on the front of the candy with their own messages. Sardonic, subversive, or risque — sometimes all out inappropriate — #RejectedCandyHearts is just the kind of thing that goes viral on the internet.

In 2014, NBC was a finalist in the “Humor” category for their #RejectedCandyHearts around shows like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Community. While the height of its popularity seemed to be between 2014 and 2015, the #RejectedCandyHearts trend still persists on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

Businesses should pay attention to trending topics and hashtags, and play along when appropriate. However, it’s always recommended that brands think before they tweet as riding the coattails of some of these viral conversations can sometimes backfire.

It’s also wise for brands to do their due diligence on any trends they wish to get involved with. Working with a reputable ad firm, influencer marketing agency, or other in-the-know digital company that can offer guidance on these matters can also be helpful for brands.

5. Top Men’s YouTuber Alpha M. Shares Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas In A Video With Blue Apron

Ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service Blue Apron partnered with top YouTube influencer, Aaron Marino of alpha m. to create a sponsored video “5 AWESOME Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas – Creative & Affordable.” As millions search for Valentine’s Day gift inspiration each year, partnering with top social media influencers to create holiday or event-centric guides can be a powerful and effective way of marketing a brand, product, or service to millennial and Gen Z audiences who are attuned to following YouTubers for timely, relevant advice.

Aaron Marino is the YouTube influencer behind the popular 3.2 million subscriber men’s advice channel, alpha m, where he offers weekly advice on topics ranging from grooming to style to diet. For Blue Apron’s Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, Marino created a sponsored video structured like others on his channel (over half a million views to date), where he enthusiastically offers advice, insights, and how-to’s distilled in easily digestible numbered lists.

Amid Marino’s top tips for Valentine’s Day gift ideas that won’t break the bank (including filming a personalized video and planning a night ending in a staycation), he incorporates Blue Apron’s meal service as the fifth and final tip — crafting a sumptuous, home-cooked meal for your Valentine’s date — even when you’re not kitchen savvy or have time to grocery shop.

To be most effective, the best sponsored content with social media influencers share an anecdotal tidbit or story drawn from the influencer’s personal story complete with an inside look at the brand/product/service, outcomes, a takeaway, and an easy, actionable way for audiences to experience the same all while properly incorporating the sponsoring brand’s messaging.

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The post The 5 Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns That Won Social Media’s Heart appeared first on Mediakix | Influencer Marketing Agency.

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The 16 Biggest Benefits of Influencer Marketing

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The 16 Benefits Of Influencer Marketing All Marketing Pros Should Know

The average person spends up to two hours on social media each day with certain demographics spending nearly every waking moment on their phones. In light of this, it’s no wonder that influencer marketing, which leverages the popularity of social media stars to promote brands and their products, has emerged as one of the fastest-growing segments of advertising.

Today, businesses from almost every conceivable category are leveraging the power and potential of influencer marketing. According to a recent survey, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2017, and of those, 92% found it to be effective.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top benefits of the influencer marketing that illustrate its effectiveness as an advertising strategy.

1. Return On Investment (ROI)

From large corporations to newly minted startups, all varieties of businesses are seeing positive returns from influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has been shown to produce up to $11.69 in earned media value (EMV) per $1 spent.

Its proven ability to generate enormous returns on investment has helped to make influencer marketing a $1 billion industry on Instagram alone and has led nearly half of marketers surveyed to say they’ll increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2018.

Related Post: A Comprehensive Guide To Measuring Influencer Marketing ROI

2. Influencers Impact Purchase Decisions

Numerous studies show that influencers have the power to impact the purchase decisions of consumers of all ages. In a joint survey conducted by Twitter and Annalect, 40% of respondents reported that they’ve purchased an item online after seeing a social media influencer use it.

Furthermore, 22% of marketers cite influencer marketing as the fastest growing customer acquisition channel, and more than 50% say they acquire higher quality customers through influencer marketing compared to other acquisition channels.

The results of these studies and more indicate that influencer marketing is a successful tool for attracting consumers with high purchase intent, and thus is an effective method for driving sales.

3. Access To Millennial & Gen Z Consumers

As young audiences leave TV behind in favor of digital media, influencer marketing is now a mandatory channel for reaching critical millennial and Gen Z audiences.

85% of Gen Z uses social media to learn about new products, indicating that young consumers in particular are highly receptive to receiving specific product information through social platforms.

Furthermore, 40% of millennial YouTube subscribers believe their favorite influencer understands them better than their friends, illustrating the trust, credibility, and deep personal connections social media influencers forge with their young followers.

4. Influencers Are Trendsetters

Influencers are often a go-to source of information about new products within their industry (beauty, fashion, tech, fitness, etc.). Influencers’ followers respect and sometimes even idolize their opinions within their categories of expertise.

As a result, a product often gains “cool factor” when an influencer recommends it. In this way, influencers are trendsetters that social media users trust to identify and comment on the hottest products and trends.

Often, influencers are given access to new products before they are even available to the general public. For example, Huawei Mobile gifted top tech influencer Judner Aura (UrAvgConsumer) the new Mate 10 Pro smartphone prior to its US launch. Aura created a 13-minute YouTube video that provided viewers with an in-depth review of the phone, getting them excited about the new tech product in advance of its US release.

5. Authentic Messaging & Endorsements

Most large influencers are highly selective when choosing brand partnerships, adding a level of authenticity to sponsored influencer content.

By selecting sponsorship opportunities that are a good fit for their image and audience, influencers are able to partner with brands they genuinely love and deliver sponsored messages that feel relevant and organic.

Related Post: The Top 12 Things To Consider When Finding Influencers

6. Relatability & Credibility From Beloved Peers

Influencers are trusted by their followers, and their opinions have high value and reliability. On YouTube, 70% of teenage subscribers say they relate more to the platform’s influencers than traditional celebrities.

Moreover, six in 10 subscribers say they’re more apt to follow purchase advice from their favorite YouTube creator over traditional TV or movie stars. These statistics illustrate that many consumers perceive influencer endorsements to be substantially more credible than celebrity endorsements, likely due to the ability of influencers to relate with consumers.

Related Post: Influencer Marketing vs. Celebrity Endorsements: Which Is Right For Your Brand?

7. Audience & Demographic Targeting

Influencer marketing campaigns can be as broad or niche as a brand desires and a variety of different methods can be used to help determine the most appropriate influencers to reach a desired audience.

Brands can work with influencers who specialize in a particular category of content, such as fashion, travel, or cooking. Additionally, when selecting influencers for a campaign, businesses can request access to information on their follower demographics. These factors can be instrumental in helping brands optimize their campaign to reach a specific target audience.

Related Post: The 20 Most Popular Types Of YouTubers: Genres, Examples & More

8. Optimization & Economies Of Scale

Proper strategy and planning of an influencer marketing campaign helps brands achieve the largest reach and highest engagement rates. Qualified professionals like influencer marketing agencies can also monitor and manage influencer marketing efforts from beginning to end, helping to optimize the entire resource-intensive process.

After the data from a campaign has been analyzed properly, content can also be relaunched or repurposed with messaging tweaks — or promoted by other influencers — to further help optimize KPIs and ROI.

9. Versatility Across The Most Popular Social Platforms

Influencer marketing allows brands to reach audiences on both web and mobile. Additionally, many influencers are active on multiple popular social platforms.

