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How creators have become strategy consultants for publishers on TikTok



How creators have become strategy consultants for publishers on TikTok

This article is part of a cross-brand Digiday Media series that examines how the creator economy has evolved amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Explore the full series here.

TikTok can be a scary place for publishers.

Its algorithm segments audiences into interest-based groups, making best practices for the social video platform antithetical to best practices publishers have successfully honed for the other platforms and channels.

“Traditional video publishers have an editorial team, they have a content calendar, they’re producing and editorializing video content based on different stories or trends that are happening, and it’s typically a little bit more polished and far more regimented,” said Nick Cicero, vp of strategy at streaming and social intelligence company Conviva, which works closely with publishers, brands and independent creators on tracking post-performance on social media. “TikTok does not follow the same methodology as traditional video platforms that publishers [use].”

With that in mind, some publishers have turned to creators native to the fast-paced and rough-cut platform to help guide their strategies. Publishers including BDG, Team Whistle and Gallery Media Group, have grown their followings by doing so — and have incorporated TikTok into their daily output and distribution strategies.

“A lot of our foundation was built on working with creators who we thought aligned with our brands and were people that we would post naturally, learning from each other,” said Wesley Bonner, BDG’s svp of marketing and audience development. “And a lot of them were very eager to get into an opportunity to make money from their work.”

Since first posting on its TikTok channels in May 2020, BDG’s lifestyle brands have accrued between 440,000 to 2.7 million followers each, largely by forming deep relationships with creators, including through its TikTok Creator Network, which pays TikTokers to produce content for the company’s handles. The model is structured the same way it pays freelance writers to produce content for its websites, Bonner said, but would not disclose the range at which the TikTok creators are paid per post.

Right now there are 100 creators in the BDG Creator Network, all of whom are in the early stages of building their online presence since their rates tend to be lower than creators with millions of followers, and they are eager to grow online, Bonner said.

And other publishers agree that giving creators the driver’s seat is the correct strategy.

“The companies that are winning right now are allowing talent to do that super nimble work” of identifying their audience, figuring out what they want to see and how much of that content they want, said Owen Leimbach, evp of strategy and innovation at Team Whistle. 

Here are some of the strategies that publishers have learned by collaborating closely with TikTok creators: 

Give the ending away

By working closely with creators, Bonner said he has learned to share the end result with the audience immediately. Whether the video is about a beauty hack, a coffee recipe, a dress-up fashion video or an interior design reveal, a key way to get viewers to stop on your post is by making the attractive end result the first thing that catches their eye.

“I find [it] just a fascinating human tick where we’re scrolling so quickly, if you start a 15-second video that’s [about] the perfect eyeliner, but we don’t show you the eyeliner [in the beginning] you’re not likely to make it to the 15-second mark,” said Bronner. “That’s a unique strategy that we apply a lot to our videos of incorporating whatever the finale is first in the title, and then show them how you got there. It works quite well.”

Stop romanticizing brand image

TikTokers “are not romantic about their brand or voice the way that a lot of Fortune 500 brands and publishers are,” said Ryan Harwood, CEO of Gallery Media Group, which publishes PureWow and ONE37pm. They “have taught us that it’s OK to have multiple personalities depending on where you are.”

Because of how rapidly the platform develops — and with how solo creators operate — creators can hop on trends as they emerge and post several times a day because it’s their full-time job and their living depends on it, he added. But TikTok’s audience also appreciates the authenticity that comes from creators not taking the time to overproduce a video.

“Brands need to act more human because humans are winning on the platforms,” said Harwood. “We have teams set up that are spending a large portion of their time on the platform, which allows for us to be well versed on what’s culturally relevant and understand what our audience wants to see. TikTok is one of the greatest avenues to find out what consumers are thinking, saying, consuming, buying — which is something we haven’t seen since the early days of Facebook.”

Post fast and post often

Because TikTokers are less romantic with their image online, they’re able to post faster and more frequently than many publishers had previously been comfortable posting on their owned and operated channels, as well as on social media.

But this is also partially because TikTok’s algorithm itself doesn’t penalize the creators for using the platform at a higher volume. Unlike Instagram, which penalizes accounts with low engagement on some posts, getting 1,000 views on one TikTok won’t prevent you from getting 5 million views on the next, according to Harwood.

