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The Month in Influencer Marketing: May 2016

May was a busy month for us at Grapevine, so reflecting on everything that has happened in the past 30(ish) days for our May 2016 edition of The Month in Influencer Marketing has been especially fun and insightful.


Every day we see more and more conversations firing up about influencer marketing – it’s awesome to see so many brands, publications, creators and marketers getting into the discussion. We also know as these discussions continue to happen, the more important it is to stay informed of the newest and hottest topics rumbling in the influencer marketing space. That’s why we’ve put together The Month in Influencer Marketing – so you can always be in the know, even when you’re too busy to be.


May 2016 in a Nutshell:

May started off in a big way with Digital Content NewFronts in NYC – where many of the world’s biggest digital video content companies discussed a departure from more traditional advertising methods like commercial breaks and display advertising, opting for a more seamless approach driven by branded content.


Last month we saw the discussion of ad blocking come to the forefront of many digital marketing conversations, and this shift in mentality from big players like The New York Times and Conde Nast seem to be tackling the issue head on.


Publishers are no longer content to be the place where ads go. What we’re hearing at this NewFronts more than ever is this can be a two-way exchange. – Ben Winkler, Chief Investment Officer, OMD United States


The notion of influencer marketing has been a buzzword for awhile now, but this month it seems to really be hitting home with everyone in the digital space. As we start to enter into a transformed digital world, how will your influencer marketing efforts adapt?


From the Grapevine Blog:

Real Time Text Messages: Product Update for Brands

Grapevine Text MessagesLet’s face it – even if you adhere to Inbox Zero, it’s still easy to miss an email from time to time. And waiting anxiously for days or even weeks for unlisted sponsored content can be painstaking, so missing a notification can be downright tragic.


That’s why we’ve enabled real time text messages for brand partners – get notified as soon as unlisted content is uploaded to Grapevine. View your content faster and get it live and in front of an audience sooner than ever.




What We’ve Been Up To

Team Grapevine at Demo DayMay flew by for Team Grapevine, and admittedly we’ve been a bit MIA on the blog. Why? Our final month at Techstars Boston culminated with Demo Day, an opportunity to share what we’ve learned over the past 3 months and our future vision for Grapevine to an audience of over 1,000 startup enthusiasts and investors. The team worked hard to put together our final presentation and are super excited about what Grapevine has planned for the rest of 2016…


Want to learn more about Grapevine straight from the source? Check out this video of Founder & CEO, Brendan Lattrell, talking about Grapevine with BostInno.



Less than a week before Demo Day, we also had the opportunity to participate in the INTX Lobstah Tank – a pitch competition that started with over 20 of the best new startups in Boston. As a finalist, Grapevine duked it out against 5 others for the chance to win big and earn meetings with potential investors. [Spoiler Alert]: We won!



Meet Our 2016 Grapevine Ambassadors

Over the past year and a half, the Grapevine Community has grown to over 60,000 creators! We asked them to tell us why they choose to work with Grapevine and how working with brand partners has changed their lives. Listen to what our 9 newest Grapevine Ambassadors had to say:





From the Web:

Ads Evolve Into New Forms as Media Landscape Shifts

Lisa Valentino at NewFronts
The New York Times, May 8 2016

At the beginning of May, Digital Content Newfronts kicked off in NYC. In it’s 5th year, Newfronts gives digital content heavy hitters, like Time Inc., Buzzfeed and Hulu, the opportunity to showcase their newest innovations and opportunities to a crowd of digital advertisers.


Many of the presentations throughout the 2 week event had a singular theme – ads and content are becoming synonymous. There’s a shift in online media to branded content that declutters a user’s digital experience and allows them to access sponsored content in a more native setting. It’s an amalgam of content users want to see, sprinkled with branded content that seamlessly fits together.


Our Takeaway: The digital landscape is changing in a big way and notions like influencer marketing, that are considered new and emerging right now, are quickly becoming more mainstream. How soon will it be until display advertising becomes a channel of the past, and brand sponsored content becomes the “traditional” approach?


Even NBC, Turner and Viacom are all opting for fewer commercial breaks and more product placement/brand sponsored content opportunities in their shows. The change is upon us, and there’s no better time than now to get in before the masses and start on your influencer marketing strategy. Digital media is expected to surpass television advertising spends this year… what does your budget look like?



Lessons Learned From Lord & Taylor’s Run-In With the FTC

Adweek SocialTimes May 18, 2016

The FTC’s ruling on Lord & Taylor’s influencer snafu last year has certainly brought influencer marketing rules and guidelines to the forefront of many marketer’s minds. However, it also raises some questions. In a previous case, Machinima, a multi-channel network (MCN), was charged with not disclosing YouTube videos that were sponsored, rather than the brand – Microsoft X-Box.


