(Originally posted in Austin American Statesman)
In 2012, Sarah Ware founded a company called Markerly that built tools to make it easier for bloggers to share their content on social media.
Ware said their widgets allowed Markerly to gather data on which bloggers were “truly influential” based on how many people were sharing their content. So Markerly had the idea of sharing this data with brands interested in working with these social media influencers.
Soon, they were making more money off their influence marketing business than the widgets. Markerly, which started in San Francisco but moved its headquarters to Austin, is now focused exclusively on helping brands find influencers and develop campaigns.
They employ 15 people and raised $800,000 two years ago, most of which came from a single angel investor, Ware said.
As the popularity of the influence marketing industry soars, it’s also created an opening for middle-man tech companies.
These firms develop technology that helps brands find influencers, manage and automate campaigns and create metrics for measuring influence.
In Austin, there are several influence marketing companies that launched within the last three years. And even traditional advertising agencies like GSD&M now have entire teams dedicated to influence marketing campaigns.
Some influence marketing companies act like talent agents, building a network of influencers who sign up with them and then connecting them with brands based on the type of campaign. They will also help out with the negotiations and with planning the campaign.
Other companies also have developed technology that helps pinpoint exactly how much influence these influencers have.
It’s not enough to just count how many followers on Instagram a fashion blogger has accrued, in part because it’s fairly easy to “buy” followers.
Daniel Carter, a doctoral student at the University of Texas’ School of Information, has studied influence marketing. He wrote a paper that examined computer science techniques that could be used to better measure influence on social media.
But he explained that social media companies keep a lot of their data to themselves because that’s how they sell ads, rendering it nearly impossible to use extensive data science to find the best influencers.
So influence marketing agencies are forced to look instead at only the publicly accessible data, such as followers, retweets and likes, comments and shares.
Markerly, for instance, has developed software that allows a brand to find their own influencers based on keyword searches. They also measure influencers based on “engagement” scores, which Ware defines as how many people liked, commented or shared content from a certain influencer, as well as total follower count. “They are able to find the perfect voice for them,” Ware said. Markerly’s technology also helps brands contact the influencers and monitor campaigns.
She said the company still handles influencer campaigns on behalf of companies, but they built this software so that companies can manage these campaigns in-house.
Austin-based influence marketing firm Mattr has also developed software and other techniques to help brands and influencers connect.
“We come in as the middle man and we have different reports and features through the app that monitor the campaign from beginning to end,” explained Carol Scott, a senior director of marketing for Mattr. Like Markerly, the agency also developed ways to measure engagement, which can help guide how much an influencer is paid.
“The more engagement they get on their post, the more a brand will pay,” Scott said. Like Markerly, the 5-year-old company initially focused on a different type of technology before shifting to influencer marketing.
They also offer marketers access to a “few thousand” influencers that have signed up to be part of Mattr’s network and are vetted by the company to determine their suitability for campaigns, Scott said.
Influencer marketing firms said the companies and brands they work with aren’t always concerned about generating sales.
Sometimes the goal is simply to generate awareness of their brand among millennials, or to get people talking about a certain product.
“Millennials have zero trust in anything outside their own social networks,” Scott said. “They only trust their friends, their family, a small group of people, and they all have social media accounts. This is how they are getting their news, their value, what to buy, what to wear, what to eat.”
Symmetry50 names Mattr as a Top 25 Startup to Watch in 2015. Mattr provides rich context around a brand’s influencers, their audience, and their psychographic profiles by uncovering personality traits, interests and values.
Today Mattr announced that it has been named to Symmetry50’s ‘The Top 25 Startups to Watch in Austin’ list, joining local innovative startups such as Umbel, Unseen, Burpy and Favor. The top startup recognition is Mattr’s second in a month after being named one of the top 50 Austin startups to watch by Built in Austin in March.
