Out of all the stats that illustrate the virtues of influencer marketing, this one from Expertcity speaks volumes: Influencer recommendations carry 22 times more weight than those from average customers. That’s a stark finding. And when you consider that popular social-media personalities now wield even more influence than the Kardashians and Taylor Swifts of the world, you have a trend that speaks directly to today’s authenticity-craving Millennial generation.
It’s no wonder, then, that marketing pros are going all in on this tactic. So in the interest of uncovering the brand-influencer conduit right for you, here are 14 of the most popular influencer marketing platforms in existence today, sorted alphabetically.
Paid media, earned media
This is one of the more established influencer-marketing platforms around, as it was founded in 2001. In that time BrandBacker has amassed a reported network of 10,000 influencers in multiple countries producing content in various languages. The website is streamlined, which makes signup a simple process of selecting whether you’re a brand or influencer and then requesting a video tutorial that includes pricing plans. Regarding compensation, BrandBacker influencers receive payment, discounts, or free samples, depending on the campaign.
One feature unique to BrandBacker is their Content Showcase. Businesses who utilize this tool can collect all brand-relevant content from across the web via a search algorithm. It then curates and organizes the content so clients can see exactly who is talking about them and when. The Showcase then allows brands to publish this curated content straight to their website.
Platforms supported: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram
- Team Manager feature helps businesses to build a team of influencers around their brand and monitor progress and efficacy
- Features like the Content Showcase are a welcome bit of marketing ingenuity
- Despite offering influencer incentives other than monetary compensation, little of what BrandBacker offers meets the definition of “earned media”
Content BLVD is a marketing and review platform that adheres to the fundamentals. Their leadership believes that true influence cannot be bought, so in the spirit of authenticity they offer good ol’ fashioned product reviews free of monetary influence. Those targeted influencers who do receive free products in exchange for YouTube vlog opinions are obligated to disclose it. Regarding service, companies pay Content BLVD a monthly subscription fee based on the number of authentic earned mentions they want each month. Content BLVD handles influencer targeting, outreach, shipping, and reporting.
Content BLVD caters to businesses with physical consumer products rather than, say, software or general services. This strategy has allowed them to carve out a niche of over 6,000 YouTube product experts and 3,000 product companies. Content BLVD’s influencer program has driven more than 40 million views for their customers since its beta launch in the spring of 2015.
Platforms supported: YouTube
- The focus on consumer product companies enables streamlined fulfillment of ongoing campaigns.
- Simple “Set it and forget it” model is a huge time-saver for product companies.
- The elimination of sponsorship fees brings brand awareness campaigns within reach of smaller product companies. Plans start at just $200 per month.
- Only YouTube influencers at the moment.
If FameBit’s goal was ease of use, then their platform is a runaway success. Businesses new to the site will find a simple homepage with two tabs: one for content creators and one for brands. Then it’s a straightforward sign-up process and on to the creation of a branded or sponsored campaign. Brands choose from a variety of social media platforms, the type of content they’d like to create, and finally the campaign details. This includes a drop-down menu listing price-range options starting at $100 all the way up to $10,000+.
After clicking the tab to create the campaign, the advertisement goes live and is open for bidding from FameBit’s network of freelance content creators. Brands can see profiles of interested creators as well as featured influencers segmented by category. FameBit earns a service fee of 20% per transaction for accepted bids.
Platforms supported: YouTube, Instagram
- Easy sign-up process for both brands and creators
- Straightforward user interface
- Self-service client dashboard allows businesses to create an entire influencer campaign in four steps
- Impersonal despite a strong messaging system; it’s a fast-food method to creating an influencer campaign
- The strict “business transaction” nature of FameBit’s platform robs influencer marketing of its authenticity
- The hefty sponsorship fees price most small companies out of the market.
- Many influencers complain about the time it takes to repeatedly “pitch” brands, and the low acceptance rate from companies.
Like FameBit, Revfluence has a straightforward homepage with sign-up options for brands and creators. Where Revfluence diverges from its competitor is in its expansive network and highly detailed analytics dashboard. It offers an ability to connect with some 200,000 influencers filtered by industry, location, demographics, content quality and niche keywords. They also tout a customized CRM collaboration tool that puts brands in direct contact with dozens or even hundreds of influencers at once. Businesses can then track each individual campaign’s performance and measure ROI via the same dashboard.
And for those brands who still have cold feet about influencer marketing, the website offers case studies highlighting specific examples of Revfluence’s success.
Platforms Supported: YouTube, Instagram
- Large database of influencers from which to choose
- Detailed analytics dashboard tracks all relevant metrics
- Not great for first timers; brands need to be well versed in the finer points of influencer marketing before signing up
Around since 2010, Influenster is a marketing and review platform that aims for earned-media credibility with product opinions offered in vlog, blog or simple review form. They also operate under the same disclosure rules as Content BLVD. On the surface Influenster appears to be doing something right, as the platform has a user base of some 1.5 million “influensters” who share their likes and dislikes across social media.
To further enhance the user experience, Influenster supplements their reviews and recommendations with coupons, giveaways and rewards programs.
Platforms supported: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+
- Rates “Influensters” by hundreds of data points, including social connections
- Mobile app allows Influensters to post reviews in real time and reach audiences at the moment of purchase.
- Brands have no control over messaging
- Some product “reviews” can be light on substance. This is a result of members increasing their social media activity in order to earn “badges,” which in turn help them receive free products.
- Reports of some members being disgruntled after not receiving free product packages
In Izea’s world, bigger most definitely means better. In their quest to become the largest marketplace platform around they’ve absorbed other content websites, such as Ebyline. These tactics have allowed them to amass a database of over 250,000 influencers operating across multiple social platforms and filtered by reach, quality and other metrics. That’s more than enough content producers to satisfy the needs of the some 50,000 businesses and brands already signed up with Izea.
Those who create an account have the option of three payment plans ranging from $0 to $299, all of which offer various services such as ShareMonitor URLs and SocialSearch Groups. These are analytics tools that keep track of, among other things, URL shares and hashtag popularity.
Platforms Supported: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat
- No shortage of content producers
- Comprehensive website features everything from marketing research reports to investor information
- Has so many affiliates and subsidiary companies that some brands Izea lists as their clients don’t even know they’re doing business with them
- Since its inception in 2006, Izea has embraced pay-per-post marketing, effectively eliminating any and all earned media credibility
TapInfluence’s mantra is “Content created by consumers for consumers.” With a database of 30,000 opt-in influencers, they seem primed to deliver on that promise. But what sets them apart from many of the marketplace options is that they focus primarily on the software, touting speedy workflow automation, precise influencer identification, audience targeting and multi-channel analytics tracking. They offer three pricing plans: standard, enterprise, and agency. The plans for enterprise and agency offer unique features such as onboarding, account managers, influencer strategists, pitch meetings and partnerships. TapInfluence’s website also features successful case studies.
Platforms supported: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine
- Comprehensive software featuring a number of resources and tools
- Tap Library offers eBooks, videos and webinars
- TapInfluence’s standard price plan starts at $1,999 per month, which makes it cost-prohibitive for many smaller businesses.
- Boasts of a “200% ROI” are difficult (if not impossible) to verify
Paid media, earned media
Traackr operates primarily as a marketing campaign manager with a focus on brand-influencer communication. The site facilitates dialogue, so businesses can glean insight directly from influencers and sculpt their social-media campaigns accordingly. This is a good thing, since Traackr works with influencers on all major social-media platforms as well as a number of blogging sites. Besides offering robust influencer profiles, Traackr has an equally detailed analytics engine that automatically keeps tabs on brand mentions, daily post updates and trending content.
In keeping with the communication theme, the site allows businesses to track conversations in real-time with multiple contacts. This also applies to email and Twitter feeds between influencers and brands. Traackr also provides supplementary marketing reports and data services.
Platforms Supported: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+
- Built-in communication tools facilitate communication between influencers and brands
- Detailed online profiles of Traacker’s influencers
- Poorly organized website contains too much text and too little direction
- Some users have reported the platform as being “buggy” and prone to glitches
Instabrand holds its own with the other players on this list regarding features and functionality. It offers the “greatest hits,” like a large database of influencers operating on all major social platforms. And signup is a simple one-click process right from the homepage. According to InstaBrand they have an extensive client list of some of the biggest names, including Universal, Colgate, Pepsi and H&M.
One way in which InstaBrand is looking to capitalize on new social trends is through their Snapchat Labs feature. This tool allows brands to utilize Instabrand’s pool of some 12,000 Snapchat influencers to reach that coveted 18-29 Millennial demographic.
Platforms Supported: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat,
- Advanced search engine lets brands filter influencer results by a number of criteria including demographics and post relevance
- Assigns campaign managers to offer personalized attention
- Website is heavy on content but light on substance and detail of Instabrand’s platform
Instafluence has carved out a unique niche for itself by offering influencer services to clients looking to promote their mobile app. The platform leverages the popularity of social-media celebrities to boost downloads of the apps in question. Another selling point is that they offer to build a loyal Instagram following for the brand and then hand over the reigns so they can continue promoting on their own. Their client list includes heavyweights such as Viacom and Dos Equis, and many of their celebrity influencers enjoy millions of subscribers.
