In this episode, Stacy sits down with Brett Garfinkel, the co-founder and CEO of measurement firm Sylo. The two attempt to understand the current state of influencer marketing while discussing the misconceptions of bots and the role they play in the realm of digital marketing.

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Transcripts:

Stacy: 00:00         

  • Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of Influencer Marketing in Branded Content Agency in Hollywood Branded.

Stacy: 00:07          

  • This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge, on topics that make a direct impact on your business today.

Stacy: 00:16            

  • While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money. Whether you’re doing DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s pick in today’s discussion.

Announcer: 00:31           

  • Welcome to Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.

Stacy: 00:35   

  • Welcome to Market Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today and want to give a very warm welcome to Brett Garfinkle, who’s the co-founder and CEO of the measurement firm Sylo, a third party analytic source for social marketing. Who’s joining us to discuss his over 25 years of experience in working in digital and influencer marketing.

Stacy: 00:53         

  • Brett is a media sales and strategy executive with extensive experience in driving revenue in both established and start-up organizations. He helped to pioneer the brand integration revenue model within the digital videos phase, has spent most of the last 5 years concentrating on social media video and influencer marketing and quite a bit of time working on establishing a third party standardized measurement source for influencers.

Stacy: 01:14       

  • Today, we’re going to talk to understanding the current state of influencer marketing, the misconception of bots and the role they play in the realm of digital marketing and fraud, and we’re going to learn what’s worked, from Brett’s experience, but maybe could be avoided if you’re doing this yourself and where other brands are missing the mark.

Stacy: 01:28           

  • Brett, welcome.

Brett: 01:29  

  • How are you Stacy? Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the time.

Stacy: 01:34      

  • I’m super excited to have you here today, Brett. You and I were talking a little bit before this podcast and you have, already I know, a ton of valuable advice to give to all of our listeners today. I have no doubt.

Brett: 01:47     

  • I look forward to it.

Stacy: 01:48               

  • Good. You’ve been actively monetizing brand partnerships for a variety of digital platforms for branded entertainment and integration these last several years. Can you share a little bit more about your background, where you’re at and what got you to what you’re doing today?

Brett: 02:02          

  • Sure. Well, to keep it simple, I’m a media sales executive. I’ve been doing it for close to 25 years now. I started as an analyst in television, but I spent most of my early years in print, back when people were reading magazines a lot.

Brett: 02:19        

  • I moved around 2004 into live streaming content of video content. That’s odd to say it because it’s so active now, but yes. In 2004 when broadband maybe had about 13 million people. I was part of a group called ManiaTV NetworkS. It was live streaming video content and we were the first to integrate brands into original digital video content that was live.

Brett: 02:50         

  • We ended up working with almost every brand and celebrities had shows and it gave way to company’s like My Damn Channel and GripeTV. Then a lot of the other video companies followed this, then eventually YouTube. Everything then moved into the YouTube environment which was what we called the MCN’s. Multi-Channel Networks.

Brett: 03:16     

  • It’s funny, because today when we think of influencer marketing, we talk about Instagram so much, and yet we forget that it was only about three years ago, that 90% of the video views across all the different social platforms, were taking place on one platform and that was YouTube. That’s where the macro influencer really came to light.

Brett: 03:37               

  • We saw billboards in New York and LA of all these YouTube creators and they had fantastic talent. They were covering areas like beauty, gaming, music and comedy, then, it started to shift to the other platforms.

Brett: 03:52  

  • Now, Instagram just took over with the growth of the micro influencer and celebrity influencers as well. Now moving into nano influencers. People who have 1 to 5000 followers. It’s spread into Facebook as well, a little bit and Twitter too. We’re seeing other platforms that are growing and I don’t think it will be limited to just the Big Four right now.

Brett: 04:24               

  • I’ve experienced a growth working with brands as they integrate into all these different forms of media. What happened was, I was doing the content deals. I was representing the brand and the creator and merging them together, but we realized for the first time in my career, that there was no third party measurement or verification in influencer marketing.

Brett: 04:49               

  • Unlike TV, who has Nielson and magazines, back in my day, we had ABC statements, MRI and then you moved into digital video we’re Comscore measuring website traffic. Most recently, which we need to emulate, was what happened with the programmatic video buying, which was a moat. Companies like double verify, integral add sciences. So, here we are with the influencer marketing. It starts off, experimental and then next thing it blows up really fast across platform and everyone’s head is spinning.

Brett: 05:29               

  • People are overwhelmed, they don’t know who they should be working with. They don’t know if the performance is working or not. Everyone is, the dynamic is self reporting. You pay me to do an execution, and I tell you how well it did. You realize how ridiculous that sounds. But that’s what the industry is up to this point. My career has gone through a lot of stages and this was a little shift for me to put more of an emphasis on the data side.

Brett: 06:01    

  • It fascinated me and we started this about over three years ago. Where we are today is going to shake up the entire industry for all the participants. When I say participants, it’s important for everyone to know the players in this influencer marketing world are the brand marketers, the creators, the talon managers representing the creators then the vendors who are selling the third, first party vendors who are selling these packages together. That leads me to where we are today.

