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8-in-10 say creator content is more compelling than other ads

#143

Issue #143 | Your reading time this week is 4 mins. 15 secs.

Welcome back to the Creator Briefing.

Here’s just some of what I’ve been thinking about this week:

  • IZEA published a stat-packed report on trust in influencer marketing

  • BeReal seed investors get x38.9 return at sale

  • THE FIFTH goes full service

  • Meta pushes on with Creator AI

  • Famous Birthdays aspires to be the Wikipedia of creators 

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8-in-10 say creator content is more compelling than traditional ads

IZEA has surveyed over 1,000 UK-based consumers to help understand their sentiments around influencer marketing. Here are some stand-out stats from their new report: 2024 UK Trust in Influencer Marketing

Compelling creators

  • ⁠⁠54% of respondents are more likely to trust an influencer’s sponsored post over one from an A-list celebrity.⁠⁠

  • 55% of 18-to-29-year-olds follow more than 21 influencers

  • 79% of 18-to-29-year-olds say content created by influencers is more compelling than traditional ads.

  • 48% of 18-to-29-year-olds follow an AI or virtual influencer.

Creators driving commerce

  • ⁠⁠51% of all respondents have purchased products promoted by influencers.⁠⁠

  • ⁠⁠79% of 18-to-29-year-olds have purchased a product after seeing it used by an influencer.

Credible creators

Trust in influencer recommendations is bolstered by authenticity, transparency, and engagement, driving consumer behaviour and purchase decisions.

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BeReal gets bought for €500m

BeReal has just been acquired for €500m by French video game and app developer Voodoo.

The new owners plan to change course and welcome advertising onto the authenticity-positioned photo-sharing app.  

You might remember that in May last year BeReal rolled out RealPeople - a feed dedicated to famous people - aiming to harness the hero effect. ‘If top artists, athletes and activists are on the app - then so should I’. 

At the time the company distanced itself from advertising saying the feature wasn’t “about influencing, amassing likes or comments, or promoting brands. You won’t see … product recommendations, or ads disguised as posts.”

The quest for profitability now trumps purpose. 

BeReal’s monthly active users sit at around 50m - mostly Gen Z based in France, US and Japan. However, growth has been static for the past 12+ months. The app’s daily user count sits below 6m.

The authenticity app raised $89.7M over 3 rounds:

  • Seed: $1.8M at a $7.8M pre-money valuation (May 2021)

  • Series A: $28.5M at a $95.1M pre-money valuation (Jun 2021)

  • Series B: $59.4M at a $526.5M pre-money valuation (Apr 2022)

Quartermast Advisors estimates BeReal's Seed investors earned a nice 38.8x return, compared to only 3.9x for Series A and 1.0x return for Series B investors (assuming a 1.0x liquidation preference). It certainly pays to get in early!

Creator content beats other advertising channels across the board

Creator content is more trustworthy, relevant, exciting, unique, better at making an emotional connection and more likely to motivate the viewer to buy something than other forms of advertising according to a new report. 

Ed Keller and his Keller Advisory Group in collaboration with consumer insights platform Suzy have produced a report: Unveiling Influence: The Impact Of Creators On American Consumers' Lives. The new work explores the intricate relationship between customers and creators who form their ideas, examining involvement, perception, and impact in today's digital environment.

In a U.S.-based, nationally representative sample of 1,164 customers aged 16-54 respondents found creator content:

  • 31 points more exciting than traditional advertising

  • 30 points more relevant

  • 28 points better at making an emotional connection 

  • 27 points more unique

  • 23 points more trustworthy

THE FIFTH expands creative production capabilities with launch of Studio 5

THE FIFTH has launched Studio 5, a full-service creative production studio. The new division was formed after THE FIFTH brought the creative production and artist representation agency Studio PI into their portfolio late last year. 

Award-winning agency Studio PI was founded to elevate and drive equitable inclusion for visual artists from underrepresented backgrounds.

THE FIFTH’s existing presence in the US, means that Studio 5 can immediately expand into both markets. Studio 5 will offer a comprehensive suite of visual production services spanning live-action video, photography, animation, illustration, graphic design and experiential production. 

Rooted in Studio PI’s commitment to inclusion and representation, Studio 5 centres around a set of core commitments, including the discovery and platforming of new diverse talent, inclusive crew sourcing, an empathy-led shoot culture, the creation of professional pathways for underrepresented creatives, and upskilling initiatives.

Meta pushes ahead with Creator AI

Meta is pushing ahead with its plans for Creator AI according to screenshots from app researcher, Alessandro Paluzzi. Instagram is now testing ways for creators to create AI versions of themselves. 

Meta says this initiative is designed to help larger follower-count creators respond to fan comments at scale. It’s take up will depend no doubt on how strategically important it is to the creator to build a sense of belonging with their followers and whether outsourcing to AI is the answer. 

Enthusiasts will argue that celebrities have employed teams to respond to fan mail for a century or more. Responding at speed and at scale to comments will certainly up the creator’s engagement ratios. But at what cost?

Under the new trials creators can select the data Meta uses to copy the way they speak, including their previous Instagram posts, direct messages, comments, and audio from Reels and Instagram Stories according to one Meta employee who spoke to The New York Times on condition of anonymity.

Past trials have not been without brand safety issues, however. Last year Meta rolled out 28 celebrity AIs based on influencers and celebs in a bid to make interacting with the AIs “feel like talking to familiar people”. 

At beta testing of these celebrity AIs Meta said it was “committed to building responsibly with safety in mind.” This commitment was quickly put to the test when Tom Brady- call-me-Bru was asked for his thoughts on Colin Kaepernick. The AI’s responses were disparaging of the former NFL player - out of keeping with the words and sentiments of “the real” Tom Brady.  

Famous Birthdays: the Wikipedia of creators 

Famous Birthdays makes it into The Economist this week. Referring to the website started in 2012 as “an evolving, reactive map of the people who matter to Gen Z” the article notes FB was the first to publish an interview with Charli D'Amelio back in 2019. 

Being featured on Famous Birthdays is “a kind of validation” writes The Economist. FB founder Evan Britton now wants his site to join Wikipedia as a ‘pillar of the internet’.

The comparison with Wikipedia is interesting. Too few creators have Wikipedia pages dedicated to them. The reason for this is a vicious circle centred on verification. 

When reputable mainstream media don’t cover the breadth of the creator landscape creators fail Wikipedia’s notability test used by its editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article.

Journalists often turn to Wikipedia when researching a subject. Lack of reference to the creator on the site is a potential red flag to the notability of the creator for the journalist’s readers. The story then runs the risk of being passed over. 

I wrote about this in February 2022. Thankfully, the tide has begun to turn since then in both the number and the calibre of mainstream reporters covering our beat. 

IZEA launches Flex Budget Suite for more effective campaign budget management

IZEA has launched a Budget Suite in its IZEA Flex influencer marketing platform. The budget management tool gives marketers areal-time view of their campaign expenditures, enabling them to manage their budgets and optimize their ROI.

Users can allocate funds for creator payments, paid media, labour costs, and miscellaneous expenses and monitor the campaign's total expenses.

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