Platforms that serve the long tail are attracting attention.

Summary:

  • Platforms that connect long tail content and advertisers are proliferating

  • Rapid growth of affiliate tech in new verticals supports the hypothesis that affiliate growth is still early stage

  • New entrants like college athletes, sports betting and cannabis are growth drivers

  • Martech Record predicts the growth of platforms that serve publishers & content producers


More and more platforms are aiming to connect long tail advertisers and content producers, particularly as brands increasingly rely on influencers as part of their marketing mix, and opportunities for influencers grow. Smaller brands, often the ones promoted by influencers find it difficult to create partnerships. Influencers often find traditional platforms difficult to integrate with and encounter discovery tools that are built for enterprises. Simultaneously new influencer categories like college athletes are rapidly coming online. As these trends accelerate, most influencers work without a manager or agent and struggle to advocate for themselves as they strike deals, which are often negotiated through the informal channels of social media messages. Scale remains a challenge for both the supply and demand side, creating opportunity for new platforms to address these needs.


The New York Times just profiled one such platform with an “unprintable name” that goes by the acronym “FYPM.” The platform, which is still being tested, is designed to help creators connect with each other and swap information in an effort to raise and better equalize pay rates.


Another new platform, EMCEE, has the goal of helping influencers monetize their talents. Founded this year by John Aghayan, the platform offers an online sales channel directly integrated with Shopify. It allows influencers to sell their own items and include their own links on their storefront page.


“Brands are shifting away from wholesale through department stores in favor of direct channels,” Aghayan said.


Allowing influencers to monetize their audience with a curated online storefront addresses the concerns that Alyssa Coscarelli had while she was working as an influencer before EMCEE, where she is now the director of partnerships. Traditional platforms focused on mainstream brands and did not offer options for more niche influencers, she said. That limited her ability to support and represent the brands she was actually shopping from.


Echoing Martech Record's most recent panel discussion that centered around the idea that influencers often act like the speciality store in the mall Aghayan said


“I think influencers as a whole are the new version of the small business,So it makes sense for the number of platforms supporting influencers to rise.”

From a big picture perspective, the growth of influencer platforms is more evidence that the affiliate model is in its infancy, rather than maturation stage. We continue to see niche platforms generate interest and investment.


Our prediction: as publishers diversify and gain power, technology will be developed to support their growth. Look for startups that empower content, and you’ll find the next wave of start ups and acquisition targets.


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