“The key trait[s] among all of the top-performing industries on TikTok right now [are] strong personalities that do bring a voice to the platform and posting fairly consistently, which means that for a publisher, you actually have to react to trends, produce something meaningful and get it out onto the planet a lot faster than your typical editorial cycle might entail,” said Cicero.

Publishers might have to hire dedicated TikTok managers or create a separate editorial calendar that is updated on a regular basis. And content guidelines might need to be updated as well to allow for more flexibility in language and voice.

Harwood’s team has been applying these practices to their organic channels as well. “For us, it encourages volume. Back in the day, [high volume] used to have this connotation with [low] quality. It doesn’t have to be one or the other at this point. Creators have taught that to brands and publishers quite a bit. Plus, it’s very clear that the more volume you do, the more at-bats you’re getting to find virality and organic reach, which means the more chances you have at growing your following massively,” he said. 

Keep it familiar to the platform and natural for the creator

Team Whistle was first established as a YouTube channel in 2014 and considers its editorial team to still operate with a creator mindset, according to Alex Korn, vp of strategic partnerships at the company. Now, however, the third-party partnership team works with creators outside of its in-house talent in a number of ways, from creating co-branded content to managing the distribution and syndication of creators’ content on channels that aren’t their primary platforms.

“[We’re] taking a co-creation role with [creators], where we will help [by providing] larger resources that might be just out of the reach of their nimble style,” said Leimbach. This includes providing commercialization and distribution services, as well as including them in networks to secure premium media sales that creators can’t hire the staff to do on their own. That is the monetization strategy that is the most organic and works the best for Team Whistle, he said.

This business has taught Korn’s team to be very cognizant of which platforms creators shine on and where they have the most audience, especially when creating new content that features their likeness.

“Doing a YouTube series with a very well-known TikToker may not necessarily relate to the audience as well as doing an original series with a well-known YouTuber,” said Korn. “Taking that and programming our original content has been really beneficial.”

Translating editorial expertise into brand deals

Ultimately, the close collaboration with creators all ladders back up to publishers’ confidence and knowledge in the platforms as well, which ultimately enables more experimentation and innovation in the social offerings they can provide brand partners.

All three publishers have branded content businesses that connect clients with content creators, and Gallery Media has even launched and operated white-labeled TikTok accounts on behalf of clients — which is approaching the 8-figure benchmark for revenue, Harwood said — as well as created a business where they compose original sounds for brands to use in TikTok campaigns.

The company has run influencer marketing deals for over seven years now — amassing hundreds of campaigns per year and working with thousands of influencers during that time — but in just a few years’ time, TikTok has risen to account for the lion’s share of those campaigns, he added.

That said, brands are in a different business than media companies. “The thing that [brands are] selling is a physical product. As a publisher, you’re really selling information and entertainment. Your product is the TikTok,” said Cicero. There is a “natural fit for more branded content and ways to really well integrate that that, [but] also co-sponsorship [posts] have seen a ton of success.”

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AMD CEO says 5-nm Zen 4 processors coming this fall



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Advanced Micro Devices revealed its 5-nanometer Zen 4 processor architecture today at the Computex 2022 event in Taiwan.

The new AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors with Zen 4 cores will be coming this fall, said Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, in a keynote speech.

Su said the new processors with Zen 4 architecture will deliver a significant increase in performance upon their launch in the fall of 2022. Additionally, Su highlighted the strong growth and momentum for AMD in the mobile market as 70 of the more than 200 expected ultrathin, gaming and commercial notebook designs powered by Ryzen 6000 Series processors have been launched or announced to-date.

In addition, other AMD executives announced the newest addition to the Ryzen Mobile lineup, “Mendocino;” the newest AMD smart technology, SmartAccess Storage; and more details of the new AM5 platform, including support from leading motherboard manufacturers.

“At Computex 2022 we highlighted growing adoption of AMD in ultrathin, gaming, and commercial notebooks from the leading PC providers based on the leadership performance and battery life of our Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors,” said Su. “With our upcoming AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors, we will bring even more leadership to the desktop market with our next-generation 5-nm Zen 4 architecture and provide an unparalleled, high-

performance computing experience for gamers and creators.”

AMD Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors

The new Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processors will double the amount of L2 cache per core, feature higher clock speeds, and are projected to provide greater than 15% uplift in single-thread performance versus the prior generation, for a better desktop PC experience.

