Services Offered: Influencer Search & DiscoveryThird Party Analytics
Channels: Instagram, YouTube
In a way, the name “Popular Chips” perfectly encapsulates why influencer marketing has transformed digital marketing. In preparing for these reviews, I always start with a Google search to find out company details, press releases, and any other information the internet has to provide. But then I entered “popular chips” in the google search bar, and the results weren’t entirely helpful:
Of the eight websites Google linked to after that, four were related to snack food. The relevance of my results increased to 100% after I added in the phrase “influencer marketing,” but this still just demonstrates the pitfalls of relying on SEO to build brand awareness. First, I was directly searching for the name of a company I already knew. Several more generalised searches—influencer marketing solutions and influencer marketing analytics, for example—didn’t get me anywhere near the Popular Chips website. Add to this scenario Google’s ever-shifting rules on what their algorithm finds relevant and useful, and the constant push-and-pull to optimise your web presence with keywords and backlinks. It all becomes a kind of unpredictable and exhausting game, one which brands have very little control over.
Influencer marketing, of course, is far more suited to the task of building awareness and getting people excited about a brand or its product. As the first step in marketing to new audiences, we’ve seen how effective it can be in placing brand-messaging into the social feeds of millions of potential new customers. But exactly how effective can it be? While Google provides its own analytics suite so companies can measure the impact of their website in very precise detail, influencer marketing platforms have yet to perfect this part of the equation. At its most basic, platforms can track impressions (a fancy marketing word that means “useless interactions”) and engagement (another fancy word that means “possibly useful interactions”). Some platforms go deeper than that—audience demo- and psychographics, sentiment analysis, and sales tracking, to name a few. But none of these platforms go as deep as Popular Chips.
Founded in 2015 by Andrea Olivato and Sabrina Stefani, the company itself is a testament to the pair’s commitment to the intelligent use of data. Instead of setting up shop in Italy, where they’re from, or even in Europe, where the the culture is at least familiar. Instead, they took their idea to Singapore and started up there, because that’s what the data suggested makes sense. Southeast Asia is not only the fastest growing region for social media adoption, but it also has the most room to grow. The overall lower cost of living/doing business there probably doesn’t hurt, either. Finally, as Olivato noted in a recent interview, “there’s no better place to have the best business lunches of your life.”
Mee goreng and roti aside, what matters most about Popular Chips is its unmatched ability to parse and visualise truckloads of data that’s useful to marketers. You can see Olivato’s background coding for web analytics companies all over the place, and Stefani’s design and marketing experience is what helps all the data come alive in ways that are clever and practical.
Popular Chips Summary:
Like most SaaS platforms, Popular Chips offers different levels of subscription with more features unlocked the more you pay. Here, there are two levels with two chief differences between them: the different kinds of data analysis available, and the number of “tokens” you get for each level. The number of tokens you have determines the number of influencers you can run reports on simultaneously—each token gets you up to 13 reports for a single influencer.
It’s important to understand that having one token doesn’t mean you can only run reports for one influencer. It just means you can only run reports for one influencer at a time. With that said, here’s what the two plans look like:
- Pro, $570/month — Includes 1 token and unlimited access to: Influencer Search Engine, Competitor Benchmarking, Fake/Inactive Follower Analysis, Audience Demographic Analysis, and Content Analysis. It also includes limited access to Influencer Performance Comparisons, Influencer Audience Comparisons, Past Collaborations between Influencers and Competitors, and PDF Reporting & Data Exports. All historical data goes back as far as 1 year. With this plan, you can also purchase extra tokens at a price of $100 each.
- Premium, $1,450/month — Includes 5 tokens, unlimited access to everything listed above, as well as: Live Campaign Reports, Sentiment Analysis, Influencer Management, Social Listening, Custom Branded Reports, Unlimited Users, KPI Tracking, and Audience Overlap. Historical data goes back 2 years, and additional tokens can be purchased at $50 each.
