This is a complicated space with advertising agencies, PR companies, influencer specialist agencies, measurement companies, research businesses, individual creators and social media platforms working in compliment of each other to reach consumers.
To make sense of this ecosystem we assembled a view of the influencer marketing ecosystem.
Not every company in every category is being represented. There are certainly significantly more ad agencies and PR agencies than we show. Across all categories we’ve chosen companies who we know participate in the influencer marketing business.
Some businesses belong in multiple categories. It’s not uncommon for companies to serve both influencers and advertisers, or to be both a research business and a connector to influencers. Some companies cultivate their own network of influencers while being agnostic and working with any available influencer in the marketplace.
DEMAND VS SUPPLY
Influencer marketing is about people who create and curate great content. It’s artistic, creative and inspired work that only a select few people have the skill set to do well. We’re talking about artists for new media and new Hollywood.
Demand represents the groups who spend money to buy products; marketers and the agencies who serve marketers. Supply represents the providers of those products; companies who are aligned with the influencers’ interests, and the influencers themselves. Influencers supply the space, reach and good will that marketers are tapping into.
Today, Maker Studios, Full Screen and Machinima, combined, are worth over $1B as a result of investment or buyout.
Certainly, a key part of this ecosystem is distribution from always on social channels. They give creators access to audience without having to rely on prohibitively expensive and difficult to access traditional media distribution methods.
We haven’t had the opportunity to work with every company listed, but below are some notable businesses.
Captiv8 just launched a portal to help influencers reach their audience, and to help influencers meet advertisers.
ION, the Influencer Outreach Network, is building a proprietary campaign reporting toolset and creatively driven influencer marketing approach.
Izea looks most like a programmatic buying platform allowing a more automated way to connect buyers and sellers.
Niche, which was recently bought by Twitter, provides a great influencer-facing platform to view follower growth and content engagement statistics. They help top brands connect to top influencers.
TheAmplify focuses on Instagram data, influencer curation and content creation campaigns.
INFLUENCER MARKETING BACKGROUND
Just a few years ago nascent businesses like Maker Studios, Full Screen and Machinima were making waves as a new type of media company – multichannel networks, or MCNs. Today, these three companies are worth over $1B as a result of investment or buyout. Maker was bought by Disney for $500MM, with a kicker to $900MM if certain success thresholds are met. Machinima took investment from Warner Bros at a rumored $200MM valuation. Fullscreen was bought by Otter Media, which is a joint venture between AT&T and Chernin Group at $200MM – $300MM valuation.
These companies, and many like them (Omnia, Screenwave, Aweseomeness TV and Nerdist for example) continue to sell advertisers influencer campaigns. As reported by Business Insider the influencer ecosystem also gives Big Media (traditional media companies like broadcast networks, cable companies, cable operators and even digital first destinations) a competitive threat.