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Podcast with Brett Garfinkel: Bots, Fake Influencers, Influencer Marketing, Fraud Detection, Brand Watch, Branding

The Socialfix Kickass Content Team

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Terry Tateossian (00:40):

So on today’s episode, we have Brett Garfinkel who is the CEO and founder of Sylo. And we’re here today and talking about fraud specifically influencer fraud. So welcome, Brett.

Brett Garfinkel (00:56):

Thank you for having me. I’m also the co-founder and co CEO. I love my business partner, Eric Schwab. I’ve known for 15 years and I don’t want to sell him short to Eric. No one knows this space better globally than Eric. I’ll tell you that much from everything from how media is being bought and sold to the data to fraud methodology, to the privacy laws. He’s terrific. So shout out to him.

Terry Tateossian (01:26):

Let’s talk a bit about what, what does silo do and how did you guys come up with the idea to start this type of technology?

Brett Garfinkel (01:35):

Sure. first of all, understand I’m from the vending side I’m I’m sales, I’ve run media sales teams, global teams for wow. Coming up on 25 years. And I started out television, moved into print in the nineties back when I’m dating myself. This is awful, but back when people read magazines a lot I was barely kicking then too. So we had, I was used to Nielsen. When I was in print, we had ABC statements to verify new Stan subscription. And then I moved into digital video, live streaming, believe it or not in 2004, many, a TV network. This is predating YouTube, my damn channel ripe TV, et cetera. And we were using comScore for website traffic. Eric will tell you he moved to the beginning of spot X and this should come into the conversation later, because we’ve seen this happen recently with the emergence of a third party verification and how it benefits an industry.

Brett Garfinkel (02:44):

It was the video ad network, what became programmatic buying. And that became the viewability issue that was eventually solved by the likes of moat DoubleVerify IAS. So they had that as well. And then I found myself six years ago or so I was asked Bertelsmann RTL group brought me in they had an MCN multichannel network. This is back when 90% of the influencers were all on YouTube. Believe it or not, that was only like three years ago or so. And and I brought in, you know, Eric and I were running revenue companies doing a a hundred million in revenue and we are self reporting, but Eric pulled me aside in early 2015. And he said he told me the story about when he was at spot X. And he said, look, I’m telling you, it’s moving to the other platforms.

Brett Garfinkel (03:44):

The creators will no longer. It won’t just be YouTube. There’ll be on Instagram. There will be video on Twitter, on Facebook and, and it will be overwhelming for a lot of brands at first. And he said, you know, there, there, there has to be better intelligence. Now we didn’t know any better. We were vendors. So to us better intelligence was like Moneyball ticking, looking at statistics, data metrics differently than what people were looking at to understand how to better collaborate. That’s what we wanted to do. Originally. I remember there was someone that an ad agency and they said they took out Poland spring water bottles. I could’ve just said, well, their bottles, I gave them their they’re not paying me. They should be he placed it around. He said, each one of these, he goes, this is you two people at one down.

Brett Garfinkel (04:35):

This is Instagram. This is Facebook, Twitter. He said, they’re all different silos. They have their own analytics monetization practices. And he said, it’s so confusing. I know my audience is everywhere. I’m getting reports. I don’t know what’s up, what’s down, what’s left or right. So we were like, what if we could build one silo for all just where you go in and you could look at everything equally and understand it equally. And so it started out more of this intelligence agency and we worked with a mountain Dew, a PepsiCo, good people over there. They wanted to start the first ever brand led MCN multichannel network made a lot of sense. And so we came in, we were YouTube certified and silo actually was an MCN if you will. But we were looking at, we told them we, we evaluated the data and we said the most mal data we could actually see as authenticated data, people are like, well, creators would never do that, but create a resource signed to big contracts with PepsiCo, they will.

Brett Garfinkel (05:39):

And sure enough, they did. And we were able to see stuff that no one was looking at that time. And it was unbelievable tasks. And what we did was we tagged all of the content. So we knew if you were talking about different subject matters because that’s life you, when you’re with your friends, you talk about movies, fashion, travel, food I could keep on, and you don’t have the same influence on every subject. So we were trying to help the creators and the brands understand that, Hey, creator X, when you talk about this, your audience loves it on Instagram, but they don’t like it on YouTube. And when you do this and we, we create a value system and it was our first time really looking at this information fast forward to like a year and a half. We’re now mid 2017. And we realized how terrific this data was.

