With more advertisers hoping to tap into the high engagement and cachet offered by social media stars, Hearst Corp. is joining forces with video advertising technology platform Reelio to create new, highly targeted networks of online influencers, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.
The influencer networks are tailored for advertisers in categories endemic to Hearst publications in terms of typical content and audiences, streamlining the process for identifying social media partners and creating and distributing social media campaigns. Under the terms of the partnership, Hearst will be able to sell custom-produced videos featuring YouTube stars as part of larger campaigns including print and digital components. Influencers will also create editorial content for magazines like Cosmopolitan and Seventeen.
The new networks will serve to formalize some of the relationships and capabilities already employed by Hearst for ad hoc social media campaigns; for example: Cosmopolitan and Seventeen have already partnered with Reelio to identify dozens of YouTube influencers, who then created custom content on behalf of advertisers.
Hearst said that the Reelio partnership, giving marketers access to the ad tech firm’s dashboard, pricing and interfaces with social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter, will make it easier to scale up the business while maintaining the bespoke quality necessary for authentic executions.
Marketers are also coming to grips with return on investment from social influencer campaigns. Earlier this year a survey from Burst Media’s 2014 Influencer Marketing’s Benchmark Report found that influencer campaigns generated $6.85 in earned media value for every $1 of paid media.In another study by Zefr published in September, 60% of marketers said they will increase spend on influencer marketing in the coming year, and 22% said it is a top-ranked customer acquisition tool.