Influencer marketing is an already dominant fad across markets. Fad because we don’t yet know whether this will evolve into a trend. But it has proven to be a dominant and powerful fad spreading across markets.
Thanks to social media and digital platforms, everyone is now a broadcaster and has their own followers. Using this unprecedented power of social media, individuals have built massive followers and are producing shows and content that reach millions. As the traditional media, TV, and print including, continues to lose its glamour, social media influences continue to become a channel that offers brands both reach and credibility. Since influencers maintain a direct and a rather personal relationship with their audience, it offers brands to build credibility and narrative. But the challenges for both influencers, who want to monetize their audience, and brands that want to use influencers to market their products, are finding each other and then managing their relationships at scale. For brands, finding influencers that match their target segment and then managing them could be a challenge. Similarly, for influencers, finding regular deals and maintaining every aspect of a promotional campaign could be a challenge. This challenge has given rise to a new kind of marketing-tech companies across markets that help influencers and brands connect with each other, run data-driven campaigns.
The internet has practically abolished the national borders. Hence, ideas popular at one end of the world do not take much time to spread at the other end. That's the case with influencer marketing as well. This is the case in Bangladesh with regard to Bangladesh. Over the past years, we have seen a steady rise of influencer marketing in Bangladesh. Social media celebrities such as Raba Khan, Ayman Sadiq have been working with brands like Foodpanda, Daraz, IDLC, IPDC, and a number in different capacities.
This is where a new startup HypeScout, an influencer marketing platform, comes in. HypeScout connects influencers and brands and enables both parties to manage campaigns, report, manage payments, and everything in-between. Anyone who has a thousand followers on Instagram currently can sign up to become an influencer and start participating in campaigns. For brands, they can create campaigns on HypeScout, find and select influencers they want to work with, and start running the campaign and once the campaign ends, influencers need to submit a screenshot of the campaign as proof. Currently, HypeScout only covers Instagram and the platform aims to add Facebook and other relevant social media platforms in the coming months. A TBS report on HypeScout suggests that a number of companies including Pathao, Lily, EROSNow are now using the HypeScout platform to work with influencers across verticals.
Creator economy is fast becoming a thing across markets with the rise of individuals creating shows, projects, solutions, content using digital platforms. This shift has given rise to the platforms, tools, and solutions that enable these creators to reach an audience, monetize, collaborate with brands, and so on. We have seen Substack that enables independent writers to monetize their skills through email newsletters. These platforms are increasingly attracting serious VC attention. For example, Bain Capital Ventures senior principal Jamison Hill, tells TechCrunch in an interview that: “We are in phase three of the influencer economy. The first phase was the rise of the media platforms: YouTube, Instagram, etcetera, that allowed creatives to build audiences. The second phase was the emergence of influencer marketing, or connecting those influencers to brands to leverage their audiences … Now that influencer marketing has become an established part of the marketing playbook, we are in phase three: tools to help influencers further monetize their influence, like Cameo, and then manage their lives.”
This is not happening in the US market alone. It is an equally hot market in Asia. For example, Singapore-based Patripost, an influencer marketing platform similar to what HypeScout is trying to do in Dhaka, raised a whopping $3.5 million in July amid the coronavirus pandemic to expand and grow its operations. Partipost currently has operations in Singapore, Indonesia, and Taiwan, and plans to expand into Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, other Southeast Asian markets. A TechCrunch report suggests that Partipost has about 200,000 influencers on its platform, and “that over the past 12 months, it has helped conduct 2,500 social media marketing campaigns for more than 850 brands, including Adidas, Arnott’s, Red Bull, Chope and Gojek.”
As more and more brands increase spending on social media and digital platforms, influencer marketing is a fast-growing vertical. According to several estimates, the influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth as much as $9.7 billion in 2020. With the growth comes attention. A growing number of players now eyeing to get a share of this growing market. While Bangladesh’s digital marketing matures, we are likely to see more activities around serving the creator community.