Brett Garfinkel (06:25):

And we started taking it out, out there, brands and agencies, and they came back to us and they said, this is wonderful. Like, this is terrific, but we don’t need another intelligence agency. What we need is third party. We need an independent, unbiased measurement verification source. So that’s what triggered all of this. We knew that would be a very difficult road travel because you’re battling for substream. W who gives you the right to be the standard? And we’re not the standard. I tell everyone right now, if you’re a brand marketer, your job is to create best practices and standards for yourself, your company. And if everyone’s using a similar, then eventually it regulates the industry. It helps and progress. So that’s really how the company came about. It was two salespeople with a bunch of tech guys, and we were just giving them the information from the frontline. And we heard the need then, but this was before fraud. Like the fraud did not start until beginning of 2018. We knew it was there, but it wasn’t until 2018 when the New York times came out with that article. And it really started all the brands started asking us, can you help us show me the bots? They said, show me the bots. Let’s talk a bit about silo. And what does the platform do specifically? Well, it’s, there’s two areas of it. You know, the first thing is verification fraud detection.

Brett Garfinkel (07:57):

So first of all, we don’t like to use fraud. It’s a legal term, but the industry understands it. So you just say that short, but really it’s sophisticated invalid traffic. Now, if you look this up, Google this, you will see invalid traffic IVT. We’ve gone way past IVT. IVT was people buying bots, where they immediately responded. When you posted, it was almost like a flat line. You didn’t see a gradual growth of performance. Okay? The minute the post went out, the bots were trained to attack it with a like, or a comment or something. And that was very basic. If you have a chance to make a lot of money by simply posting on Instagram, you will learn to game the system. And that’s what they’ve done. There are things now called slow drips are over abusing giveaway loops follower, trains I could go on for.

Brett Garfinkel (08:56):

But it’s about like, what’s a follower train. Well, it’s the people I follow you, you follow me. We follow him. He follows her and that’s we get together. And we were just finding a way to build drive someone. Else’s audience stars, even though they’re not really interested in us, you know, the, the thing I could always jump ahead here. But one thing I want everyone to understand is you hear bots. It’s very popular these days. It is a distraction from what’s really happening. You are not, brands are not buying bought percentage. If anyone walks into your office and says, I could show you the bots. I think you and I had this conversation once. And I, I showed me, right? Imagine you have two creators and they both have 10 followers. It’s keep it simple. And you love them both, but you could only afford to work with one of them.

Brett Garfinkel (09:47):

And someone walked into your room and said, person a has a 50% are fake five out of 10 North bots and person B two of the 10 are fake. Okay. Who would you invest in if you had to investment one of those, and most people say the one with less bots and that’s it. And we said, well, one more bit of insight. Well, if the five who are real are highly engaged whether it’s branded or not the post but for the other person, the eight who are real, only six of the eight are following because the person did a giveaway loop. Hey, follow me. And you could win this laptop or trip or something. And, but they’re not really following that person. So who now is the more effective reach, effective engagement. And then everyone flip flops and they go, no, that the other person now that’s who I want to work with. So then we remind them. So you’re pointing to the person who has a higher bot percentage. So what does that tell you? That’s not what you’re buying. It also means whoever walks into your office and says, I could show you the bots. They are scraping data. They are violating privacy laws, general data protection rights. You do not want to be associated with things that are liable now,

Terry Tateossian (11:08):

But then how, how does it account in the analytics? If there are more bots, wouldn’t that reduce the overall engagement rate

Brett Garfinkel (11:20):

Particular? Well, that’s first of all, what is engagement rate? What’s the calculation. So likes comments divided by what followers? Vanity metric that has so many holes, it’s it should be called Swiss cheese. So

Terry Tateossian (11:39):

What did it make sense that if you have more bots in your profile that your metrics would be off, or do you not calculate the robots once you know who they are, you kind of remove them from silos

Brett Garfinkel (11:54):

