Marketers spent $570 million on influencer marketing on Instagram alone last year, according to eMarketer. While they say you have to spend money to make money, how do you find the perfect match for your brand’s image, campaign and future marketing needs?
Whitelisting—the act of pre-screening and approving—is a practice some brands are considering as they cautiously seek a marketing partner. But a list of “safe” influencers to work with isn’t enough. A brand partner needs to share the core values, interests and audience of the company he/she partners with for mutual success.
Kai Mildenberger, CTO of soulmates.ai, Ayzenberg’s AI and machine learning platform in use at ION, notes that this was the premise for the technology behind soulmates.ai. “Much like eHarmony finds real relationships versus ‘Tinder transactions’ for influencers, we help match up brands with their ideal social media creators that have a natural affinity for their products,” says Mildenberger, “This is a win-win-win situation because even the audience benefits from finding out about products that are more likely to be of interest to them.”
Brand safety is a major concern for marketers, especially at a time when one comment on social media can result in a boycott. Warring political views, fake news and illegal activities are just a few of the reasons brands are being especially cautious when selecting influencers to partner with. Whitelisting seems a natural solution, especially considering the dangerous examples from the last year.
When PewDiePie released a video with anti-Semitic themes, Disney’s Maker Studios cut ties with the internet celebrity and YouTube canceled the second season of his streaming reality show. The video in question was not the first—or even eighth—from PewDiePie that featured such themes, illustrating the importance of matched core values over number of subscribers.
In February, influencer and CoverGirl ambassador James Charles tweeted a joke about going to Africa and catching Ebola alongside a CoverGirl-sponsored tweet. While Charles has since apologized, the tweet gained worldwide criticism and CoverGirl became guilty by association.
A consumer study fielded by SSRS found that 58 percent dislike when brands get political and are more likely to avoid brands that take a position contrary to their beliefs—for example, brands perceived to be racist, anti-LGBTQ or sexist.
Influencers, themselves also benefit from finding their brand soulmate—creating lasting relationships with a brand they trust. Promoting a product or event that fails to deliver can cause irreparable damage to one’s reputation (or finances).
YouTube has lost several advertisers who cite a lack of control over what messages are being displayed next to their brand. Being seen next to a video that contradicts a brand’s values may be bad enough, but a sponsored video or post that contradicts those values is worse. We can expect to see more platforms looking to enact whitelisting in the days ahead.
Soulmates.ai, ION’s AI and machine learning platform processes social speech using psychometrics and topic analysis to dig deeper into the kinds of traits brands are looking for in a partner. We apply hundreds of data attributes to identify dozens of parallels to personify your brand’s story in order to match it with your brand’s story. Soulmates.ai is then used to apply this data to determine the best results. This can be a key component in whitelisting social media creators with whom a brand can then build a long-term business relationship to promote products.