FameBit, a platform YouTubers and brands can use to monetize content and partner with relevant influencers (respectively), just reached the 300 million subscriber mark. Letting brands name their budgets and inviting YouTubers to join for free, the company says it found success by knowing what its clients are looking for and giving it to them in a direct way.
In a sense, the paltform is like a dating site for YouTube influencers and brands — a very straightforward and down-to-business one. FameBit targets mid-level YouTubers, saving the bigger stars for the MCNs…which is a big part of why their subscriber base is so large. Brands using the platform include L’Oreal, BarkBox, Adidas, and Dollar Shave Club, among many others.
We caught up with founder and CEO of FameBit David Kierzkowski to talk about how his technology works and what makes it unique in the heavily populated space of connecting video creators to brands (and vice versa).
How can brands find the right YouTubers to work with using FameBit? How about for YouTubers looking for the right brands?
Rather than having brands try to navigate the manual process of first searching for the YouTubers themselves on YouTube, negotiating the terms, and then managing the campaigns in messy spreadsheets, we reverse the process and make it super easy by bringing the talent to the brands. Once brands have choices, they are better able to decide which YouTubers are the best fit for them.
The way the process works is that brands can post a video request to the FameBit Self-Service Platform, including information about what their brand/product is, what kind of YouTubers they’re looking to work with, and how much money they are willing to spend per video. Once they’ve posted, brands will receive proposals from interested content creators who pitch them as to why they are the best fit to film a video. Brands are also able to review each YouTuber’s channel demographics such as subscriber age breakdown and location. This information is not easily available to brands who are searching through random channels on YouTube.
Once a YouTuber signs up to FameBit, they get a stream of available video creation opportunities that they can sort through and apply to the ones they like best. YouTubers can apply for as many or as little opportunities as they like. Not only do we bring all the opportunities to the YouTubers, but also, as soon as a brand accepts a YouTuber’s proposal, we require the brand to fund video creation up front so we eliminate a lot of the risk for creators who may worry about whether or not they will ever receive payment after publishing their videos to YouTube. In this way, FameBit protects both brands and content creators as the money is held in escrow until the video has been completed and approved by the brand to be published.
How many of FameBit’s YouTubers are actually affiliated with MCNs, and how do those brand deals work?
There are many content creators on the FameBit platform who are “signed” with various MCNs. There are even agents on the FameBit platform who manage the YouTube accounts for some creators. We don’t know the exact number since we don’t discriminate against content creators that are with MCNs or agencies and we just don’t ask for that piece of information at sign-up. FameBit is a non-exclusive platform. We pay content creators on a ‘per-video/per-project’ basis and creators can come and go as they please. Creators do not need to sign a contract to earn money on FameBit, it’s more of a “freelancing” model. We pay the YouTuber or the manager speaking on the YouTuber’s behalf, and if they split the money with another party after that, we do not tend to be involved in that process and neither are our brands.
We tailor to the 90% of content creators that tend not to get brand integration/sponsorships through their MCNs because they are considered too small, especially given that MCN’s are mainly driven by sale forces and not tech platforms so they focus on the large budget deals (six figure and above) that get distributed to the larger stars. Given their “high-touch” model, MCNs are just not positioned or created to service 50,000 content creators, for example. It’s a walled garden model focusing on the top talent. In our opinion, most of the long- and mid-tail creators have the exact same video quality as the big stars and reach the same audience/viewers as the big stars. So when a brand hires 15–20 mid-tail stars, they can achieve the same reach of X million subs for a fraction of the cost and A/B test their marketing objectives with the different types of videos available instead of hiring one large star who can be a hit or miss for the brand.
What are some of the ways you’ve gone about promoting FameBit and growing your subscriber base so successfully?
We’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of organic growth. YouTube is a large but tight-knit community, so once a creator makes money on FameBit and has a great experience, we see that they recommend us to their YouTube friends, which has been a big part of our growth.
We are also continuously coming up with ways to make FameBit more visible and help our YouTubers earn money. One of the things we have done is to offer Influencer Profile Pages that YouTubers can personalize via FameBit and include in the “About Me” section of their YouTube channel. It makes it easier for brands that don’t yet know about FameBit to discover an easy way to work with the talent, and it gives YouTubers a more professional and secure way to interact with new brands outside our platform.
As FameBit just reached the milestone of 300 million subscribers, what are its plans as its subscriber base continues to grow? Any different ways you’ll be operating as you plan to expand further?
Our goal with FameBit is to continue to be the number one marketplace for video endorsements, and we are excited about the many product updates that we will roll out in the next year. As we are growing very fast on the YouTube side of things, we also understand that video creators have other social media influence on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, etc. Soon we will be releasing a suite of tools that will allow creators to further monetize on other social channels all in one platform while giving brands the self-service tools to run influence marketing campaigns across different channels. Our goal is to become the largest marketplace for influence marketing.