Certification. That’s what we’re talking about. First and foremost, it’s licensed. You go in and you show that your audience look, we all have bought, so you can’t stop that. I bet you this morning, you woke up and you’re like, who are these? And you look at me, you can’t, you can the game one far a day. That’s one more than me. So what happens is there there’s activity. What we’re looking for is authentic audience and the validity of performance. Okay? So if you find, if, if that exists, that is a healthy environment to be working with. Okay. And you will see better performance leads to a pathway of ROI that everyone wants. This is what they want right now, the job of the industry is to weed out the bad actors from the good, okay. And the minute we do that, you’re going to the whole industry is going to start tidying up.

Brett Garfinkel (12:52):

Okay. Regulations will be in place. I always say it’s the first step is that the agency the principal agent problem, we have to say, you’re a vendor. Okay? You have a roster that I could search. You have tools. You are executing campaigns. You have a horse in the race. Okay. Then we have measurement. That is separate, cannot be the same. I I’m amazed at how many people in this industry are unaware of this. Now, why is that? Luck? I mean, we, we, there’s a lot of people in this space, maybe who haven’t worked in other forms of media, where third party verification is just has been there since the start. I mean, practically. I maybe there’s a lot of people on PR side. That’s not accustomed to this. They’re used to giving product, Hey, thank you. Talk about it. And now they they’re paying for it.

Brett Garfinkel (13:48):

And they’re friends with the creators. And Hey, I don’t want to have to ask you to do something that might be deemed dangerous or say, it’s not, it’s not what we found is this, that there’s a right way of doing this. And it’s not that difficult, but there are extra steps. There’s an extra step because we don’t have an ad unit on the other end, we have a person. And that means there’s privacy laws. That means there’s a right way and the wrong way to collecting the data and transacting the data. Okay. There’s the pipelines have to be in place the infrastructure. And it has to be adhering to the laws that are in place. We have to protect creators, but we also have to protect the brands, the brands right now, the brand marketers have a hundred percent of the risk in this space that does not exist in any other form of media that they’re buying.

Brett Garfinkel (14:42):

So if you’re a creator and I’m paying you right now, you could do different nefarious activities to grow your audience during the campaign grow the performance. And I have no way of really knowing. And that’s how the industry was set up. There’s no verification vendors on paying or telling me how it did. The creators are taking snapshots. Can we stop with that, please? Hey, take a snapshot and send it to me, go on Google right now. And Google, how to manipulate a snapshot in less than 30 seconds. And then the response everyone says to me is, Oh, but I trust them.

Terry Tateossian (15:22):

Yeah. I mean, that’s right now, the standard of how you provide metrics and analytics on a, you know, whatever it is, a branded campaign is the creator creates the content. They take a picture with the product, they snapshot it and they send it to you. And then, you know, three days later, it’s off their channel and, or to be found and you just have that snapshot

Brett Garfinkel (15:48):

Nonsensical. I can’t believe we’ve gone this far. Look, the reality is this. We can verify this. They have to authenticate. First of all, to see all the actual real data that matters. If they’re signed up as a business account, you see reach impressions. All the ins engagement rate that we have, this, these are more accurate measurement, performance measurements saves all the story data. You don’t see that other than them being authenticated and signed up as a business account, then you need someone who’s has no horse in the race, nothing to gain by the brand, working with them and wanting them to come back and keep giving them money. Okay. If I have a full service tech platform or a self service, it doesn’t matter. I want you to stay on it. And if you’re using it and the performances of the campaigns are less than what you hoped for as a brand, you might leave my platform. And so that’s why they can create their own homework. You need a third party on bias that the brands trust have vetted properly, who are doing things the right way.

Terry Tateossian (16:52):

So it’s like a ratings basically for individuals.

Brett Garfinkel (16:55):

Was that a silo certified? Yeah. what it is is right now to tell you, it’s the good housekeeping seal of approval. It is showing the brand that this is a healthy talent pole, that their audience is authentic, that the performance is valid, and then it doesn’t stop there. That actually means that you will have better performance with your campaigns because of those factors. So yes, it’s done lucky. This is not nothing you could do at the push of a button. And I know we live in a society right now where we want everything to be behind. We could hide behind the door, push a button and get all of the intelligence. You know, it’s, it’s funny. I, in the world of venture capital, it seems like the word venture to me always was like an adventure. We’re taking a venture here. We’re taking a risk with something, but could be exciting and really know they want the safe bet.

