Influencer marketing, while having matured beyond a passing trend, still has many doubters with regards to its reliability, accountability and sustainability. All of that however is about to change with the advent of Humanz, a young start-up which claims to have developed the most sophisticated social data platform in the world – specifically designed to make influencer marketing as accessible, reliable and trustworthy as programmatic media channels.
The Humanz platform is officially launching in South Africa this month with two respected professionals and influencers in their own rights, Graeme Smith and Pearl Thusi as local partners.
“The marketers and agencies we were speaking to were clearly frustrated with the few solutions available locally. They weren’t good enough and were stopping them from investing further in influencer marketing. We discovered Humanz and realized it was going to change things not only in South Africa but throughout the world.”says Smith.
Influencer marketing is the fastest growing marketing practice and media channel worldwide, expected to become a $10bn market by next year. 80% of marketers worldwide say that they plan to grow their influencer marketing spend in 2019, currently sitting on average somewhere between 4,3% and 7,6% (eMarketer, July 2018).
However, nearly all marketers and agencies face the same challenges when it comes to accurately reporting and tracking ROI: widespread fraud and the need for manual, extremely time-consuming work to deal with these issues.
“Celebrities and content creators are often approached by brands and agencies to participate in marketing campaigns, but they are typically full of logistical challenges, some of which I have experienced first-hand. Our plan with Humanz is to make the process simple, seamless and transparent, while offering valuable insights throughout to both marketers and influencers.”, adds Thusi.
Some of these insights can be found in the recently released “Influencer marketing benchmarks for South Africa” report, available via the Humanz website. Two interesting nuggets: 1) the average influencer account has between 20% and 27% suspicious followers, considered of little to no value to marketers; 2) only 1 in 2 followers in SA is likely to turn into an actual impression, creating a significant gap between followers amount and actual reach.
Unlike other platforms, Humanz analyses not only influencer profiles but all of their followers too, using natural language processing and image recognition paired with artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning, to understand variables such as gender, age, interest, activity and previous mentions of specific brands; a significant technological step-forward from the manual processes followed by most agencies and platforms. This also enables advanced media planning metrics, such as unduplicated audiences, expected impressions and AVE benchmarking, which cannot be provided accurately without an in-depth analysis of each follower.
“Most South African influencer campaigns have used celebrities or social stars, due to the difficulties and time-consuming nature of manually identifying, verifying and working with smaller influencers. However, engagement rates are, on average, inversely proportional to audience size on both Instagram and Twitter. Smaller influencers are also considered more trust-worthy and hence more likely to ‘influence’” says Pierre Cassuto, who carries the dual role of CMO for Humanz globally and CEO for its African operations.
“For agencies, Humanz represents an easy way to launch and generate revenues from a new practice, or scale up without significant costs. For brands, it allows them to safely and efficiently bring influencer marketing in-house, with options ranging from free plans to full enterprise solutions.”, he adds.
Humanz is officially launching in South Africa on 1 March, after successfully carrying out pilot projects with some of the largest agencies, brands and influencers locally. A free trial of the platform is available on their website, along with information on their partner programs for agencies and content creators.