Media Watch zeroes in on Instagram influencers

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 2 August 2016
Media Watch's Paul Barry

Brand dollars flowing to Instagram is bad news for traditional media players, with social media influencers lapping up money that previously may have gone to publishers, Media Watch reckons.

The ABC program investigated influencers off the back of a post from Bond's ambassador and writer Zoe Foster-Blake, where she displayed her fridge packed to the brim with ready meals from brand YouFoodz.

Several media outlets such as Mamamia picked up the post and Media Watch explained that while the post wasn't sponsored, Foster-Blake did receive the food for free and it certainly worked in the same way that a traditional ad would.

Media Watch's host Paul Barry outlined that this is an issue because influencers and publishers are competing for the same ad dollars and it seems that the Facebook-owned photo sharing app is pulling ahead.

Credit Suisse recently outlined that Instagram is set to make more than USD$3.2 billion in ad revenue for itself this year – which is six times what it earned in 2015, with this estimate coming just days after Facebook reported that in quarter two of 2016 the social behemoth made more than USD$6bn in ad revenue.

Chairman of Private Media, Eric Beecher told Media Watch that if the meteoric rise of Facebook and Instagram continues publishing will remain challenged.

“It’s extraordinary. The forecast is that Facebook and Google will have 90% of digital ad revenue by 2020. There will be nothing left for the rest of us.”

This isn't the first time that Media Watch has investigated the plight of the publisher this year, with the program in June dedicating a whole show to the future of the sector.

Beecher told Media Watch for this special that the race for digital ad dollars has created chaos for the traditional revenue model, with players like Facebook being able to offer unprecedented reach and targeting for seriously low prices.

“They [digital sites] are heading towards the cliff and it's not their fault but they are heading towards the cliff really fast ... I think that cliff, for everybody, is within a year or two or less,” he says.

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