For years now, everyday bloggers, vloggers, and tweeters have been considered by brands as important marketing tools, becoming known as ‘social influencers’. Leveraging the power of these social influencers can spread a brand’s popularity and increase its national and global reach, but doing it properly can be difficult. As a result, a number of platforms have emerged looking to facilitate effective relationships between brands and influencers, and new player VAMP has decided to focus on the Instagram niche.
Launched by startup foundry Digital4ge, VAMP – or ‘Visual Amplifiers’ – is a digital influencer marketing service connecting brands with the biggest names on Instagram. It has created an end-to-end solution for brands, helping them to manage their influencer marketing campaigns through a payment platform and demographic product placement.
Cofounder Aaron Brooks said he and his team have built a new marketplace that opens up opportunities for talents to zero in on their marketplace and identify the channels best suited to their target audience. With 300 million monthly users, Instagram is looking increasingly attractive to brands and marketing agencies.
“Channels such as Instagram allow for creativity and variety in the content produced by influencers when they feel passionately about the product,” said Brooks.
“Brands are now looking for more different and effective ways of reaching their customers, and smart brands are leveraging highly influential channels such as Instagram, allowing for creativity and differentiation for their product.”
As well as managing a brand’s social media campaign, VAMP has created a platform that runs briefs, aggregates influencers and reports on campaign metrics. Their influencer marketing software helps develop a talent’s brand and business on Instagram. Current campaigns include the launch of a new coffee subscription for Toby’s Estate, which has taken the brand to a 262,911 reach on Instagram. Other campaigns include Pacifica Optical, Vittoria Coffee, UNIQLO and many more. Broad scale marketing strategies have increased these brands popularity among Instagram and allowed for creativity and differentiation of their products.
According to Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing Report 85 percent of marketers in Australia are planning to increase or maintain their spending focus on mobile applications and social media. Today it is estimated that adblocking is costing advertisers $22 billion, with consumers avoiding on-screen ads, auto playing videos and pop-ups.
Brooks said, “Due to this recent decline in traditional advertising and ad blocking on the rise and costing companies in lost sales, brands have had to shift into new channels to get viewership with their target audience. Influencer marketing is the perfect channel as it’s a way to engage their target audience through influencers who align to their brand.”
Of course, with the influencer market emerging as the perfect channel to engage with social media users to increase products sales and brand reach, VAMP is not the first company to provide this service. The digital influencer space is quite cluttered with global players like Exposely, InstaBrand, Influicity, Snapfluence, Famebit fighting for the billion dollar pool of money. Locally, media personality Jules Lund launched TRIBE in September this year, a micro-endorsement platform that connects brands with ‘everyday influencers.’ The startup reported a $750,000 raise in seed funding from heavy hitters in the media space. Australian startup FanFuel too is already endorsed by large Australian media companies and has made a reasonable dent in the marketplace by focusing on athletes as influencers.
In light of this, VAMP is cornering a niche marketplace through their focus on Instagram and has created a point of difference from these already established agencies, who spread their advertising across a range of social media channels. Still, with more startups exploring the idea of micro-endorsement via social media channels, VAMP will have their work cut out for them if they wish to capitalise on their verticals.
After an official launch in September this year, VAMP has successfully raised a “substantial” amount of funding in a series A round with Digital4ge. Before the raise Brooks and his team were selling into brands and agencies to secure monthly campaigns. VAMP operates on a campaign basis that is defined by viewer reach and was initially focussed on fashion and Fast Moving Consumer Goods verticals (FMCG). In the new year the company will continue to grow their foothold in the Australian marketplace across more verticals.
“We’ve got some exciting campaigns in new verticals lined up for next year now that we are gaining traction and influencer marketing is becoming more popular,” said Brooks.
“We will be hiring and growing early in the year to solidify our position in this emerging market. We also have technology in development we are very excited to release in the first half of next year.”
Image: Aaron Brooks. Source: Supplied