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Will YouTube Be Able to Keep Influencers Engaged?

For a long time, YouTube was the go-to space for finding, posting, and discovering videos. When monetization rolled around on YouTube, it was certainly the most sought after social channel to make money from video content. However, with the launch of new tools on Facebook and Instagram aimed to help influencers grow their audiences and get more business, many are wondering if YouTube will be able to keep influencers engaged.

In late January, YouTube made changes to their monetization criteria, making it difficult for creators with less modest followings to make money. The updates, which placed stricter criteria on qualifying for monetization, aimed to clean up offensive ad content. However, many say that this change merely discourages new creators from joining YouTube given the increased barriers to entry.

As a countermove, YouTube debuted new monetization features in June to help ease the pain for some creators. Features like channel subscriptions and the ability to sell merchandise are meant to “not only help creators better engage with their fans”, but also “enable them to make more money while doing it.” However, these updates are only available for accounts with followers over a certain threshold, so the issue of having to grow followers before making money is still left unsolved for new creators.

Man watching streaming series in a laptop computer, lying on the

With the recent launch of Instagram’s longform video platform, IGTV, many predict that this will replace YouTube when it comes to influencer marketing. While IGTV has not yet established a revenue sharing model, Instagram itself is arguably the most popular platform for influencers and their audiences – the influencer marketing industry is worth over $1 billion on Instagram today and is expected to grow to nearly $2.4 billion in 2019.

The one benefit that YouTube currently holds over IGTV, however, is that creators can monetize content directly on their videos through in-stream and bumper ads. Since IGTV does not yet have a monetization structure, influencers are only able to make money on the videos that they create for brands – at least, the influencers that are lucky enough to land a brand partnership.

Facebook is also making moves to convince influencers that their channel is a lucrative business tool. Recently, they launched Brand Collabs Manager with the intent of making it easier for brands and influencers to connect. The platform streamlines the influencer marketing search process by acting as both a hub where creators can showcase their best original content and a search engine where brands can sift through this work to identify potential partnerships.

As each social media channel continues to innovate their offerings to brands and influencers, only time will tell which platform will reign supreme. If current patterns hint at all at what the future holds though, then one can only assume that Instagram will be the frontrunner. IG’s active users, net worth, and positive news mentions continue to grow, while other channels cannot boast the same.

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