TapInfluence Rewires Its Influencer Network To Boost Existing Content
Company sees its new TapFire service as the “first influencer distribution channel” and as a competitor to content recommenders Outbrain and Taboola.
TapInfluence boasts that it has the most automated influencer marketing platform out there, matching brands who want to create viral content with social media influencers who can share their videos or tweets about a new toothpaste with their followers.
Today, the Boulder, Colorado-based company has a new target. It is announcing TapFire, an automated service whose ambition is to compete with such content recommendation services as Outbrain and Taboola. TapFire, the company said, is “the first influencer distribution channel.”
Unless you never surf the Web, you’ve frequently encountered Outbrain and Taboola in those “You might also be interested in … ” blocks of suggested additional content at the ends of articles on many publishers’ websites.
The idea behind the new TapFire is that, instead of using websites to promote existing content as Outbrain and Taboola do, brands can distribute such material through TapInfluence’s network of thousands of social influencers.
A phone maker, for example, might need to promote a new smartphone. If it wants to use the regular TapInfluence network, called TapFusion, it pays a flat fee and then creates a written brief describing what kind of content it is looking to have created, the parameters of the campaign, and so on.
The TapFusion platform selects appropriate influencers and makes the brief available to them. If they respond affirmatively, the brand knows their pay rates and selects the influencers it wants. These selectees then create videos or text posts about how much they like the smartphone, following appropriate Federal Trade Commission guidelines for letting users know they are being paid.
The idea for TapFire arose, cofounder and chief product officer Rustin Banks told me, because client companies started asking, “Don’t you have a way to boost existing content?”
Let’s say the phone maker has already created promotional videos or written posts and wants them distributed widely.
TapFire has two tiers. In the first, the brand feeds the platform multiple variations of existing content. The engine will analyze the content, and based on what has worked on other occasions, determines a “Viral Coefficient” for each piece to reflect its inherent shareability. It picks the three with the highest Coefficient and sends them to small groups of influencers who, for a fee, share them with their followers as a comparison test.
The best-performing content is chosen, as well as such factors as the best time and the best social networks for sharing, and the campaign moves to the second tier.
Such automated Darwinian contests to find the best-performing material are becoming more commonly available for marketers. For instance, today a startup called RevJet is releasing its Creative Side Platform, which is built around an automated testing and winnowing of the best-performing ads.
In the second tier, TapFire selects a group of the most appropriate influencers, who have set fees for such distribution, generally ranging from $50 to $150 per campaign.
The content chosen in the first tier is then made available to agreeing influencers, who share it with their followers on Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest. The brand pays a cost per click, which TapInfluence said averages between 60 cents and a dollar, up to a set maximum.
[pullquote] “We see ourselves as becoming a premium content distribution channel,” cofounder Rustin Banks said. [/pullquote]
Banks noted that usually, the funds for this kind of content boosting come out of marketers’ distribution budgets, which are often separate from influencer marketing budgets.
TapInfluence said that about two dozen paid boost campaigns have been conducted during TapFire’s six-month beta phase, resulting in more than 350,000 clicks on content. It claims an average 200 percent return on investment, compared to ads circulating similar content.
Banks said that content shared by an influencer, whose opinion interests their followers, is “twice as likely” to see user action like watching a video or making a purchase than content distributed through Outbrain or Taboola.
Other influencer networks, he said, might work with affiliates — where influencers post a link and get a referral fee if a sale is made — but no others are similarly boosting existing content.
“We see ourselves as becoming a premium content distribution channel,” he said, especially since content distributed this way is not susceptible to ad blocking, while Outbrain or Taboola can be.