During the keynote, a pre-production Ryzen 7000 Series desktop processor was demonstrated running at 5.5 GHz clock speed throughout AAA game play. The same processor was also demonstrated performing more than 30% faster than an Intel Core i9 12900K in a Blender multi-threaded rendering workload.

In addition to new “Zen 4” compute dies, the Ryzen 7000 series features an all-new 6nm I/O die. The new I/O die includes AMD RDNA 2-based graphics engine, a new low-power architecture adopted from AMD Ryzen mobile processors, support for the latest memory and connectivity technologies like DDR5 and PCI Express 5.0, and support for up to four displays.

AMD Socket AM5 Platform

The new AMD Socket AM5 platform provides advanced connectivity for our most demanding enthusiasts. This new socket features a 1718-pin LGA design with support for up to 170W TDP processors, dual-channel DDR5 memory, and new SVI3 power infrastructure for leading all-core performance with our Ryzen 7000 Series processors. AMD Socket AM5 features the most PCIe 5.0 lanes in the industry with up to 24 lanes, making it our fastest, largest, and most expansive desktop platform with support for the next-generation and beyond class of storage and graphics cards.

And AMD said the “Mendocino” processors will offer great everyday performance and are expected to be priced from $400 to $700.

Featuring “Zen 2” cores and RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics, the processors are designed to deliver the best battery life and performance in the price band so users can get the most out of their laptop at an attractive price.

The first systems featuring the new “Mendocino” processors will be available from computer partners in Q4 2022.

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AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores



AMD’s Ryzen 7000 desktop chips are coming this fall with 5nm Zen 4 cores

AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 chips will mark another major milestone for the company: they’ll be the first desktop processors running 5 nanometer cores. During her Computex keynote presentation today, AMD CEO Lisa Su confirmed that Ryzen 7000 chips will launch this fall. Under the hood, they’ll feature dual 5nm Zen 4 cores, as well as a redesigned 6nm I/O core (which includes RDNA2 graphics, DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 controllers and a low-power architecture). Earlier this month, the company teased its plans for high-end “Dragon Range” Ryzen 7000 laptop chips, which are expected to launch in 2023.

Since this is just a Computex glimpse, AMD isn’t giving us many other details about the Ryzen 7000 yet. The company says it will offer a 15 percent performance jump in Cinebench’s single-threaded benchmark compared to the Ryzen 5950X. Still, it’d be more interesting to hear about multi-threaded performance, especially given the progress Intel has made with its 12th-gen CPUs. You can expect 1MB of L2 cache per core, as well as maximum boost speeds beyond 5GHz and better hardware acceleration for AI tasks.

AMD is also debuting Socket AM5 motherboards alongside its new flagship processor. The company is moving towards a 1718-pin LGA socket, but it will still support AM4 coolers. That’s a big deal if you’ve already invested a ton into your cooling setup. The new motherboards will offer up to 24 channels of PCIe 5.0 split across storage and graphics, up to 14 USB SuperSpeed ports running at 20 Gbps, and up to 4 HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 ports. You’ll find them in three different flavors: B650 for mainstream systems, X650 for enthusiasts who want PCIe 5.0 for storage and graphics and X650 Extreme for the most demanding folks.

Given that Intel still won’t have a 7nm desktop chip until next year (barring any additional delays), AMD seems poised to once again take the performance lead for another generation. But given just how well Intel’s hybrid process for its 12th-gen chips has worked out, it’ll be interesting to see how it plans to respond. If anything, it sure is nice to see genuine competition in the CPU space again.

While Ryzen 7000 will be AMD’s main focus for the rest of the year, the company is also throwing a bone to mainstream laptops in the fourth quarter with its upcoming 6nm “Mendocino” CPUs. They’ll sport four 6nm Zen 2 cores, as well as RDNA 2 graphics, making them ideal for systems priced between $399 and $699. Sure, that’s not much to get excited about, but even basic machines like Lenovo’s Ideapad 1 deserve decent performance. And for many office drones, it could mean having work-issued machines that finally don’t stink.