One interesting turn of events is that Instafluence was acquired by Disney’s Maker Studios in 2015. The platform can now utilize that production company’s some 55,000 YouTube channels and roster of celebrity vloggers to help promote client apps.
Platforms Supported: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Instagram, Vine, Snapchat
- The purchase by Disney means Instafluence can deliver a massive rolodex of genuine social-media celebrities
- The only platform on the list that focuses solely on apps
Niche is an influencer platform with quite the social-media pedigree. One co-founder, Rob Fishman, worked the social beat at Huffington Post, and the company hired Vine celebrity Cody Johns as its creative director. Starting in 2013, Niche found early success with Vine campaigns in the world of film and retail. Now they’ve opened up their platform to all the major social networks and, according to their website, work with over 30,000 content creators.
For the benefit of everyone involved, Niche creates a single profile for their creators that aggregates all content from their various social profiles. Then they display these profiles in a leaderboard, complete with full analytics tracking, so brands can see which influencers are moving the needle the most.
Platforms Supported: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr
- Leaderboard helps brands decide which influencers will deliver the most engagement to their campaign
- Comprehensive profile helps creators see which of their content is hitting the mark
- Niche takes a hands on approach, being involved in most aspects of the campaign creation
- Website doesn’t make it easy to engage with content creators; brands who want free reign to create campaigns and communicate with influencers directly may feel stifled
Octoloy is a French platform that has also gone all in on YouTube. Billing themselves as the “first Free Store dedicated to creators,” the site is an automated marketplace that connects brands with vlog personalities. In just a few steps, brands can search a database of influencers and create a campaign by offering nothing more than free products. Most of the influencers on Octoloy are beauty YouTubers, and the site claims to monitor some 800,000 channels.
Like Content BLVD, Octoly places a premium on authenticity and honest reviews. They charge a fee for brands to access their database.
Platforms Supported: YouTube
- Doesn’t pay influencers; focuses on authentic product reviews
- Octoly is limited by focusing predominantly on beauty items—although they are branching out into video games
- Only YouTube influencers
- Lack of practical info (or even a demo or tutorial) on the homepage means businesses that sign up with Octoloy are doing so without knowing very much about how it works
Paid media, earned media
The last YouTube-only option on the list, Grapevine works with over 200 brands. Like Content BLVD and Octoly, the site offers influencers product packages in exchange for reviews. Unlike the two other sites, Grapevine also deals in paid sponsorships. Like some of the best options, the homepage is in simple WordPress format, and they offer their own analytics engine to help brands and agencies find the most visible influencers.
Platforms Supported: YouTube
- A database of over 60,000 influencers
- Pairs brands with a dedicated account manager to facilitate the process
- Only YouTube influencers
- The option for influencers to receive monetary compensation diminishes earned-media potential
This website offers speed and ease of use to help businesses leverage the power of Instagram to promote their brand. On the speed end, Popular Pays promises that visitors can list a campaign in six minutes, receive proposals from Instagrammers 24 hours later, and have the campaign up within a week. By focusing almost exclusively on Instagram (they have dabbled in Pinterest and Snapchat, too), Popular Pays can keep their website streamlined and simple.
Popular Pays boasts a network of over 25,000 Instagrammers who have created sponsored campaigns for top brands including Nike, Target and Glenlivet. As for the bread and butter of Instagram—the photos—the site offers brands the option to use original photos from the content creators themselves, or full-rights pics from Popular Pays’ database.
Platforms Supported: Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest
- Straightforward website free of visual noise
- Popular Pays stays out of the pairing process, letting brands and Instagrammers find each other organically
- Great for sponsored content on Instagram
- Caters primarily to just one social-media platform
- It’s a bid marketplace, meaning Instagrammers get paid for their services, thus eliminating any earned media
While there is no single winner on this list, certain sites might be a better fit than others. For example, those who want an established option dealing in multiple social platforms may opt for BrandBacker. On the other hand, those who want to create an earned-media video advertising campaign could be better off with Content Blvd. And businesses without previous influencer knowledge looking to setup quick campaigns with minimal hassle might prefer FameBit or, or Grapevine Logic, or Popular Pays. It all depends on the brand.
If you represent an influencer marketing platform that you feel I should have included, just say so in the comments.