Pour one out for the Attention Economy.
We now look to greener pastures with the emergence of the Creator Economy and the redistribution of digital power.
You may be wondering what the actual difference is between the attention and creator economy. I was too, considering they are terms often used interchangeably.
Clara Lindh Bergendorff’s Forbes piece titled, “From The Attention Economy To The Creator Economy: A Paradigm Shift,” she breaks it down best.
There are already many technology providers and companies creating tools to empower a creator-led economy like Twitch, Etsy, Patreon, Substack, etc. And thus, creators can focus on their craft. The common denominator is that each of these platforms enables the content creators to “own their audience.”
But this means there is a considerable opportunity for the brands that do see the utility in “owning an audience” the way individual creators are. People are gravitating away from enterprise and professional brands and going toward micro creators and influencers. My thoughts are it’s because they feel more relatable and engaging.
So while the attention economy paved the way for micro creators to grow, the tides are turning and the attention of fans goes with it.
This is precisely why those enterprise brands need to adapt and create a closer connection with fans. One way to do that is through an owned platform where fans get a say.
Let’s break down the benefits of an owned platform in this new creator economy and why owning your audience is important.
4 benefits of owning your audience
Social media is great for reach, brand building, and basic activation. The point of this piece is not to urge readers to abandon social media. The point of this is to explain why bringing those social fans to your own platform can be lucrative in so many ways.
To get straight to the point, the utility of owning your audience vs activating an audience on social media is summarized into 4 points:
- Flexible and lucrative activation
- Full access to user data to be leveraged where you choose
- Customized experience and ability to experiment with content
- Platform risk and algorithm instability
#1 Flexible and lucrative activation
Existing social media platforms are great for reach and exposure. But you are limited to the features they provide you when you want to activate and connect with your audience.
If you want their undivided attention, it’ll cost you.
If you want to sell to them, it’ll cost you.
If you want to share stuff with them organically, only some of them will actually see it.
If you want to do something unique, it has to fall within the guidelines and content publishing formats provided to you.
An owned audience allows you flexibility with how you choose to activate your fan base. Sponsorship activations, direct product ads, email marketing, push notifications, direct messaging, live streams, AMAs, etc. are all possible when you own the audience and the platform they gather on.
One of our clients, Borussia Dortmund, is using the app to publish and gather votes for player AMAs. Not only did the campaigns generate interest and engagement, but the first versions also showed the fans that their engagement can actually yield tangible responses from their favorite athletes.
While the volume of “fans” might be lower than what is generally had on existing social platforms, we predict much more loyal and engaged fans.
With the newfound direct link that you can tap into for free whenever you want, your margins will thank you.
#2 Full access to user data to be leveraged where you choose
This one is simple enough. An owned platform provides deeper insights into brand performance and gives you activation leverage.
For performance: social media insights are notoriously surface-level. Some may call them vanity metrics that don’t tell the full story.
Social followers, engagement rates, sentiment scores (this one is iffy) are nice metrics for a snapshot of your company’s brand performance.
But they don’t provide many business KPI drivers.
A dedicated platform lets you fine-tune the way you can’t on social.
That could mean A/B testing sales copy and sponsorship CTAs, conversion rate optimization on key web pages, syncing user heat maps on-site activity, etc. Fundamentally, getting fans over to your platform opens a host of conversion optimization tactics not otherwise available when you rely on social.
For activation leverage: just a complex way to say that when you own your audience, you can sell their attention the way all other social sites currently do. Facebook isn’t almost a trillion-dollar company because they let your grandma Ethel post pictures of her slightly obese cat. They are a trillion-dollar company because of how valuable our data is.
Facebook owns the audience and offers a powerful advertising engine for brands to reach that audience.
Simply put, you become Facebook in the equation. But with all that power comes great responsibility. Use it responsibly.
#3 Customized experience and ability to experiment with content
This one is in the same vein as #1 with flexible activation.
A dedicated platform and owned audience can give your brand a lot more customization with your marketing efforts.
Our product at Liquiditeam, for example, lets brands launch native live streams, AMAs, fan votings, ideations, proposals, fantasy games, etc. directly to their fans. I break that down a little more in this post over here.
With gamification being a strong opportunity to spark engagement and fans wanting more involvement with their favorite brands, these types of activations are a great tactic to make everyone happy.
#4 Platform risk and algorithm instability
This one might not apply to everyone but not owning your platform and audience means you are ALWAYS at risk of being removed, throttled, shadow-banned, etc.
This doesn’t just happen from breaking rules or being politically polarizing. Shadow-banning or content throttling can happen from simply having low engagement and poor quality content.
Getting de-platformed is much more fringe but still worthy of a mention for brands that toe the line on controversial and sensitive content.
Algorithm instability is another risk and much more common. It basically means that when social sites change their algorithms, you might have to adapt your content strategy.
Social sites ultimately update their algorithms to accomplish 2 things: how do we keep users on the site as long as possible? How do we obtain more users?
This is not always in the best interest of the individual brands looking to leverage social media.
So in this new creator economy, large brands are hesitant to pivot or they fail to see the benefits of adapting before others do. The simple benefits of owning your audience and platform are that you have more control over the fan experience and data.
While currently, sponsorship opportunities boil down to reach for a lot of sponsors, their gaze may shift toward quality and engaged fans having more leverage.
At Liquiditeam, we are creating a toolkit for brands to own their audience and build direct-to-consumer business models with our white label platform. We are working with some cool clients like Borussia Dortmund so far and it might be of interest to you too.
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