Unity Influence raises $1m for small-business influencer marketing

Unity Influence raises $1m for small-business influencer marketing

While much of the buzz around influencer marketing focuses on the big consumer brands who are shifting budget into it, US startup Unity Influence sees potential further down the business ladder.

The company has raised $1m to continue developing its platform to connect small businesses with micro-influencers, and is launching out of private beta this week.

Unity will charge as little as $200 per campaign, while doing the hard work of identifying influencers with the right followings to match the desired customer base of each client.

"For us, our focus is on what we call micro-influencers," co-founder Steve Ip told TechCrunch. "If you get a big influencer their engagement rate is 2% to 3%. With micro-influencers it’s 6% and for our power users it’s 10% to 12%."

Unity is also promising transparency for influencers who sign up to push its campaigns.

"We pay out 90% of your fee when content is submitted, when you post we send you ad budget, and when you send analytics for paid ads, we pay the remaining 10% of your fee," explains a FAQ on its website. "We collect money from brands at the beginning of the campaign process and guarantee payment as long as campaign guidelines are met."

"We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible for the influencer market as SMBs [small and medium businesses] represent a massive portion of US businesses," Ip told Mobile Marketing Watch. "By giving these companies access to influencer marketing, we unlock millions of dollars of untapped ad spend."

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Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)