Stacy: 06:40    

  • Very good. You’ve managed to found a business that very specifically is going to help measure and provide all of those analytics for Sylo.

Brett:  06:48               

  • Yeah. Well, you have to look, when you look at an industry, you have to understand what are the problems that we’re facing right now. And the key problems are, there’s Ad fraud taking place, there’s a lack of data transparency, there’s issues with compliance and privacy. There’s self reporting as I recently mentioned. There needs to be someone to solve this and that’s what Sylo was built to do, but it has to be done the right way. You could look at each area and we could dive in if you like, but the hot topic right now is this focus on bots. You’ve heard of this, right?

Stacy: 07:26     

  • I absolutely have.I’d love for you to explain them too a little bit more to our listeners.

Brett: 07:32     

  • Sure. To everyone out there, I’m begging you to pay attention to this one part more specifically than anything else. It’s a misconception. It was a distraction to what people should have been focusing on. Bots exists. We understand this, but everyone has bots, okay? There was … The common misconception. It’s not an exact signs it’s acutely inaccurate, okay? They’re omnipresent. You can’t automate blocking on following on bots. Okay? Bots will follow in the account without being purchased or gain through inorganic means. As I mentioned, everyone has it. It’s just unavoidable. The reality is they’re empty unsubstantial metrics. Let me give you a great example.

Brett: 08:22     

  • Let’s play a game really quickly, Stacey. Let’s imagine where your beauty products. You can be L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, whoever may be Unilever, and you’re looking to work with a social media influencer on Instagram, right? You’ve narrowed it down to two. They have the same type of content. You like them both, but you can only pay one of them. Let’s say that they both have 10 followers. Just play along. Keep it simple. They both have 10 followers. What if someone comes out and says, I can tell you for a fact that person number A, 50% of their followers are bots. So five out of the 10 are fake. Okay?

Stacy: 09:11      

  • All right?

Brett: 09:12    

  • Person B out of the 10, 20% are fake. So two out of 10 for person B are fake. Five out of the 10 per person A, two out of the 10 per person B. Who do you think you are going to give your money to based off to that data?

Stacy: 09:30

  • Just your go too would be to go with someone who seems to have less fake followers.

Brett: 09:35               

  • Exactly. Person B would get the business based on what everyone is speaking about today and companies are trying to say, I can tell you what the bot percentages of these people. Let me give you one more bit of insight. What if I told you person A, the five were real. Remember 50% of fake on this person, but the five who’re real, are highly active. Every time this person talks about beauty, they are fully engaged. Whether it’s a branded post or not. Okay, well, person B, where 20%, two of the 10 are fake. The 8 who are real, only two are really active, engaged when this person is covering a beauty contest.

Stacy: 10:18   

  • Right.

Brett: 10:18       

  • The other 6 came on because this person didn’t give away what we call a Luke. And, they wanted to win whatever was theirs followed the person to have that opportunity to get that prize, if you will. But, really aren’t fully engaged. Who now is the more effective buyer for you? Is it person A, who had more bots or person B, who had less but doesn’t have as many active engagement?

Stacy: 10:49               

  • Sure. You’d want to go with the one first person a wide [crosstalk 00:10:53] engagement.

Brett: 10:53        

  • Exactly. Really, what you’re buying is effective engagement, effective reach. That is going to be the currency for influencer marketing moving forward. Right now we’re just distracted by this whole bot percentage and people are trying to take a shortcut to solve it. You might read about these vendors to our first party reporting, trying to create fraud detection and brands who would say, I want to be able to push a button and see who has fraud. You can’t do that, it’s inaccurate. It’s not realistic. What is realistic is understanding abnormalities. Understanding actually the relationship between the creator and its audience, the audience growth, the growth of engagements.

Brett: 11:45               

  • To know that there is typically a natural pattern with an Instagram that takes place in a 24 hour span of time from when the post is first placed. The abnormalities will then direct to actually understanding if fraud is taking place or not. Or, to some degree where there may be fraud. It’s very difficult to pinpoint and know exactly what type of frog is ticking. But you could see when things are just out of order and unnatural and that’s where the detection goes. It’s fraud detection and it’s all about Bot percentage and things of that nature. The industry is going to learn this and grow to look at the right type of data. That’s really where we’re heading this, it’s about education.

Brett: 12:40               

  • What I would take to any creator is about the effective reach and the effective engagement. Think of your audience that way. Connect with them that way. We don’t even tell people not to use loops. We understand the giveaways. But, people were doing it with every other posts, who are abusive with it, if you will. It’s just creating like an EKG that gives up and goes down. Firm actually portrayal of your audience and your relationship. I can’t tell you how many times creators come to me and the first question is, how do I grow my followers? See there’s a belief that the more followers you have, the more money you’ll make. That’s part to blame of the brands because people were ignorant believing that every single follower was actually engaging with this person’s content. Planning reality it can be anywhere from 10 to 20% of that number is actually highly engaged.

