The OkCupid Of Content Marketing: How FanBridge Connects Brands With YouTube Stars

YouTube’s blown up to become a serious rival of the cable industry. But the platform’s shared revenue model can leave the content creators disappointed and looking for alternate ways to fund their programs. Simultaneously, brands are investing more and more in original video content in hopes of sparking a viral hit. In theory, YouTube stars and brands seem like a match made in heaven, if only someone could connect them.

Enter FanBridge, a New York startup that created new product called Channel Pages to help artists find brands and brands find artists to form creative partnerships and collaborations.

We talked with FanBridge CEO Spencer Richardson to learn more about Channel Pages and how it can connect brands with YouTube stars and content creators in sports, comedy, social media, film, TV and more.

Tell us a bit about Channel Pages. What is it?

There are two core types of relationships that the platform is designed to enable. Channel-Channel collaborations and Channel-Sponsor collaborations. The primary pain point we’re serving with the former is channels previously not having a search tool they could use to find other similar-minded/sized channels collaborators. We provide some general collaboration ideas like video swapping to increase audience reach, or jointly making new videos together (to split production costs) etc., but we’ve also seen new types of collaborations form via the platform we could have never dreamed up.

In terms of Channel-Sponsor collaborations, we’re addressing a similar pain point for CMOs and marketers as the Channel-Channel collaborations — in this case enabling brands, small and medium businesses, agencies, etc. to source targeted partners for paid campaigns.

Like the Channel-Channel collabs, the output of how these parties can work together is infinite. Some businesses simply need help producing content relevant to their target audiences, and so are using Channel Pages to find channels to build content for them in a style that is already proven to resonate with their target audience (ie. which is directly measurable via Channel Pages profile data).

Your product seems unique in that it caters to YouTube artists and YouTube marketing. Should marketers care about YouTube and how your product differs from a curation tool that allows a brand to find a video artist on Odesk.

Marketers largely already understand the growing significance of video as a tool in their arsenal for attracting new clients and developing stronger relationships with existing ones; however, the future role of YouTube specifically within these video strategies remains uncertain for many. That said, with Channel Pages we feel that we’re bringing the conversation to the creators directly, and anticipate iterating on the product to provide clearer, higher performance, and more authentic ways for marketers to engage with YouTube as a video distribution and sharing platform.

This is the pool of connections from which all other performance benefits on the platform emerge.”

oDesk is an amazing tool for sourcing a very broad array of talents, particularly within cost-effective emerging markets. However, the purely freelancer approach to video creation entirely eliminates the benefits of the creator actually having skin in the game and a proven fan audience that verifies that their content/ideas truly resonate with the sponsor’s target audience. Further, the creators own audience and authenticity are assets they are bringing to the table, providing for additional content testing & distribution benefits post production – which oDesk simply does not have baked into their mercenary style value proposition.

Video content performs well. Tell us more about performance improvements in marketing you’ve seen or expect from your product.

There are two types of performance improvements we are focused on when it comes to maximizing the ROI marketers experience from use of Channel Pages. First, Channel Pages search performance – whereby the quality, availability, and relevance of results we measure by the percentage of searches that convert into a collaboration getting off the ground. This is the pool of connections from which all other performance benefits on the platform emerge.

Like the Channel-Channel collabs, the output of how these parties can work together is infinite.”

Second, is the performance of the collaborations themselves relative to the marketers objectives versus alternative approaches at their disposal for generating lift in ROI. Often, marketers measure these kinds of initiatives on a case-by-case basis, using their own set of performance metrics and benchmarks; however, inside of Channel Pages, we expect our back end algorithms to improve recommendations made to channels and sponsors based on a growing set of data tied to the historic performance of collaborations formed via the platform – alongside tools marketers can use to standardize how they track distribution and engagement across audiences, creators and environments.

The bottom-line opportunity for marketers in Channel Pages optimizing the collaboration marketplace is enormous, with several studies from companies like Neilsen, eMarketer, etc. already demonstrating anywhere from two to five times lift in campaign CTRs, recall and purchase intent when comparing collaborative “native” advertising vs. traditional pre-roll and banners. A disparity that is growing everyday as consumers are increasingly desensitized to such “peripheral” advertising.

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Image via Helga Esteb /

Image by Helga Esteb /

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