Vungle deal, Instagram tool for influencers are signs of the creator economy gold rush
Will a new affiliate tool for IG creators boost in-platform ad business, or will marketers prefer an outside source to manage their influencer campaigns?
The creator economy has taken another few steps forward. For starters, Facebook and Instagram debuted a new set of features set to roll out over the next several months that appear to empower IG creators by helping them sell products and earn commissions. For instance, a native affiliate tool on IG will allow creators to surface products available for checkout that their followers can then purchase, earning the creator a cut.
On the third-party side, mobile performance marketing platform Vungle today announced that it will acquire influencer marketing platform JetFuel. JetFuel boasts a network of over 15,000 fully-verified influencers, and a combined reach of 4 billion Instagram followers, 1.5 billion TikTok followers, and 100 million daily Snapchat views.
Vungle charges on a cost-per-action (CPA) basis, meaning marketers are in the driver’s seat for calibrating a high ROI if they feel confident in their performance partner’s measurement of those actions. The emerging affiliate network directly within Instagram’s platform might be another place to look, but it remains to be seen whether Facebook will charge too much. They, of course, have direct access to all the campaign-related behavioral data.
Only time will tell which avenue marketers prefer. The global influencer marketing pot is expected to reach $13.8 billion this year, ballooning from $1.7 billion in 2016.
Why we care. The e-commerce potential on social networks is without question. The casual, authentic word-of-mouth culture provides a superior soft sell for the platform’s users. The real question is how best to harness this potential for marketers. The platforms themselves have been somewhat slow in building out their own native capabilities to execute affiliate campaigns through their creators, in part because they want to support a creative culture that aspires to more than simply an online mall filled with salespeople pitching their wares. Facebook loses ad spend, however, when influencer campaigns are brokered and managed through third parties. What matters is how marketers achieve the best ROI, through performance solutions like Vungle’s, or directly through Facebook, minus FB’s slice and their creators’ commissions.