Stacy: 13:40      

  • How do you suggest pricing then? There’s the issue with CPM based, right? CPM doesn’t exactly what we do with influencer marketing.

Brett: 13:48  

  • No, no.

Stacy: 13:49            

  • It’s the best way that many has sound to at least be able to say, okay, apples to apples, oranges to oranges, even though there’s really no comparison because you have a whole basket of fruit. With that, if you’re saying the bots don’t matter, right, to disregard and that you really should be looking at engagement. How many likes you have, how many shares you have, how many comments you have to that really core audience. Going back to your earlier example, those five people who are super engaged, that influencers obviously more liable to the brand versus the two followers who are highly engaged. But how do you systemize it enough so that you can come up with metrics that make sense when actually trying to put dollars to this and saying, okay, this is what is worthwhile to spend on an influencer.

Brett: 14:46       

  • Sure. Well, first of all, that’s the importance of having third party measurement. You need one standardized measurement source. Think about it on television. If you were a coca cola on you’re advertising on CBS and NBC and Fox, and they all say we have the best analytics, but they’re delivering different analytics from each other. What they’re emphasizing, and over analyzing would just confuse you. You don’t have benchmarks. Benchmarks have to be complex, okay?

Brett: 15:14               

  • It’s very important to understand the use of third party measurement to deliver all the means to monitor and analyze, to help them not just the importance, there’s content, but also to understand a branded content benchmarks and content category benchmarks. Understanding the average performance when someone talks about any subject. Think of yourself. Think of anyone who’s listening right now. In the course of the year, think of your group of friends and imagine that’s like your followers. Over that course of the year, you’re covering a lot of different subject matter.

Brett: 15:48         

  • You might talk about travel, fitness, fashion, beauty, relationships, family. You don’t have the same influence on every subject matter. Use other mediums. When the Oprah Winfrey invited Dr Oz and Dr Phil on her show, people did not think Oprah Winfrey. They did not associate her with health and wellness. But, now she went into that topic. If the Nielsen ratings went down, we would not be talking of that Dr Oz and Dr Phil now. But they were not, which led advertisers to say, wow, this all the answers interesting as subject matter.

Brett: 16:25          

  • If I’m a brand trying to target that type of audience, I should be advertising here. And the producers said, well, these are all the answers engaging with this type of topic. Here’s a value here, let’s give them their own show. That all came from the Nielsen Ratings and understanding that’s third party independent source measurement. The way we’re going to, you don’t have ROI established immediately. Anyone who tells you I could give you an ROI they’re just misleading.

Brett: 16:52     

  • It’s a bias term right now to make someone think that they bring immediate value. The value right now is performance. You have to get one thing right and what people are going to be paying for first and foremost is understanding the verified debt. You have to receive the right data. Reach and impressions. I’ll just that as an example. Right now, the people who are reporting reach and impressions, that’s a common data point. When did you say when you do a campaign, that’s right.

Stacy: 17:26     

  • A 100% yes.

Brett: 17:26    

  • Right. Let me just tell everyone in the world listening here, you cannot see the verified reach or impression data unless that creator has consent authenticated in. And they are signed up for impressions as a business account through Facebook. You will not see that. So anyone who’s reporting that is making it up. We actually saw one of the more popular first party vendors, I’ll leave their name out of it, but, they reported to a brand over, I think it was 600% of the accurate actual impression count that we pulled directly from the private authenticated APR.

Brett: 18:11               

  • What’s going to happen in terms of pricing, it’s all going to start with first gathering the right data. From that point you’re going to have the industry standards of what people are delivering in terms of effective reach, effective engagement, then the value like the CPM is going to be associated to that number, not by the follower account. It doesn’t happen overnight. Right now brands are negotiating the contract separately. Brand once said to us, there were five things taking place in their office. Number one source.

Brett: 18:50          

  • Tell me who I should work with. Number two, contracting with those creators. Number three, executing the actual post. Then there’s four and five, tracking and measuring. Whoever does one, two, three cannot be doing number four and five. Do we agree on that? If you are telling me who I should work with, if you are contracting with them, if you are doing the execution, you have a horse in the race. You can’t be the one then measuring, you can’t be grading your own homework.

Brett: 19:23               

  • That’s why you and I starting a restaurant, cooking the food, serving the meal and then writing our own Yelp reviews. You can’t have that. What’s happening is, the people who are pricing everything right now are doing the one, two, three and that’s fine. That’s going to maintain itself however they’re doing it right now. But what’s going to happen is the tracking and performance gathering and measuring that’s going to be attributed to that pricing is going to be different than what they’re self reporting. It’s going to be actual. It’s going to create more trust and confidence in the space.

Brett: 20:02               

  • When there’s more trust and confidence, you know what happens? More money comes into the space. This is beneficial to all the players who are involved, the brand marketers, the creators, the talent managers, even the vendors. You want third party measurement because it brings accountability, it brings confidence and definitely better efficiencies. When people start realizing what’s working and what’s not working, you won’t have as many run offs.

Brett: 20:29   

  • If you talked to a lot of creators, they’ll tell you, yeah, I got paid by brand this one time and that was it. What they want, they should want, is to become investors. You work with a brand, but if you deliver, you want to work with them again. Maybe get paid a little bit more and so on and so forth and work for a larger contract. Well, the only way the brand is going feel confident doing that is if they had verified data from an independent source that is showing the effectiveness of this collaboration. And that’s what we do.

Stacy: 21:02       

  • Okay. And it’s hard. It’s definitely hard for those agencies that are out there and the brands that are out there without an analytics tool. What you’re faced with is you’re looking at that influencers overall reach. You’re looking at how many people actually chimed in and shared, commented or liked. You’re pretty much stalled out there because you’re not able to see the numbers that are going beyond that and seeing where those further shares are actually extending into and understanding the metrics of that and what you’re left with is only able to judge a campaign based on, okay, is there traffic that went to my website. Which is a horrible way to judge a campaign.

Brett: 21:41              

  • Right.

Stacy: 21:41          

  • Are there sales that actually results from this immediate pull, the trigger influenced, posted about gummy treats for their hair and products flew off the shelves, which is every brand’s dream, but not the reality of how influencer marketing works as well.

Brett: 22:02               

  • Exactly. Yeah.

Stacy: 22:02        

  • What you’re saying is, you really are just trying to come up with a solid metric that’s utilizing sources that people don’t have the ability to get no matter how much digging they do in order to at least be able to evaluate the true measurement of how many people were exposed to your content and reacted to it.

Brett: 22:23    

  •   Yeah, you don’t…Let’s look it as the players who are involved. You or your brand marketer, if there’s anyone listening here who’s a brand marketer, there’re typically three things you want to accomplish when you’re paying an influencer. And by the way, if they want an influencer and listening, this is beneficial than male as well. A brand marketer, three things. Number one, I want to know that the person I’m doing business with, that there was not fraud. There’s no Ad fraud taking place. And for everyone out there is, maybe if you read articles about it, it just happened here in New York City.

Brett:  22:57 

  • That the attorney general labeled it illegal to be purchasing engagements and things of that nature. They found it especially troubling because the high visibility of influencers today and how their opinions can translate into changes in viewers opinions and spending habits and things like that. There’s fraud taking place. You’re a brand marketer, you want to make sure that you’re being protected from that. Number two, you just want verified accurate measurement data straight forward.

Brett: 23:33  

  • The right impression number whenever I am evaluating as a KPI key performance index, what is most important to my marketing team or my clients, my brand, I want to get that verified directly from the private EPR. I don’t want someone who’s taking it, scraping it, creating their own little process or things that they’re just making up. Okay? Then last, I just want intelligence on how to do it better. Just like anything in life. If you gather, you go on a date one time, your first date ever, you don’t know what you’re like, you just [inaudible 00:24:08]. But you go on 300 days, you start getting a better idea of what you’re filtering down to, what really matters to you, what’s important.

Brett:  24:17      

  • You look at anything once, it’s hard to build the strategy off that day. It could’ve been timing, it could’ve been luck. But if I look at any outcome 50 times, a hundred times, a thousand times, a million times, I’m going to see patterns of recognition. I’m going to understand things are working and things that are not working, and it will help me do my job better. Those are the three areas protect me from fraud, give me accurate performance metrics from a third party, not from the person I am paying that is so important here.

Brett: 24:50    

  • I don’t care who you are, how great your analytics might be in your mind. If I am paying you to do something, you can’t tell me how well you did it. I need an independent source to do that. Who has nothing, no horse in the race, nothing to gain or lose from it. Then last, I want intelligence to do better. If you are a creator, you want a good housekeeping seal of approval. You want to be able to tell every brand out there that I’m being monitored for fraud, and I’m good to go, I am safe. You don’t have to worry about me. You also want to see the same data that the brands are seeing. Its mutual transparency.

Brett: 25:28  

  • You don’t want to be operating in the dark here. And last you want to be able to control your data. This is very important. This is where privacy and compliance comes into play. Everyone heard about what happened with Facebook and Cambridge Analytical and how it shook a lot of people thinking someone’s taking their data. But what’s happening right now is 90% of the companies that exist in this space are scraping. They’re taking private data without consent. Okay? That is now with the new terms of service I came out with Instagram I think in August last year. That this is a clear violation of this. Okay?

Brett: 26:11    

  • We are GDPR compliant. We are built privacy by design. The Creator has to authenticate and allow permission for the brand to see what they’re posts that they’re paying for. That’s it. That’s what they have a right to see in most careers would say that. A brand has a right to see what they paid for, but they don’t have a right to see everything else that’s private to that creator. Same thing with the telle managers. They have to offer them permissions to have access to their data to better sell those creators to brands. But, they have to get the permission from the creator. People right now are using, those three ways to collect data from a creator. There’s the public, what we call the API and all the social platforms. It’s very limited.

