Chief Operating Officer, CreatorIQ
Influencer marketing, in 2017, is an undisputed engagement strategy for marketers to create branded stories and influence customer journeys. With a swelling hunger among brands to create and distribute user-generated content across omnichannel marketing platforms, we see a significant gap between what audiences want to see and what’s fed to them. We spoke to Timothy Sovay, Chief Operating Officer, CreatorIQ, to understand how the influencer marketing software solution provider helps marketers scale influencer content to create a realistic and more-connected interaction among their audience.
MTS: How do you see brands optimizing Influencer Marketing through the customer journey?
Timothy Sovay: As influencer marketing has become a critical component of brand storytelling, we’ve seen its growing significance in the continued evolution of the customer journey. For example, progressive brands are building more meaningful, long-term relationships with creators as opposed to one-off sponsorships that have been the norm in the early days of the industry. This is healthy for all three components of the ecosystem where brands, creators, and consumers all benefit from understanding that the brands’ creators partner with are ones they have a true connection and passion for. The work that Samsung Mobile and Casey Neistat have done together is a prime example of how the industry will continue to evolve.
MTS: To what extent is user-generated content (UGC) scalable for marketers to create believable interactions with the audience?
Timothy: Now more than ever, brands can build direct relationships with consumers by creating brand advocacy networks. ipsy is a prime example of an e-commerce brand who developed their ipsy OpenStudio program that has turned into a community of consumers and creators that numbers in the thousands and delivers over 300MM earned impressions each month through organic social content.
MTS: How does CreatorIQ leverage IBM Watson to manage Influencer Marketing programs?
Timothy: Advertisers rightfully expect more granular data around both the creators they’re working with and (more importantly) the audience that connects and engages with the content distributed across their ecosystem of social channels. IBM Watson provides our customers with an added layer of contextual audience psychographic data for better insight into personality traits, brand affinity, and interests.
MTS: How do you see Influencer Marketing technologies shaping up, with the improvements in data science and machine learning capabilities?
Timothy: From influencer and brand matching to predictive campaign performance, machine learning will continue to optimize the automation of key areas of influencer marketing workflow and actionable intelligence. However, unlike other areas of programmatic digital media ad spend, the influencer marketing sector will still rely on the human element of creativity and talent relationships as a form of premium content production.
MTS: What are the key metrics and compliances that brands must seek from an Influencer Marketing platform?
Timothy: Performance metrics and compliance should be considered on two separate fronts. The vast majority of creator-developed content is utilized for brand marketing and awareness campaigns. While there are companies that focus on the performance marketing aspect, it remains difficult to finish the conversion loop based on the closed sales systems that often times do not provide the necessary attributional feedback. Amazon can (and will) be the game changer in this arena but branded content and influencer marketing should predominantly be judged against other forms of digital and social ad spends.
While FTC guidelines are somewhat vague for individual platforms, efforts are being made on all sides to comply with current disclosure requirements provided for brands and creators (#Influencers101). Those who are trying to skirt these disclosures are doing a disservice for the branded content industry, which consumers have clearly shown interest in and continue to prefer over disruptive advertising. CreatorIQ is providing workflow and automation software for brands and agencies to ensure they have the ability to review and approve creator content at scale for campaigns that are getting more complex as the industry grows. We’ve seen an increase of over 300 per cent on a number of creators and pieces of content per campaign over the last 24 months. This requires technology to become an integral part of any progressive organization.
MTS: To what extent do “white label” solutions help brands generate ROI from their campaigns?
Timothy: Many of our early clients were technology-driven media companies who had built internal solutions as part of their pedigree. However, in-house solutions typically prove to be costly and unsustainable over time, and companies can sometimes miss broader industry technology trends if they’re just focused on maintaining their own product. Like many SaaS companies, we have a broad range of clients whose workflow and data needs differ, but they are all focused on the broader goal of scaling their branded content efforts. This allows us to see common themes across sectors – including brands, publishers and agencies – but still allows our clients to utilize an “in-house” solution with their advertising partners.
MTS: If yes, how does CreatorIQ utilize AI/ML technologies to improve proficiency of Influencer Marketing tools?
Timothy: CreatorIQ is building AI tools to analyze tens of thousands of creators across thousands of influencer campaigns from many Fortune 500 clients in order to better predict the most effective outcomes for brand marketers. By using machine learning, CreatorIQ aims to better understand and predict how creators’ content and audiences can be matched to deliver the most engaging social marketing campaigns. CreatorIQ’s Platform provides the necessary technology to make better decisions around campaigns and reporting for evaluating ROI on campaigns.
MTS: Thanks for chatting with us, Timothy.
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