Depending on the influencer and campaign, the content created for brands can be cross-promoted on a variety of platforms, including Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, and personal blogs, in order to maximize a campaign’s reach.

10. Shareability Across Both Web & Social 

In comparison to native advertisements, social media users are more likely to share influencer marketing content with their own followers, expanding the reach of a brand’s message to even greater audiences.

Because influencers are experts at creating content their followers love, influencer marketing campaigns often achieve a level of virality that many traditional advertisements lack.

11. Custom Tailored To Each Brand & Campaign 

Influencer marketing is a fully-customizable. Campaign elements such as budget, number and type of influencers used, creative messaging, post frequency and scheduling, key performance indicators (KPIs), and a host of other variables, can all be tailored to fit an individual brand’s needs.

12. Licensability Of Sponsored Influencer Content 

Depending on the terms of the agreement between the brand and the influencer, content from influencer marketing campaigns can be reused to further a brand’s marketing goals.

When pitted against the costs of content associated with a production company or traditional ad agency, influencer content presents marketers with immense value, and, if licensed, can be shared on a brand’s social platforms or even used in traditional advertising formats such as print or television.

Related Post: What Marketers Must Know About Sponsored Content Ownership

13. Longterm Influencer Relationships

Embarking on an influencer marketing campaign isn’t just about metrics — it’s about building positive relationships. By establishing rapport with influencers, brands can create strong and lasting partnerships that drive long-term results.

Additionally, having a relationship with a leading influencer marketing agency keeps a business up to date on new opportunities, as well as the latest industry trends and best practices.

14. Actionable Insights & Data

Influencer marketing campaigns can yield invaluable data for brands. From engagement information such as views, likes, comments, and shares, to click through rate (CTR), acquisitions, social sentiment, and other important KPIs, brands not only have the ability to reach new audiences through influencer marketing, they can learn about the behaviors of their own customer base as well.

15. Flexible Pricing

In contrast to celebrity endorsements, television commercials, and other forms of traditional advertising, influencer marketing is a highly accessible form or promotion that can meet the needs of both large and small businesses. Due to its flexible pricing structure, campaigns can be designed to fit a wide range of goals and budgets.

Related Post: The Complete Guide To Influencer Marketing Pricing

16. Immense Reach and Visibility

Many social media influencers have audiences in the millions, with the 50 most followed Instagram influencer accounts totaling more than 2.5 billion followers. While influencer marketing certainly isn’t about blindly following alluring numbers, marketers can build highly effective campaigns that reach millions of consumers with proper influencer vetting based on both qualitative and quantitative factors.

Furthermore, influencer marketing helps brands bypass obstacles many other online marketing mediums face today. With the mainstream adoption of ad blockers, as well as users’ general disdain for overt advertising, influencer marketing offers brands a viable, proven way to interact with consumers in a natural and unobtrusive way.

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The post The 16 Biggest Benefits of Influencer Marketing appeared first on Mediakix | Influencer Marketing Agency.

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Why 2017 Was The Year Cable TV Died

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Is Cable TV Dying? Yes, According To These 2017 Stats & Trends

2017 was a particularly bad year for cable TV. America’s largest cable TV providers representing 95% of the U.S. cable industry lost 410,000 subscribers during the first quarter of the year (a significant drop from the 10,000 subscribers they gained during Q1 2016). Inversely, Netflix gained 8.3 million subscribers during the final quarter of 2017 alone, demonstrating a considerable threat to cable.

As consumers leave cable behind, many are turning to digital video content on mobile and social media. Younger generations, in particular, are watching TV less, with 18-24-year-olds watching an average of 12.72 hours of traditional TV a week during Q2 2017, compared to 15.08 hours during Q2 2016 (a decrease of over 15% in a year).

A multitude of factors played into the decline of cable and traditional TV in 2017. Here we’ll unpack the four overarching trends contributing to TV’s continual decline.

The 4 Overarching Trends Contributing To The Death Of Cable TV

The widespread popularity of social media, as well as technological advances in mobile devices and new options for television viewing, has left many believing that traditional TV is on its way out. Digital technology has unquestionably reshaped the time we spend watching TV and the platforms we choose to watch it on.

1. Growth Of Digital — Digital Ad Spend Overtakes TV’s In 2017

Digital media grew tremendously in 2017 with digital ad spend at $209 billion accounting for 41% compared to TV’s 35%. In the last 12 months,

  • Global social media users grew by 13%
  • Global internet users grew by 7%
  • Global mobile users grew by 4%

More than 4 billion people now use the internet, 3.1 billion use social media, and 5.1 billion use mobile devices. The growth in these three areas is diverting a subset of global consumers’ attention away from traditional TV.

Additionally, marketers are pouring more resources into digital advertising. A survey of 500 marketers found that during 2017, nearly 60% increased their marketing spend in the areas of social media, content, and website. This signals increasing interest in digital media, as many advertisers take a step back from TV advertising.

2. Growth Of Social — Social Media Users Grew By 20% In 2017

In 2017, the number of social media users worldwide grew by 20%, and the average person spent an hour and 46 minutes on social media per day. Social media provides an interactive form of entertainment that many consumers use as a substitute for traditional television.

Many social media sites took video-first initiatives more seriously in 2017, offering even more non-traditional television options. On August 9, Facebook announced Facebook Watch, a feature dedicated entirely to television shows on Facebook. Facebook is reportedly willing to spend upwards of $1 billion dollars on original Watch content and has already paid significant sums for music licensing.

As social media sites double down on both short and long-form content, users are turning to social media to satisfy their video content needs. As social video trends upwards, it is likely that consumer will further distance themselves from cable television.

Related Post: 8 Reasons Why Social Media Videos Are Hugely Popular With Audiences

3. Growth Of Mobile — Over 5 Billion Mobile Devices

The technological advancement and affordability of smartphones is another trend contributing to the decline of cable TV. Today, 95% of Americans own a cellphone and 77% own a smartphone.

Smartphones allow people to access mobile video everywhere, and as mobile companies develop phones that have bigger and higher resolution screens, many consumers are regularly using their phones to view video content.

Several apps exclusive to mobile are helping to drive this trend. Snapchat is one such example and maintains 166 million daily active users as of 2017. Its video-centric feature, Snapchat Discover, took notable steps towards mobile video in 2017 by signing NBC, ABC, A+E Networks, and others as partners.

Additionally, the growth in availability and popularity of unlimited data plans makes the use of smartphones for video streaming more feasible, upping the time users spend on their mobile devices. The increasing amount of time people spend using smartphones may be cutting into the time they previously spent watching traditional TV.

Aside from diverting attention away from traditional television, mobile devices also provide another means for watching online video apart from desktops and tablets. Netflix generated more revenue than any other app in Apple’s app store in 2017, suggesting that a large portion of its 117.5 million subscribers are watching on mobile. YouTube’s mobile app has also proved immensely popular, with 70% of its more than one billion users watching on a mobile device.

4. Cord-Cutting & Streaming — Video Streaming Surpasses Cable TV In 2017

2017 was the first year in history in which watching downloaded or streamed video was more popular than watching traditional TV among U.S. consumers aged 45 and under

Netflix leads the pack of streaming video providers and is predicted to hit 800 million subscribers by 2021. A recent study asked participants which they associated most with watching TV, Netflix or broadcast/cable TV networks. 72% of respondents between the ages of 16 to 24 chose Netflix, demonstrating an overwhelming preference for online video streaming and consumers’ shifting definitions of “TV”.

