Why Influencer Marketplaces Don’t Work

Posted by Alex Ditty on Jul 27, 2017 2:00:00 PM

In Influencer Marketing, Planning Campaigns

The critical flaw in one-size-fits-all influencer marketing

influencer_marketplaceAs influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity, marketers are searching for solutions to make it work for them. The goal is to make their influencer marketing plans effective at reaching new audiences while keeping them efficient enough for internal execution. Unfortunately, marketers trying to strike that balance sometimes end up taking shortcuts.  One of the biggest hurdles that marketers look for quick help with is influencer identification, which often leads to “influencer marketplaces.” These are platforms where brands and influencers bid on campaigns to collaborate together.

This shortcut sounds good in theory but can lead to disastrous results for your influencer marketing. Here are the three main reasons you don’t want to depend on influencer marketplaces:


They encourage one-off engagement and not lasting partnerships

Influencers seek long-term partnerships with brands and savvy brands should be looking for the same with influencers. Fostering a brand ambassadorship, rather than one-off programs, helps build lasting and loyal fans through authentic promotion. Influencer marketplaces do not facilitate this type of relationship, and in some cases, they actively discourage it.

If you discover a perfect influencer match and begin building a long-term business relationship with them, you need to keep returning to the marketplace and spending money diminishes. It behooves marketplaces to keep you coming back over and over to discover and recruit new influencers.


The talent pool is limited

Influencer marketplaces serve up search results from a limited pool of influencer talent. Typically this is a group of people who have signed up to participate in the marketplace-- usually following a “make money on Instagram!” CTA. Marketplaces often attract lower quality influencers who take on excessive brand deals, inundating their audiences with ads and diluting the power and value of their endorsement.

We’ve said it 2 million times, the key to effective influencer marketing is finding the right brand match. The odds of finding the exact right brand match is limited in the marketplace to whoever they have in-network that is closest. What does it matter if there are 2000 cars on the lot unless they have the exact one you’re looking for?


They foster transactional relationships 

The best influencer posts aren’t sales promos, they’re pieces of authentic storytelling that communicate the brand’s message. You don’t want to just sell sneakers, you want to showcase where the shoes can take you, or how high they can help you jump, or how cool you will be if you wear them.

Shopping for an influencer on a marketplace is a transactional relationship-- you make a bid and the influencer accepts it or turns it down. This sets up your relationship to follow that same transactional trajectory. They promote, you pay, end of story. Similarly, their posts come across as less authentic, more spammy, and definitely more “sales driven.” This elicits an obvious response from the audience: “this person is only posting about X product because the brand paid them.”

Bringing the influencer into a longer term partnership where they can share ideas, interpret the brand, and create a meaningful and personalized story about how your product fits into their lives… that’s when you get the deeper benefits of influencer marketing. That doesn’t happen in a transactional environment.

Rather than looking at influencer marketplaces as a solution for your influencer discovery needs, take the time to learn the steps that go into finding the right influencer for your next campaign.