Transparency In Crypto Industry ‘Critical’: Ripple CEO

Speaking with “Mornings with Maria” from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Garlinghouse discussed regulation for the industry, noting that he traveled to Davos for the conference to engage with other CEOs and finance ministers from around the world “to talk about how these technologies can actually solve real world problems, and reduce costs and improve efficiency.”Garlinghouse also addressed volatility in the crypto market on Tuesday.

“There’s no question that regulation around crypto is still trying to find solid footing and finding the right posture for the United States,” Garlinghouse said before arguing that “the United States has really been behind other G-20 of markets,” including the U.K., Switzerland and Singapore.

He said that those markets “have led in establishing a framework that works for investors as well as entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of the new technologies and building the next generations of Google and Facebook.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
COIN COINBASE GLOBAL INC. 59.48 -6.62 -10.02%
BITQ EXCHANGE TRADED CONCEPTS TRUST BITWISE CRYPTO INNOVATORS E 7.45 -0.57 -7.11%

Along with the stock market, bitcoin has experienced a lot of volatility recently. Two weeks ago, bitcoin plunged to the $25,000 level, its lowest since December 2020, then bounced back over $30,000, according to CoinDesk. As of Tuesday morning, the crypto was trading around the $29,000 level, down from its all-time high of over $68,000 reached in November 2021.

The crypto is down more than 36% year-to-date.“There’s no question there’s been a lot of turbulence in the crypto market,” Garlinghouse said, noting that “if you zoom out, though, over the last two years, you have to remember that bitcoin was at about $8,000 two years ago. Today it’s around $30,000.”

Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of financial technology company Ripple Labs, discussed regulation and volatility in the cryptocurrency markets from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “This is a new market,” he continued. “There’s certainly been a lot of excitement about what’s going on in the market [and] sometimes that excitement gets ahead of the reality.”

“We’ve been focused on how do we use technologies to solve real problems for customers and those are the kind of solutions that will scale regardless of the turbulence and volatility of the market,” he went on to argue.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have had some rough weeks in anticipation of and following the half-point interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. It was the second of several anticipated increases this year as the central bank seeks to combat soaring inflation, which is at a high not seen in four decades.

The expectation now is that the Fed will take aggressive action to try and curb inflation, which remains near 40-year highs, according to the data for April released earlier this month, which has reduced investor appetite to hold assets perceived as higher risk.

Adding to more fears of volatility in the crypto market was the decoupling of the TerraUSD, a stablecoin whose value was tied to $1, the Wall Street Journal reported. The world’s largest stablecoin by market cap, tether, also briefly edged down from its $1 peg.  Garlinghouse pointed out on Tuesday that “stablecoins have been in the news because that was one of the catalysts that really drove the market a couple of weeks ago.”

Stablecoins are digital currencies with values that are pegged to traditional assets, like the dollar, another currency or gold. Its correspondence with the dollar is what, in theory, makes it stable. However, volatility in the crypto market last week challenged that presumption.

Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of financial technology company Ripple Labs, discusses the turbulance in the crypto market from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. “I think now more than ever the transparency that companies like Ripple have championed across the crypto industry is critical,” Garlinghouse told host Maria Bartiromo.

“That transparency for tether I think is to really make sure the people participating feel, buy and have access to whatever financial information they need to feel comfortable that it is in fact dollar-backed.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a House committee hearing earlier this month that the sharp drop in crypto markets highlighted the need for additional federal regulation to respond to the wave of speculative investment in the currency whose secrecy is a major part of its attraction. In addition, a top official at the SEC indicated that tighter rules around crypto stablecoins could be drawing closer, Reuters reported.

Source: Transparency in crypto industry ‘critical’: Ripple CEO | Fox Business

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Could a Stronger Euro Bring Relief To Global Markets

This is generally regarded as the global “risk-free” rate. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that every other asset in the world is priced with reference to this slab of US government debt. But a close runner up is the US dollar.

