INTERVIEW: Influencer marketing has matured a lot in the region

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DUBAI: AnyMind Group, a brand activation platform for influencers, marketers, publishers and businesses, recently announced new updates to its influencer marketing platform, AnyTag, which she launched earlier this year.

Since launching the AnyTag platform for marketers and the AnyCreator mobile app for influencers in the Middle East and North Africa region, the company has grown significantly with a base of current data from over 5,000 influencers in 11 countries, as well as partner agencies and marketers, including Pizza Hut. and Talabat.

New features in AnyTag include automated recommendations from similar influencers via lookalike modeling of an influencer content, detecting brands an influencer has worked with in the past, and identifying and viewing the hashtags they have. an influencer frequently uses.

AnyTag also has a social media analytics module that allows users to track key metrics across a brand’s own social media channels, as well as competitor analysis, hashtag analysis and interaction analysis to identify the performance of a brand’s mentioned and tagged posts by social media users.

Arab News spoke with Maha Mahdy, Head of AnyTag for AnyMind Group in the MENA region, to discuss the evolution of influencer marketing from the days of YouTube and Facebook to Snapchat and TikTok.

Maha Mahdy, Head of AnyTag for AnyMind Group in the MENA region. (Provided)

Influencer marketing has been around for a while. How has it changed and where is it today?

Over the past two years, influencer marketing has grown in popularity; partly because there were a lot of budgets to spend, which would otherwise have been spent on things like events and so on, that were canceled.

There has also been a huge change in how influencer marketing works over the past couple of years as everyone has adjusted to the new normal. So we’ve seen people try out different platforms and different topics. For example, travel influencers were no longer traveling, so they were talking about other topics such as fitness.

With this shift in platforms, formats, and topics, brands began to take the plunge to see if there were new ways of working with influencers that didn’t necessarily match the brand before.

One of the coolest things about influencer marketing in the region is that it has matured a lot, both from a customer and influencer perspective.

What does this maturity look like for customers and how is it reflected in marketing?

If the target audience wants something, you have to find a way to give it to them and put your brand in the message. And so the brands started to let go of the reins; they’ve held up for the past five years because it’s so difficult to trust someone outside of the organization to communicate on your behalf.

But, it’s about finding that sweet spot – how can I, as a brand, give them direction (to influencers) but then let them create the content? It’s a huge maturity for a brand.

As marketers maintain this balance between their own corporate guidelines and the creative freedom of influencers, what are some things they should keep in mind when working with influencers?

One of the key things is to let go of the reins a bit. Another thing you might think is pretty basic, but still so important is choosing the right influencer – choosing the right influencer to work with is so crucial.

A lot of brands are still looking at an influencer subscriber count, and frankly, that doesn’t give you much of what an influencer can do for you. That’s why we have a data-driven, multi-point approach through the AnyTag platform where we look at everything from influencer engagement metrics to demographics.

We also need a brand synergy. When people see this person talking about your brand, does it make sense or does it seem forced? We also take a look at things like their collaboration history, which indicates whether they have worked with competitors or disparaged the brand in the past.

As for the platform side of influencer marketing, how has that changed, mainly from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to now Snapchat and TikTok?

Choosing the right platform is one of the most important things when planning a campaign and it depends on the target audience. We’re also looking at the category, so, for example, when it comes to fashion, we know Instagram is a source of inspiration and inspiration; with the players, it’s YouTube.

The target audience and the category work hand in hand. So if I’m looking to target Gen Z, our first thought instantly is to explore TikTok. However, if I want to communicate with Saudi Moms, I have to integrate Snapchat, because these target groups live and breathe TikTok and Snapchat respectively.

Then there is also the format. Using the same examples, Gen Z and Saudi Moms both love fast content formats, so TikTok and Snapchat make sense compared to older millennials who would love a good 15 minute IGTV video on an interesting topic.

Is there one particular platform that outperforms the rest for influencer marketing?

Looking at the campaigns we’ve run on AnyTag, I can see a clear preference for Instagram in the MENA region. The reason is the ease of use of the platform, a very high level of data availability and the many content formats. Instagram has really won the game with content formats because it has everything from stories and photos to different video formats like Reels which is fast and IGTV which is long.

So Instagram has dominated the space but TikTok also consolidated its position last year and YouTube will always be a strong player for the MENA region as there are very strong tech and games influencers as well as children’s channels. , on the platform. In Saudi Arabia, however, I would rank Snapchat as high as Instagram, but that’s only in Saudi Arabia as we don’t see much demand for it outside the Kingdom.


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