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Instagram influencers can earn thousands of dollars for a sponsored livestream, but they have to get risk-averse brands on board

Elena Taber - Instagram Influencer
  • As interest in live video has spiked among at-home consumers in recent weeks, creators, marketers, and tech platforms are looking for new ways to make money from livestreaming.
  • Influencers can earn hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars by promoting a product or appearing in a brand's livestream on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitch.
  • Business Insider spoke to creators and marketers to learn more about how sponsored livestreaming works. 
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Many influencers have been leaning into the intimacy of Instagram Live — the social-media platform's livestreaming feature — in recent weeks.
Now some of those creators are cashing in on the format, setting up deals with brands to promote products or appear in livestreams on a company's account.
"A ton of people are going live right now," said Elena Taber, a lifestyle influencer with 108,000 Instagram followers. "I've done it once or twice on my own channel, and then I teamed up with a company to do one on their platform as well."
Taber appeared in a sponsored 30-minute Instagram Live for the fragrance brand Atelier Cologne in early April. The company asked her to share "Work from Home Tips" to its 135,000 followers as part of the brand's live content slate during the week of April 6th.
"They sent me a little PR package in advance, so I got to try out their cologne as well as one of their candles," she said. "I incorporated [Atelier's candle] a little bit, but primarily it was just talking about tips."
Live-video marketing on social-media platforms isn't new. Twitch gamers have been earning revenue by promoting brands in livestreams for years, in some cases earning as much as tens of thousands of dollars an hour. But as consumers tune into live content on other social-media platforms like Instagram — which traditionally has focused on carefully crafted and posed photos and videos — more influencers and brands have been experimenting with the format as a marketing opportunity.
"People are more apt to spend 30, 60, or 90 minutes on an influencer or branded livestream, whereas they're typically only engaging with a static photo on a feed for a couple seconds," said Ellie Jenkins, an influencer-innovation manager at Mavrck. "That long-term engagement is really powerful for brands."
Access to streaming revenue is particularly appealing to creators at a time when the influencer-marketing industry is experiencing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Cost-per-view advertising rates have dropped on YouTube in recent weeks, travel and events-based opportunities have shut down to comply with shelter-in-place policies, and brands have cancelled or postponed influencer campaigns in order to save on costs or avoid appearing tone deaf during a public health crisis. While livestreaming is unlikely to fill the void from lost ad revenue on its own, sponsored streams are one of several alternative revenue sources that creators have been testing out in a slumping economy.
About one in three influencers have produced sponsored live streams in recent weeks, according to a new survey of 310 creators by the influencer-marketing platform Mavrck (two thirds said they had produced non-sponsored live content). Influencers can earn hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars for appearing in a live video that lasts less than an hour.
For brands navigating a new at-home consumer environment during the coronavirus pandemic, livestreams can serve as a prime channel for product placements and an opportunity to draw an influencer's audience over to its own social-media accounts.
Jenkins' innovation team at Mavrck is exploring a variety of sponsored live-video themes, including real-time "how-to" tutorials, cooking videos, live makeup applications, education or thought leadership sessions, clothing "try-ons," and exclusive "ask me anything" interviews.
"What makes livestreaming different and unique is that it encourages the content to be viewed and interacted with live," Jenkins said.
But live influencer marketing also poses risks for brands that are used to pre-approving creator content before it shows up on the internet.
"It's far more risky when brands are working with creators live," Jenkins said. "There isn't a draft review process. There isn't predictability on what the engagement sentiment is going to be."
For her branded livestream with Atelier, Taber said the company asked to see some of her key talking points and a photo of what her background would look like during the stream so they could pre-approve her content.
"There was definitely still creative freedom," she noted.

