Kunal Kishore Sinha, founder of Value 360 Communications, one of India’s largest PR firms, noticed a trend last year: Brands were spending more than ever on influencers to drive their digital campaigns.
“These are mostly people who are passionate about specific things like fashion, cooking, beauty and gaming. “Four to five years ago, brands realized that these people have the most meaningful content and started investing in it, today we call it influencer marketing,” Sinha said. CASIA.
But Sinha noticed a few problems in this fledgling market. Many influencers had fake followers and it was difficult for brands to distinguish the real influencers from those who were using illegal means to increase their followers. Also, he noticed that brands were working with the same influencers for different campaigns, suggesting that they were unable to find new talent.
“When I looked at the problems, I realized that these can be easily solved with technology,” Sinha said. In the year In March 2020, along with two other co-founders—Sagar Pushp and Anshai Lal—Sinha launched ClanConnect, a marketplace that connects brand names with the right influencers.
Sinha said the company measures the success of influencers by 30 metrics, including their performance in previous campaigns, the number of posts they contribute, engagement on their posts, the number of followers and the demographics of their followers. The ClanConnect tool, Sinha says, can tell the difference between real and fake followers, mostly through bots. The company says this feature will make a big difference for brands as they can be sure they are spending their money on the right person.
By paying a subscription fee, “brands can use our dashboard to choose from our existing database of 20,000 talent or influencers to choose which persona is the best fit for their campaign,” Sinha said. Brands can conduct searches by specifying their needs and constraints, such as the campaign budget, the number of influencers they want to work with, and the minimum engagement and awareness they expect from each influencer.
Once a company works with influencers, ClanConnect provides brands with real-time information about the performance of influencers’ posts on social media platforms.
Sinha says when brands work with micro-influencers, they usually have up to 5,000 followers., Unaffiliated with any agency, they typically have to wait for the influencer to provide a performance review. With ClanConnect, as soon as an influencer posts something for the campaign, she shares the link with her client, and data related to the post’s performance begins to flow. “Our platform gives brands a live performance of the posts, which they can use. Push a certain campaign that is doing well with more marketing money,” Sinha said.
The company has partnered with nine brands so far, including Cartoon Network, a personal hygiene brand and a cryptocurrency startup looking for educational video content. “It’s been a few months since we launched, and we’re still building our artificial intelligence tool that scores influencers based on their status in different categories.” ClanConnect’s AI tool is set to go online in November.
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Last month, the company said it had raised a seed round of INR 5 crore (USD 673,000) from a clutch of angel investors led by Venture Catalysts.
Currently, startups generate revenue only from brands. But over the next two years, the company said it plans to build talent solutions and monetize influencers. It wants to build solutions that enable influencers to implement sticky hashtags, partner with social media platforms to promote their content, and create new ways for content creators to earn revenue. But these ideas have not yet taken concrete form. ClanConnect will work on these concepts as the company learns more about influencers over the next two years, Sinha said.
After capturing a significant market share in India, Clan Connect will take its products to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia by the end of next year, according to Sinha. That puts ClanConnect up against players in Southeast Asia like Partipost, Blogapalooza and BuzzSumo. Singapore-based startup PartPost works with influencers in Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan, and plans to expand to the Philippines and Malaysia after the startup raises $3.5 million in July 2020. Old Chtrbox.
“Our promise to brands is taking the guesswork out of influencer marketing,” Sinha said. “For every dollar they spend, we want to give them scientifically formulated choices.”
This article is part of KrASIA’s “Startup Stories” series, where KrASIA writers talk to founders of tech companies in South and Southeast Asia.
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