Brett Garfinkel (17:48):

They want know that your business is already killing it. You’ve got it’s easy. Yes. And the reality is, you know, it’s like dating apps too. No one gets rejected. You ever think about that? You’d never get rejected. You just swipe, swipe, swipe, and you get acceptance. Or maybe they never saw, I don’t know, no one says no directly to you. You’re just way. But that’s the thing. It’s, it’s people. We, we don’t the handle rejection that, well, apparently as a society and the reality is, so we want things to be very immediate and hidden where I’m not getting in the way of someone’s privacy or whatever. My mother there, that I could just stay in the back, push a button, and I have all the answers in front of me. But the reality is it doesn’t work that way. There’s authenticated data.

Brett Garfinkel (18:37):

That means creators have to opt in. Okay. And then to gather the data from them, you need their permission. You need their permission. If I want to see your data, I have to invite you into a campaign. And you say, yes, how is that different from anything with LinkedIn or private accounts on Instagram? I would like to follow you. Who’s asking, Brett’s asking. I know Brett. Yes. And that is the right way of how data from a private source is share. And it creates the infrastructure of doing things the right way. Now, if the creator says, no, and you’re the brand, how will you respond to that? Where are they hiding? Okay. So the reality is this you once asked me what’s the issue with authentication. There’s no issue on our end. The only issue is that the creators right now, they see this.

Brett Garfinkel (19:30):

They’re not aware of the service ahead. OK. They, they ahead of their brand partners telling them they need to, according to the agreement they have, they have to be authenticated. And they see it as to be paid. I have to do this. They don’t actually see the benefits until they actually are in it. And they realize how the privacy of their data, how it works and how it leads to increasing brand sales, because there’s transparency now. So that’s really what everyone has to do is really look at it. Verification as a positive for the entire industry, weed out the bad actors, and then more money will come in because there’ll be more confidence, accountability, and better efficiencies. Hold that thought.

Terry Tateossian (20:16):

Let’s take a quick break. And thank our sponsors. The production of the amplified podcast has been brought to you by social fixed, medium social fixed dizzy, transformational growth hacker agency focused on emerging technology platforms, video and podcast, production, content marketing, and overall startup strategy. Social fixed has helped over 300 clients generate millions of dollars in revenue fund raising and a profit. If you’d like help launching or growing business

Brett Garfinkel (20:48):

Visit [inaudible] dot com.

Terry Tateossian (20:52):

How do you account for anomalies in the data? Like for example some of the events that could trigger a potential spike in a campaign could be legitimate, not necessarily bots and just due to marketing of a particular campaign or give away or whatever it is. I love giveaway

Brett Garfinkel (21:17):

Getting things that people give me. You know, it’s first, let’s talk about being certified and then I’ll break it down to anomalies when you’re to be certified, we’re looking at multiple components. So I’ll, I’ll make it simple because we don’t want people to game the system here. We can’t give it all away, but you’re looking at performance, data engagements, reach impressions. You’re looking at audience growth, you’re looking at demographics. Okay. So we have all those components. Now, when anomalies take place that are statistically in line with what we call robotic activity you will not be certified. Okay. Simple as that. So now let’s break it down by an anomaly. Cause we’ve talked about good anomalies, you know, Hey, I got an engaged, boom. It spikes up. That’s good. That doesn’t do that. Okay. But the reality is this. If I was just looking at one of those components engagements, you have a post that comes out.

Brett Garfinkel (22:20):

We are seeing everything in real time. Okay. We’re not pinging the the public API or scraping. So we’re limited to how often we see it with authenticated. We’re seeing everything in real, you know, every three to five minutes intervals, they’re coming in all the data and we’re able to take different segments of that growth of that performance and compare it to other segments within that same post, as well as every historic post that we’ve had in real time of that creator to see if it’s not in line, we also have what we call the robotic growth posts of what those look like. And we compare it to all three constantly. If anything is directly in line with the robotic growth, statistically speaking, anyone data science will tell you that that’s exactly what’s happening here. And it’s been proven with us. We’re a hundred percent confident in this, but we did not take this lightly.