Note: MNCs subscribing for at least 12 months, have access to unlimited tokens
So, now comes the hard part. Usually, I spend time in the Details giving a narrative overview of the platform and all that it does or doesn’t do. That’s particularly difficult in this situation given the very data-centric nature of Popular Chips. To paraphrase a quote that was maybe first said by Martin Mull, writing about data analysis is like dancing about architecture. For this reason, I’m going to mostly abandon the narrative approach and go over the highlights in list form:
- Influencer Discovery — Searching for influencers looks and feels much like on other platforms. You can specify categories/interests, minimums and maximums on followers, locations, and the demographics of the influencers’ audiences. The demographics search is far more precise than I’ve seen on other platforms: whereas most others let you select an age range or gender for the audience, Popular Chips lets you go further by adding in the minimum percentage for these. As in: 30% of the audience should be between 18 and 35, and at least 50% female.
Other things you can specify: average likes, average comments, the engagement rate, and the growth percentage of engagement and the total audience. Those last two are particularly unique: while you can find influencers on the rise with most platforms, you have to scroll through all the search results and manually find the ones whose stats match your desires. Here, you just tell the platform what you want, and it finds them for you.
When you do get your list of potential influencers, you’ll get easily be able to verify all these criteria with a clean and readable profile that focuses heavily on these data points. You’ll also be able to see at a glance the percentage of their audience that’s fake or inactive, and—bonus stat!—the best time to post content if you work with them (based on their past performances). And comparing influencers side-by-side helps you to understand the relative value of each search result.
- Location-specific metrics — It’s all well and good to know that, say, 59% of an influencer’s audience is in a country you’ve targeted. It’s much more valuable, though, to find out that their engagement rate is pretty low in that country, and that half their followers are inactive. Knowing this, you can avoid working with influencers whose global stats are impressive (but don’t tell the whole story).
- Sentiment Analysis — Again, this is something that other platforms do, but lacking the precision that Popular Chips. In general, Sentiment Analysis is important: a post can hundreds, or even thousands of comments, but what if most of them are from trolls? Or spam? Going even further, the Sentiment Analysis takes emojis into account—and can even contextualise them based on geography. Someone in the U.S. using the chicken emoji, for example, could just be referencing a chicken. In Southeast Asia, that same emoji is an insult.
- KPI and Benchmark Analysis — You don’t just get the full scope of analytics for past content—they also apply to the content influencers have created for you. When you’re creating campaigns, you also have the option to add in KPIs for performance, such as how many likes you want, or what your target is for the Cost per Engagement. Popular Chips can then measure these KPIs against your actual performance in an easy-to-read side-by-side comparison.
You wanted 10,000 likes but only got 7,500? You’ll see the percentage by which you fell short, in bold red type right under the metric. You aimed to pay five cents per engagement, and it only ended up costing you three? You’ll see the percentage by which you beat that goal in bold green type. Similarly, you’ll also see how the performance of your sponsored content stacks up against the influencer’s average, non-sponsored posts.
All of these features—and all the other ones I haven’t listed—exist to help marketers optimise their social strategies. If your campaign goes well, you’ll know why and can build of that success in the future. If you fall short of your KPIs, you’ll know instantly by how much—and have the data required to show you where things went wrong. And with Popular Chips’ management tools, you can easily manage and track every person you’re working with (and their content). You’ll get the clearest picture possible of whether an influencer was worth the money you paid her—and you’ll be able to know why, as well.
As you might imagine, as the person who reviews influencer marketing platforms for Influencer Marketing Hub, I get see and test a lot of software. At this point, I’ve seen quite a bit and it’s getting harder and harder to impress me. In that respect, Popular Chips caught me entirely off guard. I’ve covered a lot of ground in this review, and still don’t feel as if I’m close to having painted a complete picture.
Of all the features I did go over, the ones you should be most interested in now are the ones I didn’t even get to mention. Obviously, I don’t mean to diminish the value of what I wrote about. I just mean that to fully grasp what you can achieve with Popular Chips, you’ll have to see it first hand. By all means, request a demo and check it out for yourself. Then you’ll realise that for all I’ve written here, I may as well have been dancing about architecture. For the TL;DR crowd, you’ll have to scroll up to understand that reference. And as for the rest of you: don’t take my word for it. Go and try out the dance for yourselves.
Services Offered: Influencer Search & DiscoveryThird Party Analytics
Channels: Instagram, YouTube