The next generation of influencers have arrived in the crypto scene and they are on a mission to dispel outdated social media monetization practices and champion crypto-based content revenue models that enable autonomy, authenticity and mass adoption from consumers .
It is valued at $ 6 billion in 2020 and is expected to increase to $ 24.1 billion by 2025influencer marketing is a growing industry. Influencers are generally known to make money from sponsored posts and paid brand promotions on social media, but such methods have created friction between influencers and their audience. These brand deals usually take place off-platform through agencies, and reliance on advertisers to make money has bound influencers to contracts and campaigns that stifle creativity. This has tarnished the industry with trust issues: only 10 percent of young consumers have a lot of faith in such promotions and 88 percent think the authenticity of influencers is more important than anything else.
At the same time, social networks have fueled ads to monetize their platforms, which in turn jeopardizes their user experience. Frustrated users are bombarded with sponsored messages from influencers as well as invasive advertisements. With ad blockers, banner blindness, and an innate sense of when to hit the ‘skip ad’ button, audiences have found new ways to bypass, ignore, and discover obvious sales techniques.
Consumer demand for greater transparency and trust is driving a growing subgroup of influencers to then seek alternative technologies and methods for monetizing content. Consumer-facing apps use blockchain technologies to meet this demand with cryptocurrency-based monetization models. The intersection of these two trends is the WOM protocol, which uses blockchain technology to empower and reward an entire ecosystem of creators, authenticators, publishers and advertisers through its native WOM (which stands for word of mouth) Token.
Stimulating the adoption of mainstream blockchain
The WOM protocol aims to bring blockchain to mainstream adoption and the WOM Network is designed to grow through economic incentive systems that distribute rewards to everyone who positively participates in the network. The strategic first partnership with the video-based social trading app, YEAY, allows users without any experience in blockchain technologies or cryptocurrencies to set up wallets, stake out tokens and earn crypto-based rewards for authentic content creation. Users can exchange their WOM tokens for gift cards from major brands such as Adidas, Spotify, Playstation and many more (over 2500 brands in 150 countries). About 153,000 reward transactions were executed in December 2020 alone.
This lowered barrier to blockchain access encourages lifestyle influencers to migrate to the YEAY platform. Currently there are over 45 influencers, with one combined reach of over 47+ million, earn money with their product recommendations in the YEAY app and receive WOM Token rewards for recommending the products they love. The highest-earning to date received a payout of over $ 2,000 in WOM tokens – despite not making any of the same activities on TikTok.
Some of the influencers on YEAY are the famous 13 year old gamer, Faze H1ghsyk1, successful Youtuber and Streamer, GrantTheGoat, growing TikTok / Youtube and Instagram lifestyle influencers, Corey Campbell, Derek Trendz, Aya Tanjali, famous European songwriter and musician, Lukas Rieger, and much more.
The crypto scene is of course no stranger to influencers. There are many revered names leading the crypto and blockchain conversations on Twitter, with many followers and celebrity status within the community. Even the most notorious crypto-influencers, whose reach typically extends into the hundreds of thousands, or the top of a million, would be considered a micro-influencer in the lifestyle scene, where the number of followers typically reaches into the millions. This makes lifestyle influencers the more powerful accelerators of blockchain adoption precisely because they can reach consumer markets beyond blockchain and bring their young audiences with them.
Growing demand for organic markets
Aligning interests between creators, advertisers and platforms is actually possible, as made possible by the YEAY app and the underlying WOM protocol. On YEAY, creators are not paid to promote brands necessarily. Instead, they choose to recommend the brands and products they really love and are specifically rewarded for those recommendations.
The more the YEAY app is populated with quality product recommendation content, the more it strengthens the supply side of the WOM market. This, in turn, is fueling organic market demand from brands, who can purchase WOM tokens to access verified recommendations for marketing and sales initiatives. Tools such as the WOM Campaign Manager allow such brands to launch campaigns to promote and increase the visibility of authentic content with the express permission of the creator. Meanwhile, plugins that can be posted directly to partner websites give brands and ecommerce platforms the ability to capture and display this organic word of mouth directly on their product pages.
At the same time, platforms have the ability to monetize their interface by using word of mouth instead of invasive ads, which are more familiar than any other form of advertising.
Stimulating network growth
On YEAY, users are rewarded with WOM tokens depending on the content engagement and peer rating their content receives. This peer rating process – where members of the community deploy WOM tokens to rate content for authenticity – means that fake or dishonest content is naturally filtered out of the market. For influencers looking for an alternative way to monetize their content without compromising trust, this model offers the opportunity to build more organic two-way relationships with their communities.
Reciprocity is a fundamental pillar of the WOM economy, which is built to encourage value sharing as a key driver of network growth. This can be seen in features such as the Team feature, which gives select creators the ability to integrate friends and followers into their team – increasing everyone’s WOM Token earning potential.
Crypto in the hands of the consumer
Lifestyle influencers with no background in blockchain are turning to cryptocurrency monetization methods that have simplified the process of earning and spending cryptocurrency. With these apps, they can be rewarded for their “mindshare” while remaining true to themselves and their community. Fairer distribution and mutual reciprocity are key ideals for this new class of social media monetizers – and their migration to consumer-friendly blockchain apps, bringing their communities with them – could be the tipping point towards massive blockchain adoption.
About the author: Anurag Gautam is an avid reader and Crypto Trader with a passion for creative writing for the past few years. Through writing, he wants to help people thrive in sync with bits of his knowledge. His niche mainly includes blockchain, startups and business & technology. He has worked with startups, leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay