If you’ve ever wondered why celebrities are constantly posting back-to-back selfies on Instagram and Facebook, the answer is, more often than not, of course, money. In fact, it wouldn’t shock anyone to say that the Kardashians are filling their pockets from sponsored content, which to put a number on it, makes up 25 percent of their total income, according to a report by UK’s Glamour Magazine.
Aiming to facilitate connections between brand and ‘influencer’ in the social media market, startups such as HooZu, Tribe and Hypertape have emerged looking to take their slice of the pie.
Another in the space is Perth’s Zora Tech, a startup which is taking the influencer-brand relationship in a different direction through a social enterprise model and a focus on small to medium businesses (SMBs).
Through MYN, a Google Chrome plugin, the startup allows social media content creators to “tag” products in their social media videos to connect them to a product page on a brand’s website, gaining cash each time a product link is clicked.
Different to existing influencer platforms, however, the average social media follower is also able to participate in the brand relationship, gaining a portion of a click-fee if they tag product on another’s social video. It currently works across major video platforms including YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
With the MYN plugin, viewers can view product tags on a video, visualised through small dots overlaying a video to point out each product, and are able to see a product’s name, price and image preview by clicking to open a small sidebar tab.
Products link directly a brand’s point of sale page, meaning viewers are able to shop for the items they see online while watching content.
Buying the products shown in media content idea was precisely where the idea for MYN came from, after one of the startup’s cofounders, Callum Arnold, wanted to buy a pair of sunglasses worn by a character in the TV show Suits.
Finding that there wasn’t a digital solution to view the products in a video beyond sponsored links, Callum and his three brothers, Kyle, Evan, and Justin banded together to develop a product that will allow users to “immediately consume” what they see.
Also in the minds of the brothers was finding a way to support SMBs who couldn’t afford the generally costly fees – up to US$250,000 if your last name is ‘Kardashian’ – involved with using mainstream social influencer services.
“You could tag a product in, say, an American Youtube video to a local Perth retailer, which lets them sell their product and gain recognition to the right customer all over the globe, who is much more likely to be interested in the product, so it’s very targeted,” said Kyle.
For a brand, Kyle said MYN functions similarly to Google adwords’ pay-per-click model, although at a cheaper cost, with a small, flat-rate clip split between the tagger and the business.
“When a product is tagged, they’re assigned to a specific brand or retailer, so when they do come in and create their own account they can control the tags,” he explained.
Brands are only charged once they sign up to the platform, and are able to “control” or moderate tags through a specially designed desktop app. This desktop “dashboard” also shows a set of analytics for the brand to visualise, while allowing them access to supply and track sponsored tags on videos.
Content creators who sign up are also granted access to the desktop platform, and are able to connect their various social channels to track which tags are on their videos, the progress of any sponsored tags, and remove tags that link to incorrect products.
As for the viewer, once the plugin is downloaded, they create an account before beginning to tag products, which first has to be verified by the content creator and brand.
“Tags are ranked in a hierarchy system, so the tags with the most links will appear at the top. Users can report incorrect links, while out of stock products will be marked,” explained Kyle.
Then, any cash gained from successful clicks is then added to their account’s digital wallet, which can be cashed out at any time. As an alternative to shopping through viewing content, Kyle added that the startup has also developed a free app to accompany their web plugin.
“They can search through this online store using search tags to narrow down products, so they can actually see a list of products used by influencers. They can see a quick preview of where the product is tagged in the video, or actually view the entire videos. So it’s essentially video discovery through product discovery,” he said.
Having entered the market with an initial MVP early last year, MYN launched its full version early this month following the raise of a seed funding round.
Image: Kyle, Evan & Justin Arnold. Source: Supplied.