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Facebook’s new influencer marketing search tool: good or bad?

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With TechCrunch reporting that Facebook are working on a new search tool that allows brands to connect with social media creators – enabling them to work together on sponsored Facebook ad campaigns – we’re asking what this means for influencer marketing platforms and the brands and publishers that use them.

The premise of Facebook’s new search tool is to help brands to gain valuable content that they can then share through their Facebook ad campaigns. Thus, although Facebook will not (at last initially) charge for connecting brand and creator, they hope to benefit through better quality Facebook ads delivered through original content, greater engagement with ads, and ultimately increased revenues from brands utilising Facebook ads. Screenshots of the platform’s progress can be seen over on AllFacebook.

The move coincides with the cultural shift towards authenticity in marketing, with customers wanting to engage with influencers who reflect their own values and beliefs. This new perspective on marketing is behind the rise of influencer marketing platforms like Whalar, which is one of the top 5 influencer marketing platforms in the world.

Whalar work with household names like Nestle, Unilever, Apple, Nike, Tanqueray and Disney. A recent collaboration with River Island for the #LabelsAreForClothes campaign reached over 6 million people, with over 300,000 likes. So, what does Facebook’s new search tool mean for influencer marketing platforms like Whalar?

Neil Waller, co-founder at Whalar said: “Whilst on the one hand there is a risk of influencer marketing platforms getting squashed, the reality is that those who know they add value to the ecosystem should be very excited by this news. Facebook is clearly making a big investment into the influencer space and they do that not on a whim, but on the basis of the volumetric data they see on influencer marketing and on their belief that it’s not only here to stay but that it’s also going to grow. That is fantastic news for the influencer marketing industry and anything that helps bring further transparency and structure to it gets a big thumbs up in my book.”

Waller continues, “It’s not quite the Wild West it used to be, but there is still a long way to go. As for the role of platforms, well I’d say take a look at Facebook’s normal ad product. There are third party ad technology platforms that supplement Facebook’s own advertising interface. These companies haven’t been squashed by Facebook, they’re collectively turning over billions of dollars a year and adding value to the ecosystem.”

And will Facebook’s influencer marketing search tool be transformative for brands? Neil comments: “There are advertisers out there who can’t just use the standard advertising tools; they’re either needing something specialist, needing a multi-platform solution or they need support and/or want to have a third party run it for them. I don’t see why it should be any different with influencer marketing and unlike Facebook’s standard ad product, influencer marketing is a double-sided marketplace with people that will need support on both sides…advertisers and influencers.”

Further reading: Facebook set to dip its toes into the influencer marketing ocean