Open Instagram and scroll, and you probably will not be able to stay more than a few seconds without seeing any one you follow to promote a brand, that it’s a celebrity, of A wannabe celebrity or a random girl with whom you went to university. famous fashion blogger.
According to the Traackr Influencer Management Platform, 72% of top brands say they devote a significant portion of their marketing budgets to influencers – people who have close relationships with an audience that may strongly influence decisions such as that buying habits. According to them, fashion bloggers and sports instructors are the next step in advertising. They make deeper connections with people than a magazine page and can therefore influence potential customers.
The space of influencers, which once consisted of semi-celebrity bloggers generating additional income, has turned into a real career. The industry has evolved significantly over the years, from the storm to the new demands of the Federal Trade Commission that influencers must now explicitly indicate when they are paid, or the increase in the number of false followers.
Joe Gagliese, one of the co-founders of Viral Nation, is an influential agency that boasts of being able to “create the most viral, the most captivating and the most focused social media influence campaigns” on the return on investment of global brands. “
Joe Gagliese是Viral Nation的联合创始人之一，是一家有影响力的机构，拥有能够“为全球品牌的投资回报创造最具传播性，最具吸引力和最具针对性的社交媒体影响力”。
Viral Nation works with influencers you probably know (like PewDiePie, one of the most followed people on YouTube) and many others you probably have not heard of. Combining them with big brands, Gagliese and its team of 50 people make millions of dollars from what you love, look and buy. A few weeks ago I grabbed breakfast with Gagliese in New York to talk about the current state of the influencer industry. This interview has been edited and condensed.
How did you start in the space of influencers?
My co-founder, Mathew Micheli, and I met at high school in Toronto and founded Viral Nation in 2012. Previously, we ran a liquidation business where we bought items from major retailers and sold them to liquidators. brand connections.
I was also a hockey player and I had a lot of friends playing in the NHL. About six years ago, one of our friends was working as an agent for an NHL player and he let me work on a few endorsement contracts for his client. I noticed that major brands like Under Armor were in the process of signing up to social media, but hockey players were getting nothing more because no one really understood the value.
We spent a week studying platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Vine, and developed an economic model. We then started working with some hockey players to reinforce their presence on social networks and get them money off their social network. Our first non-hockey client was Vine star Ray Ligaya, who is currently working for us. We signed an agreement with him and Post Cereals, and two weeks later, a customer grew to 16. In our first year, we signed about $ 500,000 in sponsorship contracts for influencers. Very soon, we signed 700.
Gagliese：我的联合创始人Mathew Micheli和我在多伦多的高中相遇并于2012年成立了Viral Nation。之前，我们经营了一家清算公司，我们从主要零售商处购买商品并将其出售给清算人。
There are tons of agencies of influence in the market. What distinguishes Viral Nation?
If we succeeded, it’s because we contacted influencers instead of focusing on the brand. We made ourselves the owners of the influencers space, while the different companies that wanted to work with brands became our sellers. Today, Viral Nation maintains relationships with 10,000 influencers and is the largest influencing agency in the industry.
Who are the clients and influencers you work with?
We work with personalities like Liza Koshy and [Lilly Singh, who goes by the online alias] IISuperwomanII, [the comedian] Bart Baker, Scotty Sire, Lewis Hilsenteger[quipassepar[whogoesby[quipassepar[whogoesby Unbox Therapy], the player SSSNIPERWOLF [whose real name is Lia Wolf], [and luxury content reviewer] Anish Bhatt.
In terms of brands, we work with hundreds of companies, such as Crayola, Anheuser-Busch, Spin Master, Match.com, Wish, Jet.com, Wrigley, Mars, Chinese technology giants Baidu and Tencent. [a Chinese company that owns the messaging app WeChat]who is our biggest customer by far.
Gagliese：YouTube头号游戏博主PewDiePie、游戏博主sssniperwolf、搞笑博主Bart Baker、Scotty Sire、奢侈品评测博主Anish Bhatt等。
What kind of money does your company earn?
Four years ago, Viral Nation spent about $ 1.2 million a year, and last year we reached $ 4.5 million. This year, the company is about to make $ 20 million in transactions.
On which platforms are influencers paid to create content most often?
It’s mainly Youtube and Instagram. Interestingly, in the last 18 months, no influencer has campaigned with us on Snapchat.
How much do influencers charge per publication?
It depends on the influencer and its number of subscribers. A micro-influencer, which has between 10,000 and 50,000 followers, is actually very useful. Before, they earned only a few hundred dollars, but today they receive a minimum of a few thousand dollars per shift.
Influencers with up to 1 million followers can get $ 10,000 [per post]Depending on the platform and the million followers you follow, you enter a territory where they can charge $ 100,000. Some may even get $ 250,000 for a post! Especially if the content is on Youtube and the influencer is in the video game industry.
How much do typical influencers earn each year?
People with smaller subscriptions [who are known as nanoinfluencers] can bring in between $ 30,000 and $ 60,000 a year. Micro-influencers can earn between $ 40,000 and $ 100,000. Celeb influencers are making their way, a lot more.
Why are these people considered so valuable?
These influencers have passed on the territory of celebrities. Their approval is as useful as working with LeBron. They have an incredibly engaged audience and have the ability to make very big numbers.
We actually think that influencers have more impact than athletes and television stars because they are more easily assimilated. So why pay a celebrity $ 50 million for a market while it can be divided in half? impact?
I do not see how you can track this financially, though. For me, the likes and points of view on social media appear as a false product impossible to quantify.
