If you’ve been reading the tea leaves in influencer marketing, you saw Facebook’s announcement of its new Brand Collabs expansion coming. The network further opened the new influencer marketplace to include Instagram and make it more widely available to influencer pages and accounts that meet certain engagement thresholds yesterday.
The network claimed in its announcement that it is a marketplace tool that will enable influencers to “share insights and engagement with brands and find partners that will resonate with their audience.”
Make no mistake about it, though: This is a direct shot across the bow at brands using influencer marketing.
See, when an influencer posts something that mentions your brand or company because you have arranged for sponsored content with them, the influencer gets paid. You get exposure. Facebook and Instagram get nothing. How long did you think that was going to last?
Zuck wants his cut. But he can’t just implement some Byzantine rule that bills a brand’s ad account if any random influencer out there posts something about them with “#ad” or “#collab” in the post. If he did, Influencers would say, “Zuck off, dude!” and take their content to YouTube or TikTok or elsewhere.
So Brand Collabs is a baby step toward new policies but also a ruse. By building a marketplace where brands can find influencers and influencers can find brands, Facebook is tacking on its percentage cut to transactions. They won’t start dinging influencers or brands not using their platform just yet, but watch and see if they don’t within months.
The good for brands? Easier transactions and access to metrics which will help them refine their understanding of which influencers produce for them. The bad for brands? Marketplaces force you into more transactional relationships with the other party and the “relationship” part goes out the window. Fewer and fewer genuine partnerships will happen in the future since the “relationship” is commoditized.
The good for influencers? If you do a good job of creating engaging content, you’ve got the world’s largest social network helping you find brand partnerships. The bad? The negotiating power, price setting and genuine brand relationships are now taken from you. You have to work for what the marketplace will bear. Your work and metrics will now be up for comparison to others. (Yes, you already have competition. Now you’ll know about them more because you’ll probably be able to see who is also making money in your vertical.)
If you’re using influencers for your business, what do you think? If you’re an influencer is the new marketplace exciting or are you frustrated you might have to start doing business with brands where the negotiating power is taken out of your hands? I’d love your comments about it below!