Brett: 26:58           

  • It doesn’t give an offer enough information. There’s also rate limitations, meaning you could only ping it and gather that information so many times. It’s unsustainable with a growing number of influencers. So, you’re really not seeing most of the activity on Instagram happens in the first 24 hours. If you’re seeing everything every 48 hours, you’re missing the game. It’s like in sports analogy, you’re seeing the final score but not actually seeing what happened during the game, why your team won or lost. Those people are not in the position to really monitor correctly in real time.

Brett: 27:37 

  • The other ways people are scraping data, and this is a clear violation as I mentioned, this is happening all over and creators should want that cleaned up because people are taking their information, processing it and affecting their earning potential without their consent. The last way is the right way. It was a way no one wanted to do because they thought it would bottleneck. Creators would never do it and that’s authenticating it. But you have to provide something for the Creator in return, which we are building with them, and we’ve worked for three years with a lot of the top town agencies and creators to do this the right way.

Brett:  28:20 

  • You have to give them back data to help them understand their audience, their relationship. What type of content’s working. If you’re a creator, and you’re doing content on beauty and travel and talking about your pet, and you find out that your audience is not responding when you talk about your dog for some reason, you’re not going to keep doing that. That type of data will help your content strategy. We realize the mutual relationships here and the need for mutual transparency, trust, and accuracy of campaign measurement and performance.

Brett: 28:51             

  • That has to be a language that all of the participants, the town managers, the vendors, the creators, and the brand marketers speak.Just like with television, it’s Nielsen and so on and so forth. That’s what we’re bringing to this space, and I believe when people understand what’s wrong, and the do’s and the don’ts of the influence or marketing, everything’s going to move along, and you’re going to see a lot more money coming into the space, which is beneficial to all parties.

Brett: 29:22     

  • Typically, in the history of add media buying, the implementation on third party measurement ignites the space and that’s what we have to look forward to and get excited about. But we all have to participate. The brands, the big brands who lead us, the big vendors, they have to understand that it’s not their job to be supplying the measurement and reporting. Then the creators and their town managers. From doing so it will benefit the entire industry.

Stacy: 29:59  

  • Have you heard of some of the horror stories where influencers have opened up and shared a password to their platform. Then had that brand, so they could actually have insider insight take over and run with it and steal it because it was actually a fraud system in the first place?

Brett: 30:18         

  • Absolutely. Yes, it’s happening too. That’s what we’re talking of. That’s almost the scraping that’s taking place. That’s why with our company, we built a creator permissions. Basically, everything run through the creator. We’re collecting the data for them. This is the most amount of data you can possibly get other than directly from the platform itself. Just remember, Facebook doesn’t have Google’s data and Google does have Facebook and Instagram and they don’t have Twitter as well. Everyone has their own API. So the idea is to really, we’re working with that. This is beneficial for the platforms.

Brett: 30:56  

  • Is doing it the right way. It’s GDPR compliant, if people don’t understand what that means, it’s a General Data Protection Regulation. It’s in the guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information within the European Union, EU, and it’s now affecting us in US and I think the US is going to adopt similar policies. But yes, it’s privacy by design. What it means is if you’re the creator, I think of Linkedin and Instagram, I can have a private account on Instagram. You Ping me to request access to see my pictures. I see who you are, who’s asking for, and then I can allow access to it. Linkedin is very similar.

Brett: 31:42    

  • There’s different levels of access I can allow people on Linkedin. That’s what’s going to happen here with creators. Creators had their data. Brands will have to ping them and invite them into their queue for campaign if they’re contracted. The creator will understand it and allow it. But what they’re allowing the brand is to only see what they paid for those posts, the performance of those posts, okay? Then, if the brand wants to maybe work with the creator down the road on something, a new category, like we’re doing a travel piece, but we don’t know whether you do travel content.

Brett: 32:18      

  • The creator will have access to travel data. How they do, that they could share. It’s verified data. It’s not their own. It’s directly from Sylo and if it helps, contracting that’s what’s going to happen in the future. But first and foremost, their data is their own. Their Calling managers, the brands, they allow them permission to access just that bit of information. For their town managers if they want their town managers to have access to all their data, to see what they’re seeing, they could do that. That will help the town manager seldom better. It will also get the town manager access to that same campaign so they could go back to that brand and say, hey look, I know my client just really did a wonderful job on that.

Brett: 33:05        

  • Let’s talk about renegotiating a new contract or making them an ambassador. It’s privacy by design. It’s GDPR compliant. There was no scraping. It’s authenticated data. It’s beneficial to the creator 10 times off because it’s going to allow them to see their data for real. It’s also going to help them develop better relationships with brands. And really it’s also going to separate the pretenders from the players. There’s a lot of people claiming right now everyone can be an influencer. That’s not true. Anyone can be a creator, but not everyone can be an influencer.

