In our last edition, we predicted a surge in politics showing up in our industry and our favorite creators' feeds. Less than 24 hours later, our country entered into the most significant racial justice movement since the 1960s. The stakes are high for brands, creators, agencies, and corporations, with some of the most well-known figures in media facing public take-downs and brands stepping up for collective action.

Times are tough, but this is a crucial moment for advertising. We believe that advertising campaigns should reflect the greater diversity and values of our changing world. We're committed to developing campaigns that advocate for a more equitable and just society. Against the backdrop of COVID-19 and the global demand for justice, content creators are now powerful forces for advocacy and innovation.

01: Industry-wide reckoning & demands for transparency

The civil rights crisis unfolding in the United States is taking place in the streets and on social media. Instagram has become a place of protest and a forum where creators can call for more equality within the influencer industry. Agencies, creators, and brands have been quick to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement—from creating innovative campaigns to amplify Black voices, standing up for the Black transgender community, and using TikTok to advocate for social justice. Platforms are also making moves, with TikTok launching a Creator Diversity Collective. On the flip side, some brands and organizations face critique for hasty lip-service and a failure to enact lasting change. Our industry is evolving to be more diverse, inclusive, and transparent, and we welcome this change.

COVID-19 and a sweeping social justice movement have raised the bar for what it means to be an "authentic" influencer. Creators must acknowledge the news, the injustice, and the fear many people are feeling. Silence or "business as usual" content creation is tone-deaf or complicit. Influencers are cultural leaders who can help our society navigate tough conversations that will lead to a more equitable world for all communities.

Read on:
Hello Giggles / Glossy / TikTok / Adweek / Glossy / Washington Post

02: Rapid shifts in platform features

In the past month, we've seen a flurry of new features across the platform landscape. With the surge in online shopping, Instagram continues to tackle commerce with in-caption shopping tags (currently in beta and not yet widely available). The platform is also seeing new engagement on Instagram Guides, a feature response to COVID-19 that’s gaining traction and being used to curate and aggregate editorial content, making it easy for audiences to discover and tap into a variety of content types.

Finding ways to socialize virtually continues to be top-of-mind, with platforms evolving and launching more interactive features. Zoom calls with celebrities are now a thing, and even LinkedIn is getting interactive with new virtual events and polls for users. Twitter has found a new way to foster more human connection on their platform with the “voice tweet” capabilities of Hear and Now. Stay tuned for the rants.

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, politics and social media continue to intersect with increasing velocity. The latest move from Facebook on the political stage came in the form of a new Voter Information Hub, providing users with resources for participating in our democracy.

And lastly, as more digital creators enter the landscape, YouTube is focusing on education and guidance. They recently launched Learning Toolkits for creators covering topics from content production to “going live” and monetization.

Social ecosystems are adapting at lightning speed as we find ourselves relying on digital connection more than ever. Start developing plans for how to integrate these new tools. Stay ahead of the curve by connecting with users and creators who are fast to adopt these new features and can co-create strategy.

Read On:
Social Media Today / Later / The Verge / Coywolf / Social Media Week / YouTube Creator Academy

03: Reimagining back to school & holiday advertising

Consumers are bracing for an unprecedented back to school season, followed by a holiday season that may not be the same. Social distancing and a pandemic of unemployment affect families, students, and teachers in acute, unique ways.

We talked to parents and students in our creator community to find out how they’re thinking about the next six months. With 64% of creators reporting a decrease in sponsored content revenue due to COVID-19, back to school and holiday sponsorships are vital for reviving the community—but they’re going to look different. 42% of families we asked don’t know what the fall semester will look like, and 86% are interested in working with brands whose products and services can make the transition easier. 85% of families are interested in working on cause-based or values-led campaigns tied to a charitable cause. While online tools are abundant for at-home learning, and platforms are stepping in to help (thanks, YouTube), there's no sugar-coating the experience at home for families right now: it's hard. As a country, we’ll continue to navigate this shaky new ground right up to the holiday marketing season.

For influencer marketing practitioners, back to school and holiday are moments to retain relationships with partner creators and their audiences, but it will take thoughtful planning, messaging, and direct links to creators who understand what will resonate. Campaigns must address the economic hardships families face, challenges students and teachers are experiencing with online learning, and the social justice movement happening in our country and on social media.

Read on:
The Atlantic / Social Media Today / Marketing Dive

Additional Reads

  • Facebook x Kantar study proves global efficacy and impact of influencer marketing. (Facebook)
  • TikTok UI leads to missed disclosures on videos shared across platforms. (Forbes)
  • GenZ’s political power: TikTok users take on Trump. (NY Times)
  • Joe Biden courts influencers to support his campaign. (CNN)
  • Inside TikTok’s ‘For You’ page and the trouble with algorithmic content moderation. (Wired)
  • Collectively client Gantri makes the 2020 Cleverest Awards.