TuneMoji, a content creation platform, is the first provider of licensed musical GIFs and is fully integrated into iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Twitter and Skype. Exclusive licensing deals with Universal, Warner and Sony allow TuneMoji to be the first to distribute GIFs layered with music.

Verena Papik, TuneMoji’s CMO, spoke to AList during the DEW Conference. The former EMEA director at Musical.ly—now TikTok—talked about music in marketing, influencers and social media.

What types of hurdles are marketers facing with incorporating music into their content?

The struggle with music is that it’s a very personal thing. Music is beautiful, everyone speaks the same language with music, it’s a very united place, however, it’s still so personal.  I feel—especially if you’re a brand—its very tough to pick the right music in order to support your advertising and everything you do. Also, to send the right message because everyone is interpreting music differently.

My background is from musical.ly, where you co-create as a brand and you might get influencers with music to create your content. That really speaks to everyone. One thing about TuneMoji is that we allow you to put your own music. Users can personalize and express their feelings with that social object.

The struggle for brands and for the marketers is to find a way to create a promotion with personalized music to every user—so every user can take their own advertisement and I believe that’s where it’s all going.

What is the future of music in marketing?

Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, even 15 seconds is already too long. For example, on Instagram stories, everyone is just tapping and no one is taking the time to watch the content. Everything needs to be right now and we need to know exactly what it is.

We saw it with YouTube where we started with five-minute videos to then musical.ly where you have 15-second videos to showcase your talent. There is no time for long texts, and its just going to get shorter and shorter.

The shortest form of a video is a GIF. Also, GIFs become more and more popular across all different age groups, as even your 70-year-old auntie now is on Instagram and changes the way she communicates and expresses herself.

That’s why I feel TuneMoji is ahead of the curve. I feel like we haven’t been analyzed really as a trend. At TuneMoji, we observed the market dynamics and what was happening, so, in order to become a trend you need to create that trend. I don’t think that music GIFs is a trend right now, but we are creating it.

How does TuneMoji utilize influencers?

We have influencers on our platform, but we are giving influencers the opportunity to grow and expand their audience. We have homegrown influencers and it’s very interesting- speaking of, we’ve discovered that the biggest one on the platform is a gamer from Twitch.

We work with everyone, from comedians to musicians. The music industry can really pursue artists and they can really see the benefit of the new platform. Our influencers really appreciate the content distribution with the multiple platform approach. Our influencers or the fans of the influencers can express their feelings within social messaging with their favorite influencer’s face and that becomes an advert for the influencing.

What are your thoughts on influencer marketing measurement?

I feel brands and marketers have become very sensitive to working with influencers because it got a bad reputation. I’m here to redefine engagement metrics. Now, everyone is looking into followers. For example, like how many followers do you have, but what does follower really mean in the end?

If you look into engagement metrics if you look into how many likes, it’s still not the ultimate north star engagement metric. What really matters as a brand—its not only how many people like the content—but if they’re such a fan of the content they become an advert for the content themselves. It’s about how many shares and how many sends. TuneMoji is built upon the sends.

Views is [also] a weak number to measure the engagement of short-form content, the actual engagement of sends and shares is the new format for industries to measure.

What trends will we see on social media platforms when it comes to music and marketing?

We’re relinking back to streaming services. We are creating an acquisition funnel for Apple music for streaming platforms. This is to see where it’s going, so we know how to incorporate streaming services as a music provider.

Streaming services are as relevant as well as the labels and have their table stake, so we are combining them into the marketing. If you send the TuneMoji, for example, within iMessage, what pops up is the Apple music icon and you can see which song it is and it links you back to the streaming service. For Apple music and other music providers, this is a great opportunity to engage with the users.

I feel that we are going into a general direction in online marketing and video marketing, where our artists and influencers are going to produce their promotion videos into those short gifs. It’s going to become way more popular. For example, if you like those meme pages on Instagram they don’t necessarily have a face, but the engagement metrics are insane. These people will also lead the new wave of influencers.

That’s another thing, it’s a matter of fact social media platforms have become the most harmful to youth and mental health. This is another issue as well, and being part of the media landscape I think it’s our responsibility to ensure that we are working on this topic and that we are ensuring that everyone is comfortable. We want to make sure we are not harming our youth and that we are actually working on improving mental health. That’s another part where TuneMoji steps in, with our positive, all-inclusive strategy in making everyone authors.

Co-creation is the biggest topic nowadays in engagement, to let fans co-create a music video or even a song via social media collaborations. Fans want to be involved in the whole production and own a part of the artist’s piece, that’s why online challenges are working as the best engagement tool for promoting songs.

What do you think has changed in music since your time at musical.ly?

I think a lot has changed. I think with musical.ly and now TikTok, they did an awesome job in bringing the sound back to life and really encouraging everyone to be a part of in showing your talent. It created this kind of entertainment culture. I feel that it definitely allowed many users who didn’t think they had the talent to actually discover it. With also doing that, they also showed 15-second videos is enough.

It’s enough to have something to share, it’s not too long. It’s shorter now and I feel it encouraged people to be more open to social media as well. It created large amounts of community—the YouTubers, the Viners, the musical.lys—this very musical oriented community. It allowed the music industry to come back.

As there is a trend for the younger audience to escape from social media into social messaging, the music industry will need to find the right social object to stay relevant, as sharing a song from streaming services is not sexy (long link, the user most of the time has to leave messenger).