The rise of video has marked one of the most radical transformations in how individuals consume content. Improvements in streaming technology, bandwidth, and browsing speeds mean video-based multimedia is more accessible than ever before. Marketing, and especially influencer-focused strategy, has taken heed, positioning video as a central component of any new campaign. Indeed, video content can drive traffic at impressive rates—in some cases improving traffic from search engines by as much as 157%.
This new reliance on video, alongside the emergence of influencer marketing, places a premium on connecting with popular names and personalities to spread content that appeals to a company’s audience. Even so, this process is often much more challenging than it would appear. At its core, the concept is simple—find a popular video creator or vlogger and pay them to promote products or brands. However, the model is complicated by the existence of both intermediaries and unnecessary barriers between content creators and publishers.
New companies attempting to tackle the problem—both in video and in the broader field of multimedia creation—have turned to blockchain to help circumvent many of the prevailing obstacles. For one, blockchain can be a powerful disintermediating force when deployed properly. More importantly, perhaps, is the speed and simplicity it introduces in the areas of matching and contracting services. Even so, while it is promising it remains to be seen if a new, less centralized model of content creation and curation can be sustained by the companies looking to build a new ecosystem.
It’s Broken, But Not Being Fixed
The root of the current conundrum in video creation is the difficulty which the system inherently creates when brands attempt to connect with vloggers. The first part of the problem lies in the platforms video creators use, and namely YouTube. The platform which has become the de facto solution for video creators, creates a dichotomy that rewards creators with fame and exposure, but heavily limits the dollars they earn.
The model which disproportionately favors creators with millions of followers over regular users, is also incredibly murky about its payments, its actual success metrics, and other data-driven details marketers thrive upon. The issues fall back on YouTube’s—and more broadly, Google’s—policies regarding video monetization, and their need to collect parts of every vlogger’s income. Unless a user can habitually pull in over a million views, they are unlikely to see much in the way of profits.
Content seekers—brands and corporations—also invariably struggle to identify the right vlogger and connect with them, for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest, however, is transparency. One major result of this race to cash in on influencers’ networks is the pressure these users face to claim the largest audience. For instance, studies have found that companies which spend millions on influencers may be very well throwing money away considering the inaccuracy of current reach metrics. Oftentimes, their investments are reaching hundreds of thousands of fake followers and bots. When tabulating the follower counts for Ritz-Carlton influencer, one of the prominent examples cited by the report, nearly 78% of the total was characterized as fake followers.
More practically, the costs of mounting a sustainable influencer campaign are inflated by the restrictions most content channels—such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram—place on creators. Associated management costs along with cuts taken by intermediaries which control access to these influencers also impacts prices as each of these middlemen shrinks the available profit margins at each stage of the process.
Shifting the Paradigm with Blockchain
Blockchain has already proven its capabilities across industries: improving logistics for supply chains, optimizing IoT networks, and expediting financial services. However, content creation has remained curiously insulated from the revolution. Even so, the technology does offer several improvements that could quickly improve the situation concurrently for vloggers and the brands that seek them out. Some companies have already implemented blockchain platforms for content, with some promising signs of success.
Applications like Aqer, an up-and-coming marketplace that connects content creators and seekers, have begun delivering solutions designed to benefit both parties in a multimedia transaction. The Aqer marketplace breaks down many of the barriers restricting influencer marketing by employing simple features. For example, brands can easily discover vloggers that demonstrate proven track records and align with their values thanks to the Aqer’s proprietary ranking and matching algorithm.
Moreover, there are no intermediaries, so brands can easily approach creators or even stake competitions to uncover the best campaign for their needs. Blockchain’s ability to record data immutably, and present it to anyone on the network, makes it significantly harder to game the system or lie about metrics. It also ensures each party receives a fair deal while removing the need for a trusted third party in the middle of a transaction.
Others have focused less on brands, but still provide a revolutionary model for creators to break free of their chains—a characteristic that is especially useful over the long run. Steemit, for instance, helps creators simply upload their content and obtain remuneration from users who enjoy it. The model is gaining popularity as it shifts the balance of power to those who produce content instead of publishers. Others, like DTube, are looking to simply replace existing services. The company’s video hosting platform is similar to YouTube, but instead based on Steemit’s payments technology.
Fixing Content and Improving Influencing
The modern content creation model is more popular than ever before, however, accelerating demand is widening the cracks in the prevailing structure. The existing paradigm prioritizes the companies and publishers responsible for gating content, thereby harming the entire ecosystem—from creators to brands seeking influencer relationships.
Blockchain can be a breath of fresh air for multimedia’s ongoing push for wider reach by streamlining the connection between content creators and brands looking to capitalize on their exposure. By supporting new and unique ways to connect and remove the need for intermediaries who inevitably slow the process, blockchain offers a freer and more dynamic ecosystem both for vloggers and the companies seeking to expand their influence.
By offering new and unique ways to connect and remove the need for intermediaries who inevitably slow down the process,