Additionally, as of 2017 more than half of U.S. consumers subscribe to a paid streaming video service.

The introduction of online video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video present a compelling alternative to cable TV. Consumers aren’t necessarily watching television less, but they’re choosing to access television content through online streaming services instead of cable subscriptions, effectively cutting the cord.

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4 Top Brands’ Super Bowl Marketing Campaigns With Social Media Influencers

For the latest influencer marketing news, resources, and case studies, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

How Amazon, Kraft, Bose & Other Top Brands Incorporated Influencers Into Their 2018 Super Bowl Marketing Efforts

Each year, millions of Americans tune in to watch the Super Bowl, which marks one of the biggest advertising opportunities of the year. Last year’s Super Bowl generated $385 million in ad revenue, with a 30-second television ad costing $5 million.

In recent years, social media has played a larger role in the Super Bowl advertising landscape. Brands of all types are taking to Instagram and YouTube to tease their highly anticipated Super Bowl ads in the weeks and days preceding the game. Additionally, many brands are implementing creative, Super Bowl-specific influencer marketing campaigns.

In the following case study, we’ll examine how four top brands leveraged social media influencers of all types and sizes for Super Bowl LII advertising.

Amazon Partners With Celebrity Influencers For Super Bowl Marketing

During Super Bowl LII, Amazon promoted its smart speaker, the Amazon Echo, as well as its popular AI service, Alexa, through a hilarious TV ad starring four well-known celebrities. No stranger to influencer marketing, Amazon’s marketing strategy consistently leverages influencers to promote its products across social.  

In the commercial, Alexa loses her voice and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos turns to Rebel Wilson (teaser vid, sponsored photo), Cardi B. (teaser vid, sponsored GIF), Gordon Ramsey (teaser vid, sponsored video), and Anthony Hopkins (teaser vid) as substitutes. Each wields an Amazon headset and plays the role of Alexa for various Echo users.

Additionally, Amazon leveraged each celebrity’s influence on Instagram to generate buzz surrounding the commercial and bolster its success. Leading up to the Super Bowl, all four celebrities promoted the commercial through sponsored Instagram posts.

In total, the four celebrities published seven sponsored posts on Instagram, which have garnered over 1.3 million likes and 14,500 comments to date for an overall campaign engagement rate of 5.7%.


cardi b amazon super bowl marketing

One of the celebrities featured in the commercial was Cardi B., an American rapper with nearly 18 million followers on Instagram. In order to promote Amazon’s Super Bowl ad, she published two sponsored Instagram posts, which garnered nearly 1 million engagements (likes and comments) in total.

In the example above, Cardi B. opens an Amazon box to reveal a headset. The video teases Amazon’s Super Bowl spot by showing the date of the Super Bowl, “2/4/18,” at the end.

The ambiguous hints across every celebrity influencers’ sponsored teaser Instagram videos help Amazon peak the curiosity of their fans and entice them to tune in to view the commercial. By capitalizing on each celebrity influencers’ enormous social reach, Amazon effectively generated awareness and anticipation for its 2018 Super Bowl ad.

Related Post: How Much Are Top Celebrity Influencers Paid To Post On Instagram?

Kraft Uses Influencers To Promote Its Inventive Super Bowl LII Instagram Contest

For its first-ever Super Bowl commercial, American food conglomerate Kraft ran an innovative social media contest. Unlike other brands who highlighted celebrities in their Super Bowl LII commercials, Kraft featured ordinary people in order to emphasize the brand’s wholesome, family-oriented values.

To do so, Kraft invited Instagram and Twitter users to post photos and videos of themselves watching Super Bowl LII for a chance to appear in Kraft’s commercial during the game. To enter, users were instructed to post photos and videos with the hashtags #FamilyGreatly and #KraftEntry between 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. EST on February 5th, 2018.

The resulting ad, which comprised entirely of photos and videos of families watching the game, positively positioned Kraft as an accessible, family-centered brand interested in connecting with its customers. Spoken phrases in the commercial such as “There is no right way to family” also firmly plant Kraft as a forward-thinking company that promotes diversity and acceptance.

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, Kraft also partnered with six Instagram influencers to promote the contest. Four of the Instagrammers involved were macro influencers with over 100,000 followers. The remaining two were micro influencers with less than 100,000 followers.


lejuanjames kraft instagram super bowl

Instagram influencer LeJuan James was the largest influencer that Kraft collaborated with to promote the contest. James published one sponsored photo that features himself and friends enjoying the game, which subtly emphasizes that the modern “family” can include friends. Within the caption, he clearly explains the contest rules and encourages his 1.9 million followers to enter.

kraft super bowl contest winner

In comparison to James’ post, this user-generated photo offers another take on the concept of family and features an adorable baby dressed up as a football. Within the commercial, the photo positively associates Kraft with family events and memories.

Related Post: Ranking The Best Social Media Campaigns Of Super Bowl 51

Michelob ULTRA Partners With Actor Chris Pratt For Its Super Bowl Campaign

Similar to Amazon’s Super Bowl LII TV spot, alcohol brand Michelob ULTRA centered its Super Bowl ad around a well-known celebrity. The commercial follows the fictitious journey of actor Chris Pratt as he learns he’s won the part in an upcoming Michelob ULTRA ad and prepares for the role, only to learn that he’s only been cast as an extra.

To raise additional awareness leading up to the Super Bowl, the beer brand partnered with Pratt and Instagram influencers, the majority of which were micro influencers. Each of the influencers promoted Michelob ULTRA generally by positioning it as their drink of choice during the game, while Pratt specifically generated excitement for his upcoming Michelob ULTRA Super Bowl ad.


chris pratt michelob ulta super bowl ad

In partnership with Michelob ULTRA, Pratt posted two sponsored Instagram photos. The higher performing of two has garnered more than 900,000 likes and 4,800 comments to date for an impressive engagement rate of 12.8%.

The post announces his role in Michelob ULTRA’s forthcoming Super Bowl ad and includes a humorous caption enticing his fans to tune in to hear him sing about beer.

jera bean michelob ultra super bowl campaign

Fitness and lifestyle Instagrammer Jera Foster-Fell was the largest non-celebrity influencer involved in the campaign. In anticipation of the game, she posted one Instagram photo, which features her standing against two cases of Michelob ULTRA wearing a Philadelphia Eagles jersey.

By aligning the sponsorship with Super Bowl LII, Michelob ULTRA capitalizes on the increased beer consumption that inevitably accompanies the big game. Foster-Fell made a point to engage with a diverse range of consumers by saying, “Who are you rooting for today?! Or are ya just tuning in for the halftime show?” in the caption.

While Pratt’s post served to boost viewership of the Michelob ULTRA Super Bowl commercial specifically, Foster-Fell’s sponsored post effectively promoted Michelob ULTRA beer more generally.

Related Post: Celebrity Endorsements vs. Influencer Marketing: Which Is Better For Your Brand?

