Interview: Using AI For Smarter Influencer Marketing

Interview: Using AI For Smarter Influencer Marketing
Advertising

Ryan Detert, CEO of the Watson-powered platform Influential, talks about harnessing the power of AI in influencer campaigns and social strategy

Isabella Alimonti
  • 21 february 2018

Influencers have quickly become a marketer’s best friend: They meet consumers where they are—scrolling through social—and lend an authenticity that’s hard to capture otherwise. At the same time, brands have to be careful not to overstep their audience’s tolerance for #sponsored content or form potentially damaging partnerships à la Logan Paul.

PSFK caught up with Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, a platform that uses IBM Watson to match brands with influencers. This week, to top off its matching service, the company launched a new data product that extends its insights to full marketing plans and predictive analysis. Ryan shared his perspective on the growth of influencer marketing and discussed how brands can use data and AI to build smarter social campaigns.

PSFK: How does Influential match brands to social influencers?

Ryan: We utilize demographics, contextual relevance and psychographics to match brands to social influencers. We’ve found that this three-pronged approach to matching brands and influencers yields the best results. Through the demographics, we’re able to identify factors including age, gender, geographic region, affinities and household income. Using contextual relevance, we can see if an influencer is talking about the brand or relevant proxies. Lastly, through our Developer Partnership with IBM Watson, we’re able to tap into psychographics to find out if the brand and influencer share similar personality characteristics.

Using what is called Natural Language Processing (NLP), Watson’s AI reads the last 22,000 pieces of semantic data that any influencer or brand has put out on social, and analyzes it against what is called the Big Five Personality Traits. The Big Five is an age-old theory, which posits that each person is made up of 47 different personality traits—things like extroversion, artistic interests, altruism and even hedonism. NLP is able to read what influencers post on social as well as what brands post on social, and from what each writes, it can find high-indexing traits that a brand and the influencer share.

Fashion and beauty are two obvious success stories for influencer marketing. In what other industries can we expect to see it grow?

For us, we are seeing demand in almost every vertical, since there are influencers for just about any industry that you can think of. While fashion and beauty are two of the more prominent industries for influencer marketing, at Influential, we actually see the most demand from auto makers, entertainment studios and CPG brands. Recently, we’ve even seen an increase in demand from companies that you might not expect to use influencer marketing, like financial services and insurance companies.

How should a brand go about approaching a specific audience—for example, millennials vs. Gen Z—with an influencer-driven campaign?

Through our influencer identification process, we are able to identify the perfect audience for each brand. We can analyze what makes the most sense for each brand and give them recommendations based on the data. In some cases, a brand may actually want to target a different group than their core audience and in that case, we can identify influencers who are the best match for the brand, based upon the audience that they are looking to reach.

Additionally, the specific social network can be a factor when looking to target an audience of a certain age. For example, if we are targeting millennials or Gen Z for a campaign, Instagram and Snapchat would be more highly recommended for that audience than, say, Twitter or Facebook, which typically skew older.

What are some of the biggest hurdles in building successful influencer partnerships, and what can brands do to stay ahead of the game?

Finding the right influencers is the biggest hurdle that brands face today. For influencer marketing to work, the connection needs to be authentic. In order to achieve this authenticity, brands need to look to platforms, like Influential, that help employ the right set of tools to achieve this. Aside from influencer identification, elements like campaign management, creative and post-campaign metrics are all crucial parts of a successful influencer partnership. While it is possible for brands to run their own campaigns, and many still do, it is unwise at this point to try to take this on without a partner.

Influential’s Social Intelligence dashboard.

What else can your AI and machine learning do for social campaigns?

Most recently, we’ve developed a data product called Social Intelligence™, which allows us to use the AI and machine learning from our IBM Watson partnership to predictively and prescriptively analyze a brand’s profile on social. We use this to inform the brand’s full marketing plan, including TV, digital, sponsorships and endorsements.

This is a product that grew rather organically out of the fact that we were gathering so much social data for brands. We realized that this data had implications far beyond the realm of influencer marketing campaigns and as a result, we started offering it to brands and received tremendous response, mainly because brands really need these insights. I often tell people that we’re living in a time of the largest crowdsourcing of public opinion in human history—it’s called social media—and if we can structure the data, we can predict the future.

Influential


Lead Image: Guilherme Stecanella | Unsplash

Influencers have quickly become a marketer’s best friend: They meet consumers where they are—scrolling through social—and lend an authenticity that’s hard to capture otherwise. At the same time, brands have to be careful not to overstep their audience’s tolerance for #sponsored content or form potentially damaging partnerships à la Logan Paul.

+advertising
+AI
+apparel
+artificial intelligence
+beauty
+Brand Introduction
+consumer goods
+Facebook
+Fashion
+fashion / apparel
+financial services
+gen Z
+IBM
+IBM Watson
+Influencer Marketing
+Innovation
+Interview
+Millennials
+Public
+retail
+Social Media
+Social Media
+technology
+USA
+work

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