A strong US dollar sucks money out of risk assets

The US dollar is one of the most important prices in the world. It’s the global reserve currency – everyone needs US dollars. As a result, when the price of US dollars goes up, you can view it as monetary policy getting tighter around the world (that’s an oversimplification, but it’s quite a useful one).

This is at least one reason markets have struggled in recent months; the Federal Reserve, America’s central bank, has been ahead of other economies in terms of raising interest rates, while the US economy has also looked relatively resilient. The US dollar is also a “safe haven” asset, which means that it benefits when investors are feeling jittery.

As a result of all this, the dollar has shot up in value against other major currencies. And risk assets don’t like that one tiny bit. As my colleague Dominic pointed out earlier this month, “if the US dollar keeps rising from here, it’s going to hurt”.

The good news is that after a burst higher, the dollar is now a little lower than it was when Dominic wrote that piece. One key reason for that is the European Central Bank (ECB) – we’ll explain why in a minute. First, what’s the ECB done?

Well, yesterday, ECB chief Christine Lagarde came out with a blog post in which she – unusually for a central banker – was really quite clear about what the central bank will be doing over the next couple of quarters.

To summarise, she said that the ECB will stop printing money soon, it will start raising interest rates in July, and by the start of October rates will be back to 0% (ie, out of negative territory).

That’s quite an emphatic change for the ECB. As Marcus Ashworth says on Bloomberg, “I struggle to recall any central banker, certainly not one from the ECB, ever having been this definitive about the monetary policy outlook.”

There are probably two reasons for it. One is that the ECB has been lagging somewhat. Inflation has taken off in the eurozone too, but unlike the US, the economy has looked weaker so it’s been a tougher juggling act. But now it looks as though the hawks (for want of a better word) have won.

The second reason is that the euro was threatening to hit parity with the US dollar. In pure market terms, parity is just another number, no more or less significant than 1.01 or 0.99. But of course, it’s not actually just another number; it’s a big scary round number and one that grabs headlines. It’s probably best avoided if possible.

Part of a central bank’s role is to act as the guardian of the currency. That’s even more important in the eurozone than elsewhere because the euro is young and the lack of full political union between all of its member countries means there are still serious fault lines that could threaten its existence.

This risk has retreated greatly. During the sovereign bond crisis of the 2010s, the ECB, under Mario Draghi, effectively won the right to print money to suppress national bond yields – and thus underwrite the solvency of individual eurozone nations – where necessary.

But it’s better not to get to the point where markets decide to test your resolve on that front.

Why a stronger euro might be good news for markets

So why is this good news from a strong dollar front? Because the euro is the “other” global reserve currency. It’s miles behind the dollar in terms of being stockpiled by central banks around the world, but it is the biggest component in the “DXY” index which measures the dollar’s strength against a basket of rival currencies. It is probably the most widely-watched barometer of dollar strength.

As a result, when the euro bounces against the dollar, DXY tends to fall. And what with this being quite a hawkish turn for the ECB, the euro rallied from falling as low as $1.03-ish last Friday, to heading above $1.07 now.

Meanwhile, on top of that, it helped that one of the monetary policy setters at the Fed – Raphael Bostic, the head of the Federal Reserve bank of Atlanta – said that it might make sense for the Fed to pause for breath in September on interest-rate rises.

That’s hardly a wildly dovish statement (it implies half-point increases in both June and July), but with the market currently sweating that Fed boss Jerome Powell hopes to inherit the mantle of inflation destroyer from Paul Volcker, any sign that the central bank might relent is welcome to investors.

A weaker dollar would be good news for investors, as it implies that the rush for safe havens will ease and investors will start seeking risk again.

That doesn’t mean it’ll happen. However, one feasible scenario in which this might continue is one in which inflation ebbs (even while remaining high) and other central bank policies start to converge with that of the Fed.

That’s certainly possible over the coming months. Does that mean you should be piling in as if everything is back to the tech bubble days? Not at all; the environment has changed and the winners over the next phase will differ from those of the last. But it does imply that the “crash-y” behaviour we’ve seen since the start of this year might be due a breather. Fingers crossed.

