As Instagram Opens Creator Market To Tech Partners, Brands’ Mega Influencer Campaigns Should Boom

Apr 13, 2023
As Instagram Opens Creator Market To Tech Partners, Brands’ Mega Influencer Campaigns Should Boom

Meta’s decision to expand its Instagram creator marketplace to three technology partners could dramatically ease the headaches brands face when lining up huge social-media marketing campaigns that may involve tens of thousands of influencers.

That’s the big headline out of the Tuesday announcement, according to Tim Sovay, Chief Business Development and Partnerships Officer at CreatorIQ, one of those three companies with inaugural access to Meta’s new application programming interface (the other two are Aspire and Captiv8).

The API is a set of software protocols giving those creator-marketing platforms deep access to data on creator campaigns, simpler ways to communicate with creators en masse, and improved tracking of campaign outcomes.

“Instagram’s creator marketplace API integration is a game-changing innovation that elevates brand-creator communications to a new level and highlights Instagram’s ongoing leadership in this area," said Sovay in a release.

Even with the latest expansion, the creator marketplace remains in beta mode, with only 200,000 vetted influencers eligible to work through it to connect with brands on social-marketing deals.

But it comes at a time when Instagram has seen huge growth in its short-form Reels platform, a copycat of TikTok. And though the marketplace only connects brands and creators on Instagram, that matters for all the brands who depend on a platform that reaches 2 billion users and can generate double-digit response rates from highly targeted, performance-marketing campaigns.

Instagram influencers are part of nearly 90% of the multi-platform social campaigns that CreatorIQ runs on behalf of its more than 1,000 corporate clients, which include consumer giants such as UnileverUL +0.2%, AB InBev, Disney and Red Bull, Sovay said.

Big brands have gotten increasingly sophisticated in the ways they marshall large groups of the 50 million working creators out there across all the big platforms. But the year-old creator marketplace was initially focused on direct, one-to-one connections between brand and influencer, which made it less useful for running big campaigns, Sovay said.

“This API will allow brands that typically won't go through the front door of the marketplace,” Sovay said in an interview. “But if Unilever or LVMH work through Creator IQ as your system of record, (the CreatorIQ dashboard) can highlight which creators are Instagram approved and highlighted. Now the brand can send a (direct message) directly into your creator (mailbox). The creators get more deal flowflow +3.7% from brands that are CreatorIQ customers. This is reducing friction between those two sides.“

The direct-to-DM component is an important piece, Sovay said, because it ensures brand inquiries don’t get lost in an influencer’s overflowing emailbox or DM folder. Sovay said. Deal inquiries go to a new priority inbox within the creator’s DMs, with an easy yes-no process for creators to join a campaign.

And instead of one-to-one communications, a brand can send an inquiry to many potential influencer partners at once, and build structured campaign briefs to outline what would be involved.

“Brands have gone from working with hundreds or thousands of creators to now tens of thousands of creators,” Sovay said. “Some of the most sophisticated are working with hundreds of thousands of creators. It’s not about organic distribution anymore, it's paid reach. Then you also have affiliate relationships. Retailers are building always-on creator networks, and many other retailers are building out affiliate networks” with response rates as high as 15%.

“Creators need the ability to interact with both followers and brands seamlessly and efficiently in order to grow their business,” said Instagram Product Director Lucy Baker. “Giving Instagram creators access to the thousands of brands that use CreatorIQ to manage their creator marketing efforts provides a seamless experience so they can better share ideas, grow their trade, and foster long-term business partnerships.”

The marketplace also helps on the other end of campaigns, tracking how they worked with a given creator’s audience, and yielding deeper information about campaign performance.

“The value is vetted creators, additional insights on those creators, and an easier way to contact them through CreatorIQ through IG DMs,” Sovay said. “On the creator side, the idea is to open up more deal flow.”

The new marketplace comes amid an inflection point in the maturing social-media industry that may make Meta’s announcement particularly well timed for brands seeking stable and safe platforms for their campaigns:

  • Current industry darling TikTok is facing bipartisan calls in Congress and beyond to be banned in the United States because of possible user-data exposures to the Chinese government.
  • Twitter is now subject to Elon Musk’s erratic dictates and initiatives, which has sparked an advertiser exodus and numerous other issues. This week, Musk tweeted that Twitter as a company is no more, subsumed into his X corporation, with plans to become a payments app too.
  • Older platforms, from Facebook to Snap, are seeing flattening growth, though it’s important to note that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are still gigantic, with more than 2 billion users each. That translates into massive audiences that can be targeted with startling precision.

CreatorIQ, which has been working with Instagram on the API and other projects for “a few months,” will make it available to an initial test group of clients before expanding it more widely in coming months.

Source: forbes