Bose Connects NFL Fans & Athletes Through Its #FootballFeelings Campaign

Of the four brands we included in this round-up, Bose is the only one that did not invest in a Super Bowl TV spot. Nevertheless, the consumer electronics brand reached millions of consumers through a heartfelt YouTube video series and Instagram campaign that connected die-hard Eagles and Patriots fans with players on each team.

In the days leading up to Super Bowl LII, Bose created three videos: one showcasing a lifelong Eagles fan, one featuring a die-hard Patriots fan, and a third in which each fan was surprised with two tickets to the game.

Bose recruited 13 Patriot and Eagles players to share clips from the video series on Instagram. Each NFL player utilized the unifying hashtag #FootballFeelings.


bose super bowl LII instagram marketing

As part of the Instagram campaign, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz published one sponsored video. The clip highlights Eagles superfan Kelly and her father Fran being surprised with Super Bowl tickets and has received more than 58,000 likes and 200 comments to date for an engagement rate of 15.1%.

By sending two hardcore fans to the big game, Bose effectively infused an act of kindness into its Super Bowl marketing campaign and positioned itself as a brand that gives back to consumers. Using the social reach of top Eagles and Patriots players, Bose raised positive brand sentiment amongst millions of fellow fans.

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What Facebook’s Algorithm Changes Mean For Influencers & Brands

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What Marketers Must Know About Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Changes

Since its founding in February 2004, Facebook has amassed more than 2.1 billion monthly active users. The average person spends 35 minutes a day on the platform, which amounts to more than a year and a half over the course of a lifetime. According to the social networking site’s most recent earnings call, in 2017 Facebook saw a 47% year-over-year increase in revenue.

Despite its wide-reaching success, Facebook’s history has been peppered with controversy, particularly when it comes to its News Feed algorithm. Largely a mystery to the general public, the algorithm determines the order in which content appears in users’ News Feeds and subsequently the information over two billion people are exposed to every day.

Facebook recently announced a significant change to the algorithm’s ranking system that may threaten the ability of influencers, brands, and news outlets to succeed on the platform. Here we’ll break down how the Facebook algorithm has evolved over time, the recent changes, and the potential impacts of these changes on the influencer marketing industry.

What Is Facebook’s Algorithm?

Facebook’s algorithm determines the order in which content appears in a user’s’ News Feed (the stream of content that a user first sees after logging in to Facebook). The News Feed contains a variety of content including posts published by a user’s Facebook friends, posts published by Pages a user follows or likes, advertisements, and suggested content.

According to Facebook, the algorithm includes an individualized ranking system that predicts which content a given user is most likely to engage with and orders their feed accordingly. Factors like the content format, publisher, and past user activity impact where content appears in a specific user’s News Feed.

Related Post: Does Instagram’s Algorithm Cater To Top Influencers?

The History Of Facebook’s Algorithm

In the past few years, Facebook’s algorithm has been criticized for notable shortcomings. Though this creates a satisfying user experience, it’s been criticised for creating an “echo chamber”, allowing a person to cut off other worldviews and be surrounded by only information they agree with. Many see the News Feed’s ranking system as especially problematic due to the fact that many use Facebook as a source of news and political information.

Additionally, the platform has a complicated history with publishers, many of whom are dependent on Facebook as a source of traffic. In fact, in 2015, Facebook surpassed Google as a referral traffic source for the first time. However, changes to the Facebook algorithm, both in the past and present, have made Facebook a less viable distribution platform for publishers and jeopardized their overall success.

Other periods of controversy include May 2016, when it was discovered that Facebook workers manipulated the way trending stories appear in News Feeds to suppress conservative media. In September of the same year, it came out that divisive ads were purchased on the platform by a Russian company with the intention of swaying U.S. voter decisions in the 2016 presidential election. In the context of the News Feed, fake news became a hot topic because fake Facebook accounts can push fabricated news stories higher in News Feeds.

Related Post: 5 Of The Biggest Controversies & Criticisms Facing Facebook

Recent Changes To Facebook’s Algorithm

Looking ahead to 2018, Facebook has made it clear that it intends to focus more on individual accounts and less on publisher content. On January 11, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is adjusting its News Feed algorithm to prioritize posts from family and friends over content published by Pages.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg stated, “…you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups…you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.”

Zuckerberg also reemphasized the News Feed change in the company’s most recent earnings announcement and discussed Facebook’s ongoing focus on “meaningful connections between people” rather than “passive consumption of content.” He estimates that the changes to the algorithm decreased time spent on Facebook by roughly 5% in the fourth quarter of 2018, illustrating just how serious the company is about redefining the News Feed.

The changes effectively deprioritize content from public Facebook Pages, which are owned by businesses, publications, social media influencers and other public figures, making it harder for these entities to gain visibility in the News Feed and subsequently drive traffic to their websites.

Posts Users Will See At The Top Of News Feeds:

  • Content shared by Facebook friends
  • Posts that foster person-to-person interaction
  • Posts that generate conversations

Posts Users Will See Less Of In News Feeds:

  • Content shared by Facebook Pages
  • Posts that foster person-to-page interaction
  • Posts that use “engagement-bait

What Do Facebook’s Algorithm Changes Mean For Influencers & Brands?

The full impact of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm change remains to be seen. Influencers, brands, and news outlets who depend on Facebook as a primary source of traffic may suffer significantly as a result of decreased post visibility.

Jessica Nigri, one of the world’s largest cosplay creators, has 4.7 million followers on Facebook. She complains that past changes to the News Feed algorithm have “decimated” the reach of her Facebook Page, and fears that the latest update will make matters even worse.

In light of Facebook’s algorithm changes, influencers and brands should consider diversifying their content distribution methods by leveraging blogs and other social media platforms. Though the full effects of the recent News Feed changes have yet to be discovered, things certainly aren’t looking great for the future of Facebook Pages and the brands, influencers, and publishers who rely on them.

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Instagrammers Vs. YouTubers: Which Is Best For Your Brand?

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Instagrammers Vs. YouTubers: A Guide To Choosing Between The Biggest Influencer Marketing Platforms

Today, many of the world’s top influencers reside on two primary platforms: Instagram and YouTube. With over 1 billion users and 1 billion hours of content watched each day, YouTube is one of the largest social media platforms in existence. Instagram is another dominant force in the social sphere, boasting 800 million users.

Both of the video-centric social networks have incredible value and offer distinct advantages and disadvantages to brands. From features, to formats, to demographics, to user behavior, the list of things to consider when designing a campaign for either platform can be nuanced and complex. Below, we compare Instagrammers to YouTubers in order to help marketers choose between the two types of prominent influencers.

Instagrammer vs. YouTuber Statistics


  • The 50 most followed Instagram influencers boast a combined 2.5 billion followers.
  • With an estimated 14.5 million sponsored posts, influencer marketing on Instagram is a $1 billion industry.
  • It’s estimated that tens of millions of people make money off of Instagram. Top Instagrammers can make up to tens of thousands of dollars per post and $500,000/year.


  • 7 out of 10 YouTube subscribers relate better to their favorite YouTube content creator than to traditional television or movie stars, and 40% of millennials believe their favorite YouTuber understands them better than their friends.
  • Videos created by the top 25 YouTube stars were viewed 3x more, commented on 12x more, and resulted in 2x as many actions than videos from traditional celebrities.
  • A YouTuber with one to three million subscribers averages $125,000 per post.

