Influencer marketing is still a wild west and a lot of businesses are still trying to make sense of it.
There's hundreds of thousands of YouTube and Twitch channels, as well as influencers of varying sizes on every single social platform - Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, you name it.
It can sometimes be impossible for companies to sift through and find influencers who's work will suit their particular product or service.
CloutBoost is a company working to make some sense of the space and provide companies with the best kind of insight to this new wave of marketing.
We caught up with Polina Haryacha, co-founder of influencer marketing agency CloutBoost, to chat about how this type of promotion requires a more refined approach, and how agencies like CloutBoost can utilise both data and personal insight to create the best experience for brands.
What is Cloutboost, and what services do you offer?
Cloutboost is an influencer marketing agency that focuses exclusively on gaming video content. More specifically, we promote brands by leveraging the power of YouTube Influencers & Twitch Streamers. There are a couple of things that set us apart from other agencies.
We’re a data-driven agency. We use data mining techniques to sift through millions of channels and videos in real time, providing our clients with information advantage over competition.
This helps us predict and optimize campaigns performance and bring radical transparency to the influencer market. The influencer’s content relevance to the brand, its historical performance and the channel’s fraud risk are just some of the factors we use in our predictions.
For us, a more holistic and integrated approach is key. We combine video game expertise, influencer marketing experience, top-notch PR skills, and spot on marketing analytics insights to give our clients the best possible results.
Everyone knows that campaign execution is lengthy and complex. It’s also largely dependent on the quality of relationships built around it. That’s why our customer success managers are incentivized to maximize campaign performance and grow long-term partnerships with both brands and influencers.
Why is Cloutboost focusing on the YouTube space?
Our focus is moreso on the Gaming Video Content (GVC) new media platform, which does include YouTube gaming content.
The outdated stigma around the stereotypical 'gamer' is long gone.
The first reason is audience reach, and there’s a lot of research around this. Take Super Data research, for example. They recently found that more people watch gaming-related Let’s Plays than Netflix, HBO, ESPN, and HULU combined. That’s mind-blowing! Not to mention the 666+ million viewers hooked on the content.
Then there’s audience quality. Today, gaming is prevalent in pop culture. Here’s another interesting fact from Super Data: the average annual income of current viewer base is $58K, and 46 per cent of those viewers are female.
The outdated stigma around the stereotypical 'gamer' is long gone, and these results prove that there are high-spending consumers with strong female representation.
And of course, influence. Influencer reach goes far beyond the gaming scope, trickling into consumer electronics, media and entertainment, and even food and beverage categories.
Our clients stem from a variety of industries including gaming, consumer electronics, optimization software, entertainment, cryptocurrency. We love that.
What excites you about the influencer marketing space?
The opportunity to be on set of the fundamental shift in trust is fascinating. Trust in all major institutions - government, the media, and business - is at an all-time low.
The media just suffered the biggest blow, now distrusted in 82 percent of all countries. And here we are making a difference, impacting the way the industry adapts and shapes itself.
According to the recently published book “Who Can You Trust?: How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart” by Rachel Botsman, “we are experiencing one of the biggest trust shifts in history: from the monolithic to the individualized and influence now lie more with ‘the people’ - families, friends, classmates, colleagues, even strangers - than with top-down elites, experts and authorities. It’s an age where individuals matter more than institutions and where customers are social influencers that define brands.”
Influencer marketing is mirroring a socioeconomic change in the brand marketing space, making it so effective.
Influencer marketing is mirroring this socioeconomic change in the brand marketing space, making it so effective. While brands are throwing money around at influencers, influencers are struggling to balance their impulse to make money with maintaining an authentic connection with their followers.
There’s a fine line. Helping our clients navigate the space and make good decisions while leveraging our expertise is very exciting.
How do you think entertainment industry has changed with the rise of influencers?
Collaborating with influencers allowed entertainment industry to connect with the younger audience in a more personable, interactive and significant way.
Also, social media influencers play an essential role in users being able to adapt to the new technology in entertainment. With the rise and advancement of social media, streaming , wearables, VR/AR etc.
Entertainment has become the fabric of our everyday lives. The digital influencers are innovators and early adopters, and by being so approachable and interactive, they become a voice of this transformation.
Can influencers, specifically gaming influencers, exist in the same realm as traditional celebs?
Definitely. I look at it through the lens of product cycle stages and different target audiences. Influencers are great at attracting what we call “Early Adopters” and “Early Majority.” Traditional celebrities have a stronger influence among “Late Adopters.”
Let’s also not forget that social media influencers gain their insane popularity among the younger audience, those between 13 and 34 years of age. Older age groups are still very responsive to traditional press and celebrities, while according to ESA latest research, 43 per cent of gamers are older than 35.
And while the initial scepticism about social influencer is declining, we’re bound to see more and more integration between the two.
Why do you think it’s important for advertisers and companies to make the most of social influencers as opposed to more traditional celebrities and PR methods?
I really don’t think there should be an opposition, but rather a well-thought, strategic planning and integration according to particular brand’s goals and target audience breakdown.
Is there a particular influencer campaign you can share that had some great results?
Yes, our campaign with Sony Pictures Entertainment. We helped them with release of their zombie film sequel based on the worldwide video game phenomenon - Dead Rising 4.
Using our technology, we identified the most relevant and effective Youtube Gamer for the movie announcement - CoryxKenshin. He was huge on horror games, publishing highly-engaging content that reached more than half of his followers on a consistent basis. His reach was 2 million users!
Because Cory was also a lifelong fan of the Dead Rising game series, our relationship grew even more. There was something real and genuine there. When it came to content creation, we incorporated actual movie scenes into the gameplay, making everything so much more interesting.
Cory announced the movie release date, ran a special giveaway, and personally addressed the usual skepticism toward the game-based movies in his funny and authentic way.
The video attracted 1.2M views, more than 50K likes and 15,000 comments with highly positive sentiments. It’s been more than a year since the campaign launch, and we still see users actively commenting and inquiring about the video. It’s great!
What has Cloutboost got planned for the next year?
A lot! We’re focusing on advancing our technology to the next level, in order to improve targeting, campaign results prediction and fraud identification.
We’re also planning on providing our clients with more direct access to those data insights, which will give them further flexibility. Finally, we’re expanding to new social media platforms, including Instagram. Keep an eye out!