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VidCon 2016: FameBit platform takes aim at the messy process that surrounds influencer marketing

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Brands want to tap into the reach and coolness of creators, and creators want to tap into the revenue stream that working with a brand affords.

In theory, influencer marketing is great. In reality, it has so far been a headache for all involved.

FameBit, a self-service marketplace connecting brands and social influencers, has helped make the process much more seamless, and is sponsoring a Creators’ Lounge this year at VidCon.

FameBit co-founder and COO Agnes Kozera built the company as a result of her own experience working on influencer programs. Since its launch, FameBit has helped its community of over 40,000 content creators connect with brands like L’Oreal, Adidas, and Marvel to produce over 20,000 branded videos.

With creators, brands, and influencers getting together for three days to talk about collaborations and monetization, among other topics, VidCon is a perfect venue for FameBit to showcase its capabilities.

We caught up with Kozera to chat about the challenges of influencer marketing, FameBit’s growth, and the company’s VidCon plans:

Found Remote: What do you hope to accomplish at VidCon this year?

Agnes Kozera: Video and YouTube is at the core of FameBit’s DNA. We started with YouTube and have always considered ourselves a video-first marketplace so VidCon is the perfect place for us to celebrate creator stardom and reconnect with creators large and small. Monetization plays a big role in giving creators the freedom to make YouTube a career and we are excited to be helping in this area. We hope to use this year’s VidCon to continue to raise even more awareness about the ways in which creators can monetize on their own (without an agent), and the tools that we have available for them. It's important for creators to know that they don't have to have millions of subscribers to be considered influential and valuable to brands. A lot of it is about producing quality content and having tight knit audiences.

FR: How did the idea of FameBit come about?

Kozera: FameBit came out of a direct problem that I encountered at a previous startup. Prior to FameBit, I had a small business, which was a subscription commerce company and I wanted to work with content creators but there was no easy way to do it at scale. The process of manually searching through YouTube to find creators and to try to contact them was tedious and difficult. Also, multi channel networks (MCN’s) tailored mostly to the biggest stars and to really big brand budgets. That’s when my co-founder David Kierzkowski and I decided to build the first self-service marketplace for YouTubers to allow brands to set their own budgets and creators to set their own prices. We since expanded the marketplace to service influencers on other social media channels as well.

FR: Why do creators turn to FameBit rather than trying to monetize themselves through the platform or through a distribution network?

Kozera: It can be difficult for creators to know where to turn when they decide to start monetizing their channels, if they haven’t worked for brands before. Most deals from the various social platforms, distribution networks or MCNs are targeted toward influencers with very high reach, whereas we wanted to create self-service opportunities for mid-reach creators to work with brands, as well.

Ultimately, creators turn to FameBit for a number of reasons. Through FameBit, creators get access to a constant flow of opportunities. Also, the FameBit platform gives creators transparency into all of the opportunities that are available and on how much the brands are willing to pay. The creators have the freedom to send proposals to the opportunities of their choosing as well as propose their own content ideas.

Another aspect is that FameBit gives creators security. We require for brands to fund campaigns in advance and the money is held securely in escrow throughout the entire content creation process. This gives influencers the assurance that they will get paid for delivering the work they agreed on with the brand. In the event that communication ever breaks down, FameBit is always there to help fix the issues and to move the money to the deserving party.

FR: Influencer marketing is a big trend, but is it here to stay? How do you see it playing out with so many new platforms and technologies (like VR) popping up every day?

Kozera: Influencer marketing is very powerful due to its organic nature. Studies have shown that millennials and Generation Z consumers are more likely to buy products promoted by YouTubers, versus those promoted through traditional TV or movies. As members of Generation Y and Z grow older and start making more purchases, the gap between purchases made through product endorsements from influencers and those through traditional advertising will only become larger. Consumers feel an attachment and affinity for social influencers and that will only continue to grow as more influencers appear online and expand to more social media platforms. Additionally, with the prevalence of free ad blockers, advertisers need this avenue to reach their customers, since younger generations don’t pay attention to traditional ads. We see this as only the beginning.

FR: How can marketers ensure that the creative being produced is brand safe?

Kozera: As soon as a brand hires a creator, a workroom opens up where brands and creators can collaborate on all the talking points before the content is ever created or shared. This gives brands the opportunity to brainstorm ideas with creators and to convey what is important to maintain the integrity of their brand. With that said, brands should maintain flexibility with their talking points in order to not miss out on amazing ideas and content. Creators know their audience best and often can put forth content ideas that resonate with their audience on a deeper level than anything proposed by the brand.

In the end, what both brands and creators value, is that the brand’s payment is held in escrow and released to the creator once the agreed-upon content is delivered and approved to be published. Ultimately, giving creators and brands the right tools to collaborate/communicate directly and effectively is a huge driver of success and it makes both brands and creators feel safe.

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