“We’re humbled to be getting so much recognition recently as a startup to watch in our community,” said Jack Holt, CEO of Mattr. “With all the great, young companies in Austin, being honored as an innovation leader is inspiring our team to work even harder. It’s also proof that the strides we’re making to innovate digital marketing with our social segmentation and influencer marketing technology are resonating with both the industry and our customers.”
Mattr launched in January 2011 and is one of the first platforms that focuses on qualitative data through social segmentation. Rather than focusing only on followers, Mattr provides rich context around an influencer, their audience, and their psychographic profile by uncovering personality traits, interests and values. The self-funded company captured significant clients early on to retain a recurring revenue stream while expanding its technology to help grow its client base, making it an appealing choice as a top startup in 2015.
The full “Top 25 Startups to Watch in Austin” article is available here.
South by Southwest is practically here and the streets of downtown Austin will be crawling with techies, marketers and more beginning this Thursday!
Over the past two weeks we’ve published a couple of posts to help prepare you for SxSWi:
Hopefully you were able to use some of that info to begin preparing and settling on your schedule while in Austin. Perhaps the most difficult part of scheduling a SxSW trip is deciding on your day schedule, though. There are so many panels, sessions and speakers – how do you choose where to spend your time?
We’re here to help you with that decision.
While we’ve been sorting through online marketing influencers who are attending the conference, we’ve also come across several interesting marketing panels and sessions. We assessed each of them closely and kept track of the ones we felt would be the most valuable for marketers like you to attend.
They may not all be relevant to all marketers, and some overlap so still force you to make a tough choice – but we encourage you to give all of these sessions a consideration!
Monday, March 16
Quantified Selfie: Our Digital Well Being Meet Up
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
There are a ton of wearable technologies and apps available to track your personal well being. Everything ranging from nutrition to exercise to sleeping habits to even your mood can now be monitored and shared. Which of those technologies and apps really work though? This session, hosted by PwC’s Kat Mandelstein, will discover which digital technologies really work for improving our well being.
When Millennials Take Over
5:00 PM – 5:20 PM
Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant will be releasing their new book, When Millennials Take Over, at SxSW, and their panel will share case studies and research from it. With millennials now entering leadership roles at many companies, business will begin changing to better fit the vision of that cohort. Jamie and Maddie will give you concrete, actionable advice about how to prepare for the coming change and how to set your company apart as a leader rather than a follower.
When the Glimpse Is Worth More Than the Glare
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Did you know the average person’s attention span decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013? Popular social media platforms like Vine, Snapchat and Instagram allow users to share video content as short as 6 seconds in length, a prime opportunity to capture our dwindling attention span. But many marketers still grapple with using these platforms, seeing constraints where others see opportunity. Join Frank Danna, Annie Park, Darren Lachtman and Michael Platco as they share trends, styles, influencers and more that can help marketers utilize the increasingly popular short-form video platforms.
Tuesday, March 17
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Game Advertising
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
To fully understand the advertising opportunities that games afford brands and marketers, they must understand the changing dynamics of gamers and gameplay. Join the panel of MRY’s David Berkowitz, Twitchtv’s Kym Nelson, Nielsen’s Michael Flamberg and Ari Brandt of MediaBrix as they discuss the evolving gamer landscape and the future evolution of gaming advertising.
Redefining Realness for Brands on Twitter
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
After recent Twitter gaffes by brands like DiGiorno, US Airways, the American Red Cross and Chrysler, fear of messing up or worrying too much about what followers think has led some brands to lose creativity. Join Bianca Buckridee of Sprinklr, Christina Warren of Mashable, John Colucci of Engadget and Maria Bonaccorse of Procter & Gamble as they discuss how brands can stay smart and creative, and if they do make a mistake, how to bounce back with class.
Today Mattr announced that it has been named one of Built in Austin’s Top 50 Startups to Watch in 2015. Mattr joins forward-thinking startups such as Apptive, Balcony, Cratejoy, Everfest, Paybook, Spanning, and TrendKite on this year’s list.
