Investing in influencers
In addition to overt marketing via video advertising, the rise of social media – and the changing nature of how we are getting connected to people through it – is changing a key pillar of subtle advertising: word-of-mouth.
Conventionally, Hollywood red-carpets were the place for brands (especially fashion ones) to sponsor the wardrobes of celebrities as a way to showcase their newest creations. While celebrities would have to stop and pose for photo opportunities for the paparazzi, social media influencers can take Instagram photos of multiple wardrobes, apparel and gadgets within a day to show off the products they are sponsored to use.
The status of influencers has now grown to that accorded to celebrities, commanding substantial fees depending on the influencers’ reach. Simultaneously, influencer management agencies have come in to curate this new form of ‘talent’ and besides driving influencer rates even higher, are an added layer in the engagement process. In an ever-growing pool of influencers and wannabes, brands have an increasingly hard time identifying the right influencer that suits their brand message and segment.
This is where Singapore-based Affable comes in to help brands better identify influencers with more relevant reach and with authentic engaged followers, as well as micro-influencers, who have fewer but more engaged followers. The startup, founded by technopreneur Nisarg Shah, uses an AI-powered algorithm to sift through the many influencers across Southeast Asia and recommend them to the right brands, based on past posts, comments and followers mix and engagement rate, thereby helping brands reduce manual effort and guesswork to measure the true reach of influencer marketing campaigns.
In describing the technology behind Affable’s ‘audience filter’, Nisarg said, “Before you do any kind of a campaign, you want to make sure you work with influencers who have the reach to your target audience.”
“So, we sift through the images that the influencers upload on Instagram and we track the type of audience that was reached. With our proprietary technology, we then give our clients the analytics on the campaign which helps them know whether their money is spent effectively and how they can optimise resources for their next campaign.”
As one of the tech start-ups that joined The FinLab’s programme, Nisarg and his team had the opportunity to talk to SMEs such as International Labs – a distributor of international apparel brands such as Everlast – on why it is worth investing into micro-influencers.
“Today there is a spectrum of influencers,” said Nisarg, “Think of it as a pyramid with the celebrities on the top, and then there is another layer which is macro-influencers who are very popular and expensive. Then, there is another layer below which are micro-influencers. These are people who have 5,000 to 50,000 followers but who are not expensive, whom you should engage as an ambassador or as a spokesperson for your brand. Micro-influencers still work well for small brands as they are most probably selling a niche product.”