By: John Stepek

Source: Could a stronger euro bring relief to global markets? | MoneyWeek

Further reading:

What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

We’ve all been there before: You promise yourself just a few more minutes—and suddenly, it’s 2 a.m. and you’re still wide awake. Perhaps you’re binging a new favorite Netflix series or fretting over a morning meeting— whatever the root cause, you’re tossing and turning in bed all night, instead of getting the shut-eye you so desperately need.

What most of us don’t understand, however, is what really happens to our bodies when we don’t achieve that optimal level of sleep, which for most adults clocks in between seven and eight hours. Ahead, we asked a few doctors to explain how are bodies react to too-little sleep—and their answers might surprise you.

It becomes more difficult to focus on mental and physical tasks.

According to Dr. Jan K. Carney, MD, MPH, the Associate Dean for Public Health & Health Policy, and Professor of Medicine at Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and the National Institutes of Health, sleep is essential for health at every age. “When we don’t get enough sleep, it is harder to stay alert, focus on school or work, and react quickly when driving,” Dr. Carney says.

Your memory and mood suffers—and your appetite increases.

Sleep physician Dr. Abhinav Singh, MD, FAASM, the Medical Director of the Indiana Sleep Center, and Sleep Foundation Medical Review Panel member, says that, believe it or not, losing precious hours of sleep and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol have similar physical consequences. “Sleep loss is linked to memory impairment, poor mood, increased appetite (think obesity and diabetes), and reduced reflexes,” he says. “Increased reaction time and some studies have compared it to being worse than being intoxicated with alcohol.”

Long-term sleep shortage could lead to chronic physical and mental health concerns.

While Dr. Carney says the short-term risks of sleep loss are things we’re all familiar with—feeling drowsy and having trouble concentrating—the real risk is what a compounded lack of sleep can do over time. “Longer-term sleep shortage is associated with increased risks for chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, stroke, and depression.”

You can’t make up for lost sleep.

Unfortunately, you can’t “catch up” on sleep—once those hours are gone, they’re gone for good. “It is best to develop and keep regular sleep habits over the long term,” shares Dr. Carney, adding that you also can’t “learn to live” with less sleep. “The best way to ensure both adequate sleep and high-quality sleep is to develop good sleep habits.”

This means implementing a routine with a consistent bedtime and wake time each day—even on weekends. “Regular exercise helps, as does avoiding caffeine or alcohol near bedtime,” Carney says. “Our environment is essential—we need a calm, quiet, dark, and cool location where we sleep regularly.”

By:

Source: What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

These guidelines serve as a rule-of-thumb for how much sleep children and adults need while acknowledging that the ideal amount of sleep can vary from person to person.

For that reason, the guidelines list a range of hours for each age group. The recommendations also acknowledge that, for some people with unique circumstances, there’s some wiggle room on either side of the range for “acceptable,” though still not optimal, amount of sleep.

Deciding how much sleep you need means considering your overall health, daily activities, and typical sleep patterns. Some questions that you help assess your individual sleep needs include:

  • Are you productive, healthy, and happy on seven hours of sleep? Or have you noticed that you require more hours of sleep to get into high gear?
  • Do you have coexisting health issues? Are you at higher risk for any disease?
  • Do you have a high level of daily energy expenditure? Do you frequently play sports or work in a labor-intensive job?
  • Do your daily activities require alertness to do them safely? Do you drive every day and/or operate heavy machinery? Do you ever feel sleepy when doing these activities?
  • Are you experiencing or do you have a history of sleeping problems?
  • Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
  • When you have an open schedule, do you sleep more than you do on a typical workday?

Start with the above-mentioned recommendations and then use your answers to these questions to home in on your optimal amount of sleep.

How Were the Recommendations Created?

To create these recommended sleep times, an expert panel of 18 people was convened from different fields of science and medicine. The members of the panel reviewed hundreds of validated research studies about sleep duration and key health outcomes like cardiovascular disease, depression, pain, and diabetes.

After studying the evidence, the panel used several rounds of voting and discussion to narrow down the ranges for the amount of sleep needed at different ages. In total, this process took over nine months to complete.

