Google aims to create branded content opportunities by connecting online creators directly with brands.
In the wake of recent discussion about monetisation on YouTube, Google has announced its newest acquisition: FameBit, an online marketplace where content creators can connect with advertisers to organise brand deals like product placements or sponsorships. FameBit helps to simplify the process of creating promotional deals and serves as a tool for both creators and brand managers.
On the site, creators are able to submit creative proposals, state promotion fees and specify the type of endorsement preferred. Brands can search through creators based on criteria like audience size or age demographic. FameBit’s CEO David Kierzkowski stated that the company’s main focus is “long- and mid-tail creators”, aiming to provide more opportunities for smaller YouTubers and more niche content.
Many companies are giving increasing weight to advertising on YouTube, with the top 100 advertisers on the platform increasing their spend on YouTube video ads by 50% in the last year. YouTube’s Vice President Ariel Bardin said: “We believe that Google’s relationship with brands and YouTube’s partnerships with creators, combined with FameBit’s technology and expertise, will help increase the number of branded content opportunities available, bringing even more revenue into the online video community.”
However, some creators are concerned about the platform’s new focus on brand deals, expressing uncertainty as to whether this will alter the authenticity that many see as YouTube’s core value. Jana Damanhouri shares that she looked into FameBit prior to the Google acquisition, but was put off by the disproportionate agreements surrounding work between brands and creators.
“A platform where influencers can directly work with brands and be able to pitch creative ideas is exactly what we need,” she tells TenEighty, “but you won’t see many of the well-known influencers using it unless brands get serious about their influencer budget.”
She agrees that this marketing move shows that Google recognises branded content as an integral part of the largely self-funded community, but that the implications of such a shift in culture could lead to numerous changes:
“For one thing, it will probably regulate the market – meaning people will be paid the right amount, rather than too much or too little. It also means that bigger brands will likely get involved. The risk is that it will give literally every influencer a direct contact with a brand, which might saturate the market. It will definitely get more competitive, because it will be about who can make the best content for the brand, rather than who has the most connections with marketing managers.”
Jana speculates that, as negotiating brand deals becomes more feasible, more people may be encouraged to start vlogging — perhaps for the wrong reasons. While some creators may alter their content to become more advertiser-friendly, those with a smaller reach may find the opportunities and funding that enable them to raise the standards for online content.
Google notes that FameBit will continue to operate independently as of now.