Content By Platform


Instagram offers two publishing channels to their users: A content feed with photos and videos, as well as a video Stories feature.

Instagram’s content feed includes photos as well as videos up to 60 seconds long. Additionally, users can post multiple photos and videos at a time with the carousel feature.

Stories have become incredibly popular on Instagram, eclipsing the Snapchat feature it borrowed from. These videos are limited to 15 seconds each but can be stitched together in sequences. Clickable links can be included in Stories, allowing influencers and businesses to direct traffic to desired websites.

Instagram has also been steadily rolling out new features such as Live Stories, Boomerang and Superzoom to keep content fresh and exciting.

Instagrammers commonly develop content around niche interests and have followings hungry for their information and insights. Popular Instagrammers specialize in categories such as fitness, fashion, lifestyle, and travel, providing their followers with trusted advice in their respective categories.

Instagram’s traditional content feed, as well as the Stories feature, are highly interactive. The biggest influencers receive tens or hundreds of thousands of likes and comments on a daily basis.

Related Post: How 4 Top Brands & Influencers Market With Instagram Stories


YouTube is a video-only platform that specializes in both short and long-form content. Verified YouTubers can upload videos up to 12 hours long, but most stay well below the limit, typically posting videos between 4 and 10 minutes. Like many Instagrammers, popular YouTubers produce content for specific categories, including beauty, family, tech and travel vlogging, as well as gaming and other highly-trafficked areas of interest.

YouTube also has a Live video option, allowing audiences a more intimate and immediate connection to their favorite YouTubers. Some YouTubers have leveraged the feature to hold “talk shows” and other more formal videocasts.

YouTube offers a variety of engagement tools that allow creators to embed clickable links throughout their videos. YouTubers’ videos are easily searchable by title or keyword on the platform, as well as within the video library on their individual channels.

Comments on popular YouTube videos often extend beyond simple likes and dislikes, turning into long, multi-user discussion threads.

Sponsorship Opportunities


Brands can work with Instagrammers directly to create content through any of the platform’s mediums i.e. feed photo and video posts, carousels, Stories, and Live Stories. Sponsored influencer posts can be used for a wide array of purposes, such as raising brand awareness or promoting a specific product or service.

Instagram influencers often use calls to action (CTAs) in the captions of their sponsored photos and videos to encourage user participation. Instagram doesn’t allow for links in normal post descriptions, so influencers often include them within their profiles, offering verbal and text cues such as “link in bio.” Influencers also commonly use brand tags and hashtags to add cohesion to sponsored campaigns.

In sponsored Instagram Stories, account and hashtag links can be overlaid on top of the content. Additionally, business accounts, which are available to all users and commonly used by influencers, provide the option to offer a swipe-up CTA (such as “See More” or “Shop Now”) that directs viewers to a clickable URL.

Per FTC regulations, sponsored posts must be disclosed through specific hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored. Moreover, Instagram’s new paid partnership feature offers businesses and influencers an additional way to be transparent with followers about their relationships and the nature of posts.

Related Post: 30+ Instagram Case Studies From The World’s Best Brands


The long form nature of YouTube videos provides brands with extensive opportunities to promote their messages and products. Sponsored YouTube videos typically integrate a brand’s messaging and products into an influencer’s regular content. Some videos, such as in-depth product reviews, are solely dedicated to promoting a brand or product.

YouTube influencers often mention the sponsoring brand through text overlays, verbal shoutouts, the description box, or a combination of the three. Additionally, many YouTubers utilize CTAs in their videos that point to links in their descriptions.

The FTC requires that written disclosures be included in sponsored video posts on YouTube, and additional verbal disclosures are recommended. YouTube’s new paid promotion tag is another way to let viewers know about a sponsored video, but doesn’t satisfy FTC guidelines.

Related Post: How Google, HP & Other Top Tech Brands Market To Millions On YouTube

Should Brands Focus on Instagrammers vs. YouTubers?

When selecting an influencer marketing platform, there is no “right” or superior choice. In order to make a decision, a brand should first outline its marketing goals, and then look at the demographics, platforms, and influencers that will help it achieve those goals.

For every campaign, the optimal platform depends on the type of message a business wishes to share, as well as the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are vital to its success. Working with a qualified influencer marketing agency to help advise and guide KPIs and campaigns can help businesses achieve their influencer marketing goals, maximize their return on investment (ROI), and properly select between Instagrammers vs. YouTubers.

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Exclusive Interview with VidCon CEO, Jim Louderback

Subscribe to our industry digest for the latest news and trends on top Instagrammers, YouTubers, bloggers, & live streamers!

Industry Spotlight: VidCon’s Jim Louderback Discusses The Future & Trends Of Online Video & Influencer Marketing

Since its inception in 2010, VidCon has become the world’s largest online video conference of its kind. No other event unites over 30,000 online video creators, fans, and businesses in physical space to celebrate video’s present and future.

Online video industry veteran and entrepreneur, Jim Louderback took over the role of VidCon CEO in September 2017. His resume is a dizzying one, with accomplishments that include starting, running, and selling multiple successful businesses. Previously he held the role of VidCon’s programming executive but now looks to shape the event to serve audiences worldwide.

We sat down with Louderback to discuss fascinating questions like, “What is the future of online video?” and “What will the next social video platforms look like?” See how he predicts influencer marketing will progress in the coming years and what’s in store for VidCon 2018 in our exclusive interview.

1.Tell me a bit about yourself and VidCon (e.g. brief company history and highlights, your role, how you got your start at VidCon, etc.).

I started in technology as a programmer and developer and then fell into media. I ended up working in magazines, TV networks, websites, and in 2007 started running a company called Revision3, which was an early online video network. I sold it in 2012 to Discovery and worked at Discovery for a couple years running their digital networks.

VidCon started in 2010, at the Hyatt in Century City across the street from CAA over a weekend (I don’t think anyone at CAA knew what was going on) with about 1,400 people in the basement. At Revision3, we had a couple of our talent there and we were there.

So VidCon grew as Revision3 grew, and I ended up speaking at each one and we sponsored. After I sold the company to Discovery, I worked a deal with VidCon where we brought a big 60-foot mechanical shark to VidCon, because Shark Week was right after VidCon that year.

Jim Louderback Vidcon CEO Sharkweek

After Discovery, I had a little bit of a non-compete, so I couldn’t work for a TV network or an online video company, but I could work at events. So I called up Hank and we chatted for a while. It turned out that VidCon was going from a two-track show, which was the community track (the fans) and the industry, and adding a creator track in the middle.

They needed someone to come in and take the industry track to the next level. I wasn’t doing anything and was very familiar with VidCon, so they asked me if I wanted to do it — I said sure! I thought it would just be for a year and then I would go back and do something else but it was so much fun I kept doing it.

Fast forward three VidCons in Anaheim, events in Europe and Australia, too — last summer Hank (founder of VidCon) said, “You know, VidCon is growing, we have all this stuff going on, I need to bring someone in to help run it. How would you like be CEO?” I had never thought about that and it took me about ten seconds to say yes. And now I’m CEO. I’ve been CEO since right after we got back from VidCon Australia. 

Jim Louderback interview Instagram selfie

2. How did Revision3 get started and how did you get involved?

Revision3 was founded by a couple guys I worked with at TechTV, a cable television company about technology launched in ’98 which I helped start. It was pretty revolutionary, but a couple of the guys working there and I decided to do Revision3.

