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The Influence of Instagram

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The digital advertising landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade.

Social media platforms are now some of the most heavily trafficked places on the internet, and sharing hubs such as Instagram are increasingly becoming a cultural touchpoint for millions of people around the world.

Tapping into Instagram Influence

Instagram is closing in on a billion monthly active users, and with such a massive audience, social influencers (i.e. people with large, engaged audiences) are raking in the dough from paid brand endorsements.

Today’s infographic, from XCart, walks us through the multi-billion dollar phenomenon known as influencer marketing.

The Influence of Instagram

Chasing Attention Spans

It’s estimated that 65% of adults in the U.S. use social networks – a figure that spikes to an astonishing 90% for young adults.

Social media has become a fixture in our everyday lives and where attention spans wander, advertising is sure to follow. And follow it has. Marketers dumped over $23.68 billion into ads on social platforms in 2016, and that momentum shows no sign of slowing down.

However, one growing and increasingly potent form of marketing that isn’t entirely tracked in that total stems from influencers.

The Kings and Queens of Instagram

Instagram (acquired by Facebook in 2012) has seen impressive growth in recent years coinciding with a shift towards more visual content sharing. A combination of good timing and plagiarism has helped the photo sharing network grow by over 350% since 2014.

Instagram has also become a major platform for influencers.

While endorsements have traditionally come from celebrities such as actors or athletes, today’s influencers have built their audiences though sharing compelling content via social media channels. This is a huge shift as influencers come with all kinds of quantifiable audience sizes and demographic make-ups. It makes for targeting and relatability rolled into one package – particularly in the case of microinfluencers.

The Value of Influence

Power users who create a lot of content and amass thousands – even millions – of fans on a platform find themselves in a unique position. Their influence is worth something more tangible than likes; it’s worth some serious coin.

On the flip side of the equation, fans generally understand that influencers use sponsored posts as their compensation for creating content. A contemporary analogy would be occasional commercial breaks in exchange for a “free” TV program. The audience knows there’s no free ride, but if the network goes overboard, or the advertisers don’t align with the show properly, the reciprocity breaks down.

Similarly, influencers know that endorsements use up “credit” they’ve built up with their audience, so the successful ones choose their brand relationships wisely and don’t go overboard on sponsored posts.

authentic influence sponsored posts
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Brands are Betting on Microinfluence

Over 70% of brands indicate they’re using influencer marketing, and brands will be spending an estimated $2.3 billion on it by 2019. While celebrities like Selena Gomez will earn a sizable chunk of that, people with much smaller audiences are each getting their slice of the pie too.

microinfluencer marketing
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Not only is it easier to target local or niche audiences by working with microinfluencers, but these audiences also have much higher levels of engagement in the form of comments and likes on posts.

According to XCart, influencers with under 25,000 followers are a very affordable investment at ~$130 per post. This means that advertisers can collaborate with hundreds of influencers around the country for the same price as working with a celebrity.

Of course, there’s more vetting and logistics required in working with a larger group of influencers, but the payoff could be enormous for the right type of campaign.

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How the eSports Industry Fares Against Traditional Sports

eSports has evolved into a billion dollar industry in just a decade, but how does it fare against traditional sports when it comes to monetization?

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How the eSports Industry Fares Against Traditional Sports

In just a decade, electronic sports (eSports) has evolved from an underground culture into a mainstream industry worth billions of dollars today.

The industry is growing at an explosive rate, and with major tech giants like Amazon and Google vying for a piece of the pie, the future of this industry is an exciting one.

It’s no surprise that eSports is often compared to its predecessor, traditional sports. However, eSports certainly has none of the typical confines of a traditional sport—so how does it compare in terms of audience size, market potential, and revenue?

An Equal Playing Field?

eSports is an umbrella term for competitions played on electronic systems, typically by professional video gamers—with the first competition dating back to 1972.

The 16 to 24-year-old audience has increased by 60% since 2017, fueling the rapid growth of this emerging industry. The global audience is expected to grow to 276 million by 2022, with League of Legends tournaments often boasting a higher viewership than some of the biggest U.S. leagues:

Cumulative Viewership (2017 finals)

  • NFL Super Bowl: 124 million viewers
  • League of Legends: 58 million viewers
  • MLB World Series: 38 million viewers
  • NBA Finals: 32 million viewers
  • NHL Stanley Cup Finals: 11 million viewers

While viewership can surpass that of well-known professional leagues, it doesn’t yet stack up in terms of monetization. That said, this aspect is now increasing enough to be seen as a threat to more traditional leagues.

