The Changes You Need To Understand About Paid Media


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How Brands Can Monetize Influencer Content  

Leveraging influencer content is a popular topic amongst marketers in the marketing strategy community. As we all know, influencers are proficient in creating compelling content for your brand, but did you know you can utilize their platform and double down on their content to drive higher conversion rates? 

Rishabh Jain, CEO of Fermat Commerce, sat down with our CEO Stacy Jones to talk all about how brands can effectively and successfully monetize influencer content. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses how brands should utilize influencers and content creators to better leverage their spend through paid media.

EP323 The Changes You Need To Understand About Paid Media

A Little More About Rishabh

Rishabh is the co-founder and CEO of Fermat Commerce, a distributed commerce platform created to allow creators to embed brand-direct shopping experiences, directly from their own sites. Prior to this start-up, Rishabh was responsible for successfully launching 3 new businesses within LiveRamp. He has also co-founded two other startups in solar energy and laboratory data sharing. Rishabh and his team at Fermatare are working to put the power back into the hands of brands and content creators in terms of monetizing content.

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Interview Transcript Highlights

Question: I love the fact that you are working to find a better way for influencers and brands to work together. What got you here today to have decided this was your passion?

Answer: I think what really, really drove my interest in building this business was roughly two years ago, Apple made their initial announcement, saying, "hey, we're going to change the way that we're going to do privacy for consumers on the consumer Internet." I used to work at this company called Live Ramp, and while sitting there, we had a very clear understanding of what this meant for e-commerce and for media companies. So, when I saw this change, my initial gut feeling was that this is going to be really tough for e-commerce friends, and my gut reaction was somebody has to build new tooling that allows for direct commerce to happen in a way in which is not impacted by these changes by the big platforms. Because otherwise, the world we will live in five years from now is one where everybody buys everything from Instagram and Amazon, and medium-growing merchants and independent content creators have no good way to monetize directly. So, it's like this is a future that I don't want to live in, and hopefully, there are other people who don't want to live in that future. And so I'm just going to help build tools that make it possible for people to have an alternative outside of just, "hey, everything happens to the large platforms." And that's really what drove the sort of founding of this business.

Question: How can brands better be working with influencers to get to that end result that they're looking for?

Answer: There are a few ways, I think, that are underutilized. The number one thing that people don't utilize effectively, I think, is influencer whitelisting, and not only like sort of simple whitelisting, but thinking about, "how do I construct audiences based on the influencer's audience?"
The reason why this is underappreciated is because Apple's changes have actually made it such that whitelisted influencer audiences and content will perform better than the brand's own customer data. It's a sort of non-obvious consequence of Apple's privacy change The sort of underlying reason is if I, as a consumer, purchase something after seeing an ad on the brand's website, that is data that's owned by the brand and therefore gets cut off with Apple's, new privacy change. If I'm a follower of an influencer, that follow happens on the platform. So it happens on Instagram. It happens on Tiktok. It happens on a platform; that data is owned by the platform. And so, Apple's privacy policy does not apply. Meaning that you have perfect one hundred percent attributable audience by whitelisting the influencer's audience.

Okay, so what does this mean in terms of how do you strategically implement it? What it means is today, every brand runs their standard ad campaign. I'm gonna run my ad, I'm gonna put the Facebook pixel in my page, and then I'm gonna run a look-alike against the people who buy—actually, that has gotten way worse over the last six months, and it's highly volatile in terms of the CAx that brands are seeing. If I instead invest in working with influencers, I whitelist their content, and I whitelist their audience; I spend against their audience because their audience has trust in them, and then I do a look-alike of their audience. It's stable and scalable because it is not subject to Apple's privacy policy. So all of a sudden, not only can you actually get better ROI for your ads then, but you can also make it more stable relative to what you have been doing with your own audience. I think more and more people are going to get turned on to this, and I think it's because of an explosion in brand influencer campaigns...this is just a strategy that people should be implementing. If they're not implementing, there's like free ROI to be getting by doing this.

Question: You're a paid ad specialist and have so much knowledge there. From your experience, when you're looking at that initial content generation versus the post, what is the difference in CPM costs that you're looking at from boosting content you've already had versus influencer-made content?

Answer: So, generally speaking, I think that the strategy that works best for most brands is influencers and content creators—like you talked about earlier—they're actually very good at making compelling content. Right? Some of them you may feel work better for your brand, for whatever reason. Some of them work not as well for your brand, for whatever reason. I think that you should definitely work with a reasonably sized set of influencers and do the organic push, but I think that once you do the organic push, doubling down on like four or five who are doing who seem like they're doing the best. I wouldn't be too mathematical about it, either, because actually, it's not always obvious that the correlation is like one-to-one. But I would select some set of those to meaningfully put spend against and drive against this audience of the like strategy. The people who do it best definitely do both; they definitely spend on a pretty large set of influencers, and then they definitely also increase spend where they think that there is going to be a good outcome in terms of putting paid media behind it, and it is loosely but not firmly attached to like 'how did it work when they were doing it organically?' 

Question: What should brands be keeping in mind as they're using paid media?

Answer: I think another sort of thing that is not obvious at face value is when you're working with an influencer who has their own website as well, there's this strategy of driving people from the influencer's content on a platform to their website, and then creating the transaction on their website. And this actually is very common with traditional media. A lot of brands will basically put spend against an article that was written by, let's just call it, some sort of listicle like 'five best chairs,' or whatever. So when you do this loop, there's a post on the platform that gets redirected to an article. It goes into more detail in the article, and then you purchase. Even though it's more clicks, it actually creates a higher conversion rate. Another sort of nuance to think about is if this content creator or influencer is somebody who happens to also have their own website, and they actually do a really good job of articulating the reasons why they love this product in a sort of a combo of written word and video, the conversion rates can be incredibly high.

Question: What else do you think brands need to know about to avoid colossal mistakes within this industry?

Answer: I think that the one thing we haven't talked about much is just sort of like trusting the ways of doing business in the past of just like, 'I'm just going to sort of blindly put spend like into Facebook, and then just let it ride and see what happens.' The more CMOs I talk to you, they're becoming more and more data savvy and more and more in the weeds on the specific strategies that they're deploying in order to stay on top of what's happening. I think the biggest mistake to avoid is—I wouldn't do like a 'hey, just put budget and then set it and forget it.' I would really think a lot about how I make sure I understand what is driving the acquisitions and how I make sure that I can actually scale up that channel. 

Check Out The Podcast!

Rishabh has so much great information from his experience in paid ad sales. Check out the podcast below to learn more about digital marketing, influencer whitelisting, and the importance of data when it comes to paid media. 

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