Other organizations, such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and Sleep Research Society (SRS) have also published recommendations for the amount of sleep needed for adults2 and children3. In general, these organizations closely coincide in their findings as do similar organizations in Canada.4

Improve Your Sleep Today: Make Sleep a Priority

Once you have a nightly goal based on the hours of sleep that you need, it’s time to start planning for how to make that a reality.

Start by making sleep a priority in your schedule. This means budgeting for the hours you need so that work or social activities don’t trade off with sleep. While cutting sleep short may be tempting in the moment, it doesn’t pay off because sleep is essential to being at your best both mentally and physically.

Improving your sleep hygiene, which includes your bedroom setting and sleep-related habits, is an established way to get better rest. Examples of sleep hygiene improvements include:

If you’re a parent, many of the same tips apply to help children and teens get the recommended amount of sleep that they need for kids their age. Pointers for parents can help with teens, specifically, who face a number of unique sleep challenges.

Getting more sleep is a key part of the equation, but remember that it’s not just about sleep quantity. Quality sleep matters5, too, and it’s possible to get the hours that you need but not

feel refreshed because your sleep is fragmented or non-restorative. Fortunately, improving sleep hygiene often boosts both the quantity and quality of your sleep.

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as significant sleepiness during the day, chronic snoring, leg cramps or tingling, difficulty breathing during sleep, chronic insomnia, or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care doctor or find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause.

You can try using our Sleep Diary or Sleep Log to track your sleep habits. This can provide insight about your sleep patterns and needs. It can also be helpful to bring with you to the doctor if you have ongoing sleep problems.

By: Eric Suni  – SleepFoundation

What Is Biodiversity and How are We Protecting It?

The United Nations has declared Sunday to be the International Day for Biodiversity to raise awareness of the extinction risk facing animals and plants. Nearly a third of all species are now endangered due to human activities.

Later this year governments will meet to come up with a long-term plan to reverse the threat to life on Earth – in all its varieties – at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in China.

What is biodiversity and why is it important?

Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth – animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms like bacteria. Animals and plants provide humans with everything needed to survive – including fresh water, food, and medicines. However, we cannot get these benefits from individual species – we need a variety of animals and plants to be able to work together and thrive. In other words, we need biodiversity.

Plants are also very important for improving our physical environment – by cleaning the air we breathe, limiting rising temperatures and providing protection against climate change.

Mangrove swamps and coral reefs can act as a barrier to erosion from rising sea levels. And common trees found in cities such as the London plane or the tulip tree, are excellent at absorbing carbon dioxide and removing pollutants from the air.

How many species are at risk of extinction?

It is normal for species to evolve and become extinct over time – 98% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct. However, the extinction of species is now happening between 1,000 and 10,000 times more quickly than scientists would expect to see.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has kept a “red list” of threatened species since 1964. More than 142,000 species have been assessed and 29% are considered endangered, which means they have a very high risk of extinction.

graphic showing how one in four species of those assessed by the IUCN Red List are at risk of extinction, including 40% of amphibians and 14% of birds
graphic showing how one in four species of those assessed by the IUCN Red List are at risk of extinction, including 40% of amphibians and 14% of birds

What are countries trying to agree in China?

It is hoped an agreement can be reached to stop what scientists are calling the “sixth mass extinction” event.

For many people living in towns and cities, wildlife is often something you watch on television. But the reality is that the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat all ultimately rely on biodiversity. Some examples are obvious: without plants there would be no oxygen and without bees to pollinate there would be no fruit or nuts.

Others are less obvious – coral reefs and mangrove swamps provide invaluable protection from cyclones and tsunamis for those living on coasts, while trees can absorb air pollution in urban areas.

Others appear bizarre – tropical tortoises and spider monkeys seemingly have little to do with maintaining a stable climate. But the dense, hardwood trees that are most effective in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere rely on their seeds being dispersed by these large fruit-eaters.

When scientists explore each ecosystem, they find countless such interactions, all honed by millions of years of evolution. If undamaged, this produces a finely balanced, healthy system which contributes to a healthy sustainable planet.

