Services Offered: Influencer Discovery
It’s no secret that Instagram has become the most popular social channel for businesses. Influence marketers often talk about reach and engagement—by those metrics, Instagram is the biggest influencer in the industry. Statistics don’t lie.
Well, they can, but these particular stats don’t. 500 millon users share 95 million posts per day, but more staggering that that is the 4.2 billion likes per day on the platform. Users are engaged, and businesses want in. Increasingly, those businesses are sidestepping paid ads through Instagram in favor of influencer marketing campaigns. For marketers and brands, finding the best influencers on Instagram became problem number one.
This is where companies like InfluencerDB come in. There’s a clear opportunity in the influencer discovery space focused on Instagram, and the race is on to be the go-to platform serving that space. But that endeavour brings its own set of problems. Just because you focus on one social channel doesn’t mean you offer something competitors don’t. Search engines like Hypr and NeoReach don’t focus on Instagram, per se, but you can just filter your searches down to that channel. With either of those services, you’ll find the right influencers and get access to reams of useful data. To justify its existence, then, InfluencerDB needs to do at least one of these two things:
- Do things that competing discovery tools don’t do
- Provide data that competing tools don’t provide
It’s that second option where InfluencerDB scores the most points. The platform gives insights into an influencer’s audience in ways that competitors just don’t. But it also fails to provide the kind of insights many competitors already do. What I mean will become more clear in The Details, but for now it’s enough to say that InfluencerDB has the potential to offer real value to its customers—but they aren’t there yet.
Summary: Quick Jump Menu
Here’s something InfluencerDB does that it’s competitors don’t: it offers an affordable monthly fee. This makes sense, given the platform’s single-channel offering. But it also offers insight into who the target audience is. Their homepage lists notable customers like ASICS, Casio, and Lufthansa—but InfluencerDB’s sweet spot is likely far smaller than those. Small to medium sized companies who are just getting started with influencer marketing will love the platform’s low cost and focus on influencers with quality audiences. Large companies are likely getting their needs met elsewhere, though InfluencerDB’s low cost could make it a nice supplemental research tool for their Instagram influencers.
In any case, InfluencerDB structures their subscription plans by offering limited access to four key areas of the software’s use. The more you pay per month, the more access you get to Influencer Research, Influencer Analysis, Influencer Management, and Influencer Monitoring.
- Free — Includes 20 daily searches (Research), 3 daily influencer views (Analysis), 10 favorites (Management), and the last 7 days’ posting history for each influencer you view (Monitoring). This plan is basically for trial purposes, though influencers themselves can use it to monitor their own performance.
- Basic, €129/month — Includes 200 daily searches, list of engaged influencers (more on that in The Details), 100 monthly influencer views, 5 monthly target group analyses (again: more in the The Details), 100 favorites, and 30 days’ posting history.
- Standard, €349/month — Includes 400 daily searches, engaged influencers, 250 monthly influencer views, 15 target group analyses, 250 favorites, and 60 days posting history.
- Professional, €899/month — Includes 600 daily searches, engaged influencers, 750 monthly influencer views, 50 target group analyses, 750 favorites, 90 days’ posting history.
I’m just going to go ahead and say this: I don’t think they really thought through the pricing part of things. First, the free account gets you three influencer views daily. A view is counted when you’ve clicked a an influencer’s thumbnail to view her full profile on InfluencerDB. Three views a day gets you roughly 90 views per month, give or take. One level up, and you’re spending €129 to get 10 more views per month.
I know: you’re saying that the €129 also gets you more searches and audience research, among other things. But, in the Basic plan, you get 200 daily searches. That’s 6,000 searches a month. What good is it to have all those search credits if you can only view 100 of the results each month? If anything, influencer views should be a multiple of searches, not a fraction. Think about it:
I did a search on the platform for influencers in the Beauty category, and restricted the search to just Germany. That counted as two searches, by the way, because I used two filters. I’m left with a list of 379 potential influencers. I should be able to look at the profiles of all of them. Instead, InfluencerDB makes it so that it’ll take me four months (at 100 views per month) to properly research all the results from my very first query. But OK, let’s say that in my first month of researching, I look at my monthly maximum of 100 influencers. It stands to reason I’d want to know information about their audience, but that’s limited even more. If I want to know any data for their audiences I can only do that for five of my search results.
Frustratingly, the audience analysis data is Influencer’s big differentiator—it’s at the heart of why I say the platform has potential. Putting restrictions on its access may seem logical—but make those restrictions jibe with all the other features you’re offering. The way it’s set up now is a bit like if you sold your dog a license to play fetch, and then only pretended to throw the ball. He’ll chase it anyway, but that’s not the point of the game.
Let’s start here with InfluencerDB’s biggest selling point, which is the data you get on influencers’ audiences. Demographically speaking, the information is pretty lean: gender and location. But where it gets interesting is in InfluencerDB’s Audience Quality score. You can see this score as part of the Target Group Analysis—the most restricted-access feature on the platform.
There’s an overall grade that’s assigned, on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the best. But what is that telling you? Some pretty vital information, actually. It’s a measure of how much of their audience is made up of real, engaged people. The overall grade itself is just a ranking relative to other influencers on the platform. But you can see the breakdown of the audience quality, ranging from “Very Good” (verified engaged humans) to “Very Bad” (likely a bot or spam account), with a few degrees in between.
Much has been said about Instagram’s engagement rates surpassing all other social channels, but that’s an average, not a guarantee for every influencer. What good is a reach of 1 million followers if most of them are fake accounts? InfluencerDB’s Audience Quality score is like insurance for your marketing investment.
Along the same lines, you can also track the changes in an influencer’s follower size. This is another way to gauge the quality of the audience—and also the influencer. If you look back over the history and see steady growth over time, you can be assured that this is someone who’s creating loyalty among her followers. But if the growth is consolidated to isolated spikes of new followers, then this is someone who’s either automating a follow-for-follow campaign is outright buying followers. As influencer marketing becomes more lucrative, these are the kinds of things brands will have to watch out for. InfluencerDB’s inclusion of this kind of monitoring shows a keen understanding of the influencer marketing landscape.
Unfortunately, the rest of the platform falls a little short for my tastes. The user interface is drab and not entirely friendly—there are no “Back” buttons for navigating back to search results, and when doing Influencer Analysis it’s difficult to quickly know what page you’re looking at. When you’re looking at search results, you can’t quickly check off a bunch of influencers you’d like to add to your favorites list to review later. You have to click on each one individually, add them to the list, then go back to the search results (And this counts against your monthly allowance for influencer views. Go back and look at that same influencer again during a new session, and you’ve lost another view). And that “Favorites” list? You can use that, or create other lists with a different name, and that’s the entirety of the Influencer Management capabilities.
The problem with InfluencerDB isn’t necessarily the software itself. Sure, the interface could use a facelift—both cosmetically and practically—but there is some genuinely cool tech under the covers. Leveraging the user data the way they do in order to gain insight into an influencer (and potential collaborator) is some very clever stuff.
But their subscription model needs to change. Small businesses could benefit from the Basic plan’s price point, but only if they could actually use all of the features in equal measure. If I’ve got 100 influencer views per month, I want to see everything about those influencers.
Meanwhile, larger companies that are looking to scale their influencer marketing are going to be similarly frustrated by the limitations. Someone on the Standard plan, who wants to find 100 microinfluencers for a campaign can view up to 250 of them, but only get audience analysis for 15. That’s not helpful. Which is a shame, because this software has the potential to be just that.