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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
Source

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
Source

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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Animation: How Tech is Eating the Brand World

Changing consumer expectations have created a harsh environment for traditional brands to operate in—will tech companies make them obsolete?

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How Technology is Eating the Brand World

Building a brand with an imperishable competitive edge can be difficult.

Technology companies however, are redefining what that edge means. By hastily responding to emerging consumer needs and leveraging the power of brand, these companies can continuously create meaningful solutions for real problems with scale.

Today’s animated chart highlights the most valuable brands in 2019 versus 2001, according to the annual “Best Global Brands” ranking by Interbrand. It illustrates the degree to which technology companies have been able to scale into massive brands over a short time frame, supplanting some of the best known companies in the world.

What is Brand Value, and How is it Measured?

Interbrand has created and consistently used a robust formula to measure brand value. Brand value is the Net Present Value (NPV) or the present value of the earnings that a brand is forecasted to generate in the future.

The formula evaluates brands based on their financial forecast, brand role, and brand strength. The full methodology can be found here.

Tech Reigns Supreme

In 2001, the cumulative brand value was $988 billion. Today, that value stands at $2.1 trillion and represents an average CAGR of 4.4%. Over the years, global tech giants have swiftly climbed the ranks, and now represent a significant amount of the total brand value.

In fact, with a combined brand value of almost $700 billion, tech companies account for half of the top 10 most valuable brands in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple holds the title for the world’s most valuable brand in 2019—for the seventh year running.

Only 31 brands from the 2001 ranking remain on the Best Global Brands list today, including Disney, Nike, and Gucci. Coca-Cola and Microsoft are the few who have remained in the top 10.

Below is the full list of the world’s most valuable brands:

RankBrandBrand Value ($B)1-Yr Value ChangeIndustry
#1Apple$234B9%Technology
#2Google$168B8%Technology
#3Amazon$125B24%Technology
#4Microsoft$108B17%Technology
#5Coca-Cola$63B-4%Beverages
#6Samsung$61B2%Technology
#7Toyota$56B5%Automotive
#8Mercedes Benz$51B4%Automotive
#9McDonald’s$45B4%Restaurants
#10Disney$44B11%Entertainment
#11BMW$41B1%Automotive
#12IBM$40B-6%Business Services
#13Intel40B-7%Technology
#14Facebook$40B-12%Technology
#15Cisco$35B3%Business Services
#16Nike$32B7%Retail
#17Louis Vuitton$32B14%Retail
#18Oracle$26B1%Business Services
#19General Electric$25B22%Diversified
#20SAP$25B10%Business Services
#21Honda$24B3%Automotive
#22Chanel$22B11%Retail
#23American Express$22B13%Technology
#24Pepsi$20B-1%Beverages
#25J.P Morgan$19B8%Finance
#26Ikea$18B5%Retail
#27UPS$18B7%Logistics
#28Hermes$18B9%Retail
#29Zara$17B-3%Retail
#30H&M$16B-3%Retail
#31Accenture$16B14%Business Services
#32Budweiser$16B3%Alcohol
#33Gucci$16B23%Retail
#34Pampers$16B-5%FMCG
#35Ford$14B2%Automotive
#36Hyundai$14B5%Automotive
#37Gillette$14B-18%FMCG
#38Nescafe$14B4%Beverages
#39Adobe$13B20%Technology
#40Volkswagen$13B6%Automotive
#41Citi$13B10%Financial Services
#42Audi$13B4%Automotive
#43Allianz$12B12%Insurance
#44ebay$12B-8%
#45Adidas$12B11%Fashion
#46Axa$12B6%Insurance
#47HSBC$12B5%Finance
#48Starbucks$12B23%Restaurants
#49Philips$12B-4%Electronics
#50Porsche$12B9%Automotive
#51L’oreal$11B4%FMCG
#52Nissan$11B-6%Automotive
#53Goldman Sachs$11B-4%Finance
#54Hewlett Packard$11B4%Technology
#55Visa$11B19%Technology
#56Sony$10B13%Technology
#57Kelloggs$10B-2%FMCG
#58Siemens$10B1%Technology
#59Danone$10B4%FMCG
#60Nestle$9B7%Beverages
#61Canon$9B-9%Technology
#62Mastercard$9B25%Technology
#63Dell Technologies$9BNewTechnology
#643M$9B-1%Technology
#65Netflix$9B10%Entertainment
#66Colgate$9B2%FMCG
#67Santander$8B13%Finance
#68Cartier$8B7%Luxury
#69Morgan Stanley$8B-7%Finance
#70Salesforce$8B24%Technology
#71Hewlett Packard Enterprise$8B-3%Technology
#72PayPal$8B15%Technology
#73FedEx$7B2%Logistics
#74Huawei$7B-9%Technology
#75Lego$7B5%FMCG
#76Caterpillar$7B19%Diversified
#77Ferrari$6B12%Automotive
#78Kia$6B-7%Automotive
#79Corona$6B15%Alcohol
#80Jack Daniels$6B13%Alcohol
#81Panasonic$6B-2%Technology
#82Dior$6B16%Fashion
#83DHL$6B2%Logistics
#84John Deere$6B9%Diversified
#85Land Rover$6B-6%Automotive
#86Johnson & Johnson$6B-8%Retail
#87Uber$6BNewTechnology
#88Heineken$5,6264%Alcohol
#89Nintendo$6B18%Entertainment
#90MINI$5B5%Automotive
#91Discovery$5B-4%Entertainment
#92Spotify$5B7%Technology
#93KFC$5B1%Restaurants
#94Tiffany & Co$5B-5%Fashion
#95Hennessy$5B12%Alcohol
#96Burberry$5B4%Fashion
#97Shell$5B-3%Energy
#98LinkedIn$5BNewTechnology
#99Harley Davidson$5B-7%Automotive
#100Prada$5B-1%Fashion