At the same time, they decided to do this company, Dig. Dig ended going through the roof and Revision3 was trying to capitalize on our ability to do similar things, except do it all online and stream it.

At that point we were doing it through iTunes video, podcasting video, and a couple other ways, and we got on YouTube early as well. So they raised a bunch of money at Dig and needed someone to come in as CEO. I came in pretty early on and started working with the team there, built it up, did lots of great stuff, and then sold it.

3. How would you say your role at Revision3 prepared you for your current role at VidCon?

Revision3 started at about the same time YouTube started. As the online video business grew and matured in many different ways, we did as well. We were one of the early MCNs (multi-channel networks), one of the early networks that were very focused on individual niches, rather than trying to be everything to everybody.

As the industry grew, we grew with it. I got to know all the ins-and-outs of the industry and a lot of the players. It was a perfect way to start running the industry track at VidCon, because we had been in the industry, I had spoken at all these events, and knew all these people. And with a content background, I could help curate the content.

Running the industry track for three years helped me understand the rest of VidCon. I don’t know it as well as all the people who have been working on all three tracks, but I have learned a lot over the past three months on how other pieces of the event work.

4. How has VidCon changed and evolved since 2010?

VidCon is a mirror to the online video industry. When it first started, there were 1,400 people and it was primarily a way for the early creators and their fans to get together in real time. The business aspect of online video was still emerging.

As the online video business started to kick off, people started to make money, media companies started to come in and wanted to spend time there, and brands and agencies started to get involved, VidCon naturally evolved to be a place where creators and fans could get together with each other and celebrate their love of the online video industry and the communities they were creating.


But it also became a place for business to get done and for companies to connect and make deals with each, and for brands and agencies to figure out what’s going on and meet and work with some of the top online creators and top networks.

Related Post: Not Just For Fans: VidCon From A Marketer’s Perspective

As the online video industry grew even further, it turned out that this whole model of working in online video, being a creator, honing your craft, building your subscriber list, and ultimately building a career in online video, was something that was aspirational for an entire demographic (that realized this was a real career choice). That’s why the creator track came in and it’s become one of the most active and interesting parts of VidCon.

VidCon is really three different conferences in one that coexist and intermingle.

The creators and the communities were the original part of it that we celebrate. It’s democratizing this entire creative economy, which is what we do across the board. The creator track is at the center of that. How do I leverage my peers? How do I get inspired by people who have been there and done that? How do I build my channel, audience, and community? And how do I make better videos?

On the industry side, the industry has grown to be a huge billion dollar industry.


Now it’s the number one industry conference focused on online video and it is the only industry conference anywhere that I know of where you can spend all day on weighty issues like monetization, demonetization, audience development, the future of online video, the future of media in general, and then walk out and see all the fans that enable this whole thing to happen who are so excited and passionate just to be there and experience it.

Most conferences are separate from the audiences they deal with.

Television, in many ways, is afraid of their audience and holds them at bay. Online video celebrates its audience. VidCon is such a great way to continue to do that. So that’s what we do. We’re for the people that make online video and for the people who love it. And we democratize the whole creative economy. That’s our mission.


5. What was your attendance at one of your conferences last year? Wasn’t it over 30K?

U.S. was over 30,000. We got close to 10,000 in Australia, and I think we’re in the 4,000 range in Europe. We reached a lot of people last year and we’re going to touch a lot more people this year. 

6. What are some unique challenges you may not have expected that come with running a conference of that magnitude?

One of the interesting things about VidCon is its three tracks — we’ve got the community, creator, and the industry track. Those are three distinct audiences we need to appeal to and we need to think about creating magical experiences for each one (useful, entertaining, and educational).

But there’s a couple of other demographics that are also super important to us. Those are the feature creators: the top creators we bring in to do our content, meet and greets, and really stage shows and performances. Those creators are another audience that we need to make sure have an amazingly great experience and are treated really well. We need to create experiences for them that are engaging, entertaining, inspiring, and fun.

And then there’s our sponsors. We have around one hundred sponsors, if not more, that supply food and create experiences for our attendees and creators. We love them and we need to make sure we’re great for them.

Finally, there’s parents. For the community track, the fans are roughly in the 13- 24-year-old range. A lot of those tickets are bought by parents. We need to make sure we’re talking to them and creating great experiences for them and giving them confidence that VidCon is a wonderful, safe place for their kids to be a part of, and to make sure we’re curating great experiences, information, and streams for parents.

It’s interesting — we’re a three-track show (three separate events in one), but we really have six distinct audience segments that we need to reach out to and make great experiences for.


7. As online video continues to grow, what trends do you expect to see in 2018 related to consumer behavior and marketing?

Let’s start out on the monetization side — there’s been a lot of things happening in monetization for creators, and VidCon is all about democratizing the creator economy. We are creator first. We are all about making sure that if you want to create, make videos, or be a part of the online video industry, we want to enable that. We want to enable you to do that as your vocation, your hobby, your career.

But monetization has taken interesting turns in the past few years.

Advertising is changing pretty rapidly. The idea that media is proxy for audiences is changing as well. YouTube monetization is changing with demonization and what’s a safe video and what isn’t.

Creators need to think about, “How do I make money?” in others ways.

It would be awesome if every single person who watched one of your videos gave you a dollar, but that’s not going to happen. There are things that are coming out that are really interesting, like Patreon and merchandise, and other ways to monetize your audience.


Beyond that, I’m super fascinated by the promise of Blockchain to rewrite the rules and the commercial arrangements between creators and their community. We’re still in the early days of that.

If you think about Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, these are all intermediaries that get between a creator and their audience. When there’s a commercial aspect, they’ll take a cut (a portion of that to run their platform) which they should.

But there are other ways, emerging ways, for that economy between creators and their audiences to be consummated and I think Blockchain has potential there. I’m not talking about Bitcoin. It’s more about creating a way for value to accrue and flow between creators and their audiences, and the other way around. I think we’re going to see some interesting developments there this year.

Also, what is the future of television? What is the future of linear media?

I’ve thought on this for a long time — I think that the traditional TV model is going to decline and when it happens, it’s going to be rapid. I originally thought it was going to be within three years of when Discovery bought us. I missed that by a couple years, but it’s happening right now.

The number of subs for traditional television are declining rapidly. New models are coming up that are being brought up, tried, and discarded in many ways.

YouTube is now trying to be television. Facebook, with Facebook Watch, is going down the same path in a way that may be more native to the way people consume media online. There’s so much experimentation going on about how visual media is going to be delivered and consumed. The traditional models won’t go away, but they’re declining. So what does that look like?

Another is, the next big social video platforms, what are they? certainly has entered the area where people look at it and say, “I don’t understand it.” But clearly something’s happening there and brands are going in.

LinkedIn is growing as a great creator and community-led video platform. I don’t know how it’ll look like in a year, but I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff happening on the LinkedIn side and if you’re sleeping on LinkedIn, you shouldn’t.

Pinterest —  I don’t know what Pinterest is going to do with video but they need to do something. That could be another area that we see evolve.

Then there’s the more single format video platforms that are emerging — was a big one, HQ Trivia is one, and there are others coming out as well.

Twitch is an example of a single format platform that spread out and is starting to do more. All of those things I think are really interesting too.

