Influencer marketing has taken the digital world by storm in recent years. What started as a niche marketing technique is now a multibillion-dollar industry. As brands have recognized the power of influencer marketing, specialized platforms have emerged to help facilitate these campaigns at scale. This article explores the rise of influencer marketing platforms and their role in this booming new area of marketing.
The Need for centralized platforms
As influencer marketing became increasingly popular in the late 2010s, brands found themselves juggling communications with thousands of influencers across various social networks and geographies. It was a messy, inefficient process to find the right influencers, send them campaign briefs, track engagement, and process payments. This need for a centralized system to manage the end-to-end process drove the creation of the first influencer marketing platforms.
Pioneering platforms like Tribe and Influencer emerged to provide the infrastructure needed for brands to run structured, high-volume influencer programs. These platforms offered centralized dashboards for posting briefs, applying filters to find relevant creators, securely storing creator profiles, and automating communications. This allowed brands to quickly sort through millions of influencers to identify the perfect matches for each campaign.
As both brands and Influencer Marketing Platforms adopted these platforms, the demand grew for more advanced functionality. Platforms responded by progressively enhancing their feature sets. Advanced filtering and matching algorithms helped identify niche influencers with hyper-targeted follower bases. Comprehensive reporting and analytics gave clear ROI tracking. Automated contract and payment processes streamlined workflows.
Platforms also expanded their administrative tools. Brand managers could set approval workflows, delegate tasks to their teams, and view consolidated performance stats. Influencers gained profile customization options and intuitive workflows to apply to campaigns. This empowered both parties to save time and get the most value out of each partnership.
Facilitating global reach
A key lever platforms offered was helping brands achieve global reach through influencer relationships around the world. As the influencer marketing phenomenon spread internationally, platforms localized their interfaces and added local influencer databases. They also integrated with payment providers and contract templates tailored to various jurisdictions.
This enabled brands to post a single brief and have it reach relevant influencers in any country or region, with all legal and financial processes in compliance with local regulations. Influencers could also better monetize their followers outside of their home countries. In turn, this opened up entirely new untapped markets for brands through localized influencer collaborations.
Data and AI: The next frontier
Moving forward, platforms are investing heavily in big data analytics capabilities and artificial intelligence to further enhance matchmaking and campaign optimization. Advanced data crunching helps decipher subtle patterns in follower interests, location metadata, engagement trends, and more to find the ideal influencers that traditional filtering may miss.
AI is also assisting with creator screening and fraud detection. Tools can analyze an influencer’s content and interactions for signs of inauthenticity, saving human vetting resources. Future advancements may involve AI writing campaign briefs and contract terms based on business goals, content topic, target demographics, and preferred partnership styles.
Rising competition and consolidation
As the influencer marketing space balloons, competition among platforms has intensified. New entrants regularly emerge with novel features or specializations in certain verticals. At the same time, larger established platforms acquire promising startups to gain niche expertise and fend off competition.
This has led to steady consolidation in the sector as the biggest players strengthen their value propositions and creator/brand networks through acquisitions and partnerships. While choice is good for customers, less platforms remaining at the top could decrease negotiating power for influencers and SME brands over time if rules are not implemented to prevent anti-competitive practices from developing.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it