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Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront



Disney’s Disney+ ad pitch reflects how streaming ad prices set to rise in this year’s upfront

With Disney+, Disney is looking to set a new high-water mark for ad prices among the major ad-supported streamers. The pricey pitch is representative of a broader rising tide in streaming ad pricing in this year’s TV advertising upfront market, as Disney-owned Hulu, Amazon and even Fox’s Tubi are looking to press upfront advertisers to pay up.

In its initial pitch to advertisers and their agencies, Disney is seeking CPMs for Disney+ around $50, according to agency executives. That price point applies to broad-based targeting dubbed “P2+,” which refers to an audience of any viewer who is two years old or older (though Disney has told agency executives that programming aimed at viewers seven years old and younger will be excluded from carrying ads). In other words, more narrowly targeted ads are expected to cost more based on the level of targeting. A Disney spokesperson declined to comment.

At a $50 CPM, Disney+ is surpassing the prices that NBCUniversal’s Peacock  and Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO Max sought in last year’s upfront market and that gave ad buyers sticker shock. The former sought CPMs in the $30 to $40 range, while the latter sought $40+ CPMs. By comparison, other major ad-supported streamers like Hulu, Discovery+ and Paramount+ were charging low-to-mid $20 CPMs that major ad-supported streamers charge. As a result, Peacock’s and HBO Max’s asks ended up being price prohibitive, with some advertisers limiting the amount of money they spent with the streamers because of their higher rates.

Unsurprisingly, agency executives are balking at Disney+’s price point. “They’re citing pricing that no longer exists, meaning Peacock and HBO Max recognized they came out too high and they’re reducing it. Disney+ is using earmuffs to pretend that second part didn’t happen,” said one agency executive.

However, Disney+ isn’t the only streamer seeking to raise the rates that ad buyers are accustomed to paying. Hulu is also seeking to increase its prices in this year’s upfront, with P2+ pricing going from a $20-$25 CPM average to averaging in the $25-$30 CPM range, according to agency executives. And during a call with reporters on May 16, Fox advertising sales president Marianne Gambelli said that the company will seek higher prices for its free, ad-supported streaming TV service Tubi in this year’s upfront market. It’s unclear what Tubi’s current rates are, but FAST services’ CPMS are typically in the low to mid teens, said the agency executives.

“We have to get the value for Tubi. Tubi has grown to a point — it’s doubled, tripled in size over the past couple of years. So we are going to obviously make that a priority and look for not only more volume but price,” Gambelli said.

Meanwhile, in pitching its Thursday Night Football package that will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, Amazon has been pressing for a premium on what Fox charged advertisers last year, according to agency executives. The e-commerce giant will be handling the games’ ad placements like traditional TV, meaning that it will run the same ad in each ad slot for every viewer as opposed to dynamically inserting targeted ads. “It’s streaming broadcast,” said a second agency executive.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on pricing but did provide a general statement. “Thursday Night Football on Prime Video and Twitch is a purely digital broadcast, and we’re excited to bring fans a new viewing experience. There are 80MM active Prime Video households in the U.S. and, in a survey of our 2021 TNF audience, 38% reported they don’t have a pay-TV service – meaning TNF on Prime Video and Twitch enables brands to connect with cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Brands can also reach these viewers beyond TNF. Our first-party insights enable them to reengage TNF audiences across Amazon, such as in Freevee content.”

One of the agency executives that Digiday spoke to said the latest ask is for a plus-10% increase on Fox’s rates, though what Fox’s rates were are unclear and other agency executives said the premium that Amazon is asking for varies. Ad Age reported in February that Amazon was seeking up to 20% higher prices than Fox’s rates. “I don’t know if it is consistently plus-10, but it is definitely more. Which is crazy because Fox couldn’t make money on it, which is why they gave it up for this fall,” said a second agency executive.

“Someone was eating way too many gummies before they put the pricing together,” said a second agency executive of Amazon’s Thursday Night Football pitch.

Ad-supported streaming service owners also see an opportunity to push for higher prices as advertisers to adopt more advanced targeting with their streaming campaigns, such as by using the media companies’ and/or advertisers’ first-party data to aim their ads on the streamers. 

Said one TV network executive, “You’ll see premiums, especially as it relates to advertisers that really want to hook into [their company’s streaming service] and buy those targeted audiences across the platform and either use [the TV network’s] first-party data or bring their own data to the table. That’s the biggest business we’re in, and that’s where we see great growth from a pricing standpoint.”


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