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Insights: When Your Distributor Is Your Competitor–Influencers Beyond The Platforms

Is it possible that the biggest competition facing social-media platforms such as Instagram comes from the influencers who use Instagram and other platforms?

That is, if I'm a big-name influencer, and I cut a sponsorship deal with a brand, I'm actually taking money away from the platform where that sponsored video runs. The brand could have just bought ads directly on the platform, but my sponsored video is probably better, probably cheaper, and connects directly with fans in a way that plain old advertising almost never does. Money that comes to me directly is money the platform never sees, and never gets to slice off a share.

What does that mean for the platforms? For one, the platforms have a major incentive to make sponsored posts less prominent, less visible, less lucrative, so that brands will advertise on them directly, and give the platform a cut of the action. And,

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