Brett: 33:49         

  • What we’re going to really narrow in on the people who are truly have engage for the audiences, have the value of that relationship and more confidence in that. It’s going to shape what this industry right now is just operating almost like the wild, wild west. It’s very experimental. We’ll try this. We’ll do this, but no one really knows what’s working and what’s not working. Well, that’s all going to be changing now and it’s going to be changing the right way through trust and transparency and verified measurement

Stacy: 34:23        

  • With Sylo particularly, are you all yourself up to be a influencer platform where brands are also going to be able to source and find influencers-

Brett: 34:35         

  • No

Stacy: 34:35    

  • Or is it only the metric reporting?

Brett: 34:37 

  • Yeah. I can’t tell you how many brands come to me and the first thing they say is, hey, can you tell me who to work with. The minute I do that, as much as I want to help everyone, the minute we do that, we have a horse in the race. That is every first party out there. I can name all of these companies and I love them all. Like they’re the ones who aren’t scraping data first and foremost by, there was a lot of companies out there. It’s oversaturated, but they all use, I use Watson to help source or I use, but they have an algorithm to help the sourcing. That algorithm is taking data without the consent, most likely from these creators and putting them into a position that affects their learning.

Brett: 35:20 

  • That’s why that’s a violation of Instagram’s terms of servers. We don’t play in that game. In the future, there could be a marketplace where they’re just communicating the brands and the creators and they could evolve into that but that’s not something we are looking at now. We are not sourcing, we are not contracting, we are not executed. I don’t compete with any of the companies that do that pay anything. They’re my clients. I am there to track and measure as a third party with accurate information that all of them will be able to sit and better collaborate moving forward. We have to keep that separate. I’m sure you understand that.

Stacy: 36:04   

  • Sure.

Brett: 36:04     

  • Is that, is that clear? Yeah. So look, by the way, we’re not doing anything new here. This is existed. I’ve heard stories. I remember when video programmatic started and a lot of those companies when they were self reporting. It wasn’t until fraud happening in that space and fraud was, you ever go to a website and you scroll down below the fold and then there’s a video that’s playing on auto play. Well, they counted you as a viewer even if you never scrolled below the fold. Once the media ratings council and big agencies like group M caught wind of this, they said, Uh-Uh, this is not going to fly. I need viewability guarantees.

Brett: 36:50      

  • I mean measurement from a third party, not from the people, bright roll, UV spot exchange, tremor. All these companies that were supply side. Those companies are similar to in the influencer space. Maverick, creator, IQ, hyper, speaker, tracker, influential. All of them. They are equivalent to in the video programmatic what spot exchange you may bright role and a tremor work, but then came along mode and mode was the third party for programmatic. They verified viewability and that became the currency of programmatic. You’re paying for viewability and they were there to guarantee, okay. While we, in the vein of moat and Double Verify, we are that for influencer marketing. We are not an agency.

Brett: 37:44          

  • We are a platform, we are the third party measurement and fraud detection platforms. We are built for the brand marketers to satisfy those three areas we talked about earlier. They want to be protected from Ad fraud. They want third party verified data and they want intelligence do it better. Then at the same time we create products for the creators that allows them to see all of their data, also they understand their relationship with their audience and show them that frauds taking place, that they’re being monitored, show the brands and they are being monitored, that they are safe, they are willing to go and participate.

Brett: 38:23          

  • They have nothing to hide from this. Then liaise from town managers and the vendors to better operate by understanding the same data that the brands are going to say. So this is nothing new. This has happened all over and over again with every form of media. Every time you see an ad in the world television, on the billboard, on the website, in the magazine, just know that there was a media buyer in that scenario, there was a media seller and then there was a third party to verify the performance and that’s what Sylo is for influencer marketing.

Stacy: 39:03          

  • We might as well just lead right into this right now. If someone wanted to learn more about Sylo, how not about it, what’s the website?

Brett: 39:10       

  • Sure, well. Go to metSylo.com. Play around with it. You’ll see we built it to answer questions for marketers and also answer questions for creators. I would suggest to anyone touching influence or marketing. Think of it this way. In a given year, 365 days in the year, find one hour, one hour, you talk to us. We’ll cover everything and answer every single question. We’ll show you how it works. We ask everyone to participate. This is how you move third party. We are working with the largest brand agencies. We’re working, collaborating with World Federation of advertisers. These are all people who want the same thing. They want to create more confident transparent, safe environment.

Brett: 40:06       

  • Because they understand that this works. People are watching less television commercials. We all know that. We’re streaming more, we’re using our DVR. We’re not reading magazines as much, websites have ad blockers. You remember that first time you went on the Internet and everything popped off. Whatever the year they had papa blockers and then other ad blockers and they’re cutting in 55% more and more every single year. Well, where are the ads going? Will they go where they don’t get blocked? And that is social media and integrated content, influencer marketing.