Since 2001—the first year the report featured 100 brands—several tech companies have joined and climbed their way to the top of the list, while 137 notable brands dropped off entirely, including Nokia and MTV.

In an interesting turn of events, Facebook dropped out of the top 10, and into 14th place after a volatile year. The move however, is not surprising. The tech giant has been mired in controversies, ranging from data privacy issues to prioritizing political influence.

Which Brands Are Growing the Fastest?

2019’s fastest growing brands also signals tech domination, with Mastercard, Salesforce and Amazon leading the charge.

The companies in this ranking experienced a significant increase in their brand value year-over-year (YoY).

RankBrandBrand Value ($B)YoY Growth
#1Mastercard$9B25%
#2Salesforce$8B24%
#3Amazon$125B24%
#4Gucci$16B23%
#5Starbucks$12B23%
#6Adobe$13B20%
#7Visa$11B19%
#8Caterpillar$7B19%
#9Nintendo$5B18%
#10Microsoft$109B17%

According to Interbrand, the success of these brands may be attributed to their ability to anticipate rapidly changing customer expectations.

While the relationship between business performance and brand equity has been a widely debated topic for decades, it is clear that customer satisfaction bolsters brand equity, and encourages impressive financial results.

Disrupt, or Be Disrupted

Beyond anticipating changing needs, some of the most successful brands also cater to a younger customer base. This is the most evident in luxury and retail—the two fastest growing sectors for the second consecutive year.

This audience is tech-first in their buying habits and increasingly demand more elevated and shareable experiences. As a result, traditional brands across all sectors are innovating to keep up with this audience, and some are essentially becoming tech companies in the process.

For example, Gucci attributes their success to finding the perfect blend between creativity and technology. The company that once relied on its heritage, now focuses heavily on ecommerce and social media to engage with their Gen Z customers.

Similarly, Walmart recently announced that they are employing virtual reality headsets and machine-learning-powered robots in an attempt to compete with Amazon.

Will traditional companies ultimately become tech companies, or simply get eaten alive?

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Who Owns Your Favorite News Media Outlet?

A revealing look at consolidation and ownership of news media outlets in the United States. See who owns news media, and where ‘news deserts’ exist.

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who owns U.S. news media outlets

Who Owns Your Favorite News Media Outlet?

It’s no secret that news media is a tough industry.

For various reasons — from tech disruption to changing media consumption habits — the U.S. has seen a net loss of 1,800 local newspapers over the past 15 years. As regional newspapers are bundled together, and venture-backed digital media brands expand their portfolios, the end result is a trend towards increased consolidation.

