Trends, news, and analysis: catch up on the week's biggest headlines with the Julius Works Blog's weekly roundup, your cheat sheet for staying in the know with influencer marketing.

News and Analysis

A new challenger approaches: “Caffeine” emerges as a competitor to Twitch

Last year, 21st Century Fox invested $100 million in Caffeine, a new social live-streaming platform that intends to compete with Twitch. Though 2018 was the year of Twitch, gamers are reportedly “warming up to Caffeine.” Though the platform is still in its infancy, paling in comparison to the Amazon-backed megalith, Caffeine poses an interesting challenge for Twitch.

In 2018, Twitch had over 15 million daily active users, accounting for more than 241 billion minutes of content viewed. With over 27,000 partnered channels, Twitch made waves in both the world of influencer marketing and pop culture in general. From viral Fortnite dances to the gaming influencer Ninja hosting New Year’s Eve festivities in Times Square, Twitch found itself at the heart of many social conversations last year.

Caffeine Streaming calls itself "social broadcasting"

That being said, Caffeine isn’t the only competitor: most social media platforms offer some form of live-streaming: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter offer live video streaming. However, Caffeine is the most prominent challenger to feature gaming as its core component.

The Julius View:

Like any of the prominent social media platforms, Twitch’s popularity does not come without faults. Streamers complain about arbitrary rule enforcement, high stream latency, and misogyny among some of its users. Though some of those issues are endemic to the internet, that a challenger has appeared is more credit to the health of the market than the deficiencies of Twitch.

Competition in any sense can spur innovation. Should Caffeine’s investment from 21st Century Fox become a media partnership, it can become a legitimate competitor of Twitch in terms of the content it could produce. 21st Century Fox has the potential to broker broadcasting deals with any of its owned licenses, like popular professional sports, movies, or TV shows. Moreover, Caffeine’s focus on low-latency streaming and emphasis on personal connections between streamer and viewer should help push the boundaries of what live-streaming is capable of in 2019.

 

Top influencers promise to start playing by the rules

Last week, we covered that UK advertising watch dogs were cracking down on Influencers who fail to disclose their paid partnerships. As it turns out, sixteen of the most popular social media influencers on Instagram, including Zoella, Alexa Chung, and Jim Chapman, “agreed to change how they post online,” following warnings delivered by the Competition and Markets Authority.

It’s likely that these influencers repeatedly broke the rules, resulting in personal warnings. According to the CMA, these warnings are only the beginning. They have apparently sent letters to even more influencers, and plan to investigate the social networks themselves.

The Julius View:

Regulations are in many ways an inevitability for any industry that reaches global proportions. While the FTC guidelines have been in place for two years now, rules mean little without enforcement. Though some high profile cases have been made, influencer fraud is still a major concern for marketers heading into 2019. The CMA’s crackdown should help assuage these concerns, as it shows that even the richest and most influential of influencers must respect the law.

As these regulations are institutionalized, the market will adjust, albeit slowly, to anticipated repercussions. Given that sponsored content gets a roughly equal like rate to non-sponsored content on Instagram, there’s very little incentive to not follow the rules. While some influencers may feel #ad is not on-brand, or that a sponsorship may threaten the image they cultivate, there’s very little chance that stricter enforcement discourages sponsorships. That there are now real, legitimate legal repercussions for influencer fraud or misrepresentation can only improve the respectability and therefore staying power of influencer marketing.

What’s Trending This Week?

“What Brands Should Expect from Influencers in 2019” - Via ZDNet

“YouTube’s Influencer Marketing Phenomenon” - Via Martech Series

“Has Fyre Festival Burned Influencers?” - Via BBC

“More Investors Are Betting on Virtual Influencers Like Lil Miquela” - Via TechCrunch

That's all for this week, thanks for reading. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more influencer marketing news, analysis, and interesting content.