Vungle Acquires Influencer Marketing Platform JetFuel

Long-term shifts in the social media landscape accelerated during the pandemic, and influencer and other paid content began to make up an ever-increasing share of digital ad budgets. With nearly 68% of marketers from large companies now saying they plan to use influencer marketing in 2021, it’s clear that the influencer space is maturing, and consolidation between the biggest players feels imminent. 

Just this morning, the mobile performance marketing platform Vungle announced its acquisition of JetFuel, an influencer marketing platform headquartered in San Francisco. JetFuel’s platform provides app developers and other advertisers with a way to scale marketing campaigns across an expansive network of verified influencers, with a combined reach of more than 4 billion Instagram followers, 1.5 billion TikTok followers, and 100 million daily Snapchat views.

Vungle CEO Jeremy Bondy says JetFuel has changed the face of influencer marketing by automating campaign management and execution, which removes the need for the time-consuming manual work that is characteristic of traditional influencer campaigns. The company charges advertisers on a cost-per-action basis, which means advertisers can achieve measurable outcomes with high return-on-investment. It’s also uniquely scalable, with a platform that enables advertisers to directly upload campaigns, guidelines, and assets for creators to select synchronously.

The acquisition allows Vungle to offer its advertiser clients even greater reach in acquiring high-value users and the ability to target the increasingly valuable Gen Z market through influencer-owned viral content.

Bondy says bringing together Vungle and JetFuel means developers will now be able to connect and scale with creators through the “first platform-based marketplace for user acquisition.” It will also bring Vungle’s global advertiser base and machine learning predictive capabilities together with JetFuel’s expertise in social media and influencer marketing to create a new gateway for mobile app developers.

“A way to think about this is seeing our SDK being integrated in a whole new world of apps producing thousands of incremental supply opportunities for our advertisers,” Bondy says.

The global influencer market is expected to be worth more than $13 billion this year, and research continues to show that advertisers are investing a larger share of their marketing budget in influencer campaigns. According to a January survey by Influencer Marketing Hub and Upfluence, 62% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets this year, while one-fifth expect their influencer budgets to remain the same as they were in 2020. 

Bondy sees 2021 as a pivotal moment in the industry, as influencing becomes a more scaled and engaging path for mobile audiences to discover and engage with app content. 

“JetFuel is giving creators the opportunity to invest in and build their careers as influencers with reliable income, the same way Vungle did with indie developers in our early days,” he says. “This is yet another parallel that increases our conviction in the addition of JetFuel to our platform.”

JetFuel was co-founded by Tim Lenardo and JJ Maxwell, who themselves came from previous roles at Instagram and Facebook. Bondy sees the addition of Lenardo and Maxwell onto Vungle’s team as an extra benefit that will help make the company even stronger.

“We’re expanding across device operating systems, such as Windows and Amazon, and we are exploring new partnerships with companies such as Samsung. We’ve also diversified outside of gaming with genres such as music, dating, and social, which has grown to a meaningful contribution to our overall business,” he says. “Collectively, these organic and inorganic initiatives accelerate our ability to help our customers grow in today and tomorrow’s app economy and provide a mobile marketing performance platform that addresses the complete app growth cycle from game design and development to marketing, measurement, and beyond.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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