While marketers herald influencers as the best way for brands to connect with audiences by proxy, it often comes with a big ticket price. From signing big names that charge five figures per post, to devoting staff hours to research and outreach, influencer programs can be a big ask when it comes to getting sign-off from upper management.
These pain points have made space for new players within the growing influencer industry, such as the California-based company Buztubr, which offers a platform that allows businesses to connect with influencers (and vice versa) in tandem with Facebook's and Instagram's native advertising offerings. Buztubr's software also makes it easier for brands to determine return on investment for influencer campaigns, and adjust targeting as needed.
After developing software for companies including Facebook, Snapchat, Microsoft and P&G, engineer and marketing analyst Gunn Hoh used his expertise to co-found Buztubr and now serves as its COO. Hoh, who will be moderating several panels on influencer and programmatic marketing (along with CEO Aaron Bruce) at The Social Shake-Up May 6-8 in Atlanta, shared his insights on what he sees as missed opportunities in the influencer space:
Social Shake-Up: Buztubr’s mission is to connect brands and influencers. What's the biggest blunder brands make when researching, reaching out to and working with influencers?
Gunn Hoh: The biggest mistake we see brands come across when they engage with influencer marketing is their lack of due diligence. Most brands waste their money by throwing their campaign dollars at an influencer they believe will be able to sell their product. Influencer marketing is about the followers, not the face of the profile. We always tell brands to make sure to test the followers of an influencer to see if their consumers fall inside the brand's audience before actually engaging in endorsement deals.
SSU: At The Social Shake-Up, you’re moderating a panel on tying social media to business goals. What’s your top tip for proving ROI on social?
GH: As social media becomes the standard in digital marketing, it’s important for advertisers to remember to back up all theory-based campaigns with empirical data as well. It’s easy to get caught in theory when it comes to social media marketing but remember that all logic has to be supported by numbers.
SSU: As both a software engineer and a market analyst, you have a long-running background in technology, analytics and advertising. What skills should social marketers be cultivating in 2019 to keep up with client and C-suite expectations as they relate to trends in programmatic advertising and measurement?
GH: Be ahead of the curve and utilize the tools that these big players are providing. Facebook and Google both have amazing application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) that allow smart advertisers to take advantage of today’s technology. Marketing has embraced digital, so you have to bring along everything that comes with digital, which includes being able to programmatically execute and measure high-performing marketing campaigns.
SSU: Buztubr has been recognized and utilized by some of the biggest names in celebrity and influencer marketing including ROC Nation, Wasserman Media Group, Jackie Chan, Beyoncé and Jay-Z. What have you taken away from those experiences?
GH: Without intruding on anyone’s privacy, I can disclose that the average conversion rate with Buztubr’s audiences is nearly 10 times more effective than traditional audience targeting tools on Facebook and Instagram.
Developing and consulting software for big brands has taught me one crucial lesson: Don’t depend on the bigger guys to innovate and evolve. It always comes down to the guy who’s willing to try new ideas and put in the hours in front of a computer studying, and then executing.
Follow Buztubr on LinkedIn.