Influencers, also called prescribers, are nothing new. In a few years, its effect on advertising has been massive to say the least. As a result of its very existence, a long list of businesses have emerged with the simple idea of taking advantage of the seam that a new market niche has opened in the economy. The game is no longer only in the hands of María Pombo or Chiara Ferragni in a more international version, the industry grows and becomes powerful. According to the Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report: 2020, the sector has gone from 6.5 billion dollars in market volume in 2019 to 9.5 billion in the present 2020.
In parallel, other ventures have been able to find the way between an old-fashioned business and new market trends. History is not just about new things, the transition from the old rules of the game has brought new businesses to the forefront; companies that have the recommendations their greatest success. Today, these companies already rub shoulders with the big ones and take advantage of the few benefits that the coronavirus pandemic has left in its wake and increase their business options by entering other sectors.
SamyRoad, from not understanding the concept to succeeding in the sector
One of those startups, of national invoice and now an international reference, and that knew how to get ahead of the sector was SamyRoad.
Founded by Marta Nicolás, Patricia Ratia and Juan Sánchez in 2013, the company started under the concept of a social network specialized in influencers. “When I told my friends what we were doing, they didn’t really understand it very well, but after a few years here we are,” explains Patricia Ratia. Nor was there much consensus in the brand sector, still not very involved in what is now known as influencer marketing: “In the end it was a matter of insisting, educating and convincing.”
Unlike other companies, New York was not a challenge for them
Despite everything, the idyll of the social network lasted for two years and, already in 2015, just when Instagram and Facebook consolidated their leadership they reconverted their activity to attracting content creators. “We saw the potential from the beginning to unite content creators with brands,” Ratia explains to Hipertextual, and they changed the business orientation.
The influencers, and they too, were already beginning to garner followers. Brands were also beginning to be interested in the ability of this group to reach potential customers in a world in which traditional advertising no longer finished giving the results of yesteryear; Oh, see how time has ended giving them the reason. You just had to channel it and that’s where SamyRoad found its place creating a content creator recommendation system7 or influencers to brands depending on their needs. From clothes, cosmetics or even bank accounts; Anything goes when it comes to recommendations.
Unlike other companies, New York was not a challenge for them. In fact, it was his springboard to the big firms. Through good organic growth, the company soon opened headquarters in the Big Apple. After the United States they also traveled to Mexico, Portugal or Brazil. Now they have just opened their headquarters in the United Kingdom via the acquisition of Share Creative, a company in the sector.
The company does not publish financial data, but the company assures that profitability was already achieved in 2017. With the support of seed capital from Caixa Capital Risc, from Inveready, in addition to a loan from Santander, the objective is to continue growing as before.
So much so that, together with its activity together with influencers, the Spanish startup has entered a new line of business that wants to cover issues of content and digital communication.
The pandemic as a success for an increasingly professionalized sector
No longer only beautiful photos are worth, quantitative and qualitative data are becoming more important at a time when brand values are increasing and influencer work is already seen as a reality. Because if one thing is clear for the influencers sector, it is that, despite the pandemic, the sector is still very much alive and increasingly professionalized. Where an advertisement does not arrive in the street, a person can arrive through a mobile phone.
“We had to adapt to the situation, the needs of the brands changed. At first they all stopped and collapsed, as the days went by they all realized that they had to adapt to the situation and all the content had to be transferred”, They explain from SamyRoad.
After that adaptation, life went on for the sector. A situation that another of the companies that occupy the attention of the ecosystem today also experienced: Peoople. The latter confirm that, only during the month of March, its activity doubled to mark constant growth in 2020. Although the interests of the users went from travel and restaurants to books and music, the truth is the conversion has been simple in the sector of influences.
The social network founded by David Pena was not born with the intention of being the center of the world of influencers, or of relating to it in such a direct way. His aspirations were much simpler: to create a place where he could recommend things from known people, mainly friends. But the reality is that it solved one of the main problems of influencers: monetization.
Similar to what 21 Buttons had done before, Peoople gave the opportunity not only to recommend content, but also to purchase it. The recommenders simply had to collect the profits from their sales. “We were creating a tool that brought them benefit, in a site where the content is ephemeral,” explains Pena, “now we have more than 3,000 influencers uploading content to the platform every day, which leads people to think that we are an influencer app even though we are not“.
Stepping out of the comfort zone
While it is true that the world of recommendations via familiar faces has gained importance, the luck of SamyRoad and Peoople, both fueled by this ecosystem, has found new paths. If the former want to face the challenge of content, the latter want to rub shoulders with the greats.
Peoople is, together with Blabla, one of the first startups to join Wayra X – Telefónica’s new innovation fund. Its objective, in addition to financing to continue growing, is to join the productive structure of the company.
The recommendation algorithms of streaming platforms have not been the quintessence either
Before the arrival of the telco, Peoople had already closed agreements with Planeta, The Venture City or Gate 93, among others. However, it has been their agreement with Telefónica that has put them in a new way of business. On the one hand, Peoople will come pre-installed on all devices sold through the company. This, Pena explains, “will allow us to enter markets in which we still do not have operations in an organic way.” They will also participate in what has become known as the Nueva Telefónica. Through the Living Apps, Movistar service recommenders, Peoople will work side by side with the virtual assistant Aura to advise content within Movistar Plus.
Taking advantage of the structure of recommendations that they already use within their application, Peoople wants to transfer that to Movistar; In the world of recommendations, it would be a turn of the screw and of business. “The ultimate goal of the project is that with the voice assistant you can interact with content and in a way how we communicate. What Peoople does is facilitate decision-making through recommendations from acquaintances,” they explain.
The truth is that Aura has gone through her pluses and minuses when it comes to artificial intelligence, but the recommendation algorithms of streaming platforms have not been the quintessence either. After all, their exercise is based on what is seen, but not on real tastes. In this sense, for Pena this does not mean taking Aura out of the way, only complementing her activity: “we do not compete directly for the same knowledge. What we do is provide an alternative very based on something that right now there is not, which is opinion Of my friends”. Because there is life beyond the world of influencers.
The article When recommendations became more than profitable business and beyond influencers was published in Explica.co.