Creators can earn thousands of dollars for appearing in a 30-minute live video — if they can get risk-averse brands on board

As is the case with in-feed videos and photos on social media, influencers charge different rates for livestreams based on the size and type of audience they reach. 
"In terms of streaming rates, it depends on the influencer and the number of followers and how long the stream would be," Evan Asano, CEO of the influencer-marketing agency Mediakix, told Business Insider over email. "We're seeing rates from the thousands [of dollars] for mid-tier influencers, to up to tens of thousands [of dollars] for influencers with around one million followers. This is for a 20- to 30-minute stream."
Creators with an average of 30,000 social-media followers charge around $400 for a sponsored live stream that lasts 30 minutes or less, according to Mavrck's new survey on livestreaming.
With pay rates that generally fall in line with what creators earn from traditional sponsored social-media posts, livestreaming revenue could offer an alternative source of income for influencers who have seen brand deals cancelled or put on pause during the coronavirus crisis. But it's still early days for many creators who are testing out live content for the first time.
And some brands are hesitant to dip their toes into the harder-to-moderate live format.
"The pandemic has caused brands to relook at their own social strategies, which for the most part, have not been human or nimble enough," said Vickie Segar, the CEO of the influencer-marketing agency Village. "They aren't used to doing Instagram Lives. The approval process is eliminated and brands are often uncomfortable with content that doesn't flow through a more traditional creative process."
In addition to not being able to control an influencer's content when it's posted live, brands are also vulnerable to negative sentiment from users in a livestream's comments section, which isn't typically moderated and places a company at the mercy of internet trolls.
"I require creators to remain positive or to not engage with negative comments or inappropriate comments in a chat," Jenkins said. "There's nothing we can do to delete or stop that behavior, but we can urge the creators who are contracted with this kind of engagement to just ignore it."

Social-media platforms are introducing product support to help creators earn revenue from live videos

As influencers and social-media users have spent more time on livestreams in recent weeks, tech platforms have begun adding more tools to help creators earn money from live content.
Last week, Facebook announced that it's planning to allow users to charge for access to events on Facebook pages that include live video. The company is expanding the rollout of its "Stars" monetization program — a system in which fans can send virtual stars to a livestreaming creator that are worth $0.01 each. And it announced this week that it's adding support for creators to collect charitable donations during Instagram Lives.
While competitors like Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok already offered similar monetization options for live-content creators, the arrival of new revenue tools on platforms like Instagram and Facebook signals that both creators and tech platforms are building products to meet customers where they are during the coronavirus pandemic.
Activity on Instagram's "Live" and "Stories" features both spiked last month, and YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch livestreams all saw double-digit increases in viewership during the same period. Google's CEO Sundar Pichai pointed to livestreams as a driving force behind increased watch time on YouTube during the first quarter in the company's earnings report earlier this week.
"I think there's been a shift with a lot of people in the space right now," Taber said. "Usage has gone up from both sides. Obviously we have more time on our hands."
For more data on how social-media behaviors have shifted during the coronavirus pandemic, read these Business Insider Prime posts: 
  • A new survey of 1,021 Instagram influencers shows how the social-media platform has changed in recent weeks and what areas they're leaning into: A survey of Instagram influencers by the marketing platform Klear shows how creators are using Instagram Lives and Stories.
  • A new 22-page report breaks down how livestream video has surged in the last month on YouTube, Twitch, and other platforms. Here are the 4 key takeaways: Livestreaming on social-video platforms jumped in March, with real-time news, music, gaming, and animal content drawing audiences.
  • A survey of 389 influencers reveals how viewer habits on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have changed in recent weeks: Creators are seeing dramatic increases in engagement across social-media platforms, according to a new survey from Influence Central.
  • A top social-video data firm made a 22-page report on how the coronavirus has changed viewer habits on YouTube and other platforms. Here are the 5 takeaways: Tubular Labs put together a 22-page report on YouTube and Facebook video consumption during the coronavirus outbreak.
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* This article was originally published here

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-instagram-influencers-can-earn-from-livestreaming-for-brands-2020-4

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