Today’s graphic, created by TitleMax, is a broad look at who owns U.S. news media outlets.

Escaping the News Desert

As outlets battle the duopoly of Google and Facebook for advertising revenue, the local news game has become increasingly difficult.

As a result, news deserts have been springing up all over America:

What happens when times get tough?

One option is to simply go out of business, while another traditional solution is to combine forces through consolidation. While not ideal, the latter option at least provides a potential route to revenue and cost synergies that make it easier to compete in a challenging environment.

Nation of Consolidation

Though the numbers have decreased in recent years, regional news media still reaches millions of people each day.

Below is a look at the top 20 owners of America’s newspapers:

Parent CompaniesTotal PapersExample brands
New Media Investment Group451Patriot Ledger, The Columbus Dispatch, The Providence Journal
Gannett216USA Today, Detroit Free Press, Arizona Republic
Digital First Media158Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Denver Post
Adams Publishing Group144The Charlotte Sun, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
CNHI114Niagara Gazette, The Huntsville Item, The Lebanon Reporter
Lee Enterprises100Arizona Daily Sun, St. Louis Post Dispatch
Ogden Newspapers81The Maui News, The Toledo Chronicle, Salem News
Tribune Publishing77Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun
Berkshire Hathaway Media75Buffalo News, Winston-Salem Journal, Omaha World-Herald
Shaw Media71Suburban Life Magazine, Putnam County Record
Boone Newspapers66The Austin Daily Herald, The Charlotte Gazette
Hearst Corp.66San Francisco Chronicle, Seattlepi.com, Houston Chronicle
Paxton Media Group58Daily Corinthian, Connersville News-Examiner
Landmark Media Enterprises55Citrus County Chronicle, The News-Enterprise
Community Media Group51Lafayette Leader, The Wellsboro Gazette
AIM Media50Odessa American, El Nuevo Heraldo
McClatchy49Idaho Statesman, Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee
Advance Publications46The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, The Oregonian, NJ.com
Rust Communications44Cherokee Chronicle Times, Southeast Missourian
News Media Corp.43Cheyenne Minuteman, Brookings Register, Newport News Times

Source

Turnover in this segment of the market has been brisk. In fact, more than half of existing newspapers have changed ownership in the past 15 years, some multiple times. For example, the LA Times is now in the hands of its third owner since 2000, after being purchased by billionaire biotech investor Patrick Soon-Shiong.

The industry may be facing another dramatic drop off in ownership diversity as the two largest players, New Media Investment Group and Gannett, are on the path to merging. If shareholders give the thumbs-up during the vote this November, Gannett will have amassed the largest online audience of any American news provider.

The Flying Vs: Vox and Vice

It isn’t just regional papers being swept up in the latest round of mergers and acquisitions — new media is getting into the mix as well.

Vox Media recently inked a deal to acquire New York Media, the firm behind New York Magazine, Vulture, and The Cut.

I think you’re going to see that trend [of consolidation] across the industry. I just hope it’s done for the right reasons. You see too many of these things done for financial engineering.

– Jim Bankoff, CEO of Vox Media

Meanwhile, Vice recently acquired Refinery29 for $400 million, giving it access to a new audience skewed towards millennial women. This match-up seems awkward on the surface, but it allows advertisers to reach a broader cross-section of people within each ad ecosystem.

Both companies announced layoffs in the past year, and this restructuring may help both companies win as they consolidate resources.

The Bottom Line

While news media isn’t quite as consolidated as the broader media ecosystem, it’s certainly trending in that direction. Thousands of American communities that had local newspapers in 2004 now have no news coverage at all, while remaining papers are increasingly becoming units within an umbrella company, with no direct stake in community reporting.

That said, until the issue of monetization is definitively sorted out, consolidation may be the only way to keep the presses from stopping.


About the Graphic

This list of top 100 news sites was compiled using the following criteria:

– The top “digital-native” news outlets by monthly unique visitors (Pew Research and ComScore, excluding sports)
– The top newspapers by average Sunday circulation (Pew Research and Alliance for Audited Media)
– Alexa’s top sites under the category of news (U.S. only, excluding user-generated)

Note: The graphic has been updated to reflect changes in ownership for Refinery29, Gizmodo, and Jezebel.

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