How Much is eSports Worth?

According to Goldman Sachs, eSports will exceed $1 billion in revenue in 2019, and reach $3 billion by 2022. eSports creates the foundation for an entire ecosystem of opportunities, which include live-streaming, game development, player fanbases, and brand investments for sponsorship and advertising—where 82% of revenue currently comes from.

Although eSports under-indexes on monetization relative to the size of its audience, there is a huge opportunity for it to close the gap, given the predicted 35% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for total eSports revenue between 2017 and 2022.

Getting Attention from the World’s Biggest Players

The success of eSports tournaments is attributed to live-streaming platforms. Amazon’s purchase of leading video-streaming site, Twitch, allowed Amazon to tap into the rapidly growing eSports audience, along with other live-streaming opportunities. Since the acquisition in 2014, the number of average viewers has doubled to 15 million, half of YouTube’s daily viewership.

Google, which lost the bidding war for Twitch, has recently made its own big move into gaming with cloud gaming service Google Stadia. Ultimately, the company hopes it will help keep live-streamers on YouTube instead of competing platforms.

The Future of eSports

Over time, eSports will tap into bigger advertising budgets, and reach national, regional, and global levels, as traditional sports are able to. eSports will also be a medal event in the 2022 Asian Games, which could pave the way for full Olympic status.

As a whole, eSports is starting to seriously compete with the big leagues. With a massive worldwide appeal, passionate fans, and billion-dollar revenues, the industry is only beginning to take flight.

The debate however, is not around the battle between eSports and traditional sports. It is around the shift to celebrating a culture that is completely virtual, over one that is physical—which has much bigger implications.

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Ranked: The 10 Organizations With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

According to a representational poll of 18,228 Americans, these are the organizations considered to have the best and worst reputations.

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There is no shortcut to gaining a bulletproof reputation.

To get there, businesses not only need to think long term, but they also need to do what is considered “right” in every possible situation.

Aspiring companies must be truly customer-centric, going above and beyond in how they treat their customers. They also require a cohesive vision that helps create a loyal and fervent fanbase that will go to bat for them anytime it’s needed.

The Best and Worst Reputations in America

Today’s infographic from TitleMax highlights the 10 organizations that have the best reputations in the country, followed by 10 that fall on the exact opposite end of the spectrum.

In total, the visualization shows five years of data, so you can see how the rankings have changed over this stretch of time.

Ranked: The 10 Organizations With the Best (and Worst) Reputations

As you can see, the reputations of organizations are very much in flux.

In fact, you can even see the impact of recent news cycles on the rankings for 2019.

For example, Patagonia shot up the rankings to become the #3 most respected company after donating its entire $10 million tax cut to environmental groups, while the U.S. government and Facebook both make an appearance on the worst list, thanks to recent negative media coverage.

The Best Reputations Over Five Years

If you haven’t heard of Wegmans Food Market, you might want to stop by a location the next time you’re in the Northeast.

With 99 stores and about $9 billion in revenue per year, this family-run supermarket chain believes that in order to be a great place to shop, it must also be a great place to work. This mantra must be effective, since Wegmans consistently ranks as having one of the best reputations in the entire country.

Also ranking high on the list is Amazon, which was founded as an “obsessively” customer-oriented company. The online retailer has taken the #1 spot in the rankings in three of the last five years, despite a generally negative sentiment hanging over tech giants in recent months.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

— Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com

The Worst Reputations Over Five Years

As Warren Buffett quipped, a reputation can be built over decades, but it can also be lost in just five minutes.

Various companies that have experienced recent scandals make the list here (i.e., Facebook, Volkswagen, Equifax). It’s also interesting to see that years after each scandal, rankings seem to normalize as the media and public get preoccupied with newer events.

Ranking Methodology

The ranking is based on a survey by Harris Poll, in which the 100 Most Visible Companies in the country are scored and ranked using a proprietary “Reputation Quotient”. For the 2019 edition, the poll had 18,228 respondents from a nationally representative sample.

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