Facebook is trying to win over the influencer crowd with an app built just for them, and it connects to Watch for those influencers with an official show on the social network.
The Facebook Creator App, announced Thursday, will give internet stars a place to create and edit videos, film live, message with followers and track stats about their videos. The app is for people with a Facebook Page, not just a personal account.
Facebook also announced that it was developing more Watch shows with creators as the stars.
Facebook launches these new products for influencers just as the market is heating up for their attention. YouTube is still a go-to platform for many web celebs, who often use it as a springboard to mainstream success. And Snapchat has said it would develop more products and services to appeal to creators.
Fidji Simo, Facebook's director of product, wrote in a blog post that she had been meeting with creators like YouTube personality Markian Benhamou and Jay Mendoza, a Facebook comedy creator. "While they have very diverse needs and goals, they all shared how important it is for them to have tools to nurture their community," Simo said.
Facebook also built a website for creators to learn about the platform and get early access to new offerings.
YouTube has similar channel management apps and a partner program for channel owners to share money from ads that get placed in their videos. However, YouTube's influencer community—which include many personalities who focus on hot-button political and cultural issues—has been thrown into a state of uncertainty since advertisers began paying closer attention to where their ads appear. YouTube has responded by becoming hyper-sensitive about flagging videos it deems inappropriate for advertisers and as a result, many creators are seeing hits to their revenues.
This year, Facebook launched Watch, a video destination similar to YouTube, and it began showing ads inside live and on-demand videos, making money for the platform and the content owners.
"Out of all the platforms, Facebook is the least influencer friendly right now," says Cameron Moody, an influencer manager and director of talent at DanceOn, a Gen Z digital media network. "So it's important that they're jumping into the space and updating what it looks like for influencers, especially around live videos." But, he says, it might be difficult for Facebook to pull talent away from YouTube.
In adition to the live video controls, Moody says, the Facebook app messaging tool to reach fans from both Facebook and Instagram are an improvement. Now, he says, the creators don't have to keep switching apps to talk to fans.
The Watch hub is starting to show promise for the influencer community. The basketball famous Ball family has a show on Facebook's Watch, "Ball in the Family," as does Jody Steel ("Body Art") and Mendoza ("Elote Man").
Facebook has been building ad products to cater to the creator class, particularly around branded content, which is when a brand pays for placement in a creator's video or pays to promote a video.
"Creators and influencers are a critical part of the community that makes visiting platforms a worthwhile experience," says Steve Ellis, CEO of WHOSAY, an influencer marketing company. "This app will be an interesting experiment by them to see if they can help influencers make money by working with brands."