Hamilton startup aims to bring influencers within reach of small business advertising

From Instagram influencers and YouTube content creators to TikTok collectives, social media has spawned a new league of celebrities. It has also created a lucrative advertising ecosystem, with big brands tapping into a massive audience of internet personalities through sponsored posts or paid ads.

Hamilton-based startup AdMass Inc. is working to make this marketing strategy more accessible to local businesses through its platform, which helps connect businesses with social media influencers and creators in their region.

The company has created a tool that “scratches” social media and uses the data to create an influencer search engine, says co-founder Yuri Kaplan. Over 150,000 influencers across North America are on AdMass so far, including approximately 20,000 in Canada.

“Why shouldn’t anyone on social media be able to recommend local businesses? Kaplan said. “Social media users with a smaller number of followers actually have a much larger reach, so that’s a bigger ROI,” he added, referring to an engagement rate often higher – a measure of how well an audience interacts through a post by liking, sharing, or commenting – on accounts with fewer followers.

“While you’re going to pay a lot more (to advertise), you’re actually making a lot less,” said Kaplan, who started AdMass last June with co-founder Daniel Lasek.

With a marketing campaign in mind, small businesses can partner with a social media influencer that suits their advertising goals, budget, target audience, and location.

“That’s why we wanted to create something simpler than anyone with any number of followers in Hamilton (and elsewhere) can actually do,” he said.

The duo have decided to remove the monthly subscription fees charged by their competitors to make the product more accessible to small businesses, Kaplan said, and are also launching a rewards program that businesses can tailor to influencers and customers. When it comes to big brands, AdMass charges creators up to 10% commission when they do direct outreach and payment processing fees.

According to an analysis of the future of social media, published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, an Instagram post by pop star Selena Gomez was worth $ 3.4 million in 2018, when it was approximately 144 million followers (she now has over 214 million). Posting an ad with her at the time could boost a brand to over $ 800,000.

The 2019 research article notes that small businesses rely on ‘micro-influencers’, who are ‘considered more trustworthy and authentic than traditional celebrities’.


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Majorie T. Leonard

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