Brett Garfinkel (23:20):

We’ve been doing this for almost two years, but we’ve had data for four years. And the people who are doing the quick push a button, see the bot percentage and the interest screeners, the hype auditors. And, you know, we could have a long conversation about this, but let’s just look at the data. Someone gave me a great analogy about this. They said, that’s equivalent to imagine you’re hungry. You want fraud detection, you’re hungry for it. Just like being hungry for food. Imagine you eat the worst food on the worst, fast food menu that exists on the planet. And you eat that for every meal of your life. You will not be healthy. It will have adverse effects on you as you can hold. And as time goes on, especially that’s what that is when you’re evaluating things, using the wrong type of data that has minimal that’s the path you’re leaning as compared to a sit down proper, you know three star, five star, whatever we call five star meal, you know, that’s what this is about, but to do this, it has to be authenticated to you have to evaluate everything in real time and constantly monitor.

Brett Garfinkel (24:38):

That’s the other thing I don’t know how picking out like bots or scraping allows you when people to over abuse, giveaway loops, follow me, and you could win this and then need to delete that post two or three days later. They don’t see that you only see that if someone’s authenticated in. So we see that it’s getting more sophisticated. Now people are purchasing likes engagements, support, previous posts, right? So they’re trying to show that gradual claim. So look, it’s very sophisticated right now. So the point to every brand is if I’m moving forward and I’m implementing best practices and standards, the first thing is we are working with those who are certified. Why wouldn’t you now, if you want to say maybe 80% we are, but there are some people that we’ve worked with for years are celebrities, and we’ve liked the outcomes of it. That’s fine. That’s your prerogative. That’s fine there. But the point is set a standard of certifying protect your, your dollars. There is a 15% influencer fraud tax we call right now, minimum that exists right now, 15%. So every campaign you’re doing, that’s a minimum you’re throwing to waste. So the reality is we should be removing that. And at the same time, you’re actually going to perform better by doing that because you’re working with those with valid performance authenticated, all the answers.

Terry Tateossian (26:08):

Yeah. I mean, I can see the tremendous value in having this type of data because not only do you see real time performance of a particular message or narrative that you’re promoting, but you can also look at lookalike type campaigns and figure out, okay, you know, what type of influencers, the right one, for me, not necessarily the one that I may be working with now, or maybe that one in particular is perfect. How can I find more like that? Because when you don’t have the data, you’re kind of always you guessing and, and operating with the lights off and, you know, eventually hope to hit a good one. This, I think eliminates that guesswork. If I, if I allow it, okay, the

Brett Garfinkel (26:54):

Right now, and this exists, the vendors have their own, Hey, we will protect you. Imagine if there were like 700 DMVs, you’re getting a driver’s license. Think about it. And three of them gave me a license, but 10 of them wouldn’t. Do you want me on the road? I don’t know. I mean, do you want me to driving your kids around? I don’t know the point is it doesn’t work. We don’t evolve. Same thing. If they’re all measuring, however they are measuring. I don’t know. They say they’re getting the data this way. Are they getting in real time where they built to analyze the data from start, where they built, it was the foundation of their company to aggregate and organize and analyze the data, the metrics, I don’t believe so. There’s, we’re getting sales and setting things up in campaigns and executing, et cetera.

Brett Garfinkel (27:46):

So they can’t be the one. So we have to find a verification that is doing it the right way. And have the brands, vet those, and then have them work with the supply side. I’m, I’m the farthest thing from anti vendor. I’m, I’m a, I’m a vendor. Okay. In nature. So I think what happened is let’s just really quick, take a step back and look at what happened with the video ad network, programmatic business. You know, you had your tremor videos, you had your bright roll spot exchange. You, me, I could go on for days and they, they aggregated all of these networks and brands where they built the pipeline, the supply pipeline and brands were using them. And then there was the demand side dashboard. It became like a trader desk. So everyone’s going in and they’re typing along and finding the best deals.

