First, Twitter bought Niche, a then social media talent agency, in 2015 for $30 million. Then Google/YouTube bought influencer marketing platform FameBit in 2016. While late to the game and via a leak first shared on German site, AllFacebook.de, Facebook it seems is deep into building its own influencer marketing platform, database, and search engine dubbed “Branded Content Matching.”
This isn’t the first time Facebook has been late to the game and succeeded over first-mover competitors. Facebook waited three years before rolling out its own version of Stories on Facebook-owned Instagram giving Snapchat full credit of the Stories format. Now, the Stories functionality is not only present and more popular among Facebook’s most popular apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger, but a central driving factor in the social network’s growth and content strategy.
Learn more about Facebook’s influencer marketing platform, its chief features, and larger implications for the influencer marketing industry as a whole here.
As Facebook’s News Feed ad inventory becomes increasingly saturated, the social media giant is pioneering new ways to bring in additional revenue. Facebook recently began testing ads within Facebook Stories, and now it’s looking to capitalize on the fastest growing and highly successful channel in advertising, influencer marketing.
Previously in March 2018, Facebook alluded to testing new tools and experiences for creators in the coming months including a “tool that helps advertisers and creators easily connect for branded content opportunities.” Advertisers can use Facebook’s tool to find influencers and partner with them on branded content campaigns and sponsorships.
Initially, Facebook’s influencer marketing platform will have three primary capabilities:
Facebook’s new influencer marketing platform builds upon the social network’s recent commitment to providing influencers with more opportunities to grow and monetize their following and content. Previously, Facebook debuted video ad revenue sharing and also paid influencers millions to use its live video platform.
At the end of 2017, Facebook created an entirely new app dedicated to influencers, Facebook Creator (essentially a revamped and upgraded version of its Mention app previously available to celebrities and select partners). Facebook’s influencer marketing platform builds upon its Creator app and aims to bridge the gap between advertisers and influencers in the Facebook ecosystem.
For some brands and advertisers, Facebook’s influencer marketing database and search functionality will open up access to working with influencers. However, much like existing influencer marketing platforms and marketplaces, brands are limited to the influencers available on the platform. Facebook’s new influencer tools facilitate influencer search and outreach, but much of influencer campaign success rests upon selecting which influencers are truly a brand match, crafting creative content alongside influencers, and subtle nuances associated with campaign execution.
In an effort to get both influencers and advertisers on board, Facebook is not currently taking a cut of influencer marketing deals arising from its new platform. This may change though as adoption ramps up and Facebook’s Brand Content Matching platform finds its place in the influencer marketing ecosystem.
Facebook is known for its robust advertiser tools and sophisticated audience targeting capabilities – Facebook’s influencer marketing platform likely will present advertiser capabilities beyond what most existing influencer platforms can offer.
Since being acquired by Twitter in 2015, Niche (seemingly functioning independently from within Twitter) has expanded its platform offerings beyond its initial Twitter and now defunct Vine star rosters. Google’s purchase of FameBit may have been more of a “don’t miss out” acquisition, a now nominal cost for getting into the multi-billion dollar influencer marketing ecosystem. In contrast, Facebook’s move into influencer marketing relies on the development of its own influencer tools and databases.
Some existing influencer platforms offer a centralized dashboard across other social media influencer channels. For now, Facebook’s influencer platform is limited to Facebook, but it’s feasible that the social media giant may one day extend these advertiser capabilities across other Facebook-owned properties (e.g. Instagram – perhaps the fastest growing influencer social media channel, WhatsApp, Messenger) and other third-party integrations (e.g. Spotify, SoundCloud, Muscial.ly) making it formidable to existing influencer marketing platforms.