You might be wondering why we’ve highlighted social influence & audience building as a trend for 2020. Social influencers have been around for years—so what’s new? The new trend we see developing is the focus on how creators and influencers build their audiences. In order to grow, content needs to be produced frequently and consistently—more content than ever before. Platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are now saturated with creators big and small. It takes a lot to stand out and be seen.
Upward Mobility in Social Media Searches
Demand for social media-related searches have skyrocketed over the past year with 139% growth in the overall category. At first, it seemed as if general social media content demand was growing, but the intent has become clear. On Storyblocks, searches for “subscribe” are up a whopping 467%, “download” are up 235%, “Instagram” are up 213% and “YouTube” are up 66%.
The Cost of Building Engagement
Digging into the research behind the State of YouTube report we released earlier this year, a common theme identified among creators is that they feel immense pressure to post content daily in order to be surfaced by YouTube’s algorithm—23% of creators stated “time” is their greatest challenge. As creators spend more time producing, it’s likely many will be turning to stock media to aid their workflow (think templated graphics and royalty-free music.)
For those unfamiliar with the video creator universe, the self-inflicted pressure to grow a channel audience might seem strange or even vain. However, there is a real reason to build a popular channel—monetization. There are many YouTube creators who have evolved their channels from hobby to side hustle to full-time career. To qualify for monetization, a creator needs to have at least 4,000 hours of watch time within the last year and at least 1,000 subscribers. And if a creator builds a large enough following of loyal fans, an even greater monetization opportunity can follow—paid sponsorships. Influencer marketing has reportedly become an $8 billion industry and most brands dedicate a portion of their advertising spend to it. Creators are clued into that.
Tapping into Cross-Promotion
Platforms like IGTV and Facebook Watch are gaining steam and are a great opportunity for creators to not only diversify their audience, but to scale their reach. A creator might not be easily discovered on Instagram, but they can promote their Instagram account on their successful YouTube channel and drive their loyal audience to follow them in a new place. Graphics templates are easy to use and quickly allow you to add other channels’ handles into videos in order to drive traffic, creating a simple way to cross-promote.
The Future of Audience Building
With all the opportunity available, we think we’ll see creators working hard to build their audiences and influence in 2020. The more they can use tools and resources to reduce time-intensive production tasks, the more they can focus on telling their story.