Influence-Marketing on the New Frontier: The Transformation from Single Deals to Programmatic Buying

Pavel Medvedev


June 7, 2024

The worldwide influencer marketing industry is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $21 billion, with more growth expected over the next several years. Simultaneously, live streaming—whether on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, or other platforms—has surged, profoundly changing content consumption habits and giving influencers new opportunities to entertain and engage their audiences.

In a podcast with the eMarketing Association, Pasha Medvedev, Co-Founder of Uplify, and Ilana Abrahams Nolte, Uplify advisor, shared insights on how brands can connect with niche audiences at scale. They discussed the workings of their system and touched on influencer marketing best practices with host Kevin Lee.

Dream and Solution: Can Influence-Marketing be Both Authentic and Scalable?

“Early in my career, I noticed a recurring problem: How could brands reach massive audiences in an engaging way that didn't feel like just another disruptive ad? Traditional platforms like YouTube offered scale but lacked authenticity, while direct deals with creators were genuine but hard to scale,” said Pasha Medvedev.

“I had a dream—a vision of a platform that combined the best of both worlds. A place where brands could access highly engaged influencer audiences at scale, with transparent metrics, and reach them with authentic, non-disruptive formats embedded right into the content. That dream became Uplify. We built an AI-powered platform that lets brands and agencies deliver ads directly to influencers' content in a programmatic way. It's like programmatic advertising, but with the power of influencers at its core.”

Micro, Mid, Macro-Creators: How Brands Can Mix Them for Best Benefits

The choice of influencers depends on the goals of the brand. Micro-influencers often have a stronger connection with their niche communities and deliver good performance results. In fact, 80% of marketers consider influencer marketing a vital part of their media mix.

Creators are emerging as a powerful media channel, and we envision many solutions that combine reach and scale, such as those involving macro-creators like Kim Kardashian, with the efficiency of programmatic advertising. One trend for brands is the opportunity to engage with a diverse portfolio of influencers rather than just 2-5 per campaign. With Uplify, we can use a mix of nano, micro-influencers, and celebrities in one campaign to achieve scale and engagement.

We view influencers as media publishers. Uplify is essential for marketers struggling to balance outreach and performance. Our combination of influencers who engage their audience with a programmatic component makes it more effective for brands.

How Uplify Ensures Authentic Branded Content Placement Within Creators’ Organic Posts

The traditional model of branded content or disruptive pre-roll ads often feels inauthentic and disconnected from the immersive experience audiences desire. Uplify envisioned a solution combining the reach and efficiency of programmatic advertising with the authenticity and engagement of influencer marketing. Our platform enables brands to target specific creators based on audience demographics, interests, and engagement metrics. Instead of disruptive ads, we seamlessly integrate brand messages into the creator's content in a way that feels natural and organic.

For the launch of "Rings of Power," we partnered with popular fantasy book reviewers and podcasters on YouTube, embedding subtle visual cues and thematic mentions of the show within their videos. This approach allowed us to reach a highly targeted audience already invested in the fantasy world, resulting in significantly higher engagement and click-through rates compared to traditional advertising methods. The success of this campaign and others like it demonstrates the power of our programmatic influencer model.

How Uplify Uses AI to Help Brands Target Authentic Creators with Aligned Values

Creators have their own brand, and Uplify platform not only benefits brands but also empowers creators to monetize their content authentically and in alignment with their values. We provide creators with tools to manage their ad inventory, set their rates, and maintain control over their brand. Our AI-powered platform uses programmatic delivery to identify activation data, employ dynamic creative, and provide reporting and analytics. It also adapts creatives to each creator for authentic posting.

Building a Sustainable Ecosystem

Uplify is more than just a technology platform; it's a catalyst for the evolution of influencer marketing. We are building a sustainable ecosystem that benefits brands, creators, and consumers alike, ushering in a new era of authenticity, personalization, and engagement.

For more insights, check out the video podcast with Kevin Lee.

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