Grapevine, an influencer marketing platform for YouTube, wants to give content creators another way to make money through a new acquisition.
The Cambridge startup announced on Tuesday that it has acquired ReadyCart, a Tennessee-based affiliate marketing service that lets creators on platforms like YouTube build custom storefronts that sell products discussed in their videos.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This marks Grapevine’s second acquisition after Chinese media mogul Bruno Wu acquired a majority stake in the company near the beginning of the year. Grapevine’s first acquisition was SocMetrics, a Google Ventures-backed social media influencer analytics platform based in Cambridge.
With ReadyCart, Grapevine will give the more than 135,000 content creators on its platform the ability to earn money through affiliate marketing. Content creators can use ReadyCart to create a custom online storefront that sells products they talk about in their videos. This is separate from Grapevine’s core offering, which is an influencer marketing platform that lets content creators get paid by brands for sponsored content deals.
“Sponsorships are a big opportunity for creators like me, but they only represent a small portion of the total revenue I could be making from affiliate sales on the products I talk about and recommend to my fans,” Enobong Etteh, founder of YouTube channel Boored at Work, said in a statement provided by Grapevine. “Having a tool like ReadyCart is great because in one step I can enable affiliate commerce across all of my YouTube content.”
Grant Deken, Grapevine CEO and 50 on Fire finalist, told BostInno that the ReadyCart affiliate program will have the most competitive revenue-share rates in the industry, which includes Amazon’s affiliate program. He added that Grapevine will announce some partnerships with online retailers for ReadyCart in the near future.
Online platforms like YouTube continue to eat up a greater share of overall media consumption, with a Global Web Index report from 2016 finding that digital content made up 60 percent of overall media time. At the same time, a survey from Collective Bias in May 2017 found that one-third of millennials make a purchase after viewing sponsored content.
“What we’re looking at is the long-tail opportunity and being able to capture all of that.”
“What we’re looking at is the long-tail opportunity and being able to capture all of that,” Deken said. The “long tail,” a term coined by former Wired editor Chris Anderson, describes how less popular goods in lower demand could become more profitable as consumers shift away from mainstream markets. In the case of Grapevine, this means more opportunities for greater profitability for content creators with smaller following.
Deken didn’t rule out future acquisitions to expand Grapevine’s product line.
“It’s partially driven by good opportunities that make a lot of sense for us,” he said. “Generally, my strategy is to continue to look for ways to strengthen our strategic footprint.”
Grapevine has 11 employees working out of WeWork’s Cambridge office.