Shudeep Majumdar, founder of influencer marketing firm Zefmo, believes that the content creator economy today is largely underpaid. This, Majumdar believes, can be drastically altered with the advent of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in this space.
“A typical brand marketing campaign today pays a creator up-front for a partnership. But, when the brand repeats the usage of this content in future, the creator does not get anything out of it. This is something that could drastically change with the setting up of NFT ecosystems for content creators, and we’re actively in talks for the same,” Majumdar said.
NFTs have been one of the most hotly discussed areas of technology today, which refer to a digital artwork or content that has a unique, underlying digital signature. This unique signature can identify an image online as a unique property, even if a large number of its duplicates exist.
The technology could allow creators to track where and how their digital artworks are being owned and used – somewhat replicating how a physical artwork would traverse the real world.
This traceability is a major factor that influencer marketing firms are banking on. Majumdar said that NFTs could help establish “a book royalty format of payouts for creators” where they get paid every time a brand repurposes user-generated content. He is presently in active talks with NFT marketplaces and technology providers, to see how such features can be integrated into social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube.
They could be in luck too, as platforms are thinking of integrating NFTs their services as well. On January 25, Susan Wojcicki, chief executive of YouTube, said that the company is exploring the integration of NFT marketplaces on its platform, while Instagram’s chief executive Adam Mosseri had said the platform is “actively exploring” NFTs on December 21. Twitter, too, had confirmed plans to bring NFTs to its platform last year.
Influencer marketing firms, on the other hand, are looking to get a jumpstart over Big Tech in offering an NFT ecosystem for creators to ply their fares on. Toshendra Sharma, chief executive of white-label NFT platform provider NFTically, said that while formal announcements are yet to be made, pretty much every major influencer marketing firm in India is in talks with NFT and blockchain technology providers.
“We have been in talks with a number of major influencer marketing companies in India, who are all looking to launch their own intermediary marketplaces within the next two to three months,” he said. Content creators themselves, and celerity marketing firms are also taking the same stance, he added.
Sharma’s estimate of about three months until the launch of NFT marketplaces by influencer marketers is corroborated by Majumdar, who stated that Zefmo intends to introduce the first version of its NFT offering to creators within the next quarter, i.e. by June 2022.
However, not everyone believes that the time is ripe for NFTs to explode in the digital marketing space. Gautam Madhavan, chief executive of influencer marketing platform Mad Influence, said that the industry lacks “a sound understanding of what NFTs really are” at the moment. He said that it could take “at least another year” before NFTs in influencer marketing becomes truly commonplace.
Some are also worried about how NFTs lower the entry-barriers to established industries, like art and music. Professional cinematographer Kshitij Sheetak worried that more amateurs could enter the industry through the NFT trend, and that digital art forms may not have the same “essence” that their physical versions do.