Traditionally, influencers have earned most of their income through a combination of social media ad sharing and sponsorships. Whether due to ad blockers used by viewers or changing platform policies, those revenue streams aren’t as consistent anymore. If you’re looking for a way to grow your profit, it’s time to follow the lead of major players and launch your own OTT platform.
What’s the Problem with Traditional Revenue Streams?
The very first income source most influencers see comes from ad sharing on social media platforms. It’s an easy, low-investment entry point when they’re looking to build their brand. Other revenue streams like sponsorships, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, digital content sales, and crowdsourced sponsorships build off that social media audience.
The problem with this model is that your entire financial strategy rests on your social media activity. Any disruption to that activity threatens your income- and there are plenty of possible disruptions.
For example, the platform’s algorithm can lower your reach seemingly at random. Videos get demonetized based on shifting platform policies. Even when the platform isn’t causing problems, the rising popularity of ad blocking lowers income from ad sharing. It’s hard to push your alternate revenue streams when social media is limiting your reach.
Social media also restricts your access to valuable data. It’s difficult to measure your content performance on more than a surface level. With less data, you have less leverage in sponsorship pitches. That means fewer sponsorships and lower rates than you deserve.
The Rise of OTT Platforms
An OTT platform (short for “over the top” platform) means that your content is streamed over the internet instead of being broadcast like TV. It’s like your own personal platform that combines everything you use from social media in one place.
OTT platforms are on the rise overall, with an expected growth of more than 50% over the next 5 years. Influencer-owned platforms are steadily growing into a major segment of that total. The global influencer marketing platform market accounted for $4.8 billion in 2019, $6 billion in 2020, and is predicted to reach $24.1 billion by 2025.
Much of that growth is driven by commercial brands, who are still heavily investing in influencers. Since 2020, the percentage of brands who maintain a separate budget for content marketing has risen from 4% to 59%. Three quarters of those have earmarked influencer marketing as the majority of spending.
That spending isn’t being focused on mainstream social media, though. Social Media is so dispersed, marketers are searching for more creative influencer solutions to maximize the return on their investment.
Instead, they want to partner with influencers who have well segmented, engaged audiences. Whenever possible they prefer those with analytics tools to demonstrate their potential and help measure the performance of their campaigns.
How Does an OTT Platform Generate Profit?
There’s more variety in available revenue streams on your own platform. The reality is, all of them are more effective there than they would be on a platform designed to make someone else money. Never forget that everything done on social media platforms is mainly to benefit the platform, not the influencer.
With an OTT platform, the influencer and the platform are the same person. There’s no conflict of interest. That means everything that can be done on social media works better on your OTT platform.
The most straightforward way to generate profit with your OTT platform is through the base revenue model you choose. You could decide to use an ad-based model where your content is free but features advertisements. If ads get in the way of your messaging, you could offer subscription levels that give access to different content for a monthly fee. There’s also the transactional model where fans can choose what they want to see and pay only for that. (You can read more about monetization strategies for your OTT platform here!)
It’s also important not to overlook the value of full data transparency. You don’t have to wrestle with social media for the data they’re willing to share. Everything generated by your platform is at your fingertips.
Use that rich data to attract high-paying sponsors tailored for your exact audience. You and your sponsors will get a better ROI on all marketing efforts. Plus, you won’t risk alienating your market with ads that conflict with your brand values.
You OTT influencer platform serves as a single source for all your revenue streams. Premium streams get higher visibility. Your digital content is easier to find, and branded merchandise is easy to promote to your most valuable fans. You can offer paid or sponsored classes, workshops, and tutorial.
In other words, an OTT platform gives you full control over your influencer income. It’s the step that separates the hobbyists from the businesspeople, and it’s one you should consider taking if you’re serious about making money as an influencer.
Ready to level up your brand with an OTT platform? Let us show you how easy it is to get started!