Today’s connected consumer represents a sharp departure from the consumer of the past: relentless in pursuing information, skeptical, savvy, and suspicious of traditional advertising approaches. That being the case, marketers in both the B2C and B2B environments have increasingly begun relying on the strength derived from the trusted third party, the influencer. With 85 percent of marketers now using some form of influencer marketing, there’s little question that it has become an immensely powerful tool and a practical necessity. Whether this is a long-term phenomenon seems to have been pretty well settled last week when Facebook launched its new Brand Collabs Manager.
“We want to help creators be discovered by brands for new branded content collaborations,” Facebook said in a blog post. “The Brand Collabs Manager lets brands search and find creators to potentially establish deals and partnerships with. We’ve been testing this with a limited set of partners, and will now be opening up more broadly.”
This wholehearted embrace of influencer marketing by the world’s largest social network promises to trigger imitation by other platforms, and clearly places influencer marketing in the mainstream, if it wasn’t there already.
Streamlining the discovery process
Simply put, the new search engine will enable brands and potential influencers to search efficiently for each other. Creators looking for sponsorship deals will be able to compile portfolios connected to their Facebook pages and demonstrate their ability to work brands into their content, while brands will be able to browse potential influencers via audience demographics such as gender, interests, relationship status, education, home ownership, and life events.
Brands will be able to determine what percentage of a potential influencer’s audience matches their own and will be able to custom-generate lists of creators on the basis of creators’ past branded content partners and creators’ likes of the given brand. The potential influencers thus identified will have a percentage match relative to a given brand on their profile thumbnails, relative to the criteria entered, with audience reach also displayed. Clicking through the profile will provide information on location, website, and preferred content.
What’s in it for Facebook
Facebook will not receive any direct compensation for partnerships arranged through Branded Collabs Manager, but as we know, Facebook is not a charity. The social media landscape is changing constantly, and creators will leave for other platforms if there’s more money to be made elsewhere. YouTube has a more advanced monetization model and has made considerable inroads, but Facebook has far more total users and total reach. If Facebook can give creators more and better opportunities to monetize their handiwork, it can reasonably expect there to be more creators, higher engagement, and more time spent in-app.
No going back
There can be little doubt now that marketing and advertising are accelerating their movement away from mass media toward material carefully directed at individuals, and the content with which those individuals wish to engage.
Influencer marketing is a matter of forming and maintaining relationships—brand to the influencer, influencer to the brand, influencer to the audience, and ultimately brand to the customer. The connected consumer now demands this instead of making decisions on the basis of being shouted at. Facebook’s new Brand Collabs Manager promises to increase the value of all those relationships and to make them far easier to establish.
If there had been any question about the importance of influencer marketing before now, that doubt is gone. The paradigm shift is here.