Reimagining Startup and Enterprise Innovation

The Startup Demystifying Influencer Marketing for Brands

Sarah Griffiths
Freelance Journalist

Startups know that connecting with new customers isn’t easy. But just 72 hours after an introduction from Oracle, Airfluencers landed a contract with a brand that is a household name in its home country of Brazil.
Initially wary that Oracle’s startup program was ‘too good to be true,’ the influencer-marketing startup is ‘very happy’ with the benefits, including access to Oracle technology, expertise and customers.

Searching for influence

Airfluencers markets itself as “the most complete platform in Latin America to find, analyze and manage marketing with influencers,” and has around 100 customers including Unilever, American Airlines, Santander, and WPP. But it wasn’t an overnight success.

The cloud startup is Rodrigo Soriano’s fourth. The CEO has previously launched a business social network, ticketing platform, and then a social listening startup, which later pivoted to Airfluencers.

“We were ahead of the curve and learned a lot with our mistakes," he says of his earlier businesses. After a year of struggling to sell social analysis software, Airfluencers turned its attention to selling social media reports to meet demand from clients struggling to select appropriate influencers.

“We sold these reports for a year but it wasn’t sustainable with all the research we did with influencers,” says Soriano. So the company created a database showing the performance and qualitative data of three to four million influencers in Brazil, which became its first product. “We coded and placed it in the market in just four months,” he adds.

The problem with social media

Approximately 3.5 billion people around the world use social media, and have no doubt come across influencers – the users who create content to demonstrate their credibility in a specific subject matter. Since 84% of consumers buy products based on recommendations, social media influencers wield immense power to influence consumer opinions. 

Businesses have become increasingly aware of this power, and 90% of marketing professionals think influencer marketing is effective in raising brand awareness, but it can be hard for marketing departments to decide which influencers to work with, based on their reach and connection with different demographics. 

“One of the main problems is the lack of metrics and measurement when selecting, dealing and analyzing campaigns with influencers,” Soriano says. He also believes that limited knowledge of the influencer market poses a risk for brands, who could damage their reputation by working with a disreputable influencer.

How it works now

Airfluencers makes it easy for brands to pick the best influencer to work with. It uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to process millions of social profiles every day, along with hundreds of search filters, producing an internal metric that evaluates the quality of a social media profile’s engagement. The algorithm does this by aggregating many metrics into one "AirScore" that goes from 0 to 1000. The 'Discovery' tool can be used to find, manage, and analyze the best influencers using predictive analysis over this score, giving brands a safe haven when building their media plan. 

From simple discovery to optimization, the startup created a management platform where about 150 clients are now running and measuring campaigns. Most recently, Airfluencers launched the first metrics platform for Instagram stories in Latin America.

“Video is the future and Instagram Stories is huge in Brazil,” Soriano notes.

Giving hope to traditional brands

Established companies sometimes struggle to harness the brave new world of social media and its influencer universe. Oracle introduced Airfluencers to Commerce Cloud customer HOPE Lingerie, a well-known lingerie business in Brazil. According to Soriano, the family-run company was spending money building relationships with influencers and running digital collaborations with little (if any) information about them.

“We found information about an influencer they were working with… that showed the person lacked some important metrics, and they [HOPE Lingerie] realized they needed to make better decisions and rely on information to achieve better results. HOPE was the first client we met with Oracle and we closed the deal within 72 hours,” he says.

HOPE Lingerie has been able to search for and analyze potential influencers. Plus, with Airfluencers' metrics on their side, they are positioned to make better deals with their collaborators. "Through the Campaign Analytics, Hope has the ability to measure the results - in detail - of every influencer contracted,” Soriano explains.

Too good to be true? 

The startup was initially skeptical about Oracle for Startups “because it seemed too good to be true,” Soriano admits. “But the benefits we can highlight are: being mentored by outstanding professionals, key connections with key market people and access to the best technology for our business.”

Beyond the HOPE Lingerie introduction, Airfluencers has had several meetings to discuss integrations with both marketing automation and customer loyalty solutions.

“It is beneficial for us because our platform can be used by Oracle clients, who will have a solution to search, compare, and analyze campaigns with digital influencers, which is a big trend today and a top demand in marketing and brand structures,” he adds.

Airfluencers joined Oracle for Startups and quickly took advantage of $500 in free cloud. They were spending around $13,000 a month with Google, but got a 70% discount with Oracle’s startup program. “We started by transferring 1%, then a week later we transferred all processing to Oracle. It was easy and we were able to do it [migrate to OCI] ourselves,” Soriano says.

Soriano believes other startups should “jump in” to Oracle for Startups. “The level of attention and support is of the charts, plus the technology that Oracle offers is in line with the best in the market. The benefits are in infrastructure, scalability, technology access and networking. It's a can't miss opportunity.”

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