TheAmplify Bets On Instagram

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Justin-RezvaniVendors are racing to offer advertising solutions for Instagram, which recently struck a multimillion-dollar ad deal with Omnicom.

One such company is Culver City, Calif.-based startup theAmplify. The 11-employee firm pegs itself as an "Instagram marketing agency." AdExchanger spoke with President Justin Rezvani.

AdExchanger: What problem are you trying to solve?

JUSTIN REZVANI: We want to bring scalable, targeted solutions for reaching audiences on Instagram. The way we do that is we have an algorithm that analyzes about 1,000 data points that includes the content you share and the accounts and audiences you engage with to find influencers. We also segment the audiences that follow an influencer based on entertainment, art, travel, comedy, health and fitness and literature, to name a few.

Can you give me an example of a campaign that you applied the algorithm to?

We did a campaign for Redbox, which was our first campaign after we launched in January. We were targeting users interested in entertainment content, particularly families. We developed a photo contest where people can share memories of what the holidays mean to them using a hashtag, which we sent to influencers. Within two days of the campaign, we reached 3.4 million people and 174 photos were created.

How many influencers does theAmplify reach out to for a typical campaign and what is the criteria?

It depends on the goals of the campaign. On previous campaigns we've had anywhere from between 12 to 25 but we could easily do more, depending on campaign reach, engagement and media goals. It [the criteria] is mainly based on their follower to engagement ratio. Influencer selection and recruiting starts with the target audience and which influencers influence that audience. Then we look at follower to engagement ratio.

How do you quantify the value of your service? What KPIs do you use?

We look at actual engagement and for some campaigns we can track conversions. Engagement is the largest KPI that we look at, such as how many likes and comments are on a piece of content that is directly related to this particular campaign? When an influencer posts content about a brand, how many engagements were done on that piece of content and what was the lift in engagement? Our technology is measuring all those aspects of a particular campaign.

Are you thinking of automating your services?

We're working toward automation, but because everything we do is customized, automation is a bit farther away. We're a full-service Instagram marketing agency. So we have the ability to understand your audience as well as offer a creative team that develops strategies for brands on Instagram.

What attracted you to Instagram?

One of the main things is that being an expert in many things is very difficult. Because we're a small team – we're self-funded – we wanted to become experts in a certain platform and saw an opportunity in Instagram. Instagram also has a lot of growth and advertising opportunities to reach a very focused audience, plus it's one of the most beautiful mobile platforms. In terms of going forward, we are looking at opportunities to extend to other platforms, but our focus will be visual-based.

So is Pinterest on your road map?

Absolutely. But we want to make sure that everything we do is data-driven. For example, there's a lack of APIs that are available on Pinterest and some other social platforms. So until they're available and we can have data to back up what we're doing, we can't move into a platform.

How does what you do compare to other native ad vendors or anyone else who would build an Instagram campaign?

For us it's scale. We can reach about 70 million users on the platform per day and typically we're launching campaigns that have 50 to 60 pieces of custom creative within 24 hours. We've also built a real-time dashboard that allows brands to see the transparency of our campaigns.

Do you divide your results between mobile and desktop campaigns?

Not really, since the desktop version of Instagram is about .01% of usage, so many don't consider Instagram a desktop solution at all.

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