WhoSay Uses Data To Unlock Influencer Marketing

WhoSay Influencer MarketingWhoSay is one of the more undefinable companies in the advertising and marketing landscape.

It’s a celebrity news site, a HootSuite-like social media platform for celebrities, and it also functions as an influencer marketing agency in that it accepts RFPs from brands, builds campaigns with celebrity spokespeople and distributes those campaigns using the power of its first-party data.

Its 2,000-strong pool of celebrity talent includes top-billed stars like Channing Tatum, Eva Longoria and Matthew McConaughey.

That level of talent shouldn’t be too surprising, given that WhoSay originated in 2010 from talent agency CAA, as a way to give celebrities more control over their social followings.

Its roster of household names and A-list stars also sets it apart from other influencer marketing companies, who tend to rely on Vine or YouTube personalities. Yes, WhoSay will sign a web star – but only after that star gets to the level where he or she can be represented by CAA or another major talent agency.

The company is also different in the way it harnesses user data, which comes from two places.

First, it tracks the engagement levels of its celebrities’ social media messages. Second, its site has 4.5 million registered users. These data sets allow WhoSay to learn how content performs well, and to align the right celebrity with the right product to appeal to a particular fan.

For instance, during the last April Fool’s Day, Chevy put together an inspirational campaign and wanted to find members of WhoSay’s audience who overindexed in the category of American cars. WhoSay signed actors Alec Baldwin, Olivia Wilde, Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder to masquerade as substitute professors, pranking unsuspecting college students.

After those celebrities posted videos of the prank to their social media accounts using the WhoSay tool, the technology amplified the campaign across still more social channels.

WhoSay did not provide information on the campaign’s effectiveness, but it will generally share results that break down performance on a CPM basis and cost-per-engagement basis.

“We used the WhoSay first-party fan data to put it in front of fans in their natural habitat, the social feed,” said company CRO Rob Gregory. Chevy also had the option of using the celebrity-created content across its own channels.

“Influencer marketing is becoming a line item in product launches,” Gregory said. “CMOs need to tell their bosses they have an influencer marketing strategy.”

WhoSay insists influencer marketing is a more viable revenue strategy than selling ads across a media property.

“The business has changed. It’s not about making people go into a room, and ads from WhoSay are on the wall,” Gregory said.

Since late last year, WhoSay’s business has picked up, in part due to expanded buyer interest. “More brands want to do it, and budgets are growing,” Gregory said.

WhoSay has written $3 million in checks to celebrities in the past six months, which has fueled interest among stars who can earn five or six figures for a few Instagram posts or branded videos.

One agency at a large holding company, which Gregory declined to name, is doing a content upfront to secure better media rates and get a first crack at talent.

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