Brett Garfinkel (28:39):

And the business went to about 2 billion. And then all of a sudden, someone noticed that when you go below the fold, there was a video unit. Do you ever see that it’s all in play, they counted you as a view. And then if you never viewed him and someone paid for your view, right? And then someone walked into an office and said to the brand, is this your ad? And they were pointing to a porn site and there was their ad. Did you verify this? And they’re like, no. So what happened was the implementation of moat and DoubleVerify and IAS. And this $2 billion industry then went to a $40 billion industry. Because now you implement confidence, accountability, efficiencies, and people trust it. There’s transparency. What they’re saying. So we are at that stage right now in influencer marketing when, before the implementation. And I think the people who are the wiser understand this, but they need to implement a need. Someone I’ve heard predictions that it will be fully implemented in a max two years. Probably too long. I mean, they, they say they’re waiting for cataclysmic event

Terry Tateossian (29:54):

Cataclysmic event. What is a cataclysmic event in influencer advertising?

Brett Garfinkel (30:01):

It could be a class action lawsuit. I mean, I think people always say like, laugh at me when they bring this up the parties. Well, let let’s, let’s say this, you grab 50 influencers. You show them. I mean, I don’t want to throw people under the bus here, but you show them, I’ve mentioned a couple of companies and we’ve done this. We’ve looked at type in your handle, is that you? And they go, ah, yeah. Did you give them permission to show your data? Nope. And this is a company that is brands are paying to evaluate people like you and see the numbers that you did not give them permission to share. And who are those companies who are paying for your data? Big brands, huge brands. These huge brands do not want to be another Facebook analytic, Cambridge Analytica. And I think they don’t want that press. And if they find out that way, we are violating the, the CC PA California consumer privacy act, and the protection act is that and the GDPR and all the other States are moving towards this. They don’t want to be associated with us. And I think that would cause cataclysmic defense.

Terry Tateossian (31:23):

That’s a good point. I mean, privacy laws in general, I think are getting a lot more stringent and a lot more,

Brett Garfinkel (31:29):

Aye, look, I, I want this, I think this is best for everyone. I want us to do things. Right. Okay. And there’s a lot of people who have a negative when they see social media influencers, which I think you ask kids, that’s the number one. That’s what they want to be when they grow up. It should not be that easy. You know, I w I think I might have told you once, what if we were all golfers, there was no such thing as the PGA, just, everyone’s a golfer. You’re a golfer. You’ve played golf before. Maybe I played golf. Yeah. We’re all golfers are my buddy here. Tiger woods. He’s a golfer too. We’re all golfers. And then someone says, we’re, we’re creating the PGA and you can’t kick the ball out from the tray. You can’t take mulligans every time you eat here are the best practices and standards. And they have to have a PGA card to perform in the PGA. And, and once it’s established, they are, where do the brands go? Do they come to you or not? No. They go to the PGA because it’s brand safe.

Terry Tateossian (32:26):

See evolution, I guess, of how everything kind of gets created. Right. In the beginning, everybody is a caveman and then the caveman graduates. And

Brett Garfinkel (32:37):

Do you remember, you say you don’t watch TV, so does anyone here know the show Deadwood? Yes, I do. I do watch that. Okay. So you did you’re right. You’re right. There we go. Winner. So what, what was happening in Deadwood? That was fascinating was the emergence of a town organization. They had people who were running you know running their own let’s say their, their restaurant or their bar, but they handled things their own way. You know, someone came in and they like, they could murder the person. It was okay. But then you bring in the sheriff and then you have certain laws and everyone in the town adheres to those laws and all of a sudden the town as it evolves, because everyone’s moving in order of those laws that are in place to protect them and to allow for evolution, people have the ability to open up their own businesses and things like that.

Brett Garfinkel (33:30):

And that was a fascinating part of the storyline. Sorry, I’m moving away from the mic. So I, I think let’s look at our industry the same way. We, we, we saw there was over 740 vendors right now, supply side vendors, right. Hmm. Okay. We have how many creators who are influencers? I’m putting quotes around that. I mean, if there was a lot right now and do they really all have that influence, can we measure their influence? We absolutely can. The measurement, which will be the silo score that we’ve been developing for two years is a combination of everything, of the health, of the audience, the health of the performance, the validity of the performance. It will be certain metrics that come into play. And it’s not for us to determine it’s for brands, brand marketers, to sit and vet and have a conversation and say, this makes sense at the influencer fraud, Nomics summit we had here in New York, it was terrific.