The sheer richness of biodiversity also has human benefits. Many new medicines are harvested from nature, such as a fungi that grows on the fur of sloths and can fight cancer. Wild varieties of domesticated animals and crops are also crucial as some will have already solved the challenge of, for example, coping with drought or salty soils.

If money is a measure, the services provided by ecosystems are estimated to be worth trillions of dollars – double the world’s GDP. Biodiversity loss in Europe alone costs the continent about 3% of its GDP, or €450m (£400m), a year.

From an aesthetic point of view, every one of the millions of species is unique, a natural work of art that cannot be recreated once lost. “Each higher organism is richer in information than a Caravaggio painting, a Bach fugue, or any other great work,” wrote Prof Edward O Wilson, often called the “father of biodiversity”, in a seminal paper in 1985.

Just how diverse is biodiversity?

Mind-bogglingly diverse. The simplest aspect to consider is species. About 1.7 million species of animals, plants and fungi have been recorded, but there are likely to be 8-9 million and possibly up to 100 million. The heartland of biodiversity is the tropics, which teems with species. In 15 hectares (37 acres) of Borneo forest, for example, there are 700 species of tree – the same number as the whole of North America.

Recent work considering diversity at a genetic level has suggested that creatures thought to be a single species could in some cases actually be dozens. Then add in bacteria and viruses, and the number of distinct organisms may well be in the billions. A single spoonful of soil – which ultimately provides 90% of all food – contains 10,000 to 50,000 different types of bacteria. The concern is that many species are being lost before we are even aware of them, or the role they play in the circle of life.

How bad is it?

Very. The best studied creatures are the ones like us – large mammals. Tiger numbers, for example, have plunged by 97% in the last century. In many places, bigger animals have already been wiped out by humans – think dodos or woolly mammoths.

The extinction rate of species is now thought to be about 1,000 times higher than before humans dominated the planet, which may be even faster than the losses after a giant meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs 65m years ago. The sixth mass extinction in geological history has already begun, according to some scientists.

Lack of data means the “red list”, produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has only assessed 5% of known species. But for the best known groups it finds many are threatened: 25% of mammals, 41% of amphibians and 13% of birds.

Species extinction provides a clear but narrow window on the destruction of biodiversity – it is the disappearance of the last member of a group that is by definition rare. But new studies are examining the drop in the total number of animals, capturing the plight of the world’s most common creatures.

The results are scary. Billions of individual populations have been lost all over the planet, with the number of animals living on Earth having plunged by half since 1970. Abandoning the normally sober tone of scientific papers, researchers call the massive loss of wildlife a “biological annihilation” representing a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilisation”.

What about under the sea?

Humans may lack gills but that has not protected marine life. The situation is no better – and perhaps even less understood – in the two-thirds of the planet covered by oceans. Seafood is the critical source of protein for more than 2.5 billion people but rampant overfishing has caused catches to fall steadily since their peak in 1996 and now more than half the ocean is industrially fished.

What about bugs – don’t cockroaches survive anything?

More than 95% of known species lack a backbone – there are about as many species in the staphylinidae family of beetles alone as there are total vertebrates, such as mammals, fish and birds. Altogether, there are at least a million species of insect and another 300,000 spiders, molluscs and crustaceans.

But the recent revelation that 75% of flying insects were lost in the last 25 years in Germany – and likely elsewhere – indicates the massacre of biodiversity is not sparing creepy crawlies. And insects really matter, not just as pollinators but as predators of pests, decomposers of waste and, crucially, as the base of the many wild food chains that support ecosystems.

“If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse,” says Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK. “We are currently on course for ecological Armageddon.”

Even much-loathed parasites are important. One-third could be wiped out by climate change, making them among the most threatened groups on Earth. But scientists warn this could destabilise ecosystems, unleashing unpredictable invasions of surviving parasites into new areas.

What’s destroying biodiversity?

We are, particularly as the human population rises and wild areas are razed to create farmland, housing and industrial sites. The felling of forests is often the first step and 30m hectares – the area of the Britain and Ireland – were lost globally in 2016.

