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Startup HyPR Scores $5 Million, Unveils Influencer Search Engine And Readies “Programmatic” Marketplace That Vets Everyone
Company intends for its technology to examine every public social account worldwide to locate ones with most followers.
“Everybody is an influencer.”
Gil Eyal, founder and CEO of startup HyPR, meant that everyone has influenced someone in some way. But the influencer marketing platform and search engine that his company is rolling out — and which today is announcing a $5 million seed round — could let anyone become a paid influencer hired to wax enthusiastic about a new movie or a new toothpaste.
Instead, HyPR says it is introducing programmatic screening, buying and selling into influencer-land. If so, it could turbocharge the buying and selling of social influence in ways similar to how the introduction of programmatic technology transformed digital advertising.
In Eyal’s usage, “programmatic” includes the use of machine intelligence to scan every publicly available social account in the world, looking for all users with 10,000 or more followers. He acknowledged that the follower threshold was arbitrary and could be much lower if so desired.
The company says that its marketplace — now in a closed alpha phase — has about 300,000 social influencers in its database, not all of whom have actually signed up. By contrast, HyPR says that competitor TapInfluence houses about 25,000.
Eyal estimates that when this winnowing is complete, there will be “several million” social denizens with 10,000+ followers who will become part of his search engine’s and marketplace’s database. Participating advertisers can then pitch those influencers for their campaigns.
But HyPR’s programmatic technology is not limited to scouring the social landscape for the most visible inhabitants. It also can sample the followers of a given influencer, with the intention of determining their characteristics.
Eyal gives the possible use case of a marketer who wants to reach 18-to-34-year-olds in the US to promote a new product. The marketer might want to approach celebrity Kim Kardashian West to share and say something nice about the product for her 50 million followers on Instagram.
But HyPR’s search engine, having sampled those followers, might determine that 70 percent live outside the US, making this effort questionable. It does this by matching the sample against public social accounts and other data, which Eyal says returns aggregate analysis but not personally identifiable info. The search engine launched an open beta a few weeks ago.
Using the analysis of followers, HyPR’s marketplace intends to programmatically target campaigns by more accurate segments. So a campaign to reach 18-to-34-year-olds in the US, for instance, might choose instead to work with 5,000 influencers whose average of 10,000 followers each better matches the targeted demographic.
Eyal sees online reputation monitor Klout as a kind of competitor in the influencer search space, although he pointed out that his company’s is based on statistics about followers and such, and not estimates of factors like reputation. Marketplace competitors, he said, include TapInfluence, in that both appear to be in a race to see whose influencer marketing platform will be more computer-driven.
“Ours will be smarter,” Eyal told me, adding that it will be able to better predict results because it will have swept the planet for influencers and then surveyed their followers.
One key question is whether HyPR’s purported firepower will show up in results. Eyal said that initial testing of the marketplace has included one campaign where app install prices dropped to about a tenth of their original price.
Another question is whether we have now entered the age when the entire public population of social mediadom — well over two billion, including Facebook — becomes potential targets as social influencers or influencees. Or whether your news feed will someday soon be flooded with paeans to a new toothpaste or a new movie from people you admired.
Eyal says he doesn’t want that scenario, even if his company’s technology is driving in that direction. It won’t be worth most individuals’ time to pitch a new product for $20, he said, or for advertisers to flood the socialsphere with indiscriminate campaigns.
Possibly. It’s also possible, once programmatic influencer marketing really catches on, that the next big wave of ad blockers will filter the posts of all your friends.
The seed round was led by Edgewater Capital, with participation from Silvertech Ventures, Star Farm, Klingenstein Fields and angel investors.