Trends, news, and analysis: catch up on the week's biggest headlines with the Julius Works Blog's weekly roundup, your cheatsheet for staying in the know with influencer marketing.
In the news this week:
Facebook and Twitter shares drop as userbases stagnate
Following each companies' lukewarm Q2 earnings reports, stock prices plummeted, shaking investor confidence in the once invincible aura of the tech giants. Though Twitter only became profitable in Q4 of 2017, it has dominated the social space for almost the entirety of its 12 year existence. Facebook, however, has been consistently one of the most valuable technology investments in recent memory, notwithstanding its era defining contributions to life as we know it.
There are myriad causes for the decline in popularity in either platform: toxic politics, privacy concerns, the onset of GDPR, and infrequent bot purges, to name a few. While some are part and parcel for the social media space, that either company has been defined by their involvement in politics—or perhaps politics' involvement in their business—has done little to build trust or attract new users. Both networks have experienced stagnant user growth at best and a marked decline in new, young users, who are the cornerstone of social network health (and often the target of influencer campaigns).
We want a vibrant and healthy public conversation inclusive of all perspectives, and one that’s immediately relevant and valuable. We’re always listening to the conversation around this, and we commit to participating more fully in it. It’s important to us we get this right.
— jack (@jack) July 27, 2018
It's premature to consider this the beginning of the end for either giant, but the onus is on them to reform their platforms to attract new users. Facebook's attempts to assuage user fears over privacy and advertising concerns and Twitter's omnipresent battle against the bots have so far not been enough to change the narrative. It'll be interesting for users and marketers alike to see where the momentum of social media will swing next; who will fall in line behind the crowned king of Instagram?
Goop rakes in the millions—controversial or not
Last week, the New York Times published a feature on Gwyneth Paltrow's controversial wellness brand and website, Goop, in which a source claimed the company to be worth roughly $250 million. Goop is known best for its dubious at best wellness tips, like inserting jade eggs into your vagina for kidney wellness, or routinely doing colonic cleanses to clear your body of toxins.
How then, does it (reportedly) make so much money despite its reputation? Are the users loyal, stupid, or is the content relatable in the face of its unabashed controversy? Thinkpieces, Twitter threads, and even NYT exposés can't seem to stop the momentum of Goop, and this speaks to a broader truth about social interest in health and wellness.
The veracity of these tips is often nonessential: the consumption of fitness and wellness content is independent of its usefulness. There is a reason "the next best thing" appeals so well as an advertising tactic, especially on social media: interesting content is not pragmatic content. Do Goop's nearly 850 thousand Instagram followers used jade eggs for kidney health? Do Michelle Lewin's 13 million followers follow her "hot body diet" to a T?
Tommy Hilfiger rewards its customers for wearing their clothes
The taste making brand debuted a new line of clothing featuring smart tracking technology that links to a proprietary XPLORE app, which will track when and where a user wears the piece of clothing. This data will be used to feed a rewards program with timed promotions and digital points that can be exchanged for benefits like concert tickets and exclusive events.
Whether this experiment will be the next big thing in casual fashion or simply a promotion eerily reminiscent of a Black Mirror episode stands to be seen. What it does say, however, is that there is a market for deeper social integration into every day experiences. Using brands as value symbols and status communicators is fundamental to social media use—if promotions like these are the next step in advertising and brand loyalty, the market is wide open for influencer inclusion.
More interesting reads for the week:
What's trending this week?
Demi Lovato, sobriety, and social media support
In the wake of her reported overdose, fans of Demi Lovato have flocked to various social networks to voice their undying support for the embattled star. Lovato's advocacy for mental health, body positivity, and the battle against addiction has been well documented—and now her fans and supporters are taking the torch. Given the size and unabashed loyalty of her fanbase, that these conversations are taking place on such a large scale is telling of the influence of stars of her magnitude.
Chinese robot fighting tournaments fill the front page of Twitch
Twitch, the marketers enigma, had its frontpage filled this week by livestreams of Robomaster, a Chinese fighting robot tournament. Amassing over 1.8 million concurrent viewers on a given day, the tournament captured the attention of the elusive and notoriously fickle audience of Twitch, e.g. young adult males. Perhaps Twitch is the only place where unique concepts like this can thrive in the social space, but it's a good sign for the demand for unique—and destructive—content amid the noise of other networks.
Julius in the news:
The Julius team has set a preliminary date for its popular and informative Influencer Live series on August 28th, 2018. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks for speakers and location as they're confirmed.