Then, the changing pace of social video in general. Facebook deciding (for whatever reason) it wants to spend more time surfacing friends and family in your feed and less time surfacing viral videos. That’s going to have a big impact on the audience.

Snapchat trying to figure out if it can broaden its audience or if it’s just going to be a Twitter-like service that’s more messaging than media-based. All of those things I think are fascinating that we’ll be talking about and watching evolve in 2018, and we’ll be talking about at VidCon a lot.

8. How do you think YouTube Reels will affect the influencer marketing community?

It remains to be seen.

YouTube in many ways is everything to everybody and a number of other platforms are more focused on individual formats that work for them. Instagram has had great success with Stories.

I just spent some time with a bunch of college students in the media space here at USC lecturing at a friend’s class. I had lunch with about 15 of them and every one of them are spending more time on Instagram, and particularly around Stories. Which is really interesting.

YouTube has tried to add social before — I remember when they tried to add Google+ as the social for YouTube and it didn’t really work out for them. They’ve tried to move from this model where you hunt for what you want to the serendipitous discovery of content (like you do in Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds). They’ve actually seen some major success there, they’ve done a good job. But there’s more to come there, too. I think it’s good that they’re trying.

I think the Stories format is one that we’ve really seen the audience really accepts and we’ll see what happens. I think it’s great they’re [YouTube] doing it, they have awesome product people there, and have shown that they’ve been able to transform themselves. So we’ll see. I’m just excited that we have new stuff to talk about and we have new ways to engage audiences.

9. With the USC students, did you get a ballpark on how much time they’re spending on Instagram, or in particular Instagram Stories?

The question I asked is, “What video platforms are you using these days?” and there was a lot of YouTube as you can imagine. There was less Snapchat, and everybody said Instagram.

All of them said Instagram which I thought was really interesting.

Related Post: Top Snapchat Influencers Are Posting 2x More On Instagram Stories [INFOGRAPHIC]

10. How do you foresee the relationship between brands and online creators transforming in 2018?

I think we’re going to see a backlash on influencer marketing this year.

I think we’re already starting to see it because bad actors have come in, fake creators have come in. Some influencers deliver great ROI. Many other influencers and influencer platforms have not been able to show that they deliver an ROI that’s worthwhile.

Look, at Revision3 we brought great creators in who had great, honest communities, and we showed great ROI. A lot of it was performance-based stuff, but a lot of it was more brand building as well.

We have a lot of hype, and now we’re moving down into a little bit of an influencer marketing crash this year. But I believe strongly that it is going to be such a great part of the marketing that’s going forward.

If you’re familiar with Gartner’s Hype Cycle — where things get hyped up, they reach the peak, then they go into the trough of despair, and then from the trough of despair we go to the peak of productivity — I think influencer marketing is headed to the trough of despair this year and if you look at 2019, ’20 and beyond, it’ll start going up that slope of productivity. And it will just get better and better.

Short term, people are going to get a little burned out and you guys [Mediakix] have done a bunch of work on fake influencers, how to spot them, and how to weather this.

Influencer marketing is not going away and it is such a great way to reach audiences in a natural and authentic way, but you have to do it right. And some of these people don’t do it right.

I think a lot of is about finding the right partners and creators to work with and not just going with somebody because they’re big or going with somebody because somebody says they would be great.

You really have to figure out who are the right influencers that match with your brand. Do they have the right message, do they have the right audience, are they the right type? And then when you work with them, you can’t just go in and do traditional media buy, where you go in and spray your money around for a week or two and then you go away until the next campaign.

We need to change the way people think about it.

You need to go in, become a part of that community, and become a trusted member of that community for six months or a year. You have to commit to it and help the community do things they couldn’t otherwise do — become a valuable member of it. And let yourself, your message and your brand go to be shaped by the creator and the communities.

And for the influencers out there that are trying to work with brands that don’t really have a viable community around them, it’s going to be more and more obvious because there will be no reaction.

If you don’t look at it as a multi-month or preferably a year or more relationship, partnership, or connection with one of these influencers and their communities, then you shouldn’t be doing it anyway.

If you do it that way and you let yourself go and become part of it, but enable the community to do things they couldn’t otherwise do, in many ways that’s where you’re going to find the true value.

Too many companies right now think of influencer marketing as just another check mark on their media buy list — we’re going to buy ads on television, we’re going to buy pre-rolls, and then we’re going to go to a couple influencers and we’re going to do run that campaign for a month and it’s going to be great and then we’re not going to do anything for another six months.

No! It’s an entirely different way to think about marketing and getting your message out.

11. Any exciting details about VidCon you can share?

The Anaheim convention center added 200,000 square feet of space to their building in the last couple years. It’s allowing us to expand what we’re doing, particularly on the creator track.

We’re increasing our attendees by about 40%. We’re going to be adding a lot more hands-on and how-tos. We’re really excited about the expanded creator track this year. VidCon’s just going to be awesome, can’t wait to see everyone there.


12. Anything else you’d like to add?

The last thing I’ll say is, this is the end of the beginning of the online video industry’s growth. Not the beginning of the end. There’s a lot of challenges. The industry’s growing up.

We’re confronting a lot of issues that I think are important to confront and deal with, and we’re moving forward in a lot of ways with a lot of stops and starts. But this is the most important, and most powerful, and the most exciting thing happening in media and it’s going to remain that way for the next 20 years. I couldn’t imagine being in a better spot with VidCon and I couldn’t imagine being in a more exciting industry anywhere in the world.

It’s going to be fun!

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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7 Steps To Working With Bloggers To Promote Your Business

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A Marketer’s Guide To Working With Bloggers To Promote Your Business

Bloggers are some of the most effective influencers on the web. Covering a wide variety of niches, including fashion, food, lifestyle, parenting, and many others, bloggers are go-to sources for information, tips, and resources online. Outside of their dedicated space, many bloggers also have strong presences on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat, where their extended reach can impact and influence even broader audiences.

Partnering with bloggers can be an extremely valuable marketing tool for businesses. Whether looking to promote a brand image, product, or service, bloggers have dedicated audiences eager to absorb their opinions and suggestions.

Once a business and a blogger have agreed to work together, a variety of steps need to be taken to ensure that the campaign and relationship develop as smoothly as possible. Below, we offer seven critical steps brands should take when working with bloggers in order to get the most out of their collaborations.

1. Make a Plan

An effective sponsored blog post doesn’t happen by chance. Each campaign starts out with an achievable goal, followed by a detailed outline the steps necessary to execute the campaign.

Brands and bloggers must first work together to ensure that a proposed post meets both of their needs and tastes. Next, considerations such as article and content type, branding and messaging parameters, crossposting to other social channels, and approval and publishing date should be discussed and agreed upon.

By being on the same page about what a post or campaign will entail, bloggers and businesses can avoid misunderstandings and increase their potential for a successful campaign.

Related Post: The 6 Obstacles That Will Derail Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns

2. Build A Great Relationship

From the start, a brand should be upfront and honest with the blogger about their goals, expectations, and budget. This kind of transparency will ensure that neither party is wasting the other’s time.

Additionally, businesses are wise to be clear and concise with their solicitations. Many bloggers are busy fielding an array of sponsorship requests. While long-winded, unfocused messages are likely to sit in a blogger’s inbox, brands that show the potential to benefit a blogger — without using up a lot of their time — are more likely to get a response.

