How Facebook Just Changed the Rules for Influencer Marketing

Facebook made an official announcement on a program that has stealthily been in the work for a year now: the ability for creators and influencers to tag brands in their posts and for brands to allocate advertising budget towards promoting such posts. For now this is limited to Facebook, where influencer marketing is less popular, but expect a similar, more-impactful rollout on Instagram soon.

Want to promote this post?

This is significant for a few reasons:

  • Micro-influencers and niche content creators are now just as scalable as celebrities. Previously, brands with multi-million dollar media budgets were forced to partner with celebrities and uber-influencers like Kim Kardashian who had millions of followers just to reach the requisite audience for such a budget. No longer! Now brands can test-and-invest across hundreds of micro-influencers to create their own unique content, measure the results, and then allocate budgets behind the highest performing posts.
  • It’s all about the quality of an influencer’s content, not the size of their following. Influencers have traditionally been measured by vanity metrics like how many followers they have or how many likes and comments they receive. Now that brands can promote influencer posts directly, they’ll get more measurable feedback on the CTR/CPA/CPC of each post, and the highest performers will be the influencers who made the best content and told the most authentic story.
  • Promoted audiences through Facebook are infinitely more targeted than large influencer audiences. Kim Kardashian has over 100 million diverse followers on Instagram. But if you’re a brand with a niche product, you’re probably only interested in reaching a small fraction of that audience. However, if you promote a micro-influencer’s post with ads, you can leverage the full extent of Facebook’s targeting infrastructure to promote that post to interest-based communities, re-targeting groups, look-alikes and more of the exact audiences you’re looking for.
  • Brands promoting high-performing influencers is a huge win-win. For many influencers, the climb to fame is difficult. Many resort to buying followers or joining “comment pods” to boost their own vanity metrics. But with this feature, brands will allocate thousands of dollars promoting the accounts of the highest performing influencers in their community, showing their content to millions of people who never would have seen them otherwise and boosting their global profile. It’s a brilliant virtuous cycle on Facebook’s behalf that will help promote the best-in-class creators on the platform.

With all that being said, influencer marketing is not dead, as some have predicted. Because there is a core difference between influencer marketing and advertising: an opt-in audience. The trust and engagement from an influencer’s own loyal following will always trump any advertising that’s pushed down onto a consumer, and that trust is very valuable.

The key difference is that Facebook has now leveled the playing field between between celebrities and the millions of content creators, artists, photographers and micro-influencers who will be rewarded for creating high performing content.

Eric Lam is the co-founder and CEO of AspireIQ, the content generation + analytics software platform used by over 100 brands such as HelloFresh, GrubHub and MeUndies.