- Amazon has expanded its Influencer Program, launched in a beta in late March, to include a self-service tool for YouTube stars to enter the vetting process, per reporting from TechCrunch.
- The program, an extension of Amazon Affiliate, requires social media influencers to apply via an online form that scrutinizes their reach as measured by number of followers, along with engagement, quality of posts and relevancy for Amazon's goals. Amazon told TechCrunch that the new tool is only for YouTube influencers, possibly streamlining those prospects' vetting process.
- TechCrunch noted Amazon's own online show "Style Code" was canceled in May, and pointed out that Amazon can basically outsource the video clip aspect of selling products to YouTube stars and bring them more easily into the fold via the Influencer Program.
There are few areas of the digital advertising space where Amazon isn't extending its tendrils, and influencer marketing is no exception. While influencer marketing is only growing in popularity as a way to reach consumers using social media, issues of fraud and bad actors operating in the space have become apparent in tandem with the tactic's rising status and mainstream adoption.
Amazon's Influencer Program puts a heavy focus on vetting, only allowing in those with a wide reach and also high levels of engagement and quality content. This ensures an extra level of credibility and brand safety. The payoff, in return, is that Amazon Influencers get a vanity URL and a customizable page on the e-commerce giant's website where product recommendations are featured.
The latest bit of news might be a bid by Amazon to ultimately court YouTube stars away from the Google-owned video platform and toward its own properties. A lot of YouTube influencer talent took a significant revenue hit earlier this year as advertisers boycotted the site due a lack of brand safety assurances. That means some might be searching out alternative social platforms to post content on and Amazon, for its part, just launched its own offering called Spark.
The e-commerce giant is reportedly paying publishers and social media influencers to post content on Spark to help get the Instagram-like app off the ground. Successfully luring YouTube talent into the Influencer Program and proving the benefits of working with Amazon could convince some to switch to the platform as well.