Will a Sponsored Content Marketplace Create a Bubble?


IZEA, a digital marketing firm founded by entrepreneur Ted Murphy, is launching a marketplace that will serve sponsored content across Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Tumblr. But as sponsored content becomes more prevalent, will it dilute its effectiveness?

The new marketplace aims to provide a single place for both brands and online influencers to meet and get campaigns started within minutes, according to a company press release. The release also states that the marketplace will offer a variety of tools to speed up the process.

These tools include a search engine for advertisers to find creators, two-way bidding and negotiation, streamlined electronic payments, real-time performance tracking and automatic FTC disclosure on any advertising material that results from collaborations.

“While adoption has skyrocketed, brands still find it difficult to truly scale their sponsorship efforts. We aim to change that by creating an entire ecosystem around this space, beginning with the Sponsorship Marketplace public beta at IZEA.com,” said Murphy in a statement.

Adweek contributor Garett Sloane points out that this move effectively means sponsored social media content is now up for auction, on the part of both parties. SMBs and smaller social media personalities will be able to pair up, while Fortune 500 companies can pair with expensive celebrities. It may become much easier to identify the right influencers for your campaign.

“These types of sponsorships… have become big and small business, with some Twitter users getting in on the marketing act with only a couple thousand followers. Some have millions of followers, and can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year marketing to their online audiences,” Sloane wrote.

But here comes the bad news. If the floor is thrown open for almost anyone to provide sponsored content, “#ad” disclaimer or not, there could easily be a bubble and crash in the market. If there is a surge in users injecting sponsored content into their streams, it could get harder to see genuine, non-sponsored content.

Some services are already pushing back against ad saturation, but IZEA seems interested in pushing ahead with even more ads on social media.

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