It begs the question, how and where is the FTC getting their information, and more so, how can you protect your brand? According to CEO & Founder of Grapevine, Brendan Lattrell, this most recent incident has taught us 4 key things:

  • Influencer marketing has significant power
  • The market needs better education
  • Disclosure statements need to be everywhere
  • The onus is on the brands


Our Takeaway: The most recent FTC ruling on Lord & Taylor raises some questions, but there’s no need for marketers to worry. In fact, at Grapevine, we make it our priority to keep up on what’s happening in the world of influencer marketing, and do our best to protect our brand partners. Grapevine is the only influencer marketing platform out there that scans sponsored content for FTC guidelines – in fact, a creator isn’t able to upload content to our platform for approval without this. This is just one of the small steps we take to ensure our brand partners have the tools they need to become successful influencer marketing pros.



Millennials and Gen-Z Alienated by Ads in Social News Feeds

Adweek SocialTimes, May 5, 2016

A study by Harris Poll has revealed that millennials and Generation Z do not respond positively to ads in their social network news feeds. Some respondents even claimed to have reduced or eliminated social media use as a result of too many ads in their news feeds. In short, younger generations are more likely to respond to communities of like-minded individuals, online sites with product reviews, or the company website.


Our Takeaway: Disruptive and poorly targeted advertising is polarizing consumers and impacting behavior in a big way. Despite its stickiness and addiction factor, millennials are ditching social media due to ads.


This is a huge problem for marketers, and as it becomes more difficult to find your target consumer (especially if you’re targeting a younger audience), methods of getting in front of them must adapt. These younger audiences have stated they’re most trusting of online communities on the web. Don’t speak to your target audience, have a conversation with them.


Five Steps To An Effective YouTube Influencer Marketing Strategy

brendanlattrell_282x282, May 9, 2016

More and more brands are beginning to step into the influencer marketing arena and form partnerships with content creators. However, some brands who are new to the space end up frustrated and confused when trying to work with influencers and keep up with their content. Here are 5 tips when working with YouTube creators to ease the process:

  1. Allocate budget
  2. Be open-minded
  3. Relinquish some control
  4. Pay fairly
  5. Track strategically


Our Takeaway: It is important be patient when you’re creating new partnerships with creators. Remember, the goal of influencer marketing isn’t a one and done campaign, but more so an ongoing and lasting relationship with someone who embodies, or speaks to your target audience.


Influencer marketing is easy in theory but it takes time to master. Keep an open mind and take a targeted and tactical approach and you can’t go wrong. Still worried about your getting off on the right food? Contact our team of Influencer Marketing Pros and we’ll help get you started.



Interpublic to Shift $250 Million in TV Ad Spending to YouTube

Interpublich shifts TV ad spends to Google Preferred
Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2016

Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG) is one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. At the beginning of May, their ad buying branch Magna Global, announced it would shift $250M of it’s TV ad budget to Google Preferred, a network of premium ad space on YouTube.


Our Takeaway: This budget represents 1/8 of the total ad revenue YouTube is estimated to bring in during 2016. While the spend may be small in TV terms, it’s a huge indicator of how budgets may start to look through the end of this year and into next.


Winter is coming… it’s happening… be prepared… YouTube influencer marketing is just getting started.


Other Influencer Marketing Highlights:

Community Watchlist: Mel Joy

Grapevine creator Mel Joy reached 200K subscribers in early March and now has just over 360K subscribers at the end of May. With this rate of growth, she’ll be at 500K before we know it and over 1M by the end of the year.


This 16 year old’s rapid growth and dedicated following is due to her relatable videos about her day-to-day experiences – everything from getting ready for school, to getting her wisdom teeth removed!



According to our Community Team Experts, Mel Joy is one to scoop up before she’s out of your reach!


Welcome to the Community: Emily Mitchell

Emily Mitchell, better known as Thatfashiongirl03, has been sharing her love of fashion and film on YouTube since 2010, and has amassed over 191K subscribers and 11M views on her channel because of it.


She’s a go-to creator for OOTW and GRWM videos and we couldn’t be more excited to have her as an official member of the Grapevine Community. Will you be the first one to book Emily on your next campaign?




Just Around the Corner: The 4th of July

Looking for some creative inspiration that’s outside of your typical summertime marketing campaign? 4th of July is the perfect opportunity to get your product into creator videos. This holiday has transcended from a simple family BBQ celebrating the good ol’ US of A into a fun filled opportunity to curate unique patriotic looks and invent new ways to commemorate the stars and stripes through food, drinks, decorations and more.


Check out one of our favorite 4th of July videos from last year featuring Adrienne Finch, and start thinking about the red white and blue!




Interested in learning more about the 60,000 creators in the Grapevine Community and the big YouTube highlights from last month? Check out the Grapevine Community Rewind.


Not running a campaign on Grapevine right now? Now is your chance – our team of influencer marketing pros are standing by and eagerly waiting to hear from you!



Have any topics you think we missed, or any suggestions for Team Grapevine on what you’d like to see on the blog in the future? Let us know in the comments below!



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