Written by Julian
The big lip-syncing application known as Musical.ly was acquired by Chinese media company, Bytedance, in November 2017 with the goal of boosting ad dollars by using small influencer-based campaigns. They are expanding the platform by doing more than just lip sync videos and plan to use content partnerships by doing custom content creation and co-creation of assets.
New Advertising Plan
The new ad products include what will be known as the #HashtagChallenge, where brands will challenge their followers to make response videos to their initial video. Advertisers see this as the most interactive advertising product on the table, as it allows users to watch an entire ad and creatively post about the brand. This advertising method will not only reach the brand's followers but the users' following as well, and possibly have an exponential growth with impressions. They are also creating stills and GIFs to redirect users to a brands page, and five to 15 second vertical sponsored videos for advertisers.
For the most part Musical.ly has been ad-free. Arthur Wu, head of global branding sales for Cheetah Mobile, says ads help influencers, the application, as well as advertisers get impressions. In the past, they have pitched agency and brands with influencer ad packages, but unfortunately, there is not much analytics to measure for pricing. Only likes and comments are used to measure ad pricing on the application.
Working Out the Kinks
Musical.ly has more than 200 million users, and brands like Beiersdorf, Disney and Kit Kat have been using influencers to advertise on the social media platform. The lip-syncing model makes it easy for movie studios and record labels to work with influencers. The application allows users to browse for popular people and songs resulting in a myriad of entertaining videos for millions to watch. The application also lets users transfer their videos to Instagram and YouTube, making it the latest trend for social media lovers and a starting point for the next generation of internet celebrities. Forty-three percent of users are 18 years old and younger while 67 percent of users are female. The biggest markets are the United States, India, Spain, Italy and Brazil. Advertisers usually do outreach and pay per post once they find people to collaborate with for ads.
To have accurate pricing Musical.ly set a CPM rate for their advertising videos. Similar to platforms like YouTube, influencers get paid based on clicks and watch time. For instance, the skincare brand Beiersdorf used five different girls for a recent campaign. Enyadres has two million followers, Laura Sophie has one million followers as well as Naomi Jon, Chany Dakota has 745,000 followers and Katulka has 609,000 followers. Wu and his team set a $15 CPM for vertical videos; each girl gets a percentage of money per click so that their influence is a fair calculation. The more followers someone has; the more clicks they receive on their posts. And some famous users have a more interactive following, allowing them to have fewer followers but more views.