Why Facebook bet $1 billion on creators


Last month, Instagram hosted its first Creators Week ever, and the company described this virtual event as “three days of life-changing, with new feature news and celebrity visits.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Mark Zuckerberg) is one of them, he briefly appeared to share information with creators.

“I think that any good vision for the future must enable more people to make a living by expressing their creativity and doing what they want to do, not what they have to do — and have the tools and the economy to surround them Supporting their work is vital,” he said. “Our goal is to be the best platform for creators like you to make a living.”

This week, Zuckerberg went further and announced Facebook plans Investment of 1 billion US dollars Among creators by the end of 2022. The investment will fund bonus programs, creator funds and other monetization programs to promote all creators on its platform.

Facebook provides creators with so much funding and resources, which not only shows that the company sees an opportunity, but also shows how much foundation it must make up.

Over the years, Facebook has not done much for creators at all. Although Instagram has long had its own influencer community, the company has sometimes tried to limit their influence.According to reports, the founder of Instagram Uncomfortable With the rise of influencers, an algorithm feed was introduced to ensure that users see more posts from friends and family than posts from brands and businesses.

Although YouTube has provided monetization features for more than a decade, Instagram did not provide any type of revenue sharing feature until last year. Many creators often feel incompatible with Instagram. The company’s changing algorithm has raised suspicions that it “shadows” or otherwise punishes users who post too many or “wrong” topics.

“Facebook is late in supporting the creative community in a meaningful way,” said Qanna Smith Bruneteau, founder of the American Council of Influencers, a trade organization that represents the creator industry.

But Facebook is now trying to reverse these perceptions. In the past year, the company has been steadily producing new money-making tools for creators. Since May last year alone, the company has launched a dizzying array of money-making features.

On Instagram, creators can now download from advertising On IGTV or open their Own shop. They can sell badges and products on the live broadcast. On Facebook, they can host paid virtual events, promote fan subscriptions, or sell in-app gifts in live broadcasts or audio rooms.Soon they will be able to start paid newsletters, earn affiliate commissions and participate in products purchased by their followers Branded content marketThe company also launched several new products Bonus plan This will pay creators who sign up for IGTV ads, create Reels, or meet live streaming milestones.

Facebook

Zuckerberg and other executives now often talk about opportunities for creators and their representatives. The company is eager to win the support of the creator community and promises not to cut their income before 2023.

Li Jin, founder of Atelier Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in the creator economy, said that the surge in interest in creators is because the industry has become so big that platforms can no longer ignore this.

“I don’t think that for a long time, there is no need to treat creators as a unique market segment that requires specialized functions or funding,” Jin said. “I think what has changed is the realization that… the content of these creators is driving disproportionate activity and participation on the platform.”

Facebook’s entry into the creator economy is too late, which also means that the company is facing incredible competition. According to the analysis company, TikTok is known for its creator-friendly algorithms, with just over 3 billion downloads, and this is the first non-Facebook-owned application. Induction towerIn the second quarter of 2021 alone, TikTok users and their Chinese counterpart Duoyin spent more than US$5 billion on the app. According to App Annie data, in the United States in 2020, TikTok is clearly ahead of Facebook and Instagram in terms of user engagement.

TikTok surpassed Facebook in time spent per user.

App Annie

At the same time, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and other platforms are also injecting funds for creators’ new initiatives. “The number of creators is limited and everyone is competing for them,” Jin said.

Facebook has provided various explanations for its sudden interest in creators. Zuckerberg has said that he hopes to help more people “make a living” through Facebook’s services. Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, recently stated that the company is dealing with “a shift of power from institutions to individuals across industries.”

This is also an important opportunity to transfer Facebook’s business from the advertising business.Although Facebook has promised not to cut the income of creators for more than a year, this situation will eventually change (the company did not say how much it will cut, but only said it will To be “less” Than Apple’s 30% commission).

Creators can also greatly promote the company’s entry into the shopping field. Business has always been the main focus of social networks. It has already packed shopping functions into almost every corner of Instagram. Zuckerberg said that he intends to create a “full-featured business platform” across Facebook services.

What is not clear is how many creators are willing to pay for Facebook’s vision. While a $1 billion investment will almost certainly inspire more interest in the platform, it is not clear whether it will inspire the kind of content Facebook might hope. For example, Instagram’s Reels was originally the company’s TikTok’s main competitor.However, the company sometimes has to Promote creators Publish the original content there.

Brunito said that concerns about Facebook’s algorithm still exist. “The algorithm should benefit creators, just like on TikTok,” she said. “There are these instant influencers on TikTok, and they have millions of followers in less than a year. However, those instant influencers with these accounts tend to have fewer followers on Instagram.”

There are signs that Facebook may be willing to solve these problems. Mosseri recently said that Instagram is no longer A photo-sharing application, and the company is working on a way to insert more recommendations into users’ feeds to compete with TikTok.

But even if there is a kind person algorithm, Bruneteau and Jin both warned that creators should be cautious when investing too much resources on Facebook or any platform.

“When creators build their processes on these centralized platforms, they actually create more value for the underlying platform than they create for themselves,” Jin said. “In the final analysis, you are strengthening Facebook’s dominance, because the more content you put there, the more consumer users it attracts, and the more it translates into Facebook revenue and Facebook network effects.”

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