This week in influencer marketing news, a new study finds influencers have a greater impact than celebrities on US consumers’ buying behavior, Rolling Stone debuts its inaugural “Creators” and more.
To combat any potential mental health issues that social networks can trigger, Ogilvy UK will no longer work with influencers who retouch their bodies or faces. According to Ogilvy’s head of influence Rahul Titus, influencer marketing is “supposed to be the authentic side to marketing, but now it churns out such staged content that is so harmful to anybody looking at social media.” The ban applies to all parts of the Ogilvy UK group, including Dove.
The advertising agency’s new policy comes on the heels of the UK parliament’s second review of the Digitally Altered Body Image Bill that would require an influencer to disclose edited content—a bill fighting to make it through the proposal process.
Ogilvy will carry out the policy in May after Titus’ team consults with brands and influencers. A total end to the editing of all sponsored and paid-for content in influencer activations will occur by December.
Why it matters: Oglivy hopes that its efforts through 2022 will “set off a chain reaction” in the industry—especially given the research that has come out regarding the potentially toxic effects of social media on teens. In addition, the move could help brands win more consumers over as they’re increasingly looking to brands to deliver on social purpose and set the standards for what is and isn’t realistic.
Democratic super PAC American Bridge is employing an eight-figure paid media program including investments in influencer media and podcasts to help promote approval of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda.
The super PAC’s influencer program runs paid digital ads on TikTok and Instagram with micro-influencers who’ve been engaged by Republicans, Democrats and nonprofits over the last few years. The educational posts highlight things like the Biden administration’s accomplishments and how the American Rescue Plan helped women during the pandemic.
Why it matters: This isn’t the first time influencers have permeated the political scene. In 2020, President Biden’s team hired a firm to assist with influencer outreach to develop a formula for working with online influencers. The strategy included streaming interviews between him and an influencer on Instagram Live, Facebook and YouTube in which Biden spoke off the cuff about any given topic.
This most recent program’s goal is to reach voters through nonpolitical channels and voices. Additionally, American Bridge’s political director Allyson Marcus feels the program will help Democrats mobilize women voters in the midterm elections given that they were the key to democratic victories during the Trump era and to electing President Biden.
Creator marketing platform #paid partnered with Propeller Research to conduct a survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18 and up to address the growing influence that content creators have on Americans’ buying behavior. The research shows that influencers have a greater impact on their followers’ buying behavior (53 percent) than celebrities (47 percent). Thirty-one percent of respondents would look to a social media influencer when determining which product to buy while 10 percent would look to a celebrity endorser and 59 percent would consult with a close friend or family member. And as many as 46.4 percent reported feeling like they moderately know the influencers they follow.
Why it matters: The survey’s findings are a testament to the rise of and credibility of influencers, who serve as a more authentic and, in some cases, more cost-effective conduit through which bands can reach target audiences.
For the first time in Rolling Stone’s history, a social media celebrity will grace the cover of the magazine as part of its inaugural “Creators” issue, which includes an in-depth profile of YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast. The issue will also include an exclusive interview with Filipina-American TikToker and singer Bella Poarch. And in May, Rolling Stone will host a live, in-person, Meta-sponsored event in Los Angeles that will bring together hundreds of content creators.
Why it matters: As of 2019, Rolling Stone is fully owned by Penske Media and had its most profitable year in two decades two years later, according to chief executive officer Gus Wenner. A prominent reason for that turnaround has to do with the company’s renewed investment in live events, which will be a central part of its new focus on creators moving forward as resources steer away from print and toward digital revenue and experiences.
Spotify recently announced it’s changing the name of Greenroom—its live audio app creator fund and Clubhouse competitor—to Spotify Live. It has also decided to incorporate its livestreaming feature directly into the Spotify app in addition to making it a stand-alone app.
Users can tune in to live programming on Spotify via the creator’s podcast or artist page and will be able to participate in the chat or join the host onstage by heading to the Spotify Live app.
To kick off this next phase in the evolution of its live-audio offering, on Tuesday, April 12, Spotify began highlighting some of its most popular creators through exclusive, first-of-its-kind programming alongside the full slate of original programming it’s already introduced.
Why it matters: The rebrand could signal Spotify’s confidence in the future of live-audio creators and experiences to delight its 406 million global listeners.