As marketers continue craving more qualitative analytical information on their customers, the popularity of Social Segmentation technologies is rapidly increasing. With so few companies currently providing marketers with deep data on both their audience and their influencers, those possessing that ability, such as Mattr, are increasingly seen as valuable.
“Mattr was built to solve a key challenge facing marketers by focusing on a unique algorithmic mix of personality data and demographics,” said Jack Holt, CEO of Mattr. “We are thrilled to be recognized on this list of 2015 top startups, especially since Austin is so deeply committed to fostering the next-generation of entrepreneurs and innovative technologies.”
Mattr launched in January 2011 and is one of the first platforms that focuses on qualitative data through social segmentation. Rather than focusing only on followers, Mattr provides rich context around an influencer, their audience, and their psychographic profile by uncovering personality traits, interests and values. The self-funded company captured significant clients early on to retain a recurring revenue stream while expanding its technology to help grow its client base, making it an appealing choice as a startup to watch in 2015.
Built In Austin is a comprehensive network for the digital technology industry in Austin. The site connects talent to startups, covers local tech news, aggregates and publishes data on the sector. The “50 Austin Startups to Watch in 2015” article is available here.
One week countdown to SxSW. Are you ready? Here at Mattr we’re still plugging away, searching for the best and brightest influencer content and thoughts to share with you to help make your South By experience as good as it can be!
Last week we blogged about some of our findings, not yet in the form of who the influencers are – that’s coming closer to the show – but rather, some sources of inspirational marketing content written by a few of the influencers we’ve identified, in the hopes of getting you in the mood for what’s to come.
Now we have more interesting tidbits to share with you as you prepare to descend upon Austin next week – more specifically, some must-attend events – and all hosted or recommended by some of our marketing influencers.
There are a ton of events to choose from during SXSW, not to mention loads of fun stuff to do around Austin. It’s a lot to consider, especially as you think about packing them all into the five short days that encompass SxSWi. We encourage you to do your research and find your own personal fit when it comes to choosing events – but might we suggest adding a note to your schedule to consider the four below?
CrowdTap People-Powered Party
– Hosted by CrowdTap, with official media partner, AdWeek, this event happens on March 15 at V Nightclub. What makes this event so awesome and exciting for marketers looking for some inspiration at SxSW, is the fact it’s the first ever people-powered party. Attendees will power the lighting, music, decor and more! How cool is that?! There will also be a concert with ‘MTV Artists to Watch’ MisterWives, The White Panda and DJ Hesta Prynn and Chargaux. Convinced you need to take part? Get your free tickets here.
– Presented by Ignite and SXSW, Ignite SxSW is a series of 5-minute presentations about geeky subjects delivered in a format of 20 slides (15 seconds per slide, auto advancing). Sit back and watch as presenters either kick ass or fall behind — but all of them will inform the audience on all sorts of cool topics! Big plus — this event is open to non-badge holders. Get your free ticket for the March 14th event here. It’s sure to be fast, furious and full of fun, quirky knowledge.
SXSW Accelerator Startup Competition
– Presented by Oracle, the seventh year of this competition will happen on March 14 and 15. Come cheer on eager startups from near and far as they present their innovations and ideas to a panel of judges to discover what the next big thing in online technology is for 2015. Who knows, it could be a marketer’s dream tech and you’ll be one of the first to hear about it! This competition is always a good time – and it supports the startup community. That’s a win-win in our book.
SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards
– Previously called the Interactive Awards, the renamed SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards presented by PwC will honor the latest and best advancements in digital technology, from platforms, to software, to apps and devices. Just think, where would we marketers be without amazing advancements in these areas?! The ceremony will take place on March 17, so come out and support those companies and folks who will be honored!
That’s it– four events to squeeze into your presumably already packed SxSW schedule. The Mattr team will surely be attending these events too, so if you see some Mattr badges in the crowd, be sure to stop us and say hello!