Brett Garfinkel (34:35):

There was a moment where George hammer of IBM was talking about logos that signify or symbolize certain, certain insights you know ratings for a movie or something. You understand what you’re getting into with that? And there’s a trust factor with it. So what I asked him was if you applied that same vetting to a certification and you understood it, you asked all the right questions and at the end, you signed off on it. And now you have 10 influencers, five of them have that certification and five do not, are you more inclined to work with the five who do? He said, absolutely. It’s in our DNA. Is there one brand out there who CMO or CEO would say, no, that’s not in our DNA. We don’t do we operate them? Right. So we have the ability to do that.

Brett Garfinkel (35:36):

Right. And all I ask of every brand marketer out there is it find a company that is positioned as unbiased, independent, not a vendor in any way, shape or form, no horse in the race. And then vet them, ask the following questions. How do you collect data first and foremost, number two. How do you adhere to all the privacy laws that exist? What is your fraud methodology? Are you working with the ARF advertising research foundation, the media ratings, council tag, trust, accountability group, have they vetted you? And then if I agree with that, implement, follow the law rules with it and create your own best practices and standards for your firm, your brand, your agency. There’s no reason not to don’t wait for the industry to regulate, regulate yourself.

Terry Tateossian (36:33):

Absolutely. but something I, I, I want you to talk about it. Cause a lot of people, I think have a trouble with this agencies in particular is how do you aggregate all of the metrics from all the different platforms? Cause somebody might be considered an influencer on YouTube, but not necessarily have the metrics on Instagram and then Snapchat ticktack. And well,

Brett Garfinkel (36:57):

First of all, we, we are, that’s a good question. We are, we are tapped into the API APIs and that’s a key word, API snap, Snapchat, and tick tock do not have, so they are not part of silo right now. I hope someday they do. That that’s transparency right there. So YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. All right. When the creator authenticates in, it’s like one, it takes one to two minutes and it asks them which platforms they want to authenticate it. And if they’re on all three or four, if they’re posting content on it, they authenticate them with that. When the brand sets up a campaign when they’re setting up a campaign and inviting the creators in for that data, they put on the campaign, what platforms will be included in this campaign. So the machine knows where to pull from and they only see the data from that they’re paying for.

Brett Garfinkel (37:50):

They don’t see all the creators data, all of their other data. They’re just shared that data. Each of the posts right in the platform. So they could see the macro to the micro, the whole aggregated whole campaign, all the impressions combined to each creator, to each post. Okay. So you can really get all the information. And you also have benchmarks. Think about this way. If you do something a hundred times and I looked at every single metric involved, you will have an average for each one. Now you do a new one. We would be able to compare those metrics to your average. And that way we would understand performance where you above the average or below. And right now that’s a performance KPI that no, one’s really looking at. They’re looking at the snapshot, just that one instant. And there’s no way of evaluating that unless you compare it to the history.

Brett Garfinkel (38:40):

Exactly. Right. So we have those four platforms that really the industry wants to get, we have to get Instagram right first because that’s where all the fraud is happening. That’s 70% of the brand campaigns for influencer marketing are taking place, but we do not ignore the other platforms. And it will grow in the future if people want Twitch to be included Pinterest, whatever it may be. We have that ability as long as they have an API. Okay. And look, I, I want Facebook’s to be policing. I want them to come in and evaluate how we’re doing. That’d be great, but the ones that help us weed it out, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re protecting the rights of the careers and really that’s what the platforms want. I always remember when I met with YouTube back in the day, they said we are built for the creator. Okay. We are creator first. And the funny thing is when we started this company, we set the same thing. We are creator first. And that means we have to weed out those creators who are not true influencers. We’re not the Gestapo going out, creating havoc where we’re really trying to organize. And this is about influencer marketing. Anyone can be a creator, not everyone can be an influencer, so protect their rights and then protect the brands as well, the whole ecosystem.