Brett: 40:42               

  • But if it’s going to go there, we need regulation and if we get it, I’m telling you, the television dollars there was about $70 billion that is just sitting there. That is what we call gravable in the industry. It’s going to go the better use because they’re going to be able to measure everything. Not Samples, not surveys, but literally every single view experience is going to be measured and it’s going to help brands understand what’s working and what’s not working. It’s a very viable use. We talked before we jumped on the phone about the fire festival documentary?

Stacy: 41:20        

  • Absolutely.

Brett: 41:22 

  • I think I tell everyone right there in that short documentary showed you two sides of the influencer marketing. Number one, it works. I didn’t want to hear anyone say it doesn’t work.Trust me. Look at your friends, look how people are engaged. They’re fully engaged in it. It’s only important more and more, but just jumping in different platforms. There’s other platforms that we’ll be talking about down the road, more like twitch, the gaming network. It works in that sense but then we saw the other side, there needs to be some form of regulation. It’s not because [inaudible 00:41:56] it’s not the policing. It isn’t.

Brett:  41:59   

  • This is to benefit creators. It’s also to benefit the brand marketers to help understand that it’s not giving someone an edge and kicking someone’s private information to be used to make money elsewhere. This is absolutely nothing to do with that. It’s the right way to do it. It’s showing the right amount of information, but it’s done by consent and probation’s. So again, creator offers permissions to the brand to see what they paid for. Think about that. You pay for something, you should have every right to see how it performs, but you don’t have the right to see how someone else’s stuff performed and everything else.

Brett: 42:39      

  • As we collect this data and information, the machine learning, real machine learning will help us understand ROI. It’ll take us to a pathway to return on investment. It does not happen in day one. Think of it like a dimmer switch of a light. It slowly moves us in that direction. Right now we are absolutely not, we’re heading in the wrong direction. We’re focused on thoughts and the wrong information.

Brett: 43:04  

  • As we get the right players in the bigger brands who we’ve been working with, the larger agencies, it trickles down. It’s a very hard mentality. The advertising world, once you start reading about more of the right way, other people start doing it because they don’t want be the one company that’s not doing it. So, we’ll slowly move in that direction and you’re going to see better efficiencies and confidence in the space. I’m excited about that. Anyone out there who’s using influencer marketing or who is an influencer should be excited to participate in this.

Stacy: 43:43               

  • Well, it also allows you. There’s really two measurements that we look at when we’re working with brands. The first is, you touched on it many times, the creator, right? They’re creating content just like your in house agency would do, just as your social coordinator would do, just as your production company would do. So those [inaudible 00:44:02] a price tag there that really ultimately needs to become somewhat more averaged out. Because there’s a big dichotomy of someone creating the same content, whether they have 5,000 followers versus 500,000 followers. There’s that place intuit.

Stacy: 44:20         

  • Then there’s what you’re talking about that Sylos going to specialize in and really helping marketers understand is where that content was seen and the impact of that content overall in order to able to come up with a true pricing system. Because as you also mentioned, influencer marketing is so wild, wild west. There is nothing more wild west than influencer marketing right now out there in any form of advertising tactic that I can think of. Everyone’s approaching it where they have best intentions and not necessarily all the knowledge to really put together a true benefit for both the creator as well as the brand in the long run.

Brett: 45:03       

  • Absolutely. You’re dead on there. Look, anyone out there who is looking at the space, I’d say riders, people who are engaging with vendors. Ask them first most important question, how are you collecting the data? Okay? Is this data collection? Is this compliant? Or they’re collecting it illegally or they … Sorry, not the word illegally or they violin terms of source so this is scraping? No one’s asking that question right now. It needs to be asked.

Brett: 45:44               

  • When you’re working with a vendor, I’ve seen scenarios where people ask me about certain vendors and their tagline is, will grow your impressions? Well, how do they know what number of impressions are if they’re not getting authenticated data, which they aren’t. That way they don’t have access to that data.

Brett: 45:59         

  • I know for a fact the only way you seen precision data on Instagram, is if they are authenticated in the creator and they have a business account set up. You need both of those things to even see that. And yet how many companies advertise on their website. We help you grow your impressions. They don’t even know what the actual impressions are. For any writer out there who’s publishing blogs or anything, if you’re giving someone the voice, ask them the first question, how are you collecting this data? Or privacy compliance, is that in play here? Okay? Number two, what is your position as well? Are you a first party or you’re a third party? Because if you are involved in any of the media buying, then you are a first party.

Brett: 46:48               

  • You are non positioned to provide the actual reporting of the metrics and the tracking. I say this because I’ve come across articles recently of ad agencies. It’s almost like a press release promoting themselves saying, we are working with this vendor to solve third party or solve a fraud and everything. Then I look at who the vendor is and you could go to their website, end to end solution. You can’t be an end to end solution and be third party. You can’t, that’s a fact. You can’t be the one executing campaigns where sourcing and someone has an algorithm they use on your platform to find who they should work with. Then at the same time tell them how it did.

