This Week: A data and research-a-palooza this week. It’s the third week of September and here’s what you need to know.
HBR Study Shows AI Improves Work Performance: And not just by a little. 40% or more across a wide variety of tasks. And not just on one thing. On EVERYTHING. Yes, it was focused on elite BCG consultants, not creators or media execs. But it’s 100% relevant. The study found two different ways to collab with AI – Cyborg and Centaur. Cyborg means pinballing between AI and human creativity – a conversation with AI to deliver results. It’s how I interact with Midjourney, for example, to make thumbnails for this newsletter. The Centaur explicitly delegates tasks to AI that it can perform well, while reserving those tasks where either AI fails or there’s intimate expertise. Thus, a creator can focus on what they love – say acting and directing, while letting AI do the editing. Also relevant – AI leveled up mid-level performers nearly to the top. Perhaps AI will empower mid-level creators to break through more readily as well. I’ll be leading a session focused on AI and creators at VidCon Baltimore on Friday 9/29. So much to explore!
TikTok’s Shop Arrives in the US: If you haven’t noticed, there’s a new “Shop” menu option at the top of your TikTok. Featuring an endless scroll of mostly crap, it’s aimed at Temu, Shein and ultimately Amazon. It’s not just confined to that tab, as shopping videos now infiltrate (and ruin) your FYP too. Could this depress time spent, while increasing ARPU? Perhaps. I did just spend my first $6 on TikTok. Read my first look and find out what I bought 👽! Related, a damning report on Temu from a Philadelphia research firm dropped simultaneously with TT’s shop. Coincidence?
Mass-market Audio AI Arrives Too: The company behind Stable Diffusion just released Stable Audio. Generate 90 second music clips for $12 a month. I wonder when the first will trend on TikTok? Or make $10,000 on Spotify. TechCrunch has the details. The examples on the site are impressive, but my first attempt fell flat. Literally.
Four Insightful New Studies Refine, Define Today’s Creator Economy: Remember, these are mostly directional, not projectible, as except for Tubular the sample sizes are too low and likely not random.
- Good News! Influencer marketing agency Linqia talked to 250 brand and agency marketers and found rising budgets and broader application of influencers everywhere.
- Sprout Social talked to nearly 3,000 marketers and consumers to tease out trends as well. A top finding: consumers want brands to be less cringey, more authentic and more responsive on social. Includes eye-opening data on how agencies are using AI – 4 out of 5 already see a positive impact. Props to Sprout for offer a downloadable PPT/Google Slides version for you to customize.
- Whalar worked with Nielsen to analyze the impact of creator content for brands, finding a 2.4x ROI. Their conclusion: Creators should be treated like true media companies – and the more the merrier. It’s Whalar specific, but the results can be extrapolated to your own efforts.
- Tubular mined their exhaustive data to deliver five key trends . The first talks about where, when and what to post, including optimal length for TikTok (61-180 seconds). They also share the best categories for YouTube Shorts (there’s a news opportunity here), more AI insight and much more.
FASCINATING FREE INSTAGRAM DATA: What brands are mentioned the most on Instagram? A new data dump from Influencers.Club reveals the top 1,000 brands, sorted by social tagging. One interesting takeaway? Brands with the most followers aren’t necessarily tops when it comes to mentions. You can sort the Airtable data online or download a CSV. (disclosure, I am on the Influencers.Club advisory board).
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- Threads continues to get better.
- Meta says WhatsApp isn’t considering ads. But it will integrate with other messaging platforms to comply with EU regulations.
- Instagram adds “Following” filter to become more like TikTok.
- Bytedance clones Canva, makes it available for free (ht. Matt Navarra). But oddly, in Australia, Canva and TikTok renew their partnership.
- TikTok’s accidental block of WGA strike videos shows how hard content moderation can be.
- New collab brings Wikipedia data into TikTok search results.
- TikTok spending $1.3B to build data centers in the US and defuse potential ban threats.
- Creativity Fund expanding globally to Brazil, Germany, Korea and beyond.
- Billboard and TikTok launch a Top 50 chart focused on “the hottest songs on TikTok each week”.
- Watching a pirated movie on TikTok, 90 seconds at a time.
OTHER CREATOR ECONOMY
- I’m pretty much over X. But Casey Newton’s 9 surprising insights from the new Elon bio are worth reading.
- OG YouTube exec (and now VC) Hunter Walk explores why VC Firms are the biggest Creator Economy losers.
- Not great for creators when one of the biggest consortiums – the Faze Clan – destroys a billion dollars of value. Also CEO Lee Trink fired.
- LinkedIn adds branded content tagging (in the most obscure place ever) and then lets you search brand-tagged content directly.
- Related, why mark tagged posts by inserting “Brand partnership” in the creator’s profile? And boy are these branded messages bad.
- Brands still confused by virtual influencers. They’re puppets, people.
- Much to my surprise, the future of the creator economy is Viral Nation.
- I feel a little dirty linking to Rolling Stone, but the venerable pub has discovered the creator economy – and its flaws.
- Counting Views is tough, and TikTok’s apples are YouTube’s oranges. NYMag just discovered this.
- 3 Case Studies where superfans became the face of the brand for many – focusing on iJustine, the Wordle TikTok crew and The Notion Guy.
- Giving your readers a say in news selection increases revenue and goodwill. Creators of all types should take note.
- Adobe’s Firefly now available – and they are paying artists who provided training images.
- Roblox announced a ton of new things at its annual conference, none more interesting than its new AI assistant, which lets creators easily create scenes, edit 3D models, and apply interactive behavior to objects.
- Related, Roblox CPO Manuel Bronstein shared Roblox’ strategic priorities.
- Legal update, two new suits targeting GenAI copyright infringement.
- I want this – I could carry an LLM around in my pocket.
- The Verge discovers voice cloning. The internet will never be the same.
TIP: Little Monster released a good tutorial on how to get more suggested video views on YouTube
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