Terry Tateossian (40:00):

What do you think about the controversy going on right now in the political campaigns where they’re de meriting certain profiles? How does that account in,

Brett Garfinkel (40:11):

I mean, who’s the one who’s making that determination. Right? Right. Look, everyone has a right to do what they want, how it affects them. The reality is in my world where an advertiser is paying a creator to promote their product. We need transparency. We need trust. And it will benefit both the creator and the brand. No more of these one-offs. We want brand ambassadors. And how do you become an ambassador for my brand first? I know that your audience is authentic. I know that I’m not a brand. What if I’m a political party? If I’m a political party and I like the content that you’re doing you know, am I paying you? Someone once told me if you want to talk about my product or whatever, I’m endorsing and say, great, Hey, God bless you. But the minute I pay you for your inventory, you are a publisher and I will treat you no differently than I treat other publishers, magazines, television networks websites.

Brett Garfinkel (41:15):

And, but what happens when the platform itself, itself? Well, there is the platform. Look, it changes their algorithms, changes their look. Someone once said to me, wimpy, great. If you could just get the raw data. Yeah. Right. My company is going to walk into Facebook and say, hi, hi, look, you know, like the little net to the super giant, the only way that happens is if we, we showed that we could actually regulate this industry properly and it’s moving along and it’s bringing in a lot of money into the space and that the brands lock arms with the real influencers and they walk into a Facebook and say, look, but give us more information. We’ll put more money into it. We’ve got 70 billion TV dollars just sitting there. That’s gettable. And we want to give it to you because we believe in influencer marketing, we believe it’s the most effective, fastest growing customer acquisition method.

Brett Garfinkel (42:09):

And we want to support it, but help us see the real data that’s happening. That’s the only chance I don’t even know if that will happen right now. The best game is can we do it better today than what’s currently happening? We can absolutely certify better. Every creative they should be licensed, get licensed. If you’re doing it the right way, you have nothing to fear of anything to gain. Okay. And don’t wait for the brands to ask. Don’t wait for that. Be leaning forward. If you’re telling managers, if I’m CAA UTA, why would I not be telling all my creators get certified? Someone said to me, the other day, they had about 50 creators in this town boutique firm. He said well, the brands aren’t asking me for this yet. So I’ll just wait until they ask. And I said, let me ask you a question.

Brett Garfinkel (42:58):

If you took all 50 of your creators and they authenticated, it took one to two minutes. And let’s just say, half of them came back certified. If no one’s asking for this information, then you have no negative response to that. You’re just business as usual. But for those who do ask, Hey, we’d like to work with creators who are certified. Now you have an answer. You have some handful of creators who are, and you can also upsell. You can now go the brands and say, guess what? I’ve creators who are verified. Their audience is authentic and the performance from a third party. And so how is this bad in a way? And yet you’re still waiting on them to understand it

Terry Tateossian (43:40):

That people don’t understand right now that that’s even an option. They’re not even thinking about it. They, I think most people don’t understand the technology required to even make something like this. Like I’m fascinated by what it takes to gather all the data. You know, I’m assuming you have some level of machine learning and yeah, so predictive analytics and so forth. And you’re, snapshotting different benchmarks

Brett Garfinkel (44:13):

Real time. And you have the benchmark, so you could compare it to the benchmarks, but, and then it starts to learn. And what will happen is if anyone out there, if plays fantasy football. Okay. when I started with my league, my buddy is in Baltimore. Shout out to them, go be they we, it was very simple. CBS SportsLine took the stats from the game and just turned it into a score and we could do it manually probably, and be maybe off by percentage points. But generally speaking, it was very straightforward. Now I have a game coming up Sunday. It’s already predicted the score of my game. They’re predicting it. Y w w we have much more advanced technology here where you will have a campaign coming up. You will know who you’re working with the time of the year, what platforms they’re on, and it will actually predict how they should fare. And then you could compare your data to that prediction and see, did we actually, you know, go over or below? And that’s a key performance metrics. And that’s what, that’s not so far away to be able to do that.

Terry Tateossian (45:23):

It makes complete sense to me.

Brett Garfinkel (45:25):

Yeah, it