Related Post: How To Find The Perfect Influencer For Your Campaign – A 12-Point Checklist

3. Let Bloggers Blog

Bloggers have attained their influential status because they’re good at what they do, and giving them the freedom to exercise their talents within sponsored content often produces the most desirable results.

While it’s common for brands to ask bloggers to include certain kinds of messaging, calls to action (CTAs), or affiliate links, bloggers are at their best when they’re allowed to direct the creative. Unencumbered pieces will be crafted with the blogger’s unique style and voice, which gives marketing content the same organic feel as non-sponsored posts.

4. Provide the Blogger WIth The Resources They Need

Depending on the type of post and/or content the blogger is creating, they may require resources outside of their reach. Whether it be a specific color or model of the product being promoted, a special location to shoot photos or video, or access to a brand’s designer to answer detailed questions, offer support in order to make the blogger’s job easier and more effective.

Brands can also assist bloggers by handling logistical tasks around the campaign. For example, considerations such as setting calls and meetings, as well as creating calendars with content approval dates and launch schedules, are all efforts that allow a blogger to concentrate on the creative.

For businesses unfamiliar with the logistical and administrative needs of a blog campaign, consulting with an influencer marketing agency that has strong blogger relationships and a track record of successful blog initiatives can be advantageous.

Related Post: The 7 Defining Traits Of Top Influencer Marketing Agencies

5. Communication, Communication, Communication

Communication throughout a blog collaboration is paramount. As finely-tuned as a campaign plan might be, there will inevitably be questions along the way.

Moreover, unforeseen obstacles could necessitate shifts in timing, content, or other aspects of the campaign, which can cause an adverse domino effect if not addressed properly. Any time there are changes to an agreed upon plan, brands and bloggers should have an immediate conversation.

6. Ensure All Sponsored Content Follows FTC Guidelines

As many as 93% of celebrity endorsements may be violating the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) guidelines for sponsored posts.

Unfortunately, however, the problem isn’t just with a few large celebrities. Many social media influencers and bloggers also fall short of FTC compliance. To ensure that sponsored blog posts meet required FTC guidelines, please see our updated post here.

Related Post: The 4 FTC Cases That Have Redefined Influencer Marketing

7. Maintain And Manage The Relationship

When the campaign wraps, the relationship with a blogger doesn’t have to end. In fact, it can be fruitful to stay in contact with bloggers outside of any paid services. Updating bloggers on company efforts and releases keeps bloggers in the know and brands top-of-mind.

Additionally, sending bloggers freebies and discounts can help to build more rapport and good faith. Fostering healthy, long-term relationships with bloggers can provide a wealth of value to a brand’s future campaigns and often leads to long and fruitful and partnerships.

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Nike’s Marketing Strategy: How The Global Giant Reaches Millions With YouTube Influencers

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How Nike Leverages YouTube’s Biggest Stars To Drive Results

Since its founding in 1964, Nike has become the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of athletic shoes and apparel. In 2017 alone the company generated $34 billion dollars in revenue, the largest portion of which was earned in North America.

Much of Nike’s success can be attributed to skillful marketing and sponsorship deals with the biggest names in professional sports. The brand has adeptly transformed its advertising strategy to meet the digital age and is more frequently turning to social media influencers for partnerships.

In the following case study, we’ll examine how the brand is collaborating with top YouTube influencers to promote its diverse product offerings.

Nike Markets Its New Air Vapormax With “What’s Inside?”

Father-son dream team, Dan and Lincoln Markham of “What’s Inside?,” started YouTube in 2014 amassing nearly 6 million subscribers across two channels. They’re known for showcasing what’s inside everyday objects ranging from an iPhone to an entire car engine by cutting them in half.

In collaboration with Nike, the pair created seven sponsored videos documenting a trip to Nike’s headquarters — one of which they cut Nike’s newest shoe, the Air Vapormax, in half.

The success of the sponsored video series stems from the Markham’s ability to integrate Nike’s branded messaging into the respective themes of their two YouTube channels. The shoe-cutting video appears on their “What’s Inside?” channel and follows their typical format of presenting an item and cutting it in half. Additionally, the Nike trip appears on their secondary “WHAT’S INSIDE? FAMILY”  channel dedicated to vlogs and Q&A’s.

What’s Inside? published the sponsored feature video and series leading up to the release of Nike’s 2017 Air Vapormax. For successful influencer marketing campaigns, brands need to be strategic about when influencers publish sponsored content. If done properly (in the case of Nike’s influencer marketing campaign with What’s Inside?), the influencer’s content can serve to fuel awareness and buzz for product launches.

In addition to well-timed influencer content, What’s Inside? gives audiences a coveted behind-the-scenes look at both Nike’s Air Vapormax, its headquarters, and chats with notable Nike personnel. This type of sponsored influencer content not only serves to drive awareness and reach, but also gives enthusiasts and potential new customers highly relevant and relatable content that’s easy to consume and less invasive than most other types of advertising.

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Nike, Cristiano Ronaldo & Top YouTuber W2S Join Forces

Harry Shaw is the influencer behind the wildly successful soccer YouTube channel WS2. Whether a trick shot challenge or FIFA gaming commentary, Shaw entertains an audience of 11.8 million with energy and humor.

Shaw created one video in partnership with Nike to showcase the brand’s CR7 Mercurial soccer cleats. In the video entitled “FOOTBALL CHALLENGE vs CRISTIANO RONALDO” Shaw plays soccer with his brother Josh and Ronaldo himself in the athlete’s backyard.

The virtually unrepeatable scenario of playing soccer with Ronaldo gave the video viral potential. Shaw’s large soccer-interested audience is also likely to enjoy the content and share it widely due to its similarity to his soccer trick shot videos. Unsurprisingly, the sponsored content has garnered over 18 million views to date.

In addition to showcasing a specific product offering, the video served to situate Nike favorably as a company that makes fun, inventive projects possible. It also demonstrates how brands can integrate brand ambassador or celebrity programs (in Nike’s case, its sponsored athlete program) with influencer marketing.

Related Post: Is Cristiano Ronaldo’s $1B Nike Contract Considered Influencer Marketing?

Nike Executes Its Marketing Strategy With Megan Batoon

Professional dancer, YouTube influencer, and actress are just three of Megan Batoon’s many titles. The multi-hyphenate started on YouTube in 2010 and has grown an audience of nearly one million.

Batoon’s lifestyle channel comprises of vlogs, cooking tutorials, and comedic skits. She created one sponsored vlog in collaboration with Nike called, “Reacting to Running a Half Marathon | MEGANBYTES EP. 101,” documenting her first half marathon made possible by the brand.

Similar to the way Shaw framed Nike positively by featuring one of its athletes, Batoon attached the global giant to a personal face by including her Nike running coach Blue in the video.

Batoon introduces the Nike employee by saying, “I’m not a very good runner, so I got in contact with one of the Nike running coaches, his name is Blue, and he’s going to train me.” The statement both highlights her personal connection with the brand and emphasizes that just as she’s a beginning runner, her fans who might be new to running can seek help from the brand, too.

Related Post: How Megan Batoon Got Nike’s First YouTuber Sponsorship [Exclusive Interview]

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