How is COVID-19 affecting Influencers?

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How is COVID-19 affecting Influencers?

Apr 01, 2020

Our tenth minisode of the third season of the “The Creative Influencer” podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere.  In minisodes, we answer questions that our listeners have emailed Jon.  In this minisode, Jon discusses the impact coronavirus and resulting stay-at-home orders are having on Influencers’ bottom line.


A transcript of the episode follows:

Hey Jon,
How is the coronavirus going to impact Influencers? I’m watching a lot more YouTube and spending a lot more time on Instagram. This has to be a good thing for them in a weird way--they have to be killing it, right?

Thanks for the email. I chose this question because it is a topic on the front of my mind lately, as well as many of my client’s minds.

Setting aside the obvious impact on the limitations of content creation—the fact that you can’t go outside here in Los Angeles, there’s definitely going to be a monetary impact on YouTube Creators and Instagram Influencers as well.

But it’s not what you may think. Despite the fact that many people are spending a lot more time consuming content, watching videos and scrolling through their feed, this may have a negative effect on what Influencers earn.

Influencers are potentially earning less in two ways.

First, brands are doing fewer deals directly with Influencers. Why? Because they, like many businesses, are worried about the economic consequences of COVID-19. Brands and businesses are worried that there may be an economic recession and spending on ads and advertisements is one of the first things to go in times like these. I have seen this first-hand with my clients: there are simply fewer deals coming across my desk for sponsored posts and collabs with brands.

The second way that Influencers may be earning less is because of reduced spending on YouTube ads. The ads that show before, and sometimes during, a YouTube video cost about 15% less than they did two weeks ago. YouTube AdSense works on a bidding platform. For the same reason as the reduction in spending on deals with Influencers, brands are buying fewer YouTube ads. Because they are buying fewer ads, the cost has gone down, and therefore the total payments to creators will go down. This may be counterbalanced by the increase in views, but keep in mind that this reduction in ad-spend applies to ALL monetized videos on YouTube.

But in every challenge, there is opportunity. In this case, the long stretches of time that people are spending at home is also resulting in spikes for different mediums, like livestreaming.

The emphasis on live presents the opportunity for different revenue formats beyond traditional ads, including donations and memberships.

The Creative Influencer is a bi-weekly podcast where we discuss all things creative with an emphasis on Influencers. It is hosted by Jon Pfeiffer, an entertainment attorney in Santa Monica, California.  Jon interviews influencers, creatives and the professionals who work with them.

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