A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk with Tim, a young entrepreneur, based in London, about his company FanBytes. Fanbytes is the UK’s #1 marketplace for brands to collaborate with YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine Influencers to create remarkable branded video content.
This idea interests me because A) I was recently offered an internship in Hollywood, LA, with a sweet Youtube Production company and B) because, as a millennial and young entrepreneur, I see how powerful young social media influencers are, particularly from a business point of view. They have a massive amount of leverage and it’s causing some huge shifts in the marketing and business world.
Unfortunately, due to technical issues, this couldn’t be an audio or video podcast.
How FanBytes started
The idea for FanBytes stemmed from a previous startup Tim was working on. This idea was a niche crowdfunding platform. Tim and his fellow Co Founder, Ambrose Cooke, were trying to build a platform for individual artists and fans. So the fans would help crowdfund awesome experiences with artists. So fans would pledge money to get merchandise, and every pledge would enter them into a giveaway for an unforgettable experience with the artist/band. e.g. lunches with the artist. However, they soon realised they weren’t really solving a problem with this platform
But from all experiences in life, other opportunities arise. One thing they recently noticed was that millennials aren’t looking at billboards or tvs, essentially making this audience hard to market to. Essentially, they realised that celebrities are now becoming these teens on social media with massive followings. And brands want to reach the lucrative and influential millennial market. This was an opportunity Tim and his team saw – brands are needing to shift to get onto YouTube, Snapchat, Vine, Instagram, plus online video and TV.
Today you’ve got kids in their rooms recording gaming videos, makeup tutorials, fashion tips, and many other niches, with hundreds of thousands of people subscribed to their channel. This makes them incredibly influential when they have access to an audience of this size however, as many people may already know and as Tim mentioned in our interview, monetisation through ads on YouTube is extremely poor. When you have a huge audience and it’s not being monetised efficiently, then there is a great opportunity for improvement. In this case, both the influencer and brand can benefit.
- Brands who want to market to this millennial audience need an efficient strategy to reach them
- Millennials who had a large following needed a better way to monetise the large following they’d built up.
Storytelling is also a necessary step that more brands will need to take to increase their overall impact with millennials. FanBytes saw that creating a unique experience that combined the brands product/service with the social media influencer was an interesting avenue to explore.
Here are some examples of just how powerful this avenue has been for brands and social media influencers.
Through their platform Go Ape partnered with Kiera Rose,whose audience of 88,000 young subscribers were the perfect audience for Go Ape. Kiera offered her audience the chance to win a tree top adventure experience with her. Fans around the country had to upload pictures of a time they did something good and share across social media to get votes using the hashtag #dogood across Twitter and Instagram. Her audience were also able to win voucher and discounts to use at Go Ape.
The results were incredible. There were 18367+Brand interactions with Go Ape. 39%increase in traffic to the Go Ape site during the campaign, 120000+ total YouTube video views for the Go Ape/Kiera Video, and a 700+ Increase In Facebook Likes
More case studies
Through the FanBytes platform, they connected with the awesome Beckii Cruel a global YouTube star with 98,000+subscribers. Beckii made a “Wear It In Four Ways” video where she took an item of New Look’s and wore it in 4 different ways. She challenged her audiences to do the same and upload and share pictures of them in their best outfits. The unique hashtag was #NewLook4WAYS. The winner went to the heart of London to shop at New Look’s flagship store with Beckii.
The results were as followed: 20,231+ Brand interactions with New Look, 29% Increase in traffic to the New Look site during the contest, 20,000+ total YouTube video views for the New Look/Beckii Collaboration, a 29% increase in traffic to the New Look site during the contest, and a total of 800+ of contests entries.
Another example. An Unboxing review video
To increase awareness of Fuelify’s monthly subscription box, Fuelfy used FanBytes to reach Scola Dondo a YouTuber with 150,000 subscribers to run an unboxing video. The campaign although starting on YouTube was also branched out to Instagram in a branded post.There was a total of 19,000+ brand interactions with Fuelify, and 9,000+ total YouTube video views for the collaboration.
Not only are these collaborations beneficial for brands, but YouTubers and other network influencers get the chance to monetise their audience in an effective way and also increase their subscriber base.
So from this, it is clear that influencers on Snapchat, Vine, Instagram, and YouTube can monetize the platform well if done it in the right way. What is also great about the way FanBytes does it is that the social media influencer isn’t ‘selling out’. They are showcasing brands in a different way with unique video content.
The future of marketing
What I also found fascinating is how the future of marketing, even for large brands, is starting to change dramatically due to this shift in online influencers.
Tim mentioned in the interview, and I absolutely agree with this, is how in 2015 we will see more brands moving to online video as they are beginning to notice the power and effect it is having. They are seeing that millennials are communicating with apps like SnapChat, Vine and Instagram.
The rules are changing drastically. 5 years ago consumers had to watch TV programs and movies at set times. You would have to . They told you what to watch. Now, teens are telling the brands where they need to go. The brands are in the creators playing field now. They need to listen to these young content creators.
Recently, Instagram has started to introduced advertising. The problem is, it will likely take large brands 2 – 3 years to recoup the cost paid in that advertising. Yes, they can bring in influential social media people to take over their account for a day and spend tens of thousands of dollars, but it is unclear how effective the return on investment will be.
So in conclusion, what Tim thinks we will see even just over the next year will be:
- brands will engage more in storytelling
- Brands will be respecting the fact they have to communicate well with millennials to get good results from marketing campaigns.
- It’s going to take a long time for established brands to make a big impact on networks such as Vine, SnapChat, Youtube and Instagram.
We are definitely living in an exciting time with some dramatic changes happening in the content creation and marketing world, and I’m interested to see what happens over the next 3 – 5 years with brand and content creator partnerships!