Poaching and unsustainable hunting for food is another major factor. More than 300 mammal species, from chimpanzees to hippos to bats, are being eaten into extinction.

Pollution is a killer too, with orcas and dolphins being seriously harmed by long-lived industrial pollutants. Global trade contributes further harm: amphibians have suffered one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be spread around the world by the pet trade. Global shipping has also spread highly damaging invasive species around the planet, particularly rats.

The hardest hit of all habitats may be rivers and lakes, with freshwater animal populations in these collapsing by 81% since 1970, following huge water extraction for farms and people, plus pollution and dams.

Locating the tipping point that moves biodiversity loss into ecological collapse is an urgent priority. Biodiversity is vast and research funds are small, but speeding up analysis might help, from automatically identifying creatures using machine learning to real-time DNA sequencing.

There is even an initiative that aims to create an open-source genetic database for all plants, animals and single-cell organisms on the planet. It argues that by creating commercial opportunities – such as self-driving car algorithms inspired by Amazonian ants – it could provide the incentive to preserve Earth’s biodiversity.

However, some researchers say the dire state of biodiversity is already clear enough and that the missing ingredient is political will.

A global treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), has set many targets. Some are likely to be reached, for example protecting 17% of all land and 10% of the oceans by 2020. Others, such as making all fishing sustainable by the same date are not. The 196 nations that are members of the CBD next meet in Egypt in November.

In his 1985 text, Prof E O Wilson, concluded: “This being the only living world we are ever likely to know, let us join to make the most of it.” That call is more urgent than ever.

Source: What is biodiversity and how are we protecting it?

Further reading

The Biological Diversity Crisis (1985). Edward O Wilson. BioScience (Vol 35)

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014). Elizabeth Kolbert (Bloomsbury)

What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? (2013) Tony Juniper (Profile)

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (2010). Pushpam Kumar et al. (Earthscan)

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Why Your Idea of Influencer Marketing is Outdated

While influencer marketing has become a mainstay for marketers, this doesn’t mean that marketers should start getting comfortable. As social apps start to integrate more creative functions to suit their users’ needs, an increasing number of users have started to become creators in their own right.

Anyone with a smartphone can create content, but those that create unique, high-quality content have risen to join the ranks of top influencers.

However, marketers often only consider partnering with ‘traditional’ influencers — influential tastemakers that usually have a large following. While these individuals may not necessarily create posts of high quality, their ability to leverage their fans makes them attractive to marketers seeking to promote their brand.

While creators can become influential and influencers do often create their own content, they aren’t one and the same. Marketers shouldn’t make the mistake of conflating them. Here’s why:

Influencers and content creators have different impacts on their audiences

Marketers increasingly understand the need to shift from ‘vanity’ metrics such as ‘likes’ towards engagement metrics such as ‘views’ and ‘impressions’. This also means that influencer marketing isn’t used just for the purpose of attracting eyeballs. Brands must engage the individuals that best suit their campaign objectives and KPIs.

For example, a beauty brand looking to raise brand awareness might engage a beauty influencer to create a sponsored post, then track impressions on their posts, or audience growth on their social media.

A YouTuber that uses the same products as part of a morning routine video or beauty challenge, on the other hand, can generate interest in your product that leads to greater click-throughs to your product page.

The main difference is that influencers act as an amplification channel for your content or product, driving awareness through reach, which can generate sales with the right target group.

Content creators, on the other hand, incorporate your product into their own content styles — be it beauty routines, funny challenges, or breathtaking photographs. These creators may not have a large following, but often have loyal audiences that are already interested in the form of content they produce. As such, they score greater points for relatability.

Think of influencer marketing as a form of brand partnership

Gone are the days when influencers are willing to plug your brand or product in exchange for free goods or cash. Influencers now hold greater accountability to their followers, meaning that it is imperative for them to be honest about sponsorships and create more authentic content.

According to Campaign, some factors that determine if a user decides to follow an influencer include how “real” their content is, how well-intentioned their posts are, and whether or not the content or products they endorse are in keeping with their usual style.

