TechBytes with Katie Paulsen, VP of Influencer Marketing at RhythmOne

TechBytes with Katie Paulsen, VP of Influencer Marketing at RhythmOne

Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at RhythmOne.

As the VP of Influencer Marketing at RhythmInfluence, I’m lucky enough to oversee our pre-sale strategy, paid social and account management teams, as well as to work closely with our sales team to ensure success amidst a crowded marketplace. Our detailed processes that have been fine-tuned over the past seven years coupled with our experienced team and our various technology & data partners ensures our managed service offering drives performance.

What is the current definition of an Influencer? How do Influencers treat brands?

An Influencer is an individual who has the power to affect decisions based on their connection with their follower base. They are experts at engaging their audiences across their blog or social platforms and are best-in-class at creating high-quality, beautiful content that resonates. Quality Influencers partner with brands that make sense for their Influencer brand voice. They collaborate with the brand to ensure the content they are creating meets the campaign objectives while ensuring they can retain authenticity for their followers.

How is Influencer Marketing transforming the way modern brands do their business now?

Influencer Marketing has emerged as a key digital marketing tactic as it provides brands the opportunity to connect with their target audiences in an authentic, creative and modern way. The nature of the format allows audiences to consume without disruption and provides an opportunity for brands to communicate key values, benefits, use cases, etc. Content created by Influencers is often utilized by brands across additional Digital Advertising outlets, on their O&O websites, e-commerce sites, and in-store. Brands realize the power of Influencers and partner with them to help drive results, whether in the form of actual sales, engagements, brand lift, increased positive sentiment or brand awareness.

How have Influencer Marketing Technologies evolved in the last 2 years?

Influencer Marketing Hub reported that over 320 new influencer marketing-focused platforms and agencies entered the market over the last 12 months. (Influencer Marketing Hub, State of Influencer Marketing 2019). Many of these platforms tout similar offerings focused around streamlining and automating Influencer Marketing. I firmly believe that technology should be used to improve the offering, but that human interaction is necessary to ensure a fully successful campaign. After all, we are dealing with actual people, not machines as we work with Influencers. One key development from a technology standpoint has been around brand safety and fraud prevention, an extremely important piece of the Influencer puzzle and one that everyone must embrace.

Tell us about your recent report on Influencer Marketing Benchmarks?

Our most recent Influencer Marketing Benchmarks report is the sixth in our series where we analyze campaigns we have implemented for our clients. It’s always exciting to see the performance reported in aggregate, with key takeaways such as average engagement rate of over 9%, CPE just below $.30 and a trend of increased positive brand sentiment and ROI. In addition to key performance data, the report also provides best practices and learnings so we continually evolve our offering while pushing others in the space to do the same.

Why should CMOs subscribe to it?

The RhythmOne Benchmarks report provides an analysis of campaign data without bias. We then tie in our expertise and campaign learnings throughout the year to help others gain insight and best practices. Key takeaways include embracing video, pushing for more experiential and longer-term ambassador programs and most importantly demanding more from your partners. An influencer campaign should never end when the content is posted as we see huge gains when the distribution is a component of the program.

How do you leverage your expertise in Influencer Marketing to build Customer Relations across platforms and devices?

We start with finding the right Influencers and work with them to create and share quality, creative, authentic branded content. Our expertise in the Influencer space drives the development of campaigns that allow an Influencer to speak to their audience, while still fulfilling the needs of the brand. From there, every campaign has a distribution component that pushes the content to do more. Whether this is in the form of paid social distribution, display, video, or a combination of them all, we reach the brand’s exact target audiences across all platforms and devices. The distribution of influencer video content in Advanced TV environments is an emerging focus as consumption habits of audiences evolve.

What makes RhythmOne different from other Digital Advertising companies?

RhythmInfluence, RhythmOne’s Influencer Marketing discipline, is differentiated from others in the space as we go beyond your traditional Influencer Marketing offering. We look at the main KPI’s of each program and cultivate a solution that will drive guaranteed performance through best in class managed service and extensive distribution and measurement. We have been doing this for years, and have fine-tuned our processes, pushed creative envelopes, honed our technology and data partners and developed analytics tools & relationships to ensure efficient, creative, successful campaigns.

How do you bring Influencer Marketing to Digital Advertising? What are the outcomes you commit to your customers?

Influencer Marketing has become another tool in the Digital Advertising executive’s toolbox, often the one they are most excited about! We can mirror many of the outcomes digital advertisers are accustomed to as the sophistication of data and reporting grows. We always guarantee performance, whether it be in the form of engagements, impressions or video views and the majority of our campaigns include a sentiment study and/or brand lift study. For those more focused on ROI, we can pivot and optimize towards online sales. So the opportunities are endless, resulting in custom programs based on the needs of each advertiser. It’s important to fully understand the main KPI’s of a program before putting together an Influencer Marketing strategy.

How do you see Retail platforms evolving with better Influencer Marketing adoption?

The retail sector has so much to reap from an Influencer Marketing campaign. There is of course, the obvious use of Influencers to showcase products and drive sales. This piece will evolve significantly with the introduction of Instagram’s shoppable posts for Influencers, something I’m very excited to see in action! Also of importance is the focus on gaining rights to imagery to utilize across a variety of outlets such as the e-commerce sites, in-store, within catalogs or as part of an Email Marketing program. Not only does the content resonate better with consumers, but it also limits the number of dollars spent creating more traditional product shots.

What are the biggest challenges in measuring the ROI of Influencer Marketing products and services?

Measuring the ROI of an Influencer Marketing program has come a long way. There are certainly still challenges, especially as it pertains to organic posts and the walled gardens of the social platforms, but RhythmOne’s proprietary analytics tools allow for advanced tracking to ensure the measurement is in place. Also, measurement companies like Nielsen, Cuebiq, and Foursquare have evolved for more social-focused analysis and reporting. Finally, the use of paid social amplification allows lower funnel CTA’s and measurement via GA/Adobe data and/or pixel placement, allowing direct correlation between Influencer content and sales.

What is your prediction on the disruptive application of Influencer Marketing in Video and Social Media campaigns?

Influencer Marketing is currently and will continue to disrupt video and social media campaigns – in a positive way. Influencers take the traditional video and social world to a new level, with the best in class content and creativity, which drives more engagement and greater performance outcomes. Consumers are increasingly blind to traditional advertising messages. They crave, and at this point even expect, a more authentic message tailored directly to them.

Katie is responsible for overseeing the strategy, execution, and sales empowerment for RhythmInfluence, the influencer marketing solution by RhythmOne. She brings 14+ years of digital media experience and has played an integral role in developing successful online solutions for top brands.

Her expertise spans social, mobile and video with a specific focus and passion for influencer marketing.

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RhythmOne is a market leader in multiscreen digital advertising solutions. Led by advanced TV and powered by the most efficient and effective programmatic platform, we provide innovative solutions for brands to connect with consumers – including YuMe by RhythmOne and RhythmInfluence – and drive real business outcomes for advertisers and publishers. Our full-stack, end-to-end unified RhythmOne Programmatic Platform – inclusive of RhythmGuard, our proprietary brand safety technology – is focused on delivering scale, efficiency, performance, quality, and actionable data for demand and supply-focused clients and partners. Founded in 2004 in the United Kingdom, RhythmOne was acquired by Taptica International (AIM: TAP) in 2019 and maintains offices throughout the US and Canada, Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, and Latin America.

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