We work very carefully to extract data from our campaigns. We review opinions, tastes, engagement rates, watch times, click-through rates, comments, for example, to share with brands. And what is good is that we are able to guarantee a certain level of interaction.
Can you give me an example of how an influencer who has a high audience has proven that its impact is equivalent to its number of subscribers?
We work with this influencer, Demetrius Harmon (who called MeechOnMars). He is an African-American influencer who talks about anxiety and depression, and his engagement rate is about 30%, which is obscene. He launched a clothing line called You Matter, and all exhausted.
Demetrius Harmon，一个非裔美国人，YouTube上有45万粉丝，互动率高达30%。他的自创品牌You Matter，每一款都完美售罄。
Have you ever seen a poorly done campaign?
Uh, every day. Take watches for example because I see you are wearing a Michele watch. When influencers work with watch brands, everyone posts the same picture, which is a picture of them sitting in a cafe or somewhere, looking at their watch on their arm. In the legend, somewhere buried, you will find information about the watch.
It does absolutely nothing. All the motivation of an influencer, and what will make people click and buy, has to be creative. If you were good at work, you would talk about the watch and interact with the audience, explaining the pros and cons, the reasons you bought it, and the people you bought it for. The reality is that 80% of the content in this industry is bad, like those in watch photos, because it’s the easiest way to do it. But the remaining 20% is what works.
Is it easy to become an influencer?
It’s like winning the lottery. This is largely lucky. Think about the guy who became famous for doing the shiggy dance[etaaidélachansondeDrake[andhelpedDrake’ssong[etaaidélachansondeDrake[andhelpedDrake’ssongIn my feelingsexplode]. We were considering paying to attend a Lakers match as Wish’s ambassador. A few months ago, it did not exist! I think a lot of people want to be like him, but his fame will not happen to most people. Being an influencer requires a lot of work, it’s a full-time job, and you could work on it for four years before you get into the fight.
Are there strategies to help people become one?
You have a great chance of being an influencer if you are doing something new or trendy. Unfortunately, beauty wins. Some brands do not want to work with bigger girls. The landscape is a bit crappy in this way, especially for young girls, because the fastest growing industries of influence are beauty and fitness. But that does not mean that it is not impossible; In fact, there is a lot going on on the social side that promotes positivity movements of the body and there is an increased demand for these types of influencers.
The other thing, of course, is to have access. A couple of guys just contacted us and their thing is that they are extremely wealthy and own 20 cars that are Lamborghini, Ferraris and McLarens. Everyone wants to be an influencer of luxury cars, but these guys already have access, so I know they’re going to kill him on YouTube.
So you have more chances to succeed if you are privileged?
Very often, yes, what kind of nonsense about this industry now, that’s what it’s all about.
Let’s use it as a case study. I am a brunette Jewish journalist and a new mom who loves hiking and fashion. How much would it cost to become a profitable influencer? Would I need a tummy tuck or a new glamorous wardrobe?
I would focus on your personality, not your life, because you look good and people relate to it. You could start blogging about your baby or fashion, but I think people will love you more for you. From there, I would say that for $ 250,000, we could help you become an influencer. We would devote this time to content creation and collaborations. This would allow you to expose yourself to a point where brands will want to support you. But just to be clear, we do not do it. We only work with influencers who are already at this level.
What are the negative aspects of being an influencer?
We saw faithful followers attacking people very quickly. Say something racist and you can count on your career immediately. I guess it talks about the power of the platform, in that you can be built very quickly, but you can lose everything very easily, because in fact many of these relationships are [just] digital.
In your opinion, is there anything that brands are not doing well in this space?
I think a lot of brands want young influencers, who have a Millennial and Generation Z audience. In reality, an average age audience is also a valuable demographic group because it is responsive on social media. Women in their forties are actually inclined to spend the most money. We work with Gerry Brooks, one of the influencers, who is a school director and Facebook personality with nearly a million “likes”; 90% of his followers are women who work as teachers and are 35 years old and over. It’s a unique and lucrative audience.
Do you find it more difficult to trust Facebook, knowing that they have been accused of lying on the numbers in the old days?
No. Facebook and Google have built my life, and I think there are so many things in this space that it’s easy to get lost. Maybe someone inside the organization has had too much freedom, but I do not think the organization would ever tolerate such a thing. I guess I trust those guys too much. I see a lot of what they do for the creators and I think they do a lot to help businesses.
Have you ever had a problem with influencers who buy followers?
Never. We are looking for red flags, for example if someone’s comments are all emojis but not real words, or if the data on the views show that they all come from Bangladesh or the Philippines. We know this space very well, but I think many marketers do not know it. So I would say it’s a problem in the industry. We take it really seriously, though; In our contracts, influencers can not buy members, and if they do, they may be sued by brands.
Since this is your career, and I imagine it occupies most of your life, do you feel like living in a fictitious world?
Totally. This can sometimes seem terrible because nothing seems tangible. But what I do to take care of myself, is limit social media. I am not on Facebook.
But do not you think it’s ironic that the guy who passes between millions of brands and digital celebrities limits the media he encourages?
Well, I love this sector and I really like working in a sector full of entrepreneurs. I just prefer to separate my personal life with social media.
What do you think of the next wave of influencers who are not even real people? Like, these digital avatars, Lil Miquela or Shudu, landing campaigns?
I think it’s crazy and, frankly, wrong. It’s not normal for kids to watch and interact with something that does not exist, it’s just a puppet hung by a guy. I think that’s part of the technology that could make kids crazy. I think that many influencers do incredible things and you can say that the public likes them. But once you start working in the fake influencers, it becomes a little scary.