Brett: 47:29     

  • To partner with that person, who also is violating the terms of service by scraping data and you’re just ad agency gloating that you’re working with this firm to solve fraud. It’s almost hypocritical. I think they’re not doing it intentionally, they just don’t know this has happened. It’s our job to educate everyone. I don’t want to do a sales pitch. I’m going to sit down with anyone who actually cares about this and just have a conversation and take them through what we’re talking about today. The way to collect data, the proper way, verified data. What the data accuracy is. To understand compliance and privacy and just the intelligence and a pathway to ROI. How that is attainable.

Brett: 48:18        

  • This is all ready to happen. I’ve always, we’ve always dreamed at our company being on panels with all these other vendors and we know a lot of these people having worked in video for many years. To sit there and have them talk about data and analytics and just say, you’re selling, you’re fighting for media dollars, you can’t be in position to do this. That became, that’s an issue. We have to have that third party measurement installed and then the methodology of how that third party is collecting the data and reporting the data back and who they’re reporting it to.

Brett: 48:51       

  • That’s what we have to evaluate. I say for us it’s an open book to any creator, town manage, vendor and brand marketers. Ask that question of us, challenge us or put us in the room with the other people who claim to be doing this and ask that question, how are you collecting the data and how are you, what’s your methodology in the reporting of it? Are you fighting for media dollars? Are you actually part of the sourcing and all that. Because if you are, then you are removed from the third party measurement conversation.

Stacy:  49:31       

  • Brett, we’re going to wrap up a little bit now because I think we’re approaching the timeframe. Do you have any last bits of advice to give our listeners today?

Brett: 49:45    

  • Let me think about that last bit of advice.

Stacy: 49:47         

  • Last bit of advice.

Brett: 49:48   

  • We’re talking to a lot of people.Last bit, believe in influencer marketing. It works. I’ve worked across all the different platform. I worked across all the different mediums, television or in print and a digital video since 2004 digital video. This works. There is a highly engaged audience there, but right now it’s clouded by a lot of inaccuracies and people who took advantage of this medium that grew so fast. Think about how fast again. Remember three years ago it was all youtube and now we’re all about Instagram. So it’s spinning everyone’s head. Even people who are media executives who’ve been around forever, they don’t know what’s up, what’s down, what’s left, what’s right.

Brett: 50:32        

  • What we have to do is participate in the idea of third party measurement, fraud detection, not thought detection, fraud detection. If you’re a creator, the bots are going to find you. You can’t worry about that, but do not. Be very careful of how you’re using tools to grow your audience. Loops are fine. We don’t frown upon them. If you want to do giveaways, we’ve seen them work, but don’t abuse that. Okay? Be Smart about your audience. Focus on the content and relating to your audience. Use other platforms to promote but speak. Use them differently. Someone once said to me a long time ago, youtube was the TV show, was the show. Okay?

Brett: 51:21       

  • The series, if you will. Instagram was like, ‘here’s what I’m doing now.’ Twitter was, ‘here’s what I’m thinking now.’ Facebook was throughout that time we were talking about Facebook live and things of that nature. But you really going to understand the strength of each platform. Don’t just take one post and use the same post across all the different platforms. Your audience engages with your content differently across different classes. That’s important from a creator side. Keep posting, post the law, let the creators in see you. Be authentic, your follower count. Don’t focus as much on that as you’re focusing on the real authentic engagement.

Brett: 52:02        

  • Get them involved, but really build your content. From a brand marketer side, be responsible, okay? Who you work with, vendors understand how they do what they do, understand their process and always implement a third party independent source whose methodology is accurate, who is GDPR compliant. Okay? That is actually not using authenticated data. That is the only way this industry is going to move forward the right way and really grow fast, which is beneficial. It’s a win win for everyone. Brand marketers, creators, the talent managers, take the time to learn this, understand this, the value of what’s happening right now. Okay?

Brett: 52:54           

  • 2018 was the year everyone talked about the problems, we saw it. The world federation of advertisers said no more First Party reporting data transparency. We need that, things of that nature. Everyone’s talking now. 2019 this is year we start to implement, participate, grow with it, offer insights, offer suggestions on what’s working for you, what’s not and things of that nature. And we grow. 2020 is the year it starts becoming mandated. I firmly believe that’s what’s going to happen because people are going to say, if I’m contracting with you, you need to be registered into a third party.

Brett: 53:31          

  • I need to be able to get third party data. This is nothing new again. We’ve already heard this in the history of media buying. So don’t, for people who have not been exposed to other forms of media, this is what it is. Okay? And it’s good. It always ignites an industry. Participation, ask the right questions is the most important thing, and let’s keep doing it, let’s keep growing. It’s exciting. I look as an exciting time. I hope everyone else does as well.

Stacy: 54:07     

  • Well, I want to thank you, Brett, again, for joining us today, and I want to thank all of you listeners for tuning in to marketing mistakes and how to avoid them. Brett’s provided a tremendous amount of valuable advice to all of us interested in influencer marketing. I certainly appreciate the time that you shared with us today. So thank you again.

Brett: 54:25               

  • You’re welcome. It was a pleasure.

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