Below is our recent interview with Jim Tobin, President of Carusele:
Q: For those who haven’t heard of it, what is the best way to describe Carusele?
A: We think of ourselves as an influencer marketing agency that focuses relentlessly on driving real business results for our clients. Most companies simply pair influencers and brands and ensure the influencers produce their content, which isn’t that difficult to do.
For us, we want to go further and figure out exactly which pieces of that influencer content are working. And then we focus on making sure that high-performing content gets in front of the exact audience that is most likely to be interested in it.
Q: You’ve recently announced the release of enhanced rating system that provides quality assurance for brands on the audience makeup of influencers being considered for a given program; could you tell us something more?
A: Our qStack system is designed to let brands know, at a glance, if the influencers being considered have a quality audience. We make sure the influencer’s audience is real, we make sure they get good engagement from that audience and we look to see if their accounts are growing.
What a lot of people forget is that influencer marketing is not about reach. It’s about ideas that inspire. And the starting point for that is reaching an audience that can be inspired.
qStack complements our other algorithms, cStack, which stack ranks every piece of content in a given campaign based on performance, and iStack, which stack ranks each influencer based on their performance.
It’s all part of our larger effort to make sure that we treat each component of the influencer marketing puzzle as a piece that can be optimized.
Q: What’s wrong with traditional influencer marketing? How is your approach better?
A: Traditional influencer marketing takes a “spray and pray” approach in which brands and their agencies hope that the right people see the right content and take the right buying actions. It’s not only difficult to drive results that way, but it’s even harder to measure those results. Because of that, 75% of marketers surveyed say they have trouble measuring the ROI of influencer marketing programs.
We’re starting with the question, “How will we know if this is working?” and by doing that, we’ve reverse engineered a process to ensure that a) it works and b) we can see it working.
But beyond that, we’ve also accepted the fact that every piece of influencer content is not magically successful. If that’s true, then you need a system to not only identify the best performing content, but then amplify that content to drive results.
Q: Who are your clients and what are some of the key challenges you’re helping them solve?
A: We work with well-known consumer brandsin beauty, lifestyle, cause, entertainment, food and beverage, retail and consumer packaged goods. Our method works well for consumer brands, but most of what we do can’t be replicated for B2B. There are some similarities that could be leveraged by B2B marketers, but that’s not our focus at Carusele.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We consider Carusele a work-in-progress and one of our core values is “Always Learning.” The industry itself is constantly evolving. Just recently, Instagram started hiding public like counts in the United States, but there are changes every week. So,while we’ll adapt to the changes, our larger vision in doing so is making sure we’re doing things that really work for our clients.
The nice thing is that we have case study after case study in which we’ve been able to measure real sales lift from our programs, either at a retailer or online. As the industry matures, we’ll adapt in ways consistent with that mantra of driving sales for our clients. As we continue to be successful in that area, we’ll continue to be successful as a company.