Google has acquired marketing firm FameBit in a move the company says will make it easier for brands to work with YouTube creators in pitching products through sponsorships and paid promotions.
The acquisition will increase the number of branded content opportunities that are available on YouTube in the form of product placements, sponsorships and promotions. And it will bring in more revenue for content creators on the video-sharing platform, Google's Vice President of Product Management Ariel Bardin said in announcing the deal on Google's YouTube blog.
"Every year, more and more brands are making YouTube essential to their marketing strategy," he said. Last year, Google's top 100 advertisers increased the amount they spent on promoting YouTube videos by 50 percent. "As we look to the future, we want even more creators and brands to come together and realize the benefits of these creative collaborations," Bardin said.
Bardin did not disclose financial details of the transaction.
FameBit is a sort of self-service marketplace that lets video creators and brands collaborate with each other directly on creating branded videos. It offers an alternative to marketing agencies and the so-called Multi Channel Networks (MCNs) that content creators and brands often tap when wishing to work with each other.
The FameBit platform eliminates the need for an intermediary by letting brands send sponsorship and endorsement requests directly to the top influencers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vine.
The company claims that it works to ensure that brands looking to sponsor content on YouTube are matched with influencers that best fit their market segment and profile.
FameBit says that since launching three years ago it has helped creators and brands collaborate on some 25,000 branded YouTube videos representing 2 billion minutes of watch time. Some 30,000 creators currently are signed up on the FameBit platform, according to the company. Major businesses that have used the platform include Canon, Adidas, Sony and Rovio.
In a blog post this week, FameBit founders David Kierzkowski and Agnes Kozera said the company would continue as a stand-alone operation for now. Google's relationships with large and small advertisers and YouTube's partnership with video creators will give FameBit a way to leverage its platform better.
"We hope to connect even more brands to creators, engage more audiences, and make brand marketing more creative and authentic than ever," Kierzkowski and Kozera said.
According to Google's Bardin, video creators on YouTube will continue to be free to work with third-party MCNs and agencies if they prefer to reach potential sponsors that way instead of via the FameBit platforms. Agencies and multichannel networks are free as well to use FameBit to link creators and brands if they choose to, Bardin added.
It is unclear what the acquisition will mean for Google's YouTube Partner Program, a service it launched nine years ago to give video creators a way to monetize their content on YouTube, through advertisements, merchandizing and paid subscriptions.