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Interview with Bryan Gold, Co-founder, CEO at #paid

Bryan Gold

After learning that a friend had become hugely influential on social media but had no interest in expending the energy to find marketers to leverage her personal brand, Bryan and co-founder Adam Rivietz developed #Paid – a platform to connect influencers with brands. Bryan has formerly worked with Apple as a specialist.

#paid empowers creators and enables the world to experience their creative storytelling. They connect creators and brands for meaningful collaborations. They design and develop world-class software that makes marketers’ lives easier.

What made you start a company that connects brands and influencers? 

The inspiration came from our friend, Ronnie, who started a fitness journey and documented the progress on Instagram. Ronnie gained a hundred thousand followers inspiring others to be the best version of themselves and we noticed a huge opportunity to facilitate collaborations between brands and content creators, like Ronnie. Today, we have more than 15,000 of these content creators that brands can leverage to meet their marketing objectives.

According to you, what makes a high-quality influencer?

A high-quality influencer ensures they will deliver consistent content —this means posting regularly and around a consistent theme. They are aware of their own brand, and have a curated aesthetic. To be considered high quality by #paid you have a minimum of 5,000 followers, with an average engagement rate of 2%. Most importantly, successful influencers have a true audience that engages with your content.

How do you identify influencers that would be the right fit for a brand? How does the Affinity Score work?

There are several factors that we look into before matching brands and influencers together.

First off, we need to evaluate which influencers have the audience that best aligns to the brand’s target. This means going beyond demographics—age, gender, geo—but along psychographic metrics like interest and affinity segments. This part is driven by our AI-powered matching algorithm which uses advanced image-recognition and machine learning to leverage a wealth of data sourced from successful campaigns.

As great as technology is, there are limitations that humans need to fill. For example, we need to determine whether the influencer has a natural, authentic belief in the brand. Do they use that brand’s products already? Do they have a compelling story to share? Have they worked with any competing brands? These are important questions to ask.

Which industries are showing particular interest in influencer marketing? Which ones are yet to catch on?   

At #paid, we’ve been fortunate that we’re seeing strong reception from almost all consumer-oriented brands. The next frontier is crafting customized campaigns for more B2B marketing-oriented programs. There’s a sense that B2B marketing has to be purely performance and feature-driven, but the fact that marketers need to remember is that we’re all consumers at the end of the day and people are increasingly spending more time on social media.

Where do you see your largest market geographically? Do they react differently to brands via social media content?          

Our largest market is in North America—primarily as a result of our community of creators and clients that we’ve worked with—but the influencer marketing industry is strong globally. Part of this reason is how marketers think about the connection points they have with their consumers. Social media has changed the game for the brand-consumer relationship. Advertising used to be a one-way broadcast (i.e. TV, radio, print, etc.) but has now evolved to allow brands to interact with their consumers via social media. Some brands do a great job producing their own content, but one option that exists for brands is their ability to leverage influencers to be a natural extension of their brand.

Some brands are wary of influencer marketing because they fear influencers may move to competitor brands. How would you tackle such a situation?

This fear of influencers working with competing brands is a valid concern. There are two ways to mitigate these concerns:

  • Choose influencers who believe in the brands they work with and wouldn’t work with competing brands—authenticity is of the utmost importance.
  • Lock in long-term ambassadorships where an influencer has a series of different sponsored opportunities with a brand and includes an exclusivity clause.

What metrics does #paid use to identify whether a campaign is doing well?

Each of our campaigns can be customized to have a key metric that meets the brand team’s goal—whether its website visits, online conversions, brand awareness lifts, or driving brand engagements—however, the gold standard metric is to evaluate each collaboration on a CPE (cost per engagement) basis. Marketers should aim to drive the most engagements (i.e. “likes” and comments) for the lowest cost possible.

Does the increase in influencers mean brands can move away from celebrity endorsements?

Celebrity endorsements have their purpose in the overall marketers’ toolkit, but influencer marketing has emerged as additional tool for marketers. Some of the advantages that influencers have over celebrity endorsements include:

  • More engaged audience—influencers generally have a higher engagement rate to than their celebrity counterparts
  • Trust their endorsements more— A recent study—from Geometry Global, a WPP company—found that social media influencers are trusted nearly 7X more than celebrities. This makes sense because celebrities aren’t generally known for their expertise on niche topics.
  • Cost-effective reach—influencers reach a better targeted audience and at a more cost-effective rate than most of their celebrity counterparts.

Thank you Bryan! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

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