Twitter Goes Niche

A look at the micro-blogging site’s latest acquisition and what it says about the increasing influence of influencers.

In 2014, Twitter made the most acquisitions of any social network with 10, and they look to continue to break open their wallet in 2015 with their latest purchase – Niche, an acquisition which was announced yesterday to the tune of $30m.

Founded 18 months ago in New York, Niche is taking the evolving world of social media stars such as comedic personalities, aesthetic photographers, visual artists, foodies and fashionistas and partnering them with brands.

Influencers, influencers, everywhere

In recent years, ordinary people with nothing more than a camera and an Internet connection have been able to gain cult-like followings, elevating them to audience sizes that mirror those of celebrities.

Brands have realised the potential of tapping into these social media personalities and Niche’s acquisition has come at an important time when the demand for influencer connections is at an all-time high, and is continuing to grow.

While ‘YouTubers’ have been on the rise since the video-sharing site was launched in 2005, it is only now that Twitter is contributing as a form of social-media talent agency by recognizing the need to celebrate and encourage it’s creators.

This is no doubt led by how Vine – owned by Twitter – is becoming increasingly implemented into brand’s social media strategies.

Niche currently has over 6,000 social media influencers in its database, providing the contributors with analytics that show what content works and allowing more than 100 brands and agencies to watch success leaderboards.

The company trawls YouTube and Vine for Internet sensations to link them to mainstream media deals. Under the slogan “all the world’s creators, in one place”, Niche positions itself as a technology supplier that links with creators “on a campaign-by-campaign basis”.

Currently, Niche works with brands such as the NFL, Proctor & Gamble, and Warner Bros. Niche also assisted Hewlett-Packard with an advertisement that saw them solely use high-profile Vine users for a TV commercial

As with any free to use platform that enters the public trading domain, Twitter is accountable to stakeholders and investors and has been under increasing pressure to monetize since floating in November 2013. Niche could be a smart acquisition that could help with that.

Fuelling the creator economy

Baljett Singh, Twitter’s director of product management gave insight into the deal by saying: “Niche has been a key partner to both Twitter and Vine over the last year. The company has helped fuel the creator economy by developing leading technology, consisting of free, cross-platform analytics, as well as connecting the creative community directly with the world’s biggest brands.”

Finally, what does Niche do for the PR and communications industry? Relationships have always been at the core of the PR industry and the rush to align with social media ‘influencers’ and bloggers is inevitable. Niche is not eradicating these relationships, more highlighting their continued importance in helping brands make the connections they need to stand-out.

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