Meta’s decision to expand its Instagram creator marketplace to three technology partners could dramatically ease the headaches brands face when lining up huge social-media marketing campaigns that may involve tens of thousands of influencers.
That’s the big headline out of the Tuesday announcement, according to Tim Sovay, Chief Business Development and Partnerships Officer at CreatorIQ, one of those three companies with inaugural access to Meta’s new application programming interface (the other two are Aspire and Captiv8).
The API is an open-source software protocol that allows creator marketing platforms to have deep access to data about creator campaigns. It also makes it easier to connect with creators. en masse, Improved campaign tracking.
“Instagram’s creator marketplace API integration is a game-changing innovation that elevates brand-creator communications to a new level and highlights Instagram’s ongoing leadership in this area,” said Sovay in a release.
Even though the marketplace has been expanded, it is still in beta. Only 200,000 verified influencers are eligible to use the platform to network with brands for social-marketing deals.
However, it does so at a moment when Instagram is experiencing huge growth with its Reels short-form platform. This copycat of TikTok. And though the marketplace only connects brands and creators on Instagram, that matters for all the brands who depend on a platform that reaches 2 billion users and can generate double-digit response rates from highly targeted, performance-marketing campaigns.
CreatorIQ has nearly 90% success with multi-platform social campaign that Instagram influencers run on behalf of more than 1000 corporate clients.
The ways big brands manage large numbers of creators across the various platforms has become more sophisticated. Sovay stated that although the marketplace has been around for a year, it was originally focused on making one-to-one connections with brands. This made it less suitable to run large campaigns.
“This API will allow brands that typically won’t go through the front door of the marketplace,” Sovay said in an interview. “But if Unilever or LVMH work through Creator IQ as your system of record, (the CreatorIQ dashboard) can highlight which creators are Instagram approved and highlighted. This allows the brand to directly message your creator (mailbox) with a direct message. More deal flow for creators
The direct-to-DM component is an important piece, Sovay said, because it ensures brand inquiries don’t get lost in an influencer’s overflowing emailbox or DM folder. Sovay explained. Deal inquiries go to a new priority inbox within the creator’s DMs, with an easy yes-no process for creators to join a campaign.
Instead of sending one-to-one communications, brands can ask multiple influencer partners simultaneously and create structured briefs that outline the details.
“Brands have gone from working with hundreds or thousands of creators to now tens of thousands of creators,” Sovay said. “Some of the most sophisticated are working with hundreds of thousands of creators. It’s not about organic distribution anymore, it’s paid reach. You can also build affiliate relationships. Retailers are building always-on creator networks, and many other retailers are building out affiliate networks” with response rates as high as 15%.
“Creators need the ability to interact with both followers and brands seamlessly and efficiently in order to grow their business,” said Instagram Product Director Lucy Baker. “Giving Instagram creators access to the thousands of brands that use CreatorIQ to manage their creator marketing efforts provides a seamless experience so they can better share ideas, grow their trade, and foster long-term business partnerships.”
The marketplace also helps on the other end of campaigns, tracking how they worked with a given creator’s audience, and yielding deeper information about campaign performance.
“The value is vetted creators, additional insights on those creators, and an easier way to contact them through CreatorIQ through IG DMs,” Sovay said. “On the creator side, the idea is to open up more deal flow.”
The new marketplace comes amid an inflection point in the maturing social-media industry that may make Meta’s announcement particularly well timed for brands seeking stable and safe platforms for their campaigns:
- TikTok, the current industry leader in this space is under pressure from Congress and others to be blocked in the United States due to possible exposure of user-data to the Chinese government.
- Twitter is now subject to Elon Musk’s erratic dictates and initiatives, which has sparked an advertiser exodus and numerous other issues. Musk posted this week that Twitter, as a company, was no longer under his X corporation. He also plans to make it a payments platform.
- Older platforms, from Facebook to Snap, are seeing flattening growth, though it’s important to note that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are still gigantic, with more than 2 billion users each. This allows for massive audience that can be targeted with incredible precision.
CreatorIQ, which has been working with Instagram on the API and other projects for “a few months,” will make it available to an initial test group of clients before expanding it more widely in coming months.