Way back in the day, like a couple of years ago, a variety of influencer marketing platforms started appearing everywhere. Many of them marketed themselves with the promise that you could “Say goodbye to spreadsheets!”—the marketers tool of choice when it came to organizing their influencer operations. The funny thing about that is, most of those companies made software with features that went way beyond the need to simply organise their influencers.
The options were plentiful, but in a way they were limiting, too. You could say goodbye to spreadsheets and find new influencers; say goodbye to spreadsheets and manage campaigns; say goodbye to spreadsheets and manage relationships; say goodbye to spreadsheets and do any or all of these things. One thing companies could not do—or at least not do elegantly—was to simply say goodbye to spreadsheets. So that left a lot of people out in the cold who honestly just needed something better than spreadsheets.
Well, it took a few years to find that simple little system that didn’t try to do too much, but it’s here—and it’s called Stellar (if the name at the top of this review wasn’t enough of a giveaway). Founded in 2015 by CEO Cathy Pill and CMO Sarah Levin, Stellar is, at its heart, a productivity app. You know those neat little apps you download on your phone that help you organize your life in a way that makes everything so much easier? Stellar’s like that, except you can use it to as the foundation for multi-million dollar influencer marketing campaigns.
Full disclosure: Stellar actually does more than just replace your spreadsheets, too. It isn’t a purpose-built unitasker, but it also doesn’t stray outside its core use. That is, the other benefits you get out of using the platform are natural extensions of its organizational function. Meaning, if you’re going to manage and organise your influencers effectively, you’ll need to pull their content and engagement, too. And while you’re getting that, you might as well put it to some good use, which is exactly what Pill and Levin made sure to do.
Okay, let's cut to the chase. Right out the gate, they're throwing a free plan at you. And it's genuinely free—forever. The catch? You're capped at managing three influencers. But hey, it's a snazzy way to dip your toes into the Stellar waters and see if it's the right vibe for you. And if you're looking to save anywhere from 25 to an infinite number of profiles, they’ve got you.
Stellar's platform? Think of it as a Swiss army knife of influencer management. It's as bendy as you need it to be—fitting snugly into any budget you set. They’ve diced it up into four neat modules, which, by the way, can play solo or jam together. Your pick. Here's the quick rundown:
- Discovery: Search engine to simply and quickly find an influencer according to your criteria/filters. It's like a Google search, but for influencers. Filter, find, and fawn over choices across Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok.
- Influencers: Your database of influencers you want to analyze and follow. Peek into stats, audience vibes, their latest collabs, and even scout out influencers who are pretty much their doppelgangers.
- Projects: Campaign project management. From drafting briefs to tracking deliverables, it’s like mission control for your influencer campaigns.
- Reports: Campaign data (Impression, EMV, Likes, engagement, audience...) & automatic saving of all content including Instagram stories and even after 24 hours.2 types of plans are available:
- A monthly plan with no commitment starting at 98€.
- An annual plan on demand allowing a 12% discount.
Feeling fancy? Stellar's gone above and beyond with a new add-on that’s all about deep-diving into comment analysis. This add-on tracks and analyzes the terms, mentions and emojis used by audiences in the comments on the influencer's campaign posts, to detect audience sentiments and purchase intent. So, if you've subscribed to the Reports module, you can directly purchase analysis packs that are added to this module in the application.
At its core, the platform’s goal is replacing those old spreadsheets—complicated eye-sores with a bunch of data populating cells. When you login to Stellar, there’s no struggle to make sense of what you’re seeing. There are four different sections of the platform to navigate to : Discovery, Influencers, Projects, Reports. Whichever one you choose to go to, there’s a link to a video tutorial demonstrating how to use that particular section. It really couldn’t be easier to get your groundings here.
The first section, Discovery, is where you can find - you guessed it - new influencers. Stellar’s catalogue includes more than 15M+ influencers, across +50 countries, where you can easily select the perfect ones with filters and criterias. If you’re already working with influencers and maintaining a “database” of them in Excel, you can bulk import the whole group using CSV or XLS files. If you’re adding them as you find them, you can just type in their @username, and Stellar shows you all their social accounts. Stellar provides also a browser extension so you can quickly add the new profiles right from their pages. Once you've gone back to the platform, you'll see these new profiles waiting for you. With these different possibilities, you can easily find and follow the publications of all your influencers.
Within the platform, entering a name gets you all of their social profiles. Choose any or all of them, click a button and you’re done. Much of their data will be instantly available to view, including stats on their total social reach and engagement rate. The influencer profile is an excellent resource for information on your influencers. You’ll get a mini feed for each of their accounts, showing you recent content, including Stories. Click on Stats for detailed performance metrics, along with their most used hashtags for the last 30 days and other accounts they mention, and past collaborations.
You can dive even deeper on their Instagram, TikTok and YouTube audience, getting loads of useful information out of it. There’s the standard age/gender/location breakdowns, but also details on the audience’s other interests, a very useful analysis on the audience quality and fraud detection.
Once you’ve got your influencers all added in, you can then start to organize them into groups. Those groups can be anything you want them to be—by topic, or audience, or campaign, or all of them—it’s super flexible. You add influencer to groups in one of two ways. If you’re in the Influencers section, you can bulk select all the influencers you want in a group, then add them with a single click of a button. You can also add influencers to groups in the Groups section (naturally), and here the process is smoother: you can add multiple influencers to a group in the same time.
The final section, Reports, is what seals the deal in favor of Stellar. You’ll primarily run reports on your own campaigns, but there’s nothing to stop you from monitoring your competitors, too. That could be useful intel in developing your own strategies. To create a report, you tell the platform which influencer group you want to include, give it a start and end date, select which social channels you want to monitor, tell it which hashtags or mentions to look for, and it starts collecting data. If you’re trying to drive clicks to a URL as part of your campaign, you can add it in here, too. You’ll then be able to see which influencers were the most successful at driving traffic, conversions and return on investment.
The reports you get are very thorough. One section shows you top level metrics of a campaign: total reach and engagement, the number of influencers, total number of posts, clicks—there’s a lot here.
You can drill down to each influencer, as well, seeing individual performance stats. Who’s not worth the money you spent? Who’s your best ambassador? These are great questions to ask, and you’ll get these answers. Additionally, Stellar also aggregates every post made for your campaign, so you can see exactly what’s out there. Every picture, video, and story is right there for you to see, and you can download any of them to save forever. You can also export all the data, or share the live report with anyone. These are things you cannot do with a spreadsheet.
What’s best about Stellar is that it’s not trying to be more than it should be, but ends being that anyway. The platform exists to organise all your influencers and campaigns into a single platform. Of course you’d want to get all the associated data with that, too, so it makes sense for Stellar to include that with each profile. By adding the campaign reporting feature, you’re going from management to analytics, from forecasting to measuring performances. By making the reports so easy to read (and to just look at!), the result is nothing short of—well, stellar.