This means that influencers are likely to be more selective with the brands that they choose to work with. An influencer such as Liv Lo (@livlogolding), for example, builds her personal brand around her sustainable lifestyle and the use of environmentally-friendly, organic products. Liv Lo features cruelty-free skincare brands on her Instagram page and isn’t shy about criticising brands that aren’t as supportive of environmental initiatives.Instagram post Liv Lo

Top influencers hold even greater prestige and control. Apart from being awarded ‘verified’ badges on platforms such as YouTube or Instagram that cement their status as top dog, high-profile influencers are being provided exclusive features that allow them to directly drive social commerce.

Last year, Snapchat invited 5 top influencers to gain access to their in-app store function, allowing these influencers to sell their merchandise straight from the app. Instagram’s Creator profile, which was initially beta-tested on a small group of users, now allows influencers and creators to have more flexible profile controls, access to a dashboard of performance metrics, and the ability to create shoppable posts.

Creators are also being recognised for their influence. Events like VidCon celebrate the unique achievements of video creators and educate brands on how they should navigate the changing influencer landscape.

It’s clear that marketers can no longer expect to mould an influencer to their needs. Instead, marketers must learn to accept that influencers and creators are their own mini-brand. A successful partnership, therefore, depends on aligning the needs and values of both parties.

In order to find the right partners, use Meltwater’s Influencer Marketing Software or Klear’s Influencer Discovery Platform. We help you to find influencers based on your audience’s demographic as well as your target market, industry, or topic. Their fans are already familiar with brands in your industry, ensuring that your content effectively targets the right audience.

Just like celebrity endorsements, influencer partnerships work well in the long-term

Influencer marketing should not involve too many one-off partnerships. As consumers seek out relatable, authentic content, “momentary endorsements” become less attractive to most brands and influencers. After all, consumers place less trust in influencers who readily promote a variety of brands.

Marketers should strive to create long-term partnerships with the influencers that they engage. While long-term partnerships generally reflect well on both the brand and its partner, these partnerships also help both parties solidify their fanbase.

Influencers who work with brands on a longer-term basis can leverage a variety of posts that better reflect their relationship with the brand over time. For example, an influencer is likely to attend events hosted by the brand, speak about related social issues, and review the brand’s products. If an influencer praises the brand’s offerings, their fans are more likely to believe them.

Brands that embark on long-term partnerships may also benefit from the influencer’s follower circles. These audiences are likely to relate the influencer with the brand and thus confer a sense of trust towards the products that they endorse. This also means that audiences are likely to feel a greater emotional connection with the brand, leading to more sticky customers.

Content creators, too, are valuable partners. Brands that make creators their partners can turn the artists’ style or content form into a part of their brand identity. This is especially true for organisations that manage recurring events.

Arts House Limited, for example, manages the Aliwal Arts Centre, which organises the annual Aliwal Urban Arts Festival. While the lineup for each year differs, the Urban Arts Festival consistently showcases local street dance crews and musicians. The festival has become synonymous with local street culture, while the Arts Centre has become the go-to venue for local indie dance and theatre shows.

Brands like Arts House Limited show a keen understanding of their own appeal and their audience’s interests. Likewise, brands that seek to effectively engage influencers as long-term partners must create campaigns that appeal to their key audiences.

Meltwater’s Audience Insight reports allow you to understand the communities that drive conversations on your social media channels. Our tool helps you to discover your audience’s consumption habits, analyse shifts in their demographic, and identify key influencers within these groups. You can then use these insights to determine the trends and topics that resonate with your audience.

To move ahead, brands must shake off old conventions

Now that we’ve highlighted the reasons why marketers should understand the value of both traditional influencers and content creators, it’s imperative that they formulate an influencer marketing strategy that includes both facets.

As the social media landscape continues to change and include newer apps, functions, and trends that steal the headlines, social media marketers too must adapt to make sure that they stay ahead of the curve.

By: Violet Zhang

Source: Why Your Idea of Influencer Marketing is Outdated

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