In a new announcement titled “Testing New Tools and Experiences for Creators,” Facebook is rolling out a suite of tools to help creators “engage and grow their communities, manage their presence, and build a business.” Over the next few months, the social giant will be inviting closed groups of people to test several new features that continues to validate the growth and maturation of the influencer marketing industry.
Why This Move Makes Sense for Facebook
Older formats of digital advertising have suffered at the hands of changing consumer sentiments and ad blockers. Digitally-native audiences are more privy to how they are tracked and productized, and are both banner blind and frustrated by disruptive ad formats.
Facebook is doubling down on a fresh ‘consumer-first’ approach to their social ecosystem, as evidenced by the recent of decrease in organic reach by brands in the Newsfeed.
And so it follows that Facebook would eventually make inroads into the most authentic online channel today: influencer-driven content marketing. Influencer marketing and branded content are seen as champions of authenticity in an increasingly inauthentic digital marketing landscape. In fact, an eMarketer survey found that the most important factor in an influencer campaign (according to the creators) is earnest alignment with a brand’s core values:
Since Facebook and Instagram are two of the leading platforms where creator activations take place, it makes sense for Facebook to play a larger role in increasing the transparency and efficacy of the ecosystem. They are uniquely positioned to nurture a new channel for creators to invest their resources and creative energy.
Facebook’s upcoming creator and brand “matchmaking” tool is key to nurturing this ecosystem. Since they own the richest, most-complete dataset from creators and their audiences on their platforms, they can be the honest broker between brands and the talent with which they are best aligned. And since Facebook already has deep relationships with a massive swath of brands, they’ll be trusted as the earnest middleman.
What This Means for the Influencer Marketing Industry
Facebook’s announcement is an exciting validation of the social branded content industry. Their direct involvement in the space legitimizes the growing demand and marketing efficacy of influencer campaigns.
With a powerful new set of discovery and monetization tools from Facebook, marketers will see their role expand into the actual execution of complicated influencer campaigns: collaboration, optimization, reporting, and eventually, the automation of these workflows.
As Facebook absorbs traditional influencer platform features tied to raw social data like discovery, marketers will need to equip themselves with platforms built to handle the complex workflows of campaign execution and measurement. Strong ROI will necessitate bigger influencer budgets – and, inasmuch, more creator relationships and campaigns to manage. Teams executing influencer campaigns should start to look toward platforms that handle influencer marketing workflows at scale.
Though Facebook’s progress may mean turbulence for many, it indicates an exciting maturation for influencer marketing and the future of creator-driven content.