- Facebook is testing a new tool that would help match advertisers with social media creators, TechCrunch confirmed with the social media company. The Branded Content Matching search engine lets marketers choose influencers based on characteristics of creators’ fans and see stats about their audiences.
- The social network is initially focusing on lifestyle creators and brands, per the report. Creators can opt in to participate in the test and set up a portfolio that includes their audience size, metrics and samples of branded content.
- Marketers can search for creators using specific audience demographics to target consumers based on several parameters, including location, interests, gender, education history, life events, relationship status and more. The search engine will produce lists of creators showing how their audience matches to a brand's.
This test is the latest sign that Facebook is looking closely at the quickly growing influencer marketing space. The company offers several strengths that could make it a major player in the space if it starts scale its efforts. With Facebook running out of ad inventory in the News Feed and organic brand posts currently downplayed by the platform, brands are likely to jump at the streamlined approach to working with creators, who in turn will be pleased to have an opportunity to make money.
Facebook has been working on a number of content creator tools to drive more interactions and ad revenue on the platform and possibly entice more creators and influencers to opt for the social network over other platforms, like Google’s YouTube. In addition to the creator search engine, Facebook has also announced plans to test a monetization tool that lets fans support creators with a monthly payment in exchange for exclusive content and a badge highlighting their support. YouTube content creators lost as much as 80% of their monthly revenue last year, following Google’s efforts to improve brand safety on the platform. It's unclear how Facebook would address brand safety for brands working with creators on its platform, per TechCrunch.
Following Facebook's changes to its News Feed algorithm earlier this year, there was speculation the move would give influencer marketing a boost by limiting exposure of posts from brands, businesses and media in favor of posts by friends.
Marketers continue to invest in influencer marketing, with 39% reporting plans to increase their budgets for the format in 2018, according to Linqia research. Influencer content, even when it's sponsored, can come across to users as more authentic than traditional ads, which can help brands foster emotional connections with consumers. However, tracking ROI and overall effectiveness of influencer campaigns has been an ongoing challenge. Advertisers can access a number of insights on creators through Facebook’s new search engine, but it’s unclear how marketers will be able to measure the reach of their campaigns.