In this episode of Out of the Box, Jess Overton is joined by Gil Eyal, angel investor and founder of the award-winning influencer marketing platform, Hypr, which was sold to Julius works in April, 2020. They discussed the state of influencer marketing and where it's headed, tips for marketers for succeeding with influencers, and examples from Gil's personal experience of innovative influencer activations.
Listen to the podcast or read the edited highlights below.
"We realized that traditional marketing, the automated channels, weren't able to answer every need that marketers have. And with Hypr, what we tried to do is identify those types of clients. And what we found was that there were big budgets with smaller companies. It doesn't have to be Nike. It doesn't have to be Coca-Cola. It can be a gaming company, or it could be a fashion company or a beauty company, and they would have anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of dollars to spend every month, that they used to spend just on acquisition. Suddenly they could work with influencers, but the challenge was how do they find them? How do they activate them at scale? Because you really need a lot of influencers to get your message across. And our goal was to enable people to activate hundreds of influencers at once."
The arrival of micro influencers
"If you want to work with the Kardashians, you have to lay down hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars before you've seen any results. And that's just not something that works for 99% of companies. So introducing, micro-influencers into the market was a no brainer.
"When you have 400 micro-influencers working [for your campaign], you really need technology to be able to make sure that their posts go live on time, that you're tracking their performance and compensating them accordingly, and that you're avoiding fraud. And so there's a whole world of technology to build around it."
Influencers vs traditional channels
"One of the things that you can do with social influencers that you can't really do with traditional marketing is really go down the funnel. So it's not just about installation, but it's about really engaging with the influencers on the apps. So we've done things where we've gotten games to the top of the app store by having users play with the influencers.
We've done campaigns with games similar to Words with Friends, where users would play against influencers. And we created a whole investment where their entire fan base was in the game, and then re-engaging with the game and coming in again and again.
Marketing is more than just installs. Metrics like first day retention, first week retention, and first month retention are more important. And with influencers, you can do a lot to encourage those later metrics that really matter for these apps. And it's very, very effective in doing so...
I believe that products in general - and apps especially - often require you to use them more than once before you start to really like them. And that's what influencers can do really well for you."
Integrating influencers into apps
"The industry has really shifted: If you're just paying influencers to post on Instagram and hope they drive traffic, that's not going to do anything for you today. But what we see and what we recommend for people to do is to incorporate the influencers into the app. If it's a game, for example, and you get to a certain level, you get to play against, or with the influencer, or you actually get to join a clan and be with the influencer or you win things that are related to the influencer.
They require users to be active over time. So it's no longer just the influencers delivering an install, but actually continuing to work with those users who've downloaded the app, to get them to go through a specific process until they get hooked."
Taking a leaf out of the gaming industry's book
"The Supercells and the Zyngas have a really, really good understanding of what drives users to do certain things and how to get them to be more active. I wouldn't say the influencer marketing industry is there yet, but I think it's moving in that direction, where activating influencers should provide similar levels of feedback so that, you know not only which clients they drove or which users they drove, but also , how good are they at meeting the metrics that matter to you".
Practical tips for influencer marketing
1. Number one is really be data-driven. It's very easy to fall into the hype. Influencers can very easily create an appearance of being bigger or more successful than they are. When you start talking to influencers, use a tool that really helps you identify which influencers are the ones you should be working with; that allows you to search for influencers with the right demographics; that ensures that their audience is real and active; and that they haven't acquired a lot fake followers or paid fake engagement.
2. The second is that you really want to be clear about what metrics you're tracking. It's very easy to be excited about the fact that you got this big influencer to promote you and then overlook the original metric or the original KPIs that matter to you and say, "well, they're so big they're going to be successful".
I guarantee many of the big influencers are unsuccessful in promotion. So you want to make sure that you're closely tracking performance so you can understand relatively quickly. It's not a very straightforward world in that you can't always put a link where you want it to be, tracking isn't as simple, and fraud sometimes comes in different ways. So we need to be careful about that.
3. Once you've selected your influencers is really, and once you've engaged them, make sure to measure rigorously. Don't do deals that are two years long with the assumption that they'll work. Pick a few influencers, see how they perform compared to each other.
Even though it's hard to AB test in this space, at least have an idea of, okay, if these are the 10 influencers I worked with, which performed best, why, and what made them unique.
Getting started with micro influencers
"If you work for Nike, you're going to need a lot of micro influences to move the needle. You basically need every single person in the category to be with you. So for companies with big budgets, micro-influencers can only be supplementary, but they still need the big names.
If you're smaller, micro-influencers give you much more ability to target your audience. So you'll pick somebody who really talks about the subject and has an audience that's interesting for you - and you'll have more flexibility on how you can compensate them and less risks. So, 100%. I think you should be starting in that direction, thinking about it that way."
What's next for influencer marketing?
"I think measurement is crucial for this to be big, and a shift to a CPA versus a CPMs or CPCs. What's happening really is you have the really big name influencers that get a lot of money, and they don't really deliver the results. And then you have these smaller influencers who are willing to work much harder, but you still don't know how to measure them correctly today because it's harder to compensate them on a CPM base without knowing how things will go.
And it's not always in their hands. They don't know how much visibility they'll get on the platform for specific posts. I think there's a lot more openness to being compensated for results. For instance, you got me this many installs, you got me this many sales, or you got me this many signups to my newsletter.
We're seeing significant progress in that area. I'm working with some companies that now activate over thousands of influencers every month with the affiliate model or with a CPA model, and pay out hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars every month. But in a way that's much more measurable and accessible to them.
So I think that's the future of the space, especially as you work with micro-influencers. If you look at how many people have more than 10 million followers on Instagram, you'll maybe find 250; if you go to how many people have more than a million, you'll probably get to 10,000 people. If you go to how many people have more than a hundred thousand, you might get over a million people. So it's much more competitive down there for them to get opportunities. And that allows marketers to dictate the terms. So my gut feeling is we're going to move to CPA tools.
And that's great news for marketers who now no longer have to bear the risk of thinking of the right person and then, you know, spending a lot of money on somebody who's was not going to produce results. It creates a big opportunity for developing anti fraud measurement tools".