The next generation of influencers has arrived on the crypto scene, with a mission to displace outdated social media monetization practices and promote crypto-based content revenue models that enable consumer autonomy, authenticity and mass adoption.
Influencer marketing is a scaling industry, valued at $ 6 billion in 2020 and growing to $ 24.1 billion by 2025. Influencers are typically known for making money from sponsored posts and paid brand advertising on social media to earn. However, such methods have created friction between influencers and their audience. These branded deals are usually handled off-platform through agencies, and reliance on advertisers for monetization has forced influencers to enter into contracts and campaigns that stifle creativity. This has tarnished the industry with trust issues: only 10 percent of young consumers have great trust in such promotions, and 88 percent believe that influencer authenticity should be more important than anything else.
At the same time, social networks have been running ads to monetize their platforms, which in turn threatens the user experience. Frustrated users are bombarded with sponsored posts from influencers and invasive ads. However, with ad blockers, banner blindness, and the innate feeling of when to click the “skip ad” button, viewers have found new ways to bypass, ignore, and recognize obvious sales techniques.
Consumer demand for more transparency and trust is driving a growing group of influencers to look for alternative technologies and methods of monetizing content. Consumer apps use blockchain technologies to meet this demand with crypto-based monetization models for content. At the intersection of these two trends is the WOM protocol, which uses blockchain technology to stimulate and reward an entire ecosystem of developers, authenticators, publishers and advertisers through its native WOM token (which stands for word of mouth).
Promote mainstream blockchain adoption
The WOM protocol aims to bring blockchain into general acceptance, and the WOM network is intended to grow through economic incentive systems that distribute rewards to anyone who positively participates in the network. The strategic first partnership with the video-based social commerce app YEAY enables users with no prior experience with blockchain technologies or cryptocurrencies to set up wallets, set tokens and earn crypto-based rewards for creating authentic content. Users can exchange their WOM tokens for gift cards from major brands such as Adidas, Spotify, Playstation and many others (over 2,500 brands in 150 countries). Around 153,000 bonus transactions were carried out in December 2020 alone.
This reduced barrier to blockchain access is encouraging lifestyle influencers to migrate to the YEAY platform. There are currently more than 45 influencers with a combined reach of more than 47 million, monetize their product recommendations in the YEAY app and receive WOM token rewards for recommending the products they love. The highest earner to date received a payout of more than $ 2,000 in WOM tokens – although he had not earned anything from the same activities at TikTok.
Some of the influencers on YEAY are the famous 13 year old gamer Faze H1ghsyk1, the successful youtuber and streamer, GrantTheGoat, growing TikTok / Youtube and Instagram lifestyle influencer, Corey Campbell, Derek Trendz, Aya Tanjali, the famous European songwriter and musician . Lukas Rieger and many 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 significant followers and celebrity status within the community. Even the most notorious crypto influencer, whose reach typically reaches hundreds of thousands or a million at the top end, would be viewed as a micro-influencer in the lifestyle scene, where following typically reaches millions. This makes lifestyle influencers the stronger accelerators of the blockchain introduction, precisely because they can penetrate far beyond the blockchain into consumer markets and bring their young audiences with them.
Growing demand in the organic market
The coordination of interests between developers, advertisers and platforms is actually possible, as made possible by the YEAY app and the underlying WOM protocol. At YEAY, creators are not paid to promote brands to themselves. Instead, they’ll recommend the brands and products they really love and are specifically rewarded for those recommendations.
The more the YEAY app is filled with high-quality product recommendation content, the stronger the supply side of the WOM market becomes. This in turn is driving demand from brands in the organic market who can purchase WOM tokens to gain access to authenticated referrals for marketing and sales initiatives. With tools such as the WOM Campaign Manager, such brands can start campaigns with the express consent of the creator in order to promote and improve the visibility of authentic content. Plugins that can be placed directly on partner websites offer brands and ecommerce platforms the ability to capture and present this organic word of mouth content right on their product pages.
At the same time, platforms have the ability to monetize their user interface through the use of word of mouth instead of invasive ads, which are more trustworthy than any other form of advertising.
Drive network growth
At YEAY, users are rewarded with WOM tokens based on the engagement of the content and a peer rating their content receives. This peer rating process, in which members of the community use 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 sacrificing trust, this model provides an opportunity to re-establish more organic mutual relationships with their communities.
Reciprocity is a fundamental pillar of the WOM economy, designed to promote value sharing as the main driver of network growth. This can be seen in functions such as the team feature, with which selected developers can integrate friends and followers into their team – and increase the earning potential of all WOM tokens.
Crypto in consumer hands
Lifestyle influencers with no background on the blockchain are turning to cryptocurrency monetization methods that have made it easier to collect and spend crypto. With these apps they can be rewarded for their “mindshare” and remain true to themselves and their communities. Fairer distribution and reciprocity are key ideals for this new class of social media monetizers – and their migration to the more consumer-friendly blockchain apps that their communities bring with them – could mark the turning point for blockchain mass adoption.
About the author: Anurag Gautam is an avid reader and crypto trader with a passion for creative writing for many years. By writing, he wants to help people thrive in sync with parts of his knowledge. Its niche mainly includes blockchain, startups and business & technology. He has worked with startups, executives, entrepreneurs and innovators.
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay