It’s another new world (again) for brands and marketers as Vine, Instagram and Snapchat have emerged as powerful platforms for product placement and reaching younger consumers.
So Krishna Subramanian, Sunil Verma and Vishal Gurbuxani, who previously sold a mobile ad exchange company called Mobclix to Velti, are getting the band back together along with Taz Patel and Siddhi Saraiya to form Captiv8, an analytics platform and marketplace for these new video and photo stars.
“Kids aren’t looking at traditional Hollywood talent anymore,” Subramanian said. “They’re looking at new digital talent and they’re seeing people like Josh Peck as their celebrities or idols. These are digital influencers. They’re born on Instagram or Vine and they’re seeing an amount of engagement that rivals TV.”
The company says that some of the top performers on each platform are getting paid anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 for six-second to 15-second long posts. Instagram has also transformed parts of the fashion industry as it has become an increasingly important medium for higher-end brands and product placement. Meanwhile, Vine is minting stars that now go on tour before hordes of screaming pre-pubescent girls.
“The whole idea of celebrity has been democratized,” Verma added. “It’s no longer what someone pushes out on a billboard or in a film or a TV show.”
(Below is one of Captiv8’s partners Zach King, who has 3.4 million on Vine and makes these short videos that look like sleight-of-hand magic tricks.)
“When we look at millennials and look at how brands want to follow this audience, the questions are: how do you get in front of where these millennials are?” Subramanian said. “They’re not going to be on TV anymore. You’re not going to get them to click on a banner ad.”
So the trio put together a dual analytics platform and marketplace where top influencers on these platforms can manage their reach and connect with brands. They’ve signed YouTube stars like Jason Nash and Vine celebrities like Christian Delgrosso. Across their marketplace, they have about 400 influencers with a combined (and non-deduplicated) reach of 850 million users.
Their platform has a couple parts. One involves social media analytics that measure reach, akin to what Klout tried to do for the early Facebook and Twitter era. They’ve got metrics covering how many followers a star might lose or gain each day, or the most engaging times to post a photo or video, or the half-life of an average post. You can even see which Instagram filters drive the most engagement.
But the analytics are just one part of a larger equation. That raw data powers another marketplace where brands can pay for ads or placement. It will suggest Vine, Instagram or YouTube stars that best match a brand’s interests or keywords.
“We try to do very basic analytics to help give influencers a way to grow their audience and make more money,” Subramanian said. “That can be a separate standalone product, but we’d really like to make that data actionable too.”
Brands can define the goals of their campaign, while Captiv8 will match them with the right influencers and then they can track later reach through metrics like mentions of a hashtag, total views or added followers.
In this new model, content production is turned upside down. Instead of having to create their own TC commercials, brands can turn to Vine or YouTube stars, who can make shorter, more customized content on quicker lead times.
For the whole effort, Captiv8 has put together a 22-person team and they’ve raised some funding, but declined to say how much or from whom.