YouTube has been making FameBit, an influencer marketing platform that it acquired in 2016, a bigger part of its pitch to marketers.

In conversations with advertisers, YouTube is increasingly calling attention to FameBit and, specifically, the ability for marketers to work with creators on the platform on branded content, said three advertising executives inside different global agencies.

“We hear more about FameBit from digital planners [at YouTube.] It’s always an agenda item. FameBit runs under the radar, but they’re doing something unique: transparency with their margins, which is rare in this space, and then there’s the connection with YouTube,” said an agency executive who has met with FameBit and considered it for several clients but has yet to launch a campaign.

Google has touted FameBit’s success in the past. During Google’s second-quarter earnings call in 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said half of the creators on FameBit had doubled their YouTube revenue earlier that year. As of February of this year, the number of branded campaigns on FameBit had grown 259% year over year, a Google spokesperson said.

Today, YouTube’s sales team pitches FameBit as the best option for marketers interested in branded content on YouTube. Compared to other influencer marketing platforms, FameBit has the advantages of “access to the entire YouTube ecosystem; Google data-driven matchmaking; transparent process, curation and guaranteed organic views; retargeting capabilities across Google and YouTube platforms; organic branded content measurement,” according to an April 2018 pitch deck obtained by Digiday.

The retargeting capability is one of the most interesting components, two agency executives said. With FameBit, marketers can retarget the viewers of branded videos with pre-roll and mid-roll ads elsewhere on YouTube. Marketers also can serve ads to these viewers across other Google properties such as in search and on Android.

“There’s no inherent talent advantage of working with FameBit. For us, it’s media advantage, retargeting, a one-stop shop,” said an agency executive.

After a meeting with YouTube representatives, the agency executive asked YouTube’s reps if there were any potential privacy concerns. The rep responded that FameBit abided by Google’s overall policy for retargeting across all of its ads products, according to the exchange viewed by Digiday.

Though Google doesn’t specifically name FameBit or branded content in its privacy policy, one section reads, “If you watch videos of guitar players on YouTube, you might see an ad for guitar lessons on a site that uses our ad products.” Of course, one of those videos could be the result of a branded content deal orchestrated through FameBit. Branded content and FameBit are also not listed on Google’s help center page about re-marketing to YouTube viewers.

Amy Neben, partner and talent manager at Select Management Group, said she’s seen more of the agencies she works with go to FameBit over the last couple of years. She has worked with FameBit since they were independent and she was a talent manager at Studio71. For advertisers, the incentive lies in FameBit’s ability to work more closely with YouTube and the rest of Google, she said.

“YouTube has done a good job of making [branded content] a higher priority for their sales team, making it a part of their sales package. We see a lot more agencies moving their work over to FameBit because they’re already buying with Google, and it becomes a one-stop shop,” Neben said.

Talent agencies themselves also find it convenient to work with FameBit ever since the acquisition.

“When FameBit was acquired by YouTube, it became a lot easier to work with them. It started making a lot more sense because they worked with brands that I wanted my clients associated with,” said Chas Lacaillade, CEO and founder of Bottle Rocket Management.

Marketers predicted that FameBit’s heralded status among influencer marketing platforms will only get stronger as more of that work moves in-house.

“I think FameBit as a self-serve option just makes perfect sense for smaller brands,” said an agency executive.

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