Welcome back to this week’s Influencer Dashboard newsletter!
This is Amanda Perelli, writing to you from home, and here’s an update on what’s new in the business of influencers and creators.
This week, my colleague Dan Whateley and I wrote an analysis piece on why the coronavirus won’t destroy the influencer economy, despite the doom and gloom from some reports.
We spoke to professionals across the industry to better understand how creators and marketers are earning a living during the pandemic and what the future has in store for the business.
While sponsored content has long been a predictable (and essential) source of income for digital creators, the industry has matured well beyond branded posts.
Direct sales can stabilize income when ad budgets falter and some of the ways influencers have turned their followers into paying customers are by selling products like merch, offering courses, and delivering exclusive content on subscription-based platforms like Patreon.
Fans are still willing to pay for content and products from their favorite creators and the demand for content across all social-media platforms has spiked in recent weeks.
For instance, the lifestyle influencer Katy Bellotte (177,000 Instagram followers) launched a Patreon account on May 1 as a way to offer her followers more content while earning extra revenue. Her account offers three monthly memberships for up to $5, and she already has 864 paying patrons.
Many influencers, especially those in categories like travel, will likely feel the pain from a contracting ad market for months to come. But it’s clear that though the industry might look different, it won’t collapse. The consumer demand is strong and not going anywhere. (Read the full analysis here.)
New data reveals how large the decrease in sponsored Instagram posts from influencers has been in recent weeks, as the ad market sputters
Dan reported on a new study from the marketing-analytics firm Launchmetrics that showed sponsored-post activity has been down considerably on Instagram since the coronavirus outbreak began.
The drop comes as many influencers have had brand deals put on hold.
“Over the past two months, I have definitely seen things slow down,” said Macy Mariano, a travel and personal-style influencer with about 100,000 followers on Instagram. “Even some existing partnerships that I have currently going on have been put on pause until June.”
While sponsored posts have trended down on Instagram in recent weeks, unpaid activity on the app and across the broader social-media landscape is way up, according to Launchmetrics.
A tech YouTube creator with 25,000 subscribers breaks down his monthly income in April and how the coronavirus has affected his business
Jimmy Ton may be a “micro influencer,” but he is able to earn a significant amount of money each month off his YouTube channel – which all started as a way to help him in his marketing classes.
I spoke to Ton, a 24-year-old who lives in Texas and films videos about technology and consumer electronics for his tech review YouTube channel JimmyTriesWorld, which has 25,000 subscribers.
Ton earns money from his YouTube videos through the ads that play in his videos. For the month of April, his YouTube channel earned $1,680, according to a screenshot viewed by Business Insider.
But many YouTube creators, including Ton, have experienced a decline in direct-ad-revenue rates from the platform in recent weeks.
I collaborated with BI reporters Lauren Johnson and Hugh Langley to identify the 33 executives at YouTube with the most power.
YouTube made user-generated content mainstream, reaching more than two billion people each month. It rivals TV networks and streaming giants including Netflix and Amazon. And it’s gotten big publishers and advertisers to create videos and helped turn content creators like Emma Chamberlain and David Dobrik into stars, establishing new business models for Hollywood.
These executives are leading all of YouTube’s businesses and they span policy, engineering, content, and advertising.
What else happened on BI Prime:
A YouTube creator and active-duty US Navy sailor had his highest-earning month ever in April despite ad rates plummeting: I spoke to Austen Alexander, an active-duty sailor for the US Navy and YouTube creator, on how much money he earned in April from YouTube.
A survey of 1,003 marketers shows which social-media platforms they want to use more of in 2020 and reveals a weakness for TikTok: Dan reported on a recent report from the social-media analytics platform Sprout Social.
The TikTok star and food and lifestyle content creator Eitan Bernath signed with the talent agency WME.
YouTube star MrBeast (34 million subscribers) is hiring a full-time video editor for his gaming channel.
YouTube star Anastasia Radzinskaya, who vlogs under the name “Like Nastya,” has partnered with IMG to develop a line of licensed consumer products for her global fanbase. She is managed by Eyal Baumel from Yoola, and represented by WME and IMG.
A CGI virtual influencer (yes, you read that right) signed with the talent agency CAA.
This week on Insider’s digital culture desk:
High school seniors and their families are sharing at-home prom celebrations on TikTok: Margot Harris wrote that thousands of students are posting videos of their at-home proms to TikTok in order to share the special occasion with friends.
TikTok star Dixie D’Amelio had a meteoric rise to fame with her sister, but now she’s determined to make her own brand: ‘Charli and I are two different people’: Rachel Greenspan interviewed Dixie D’Amelio who is one of the most followed people in the world on TikTok.
Here’s what else we’re reading:
How YouTube Stars Are Getting Paid During the Pandemic: Nick Bastone from The Information wrote about some of the ways top YouTube creators are earning their money.
Schick brings social media influencers to TV commercials: Emma Sandler from Glossy wrote about how the razor brand Schick is using influencers for ads in TV.
TikTok Boom! How the Exploding Social Media App Is Going Hollywood: Natalie Jarvey from The Hollywood Reporter wrote about the rise of TikTok and its wildly popular homegrown stars.
Thanks for reading! Send me your tips, comments, or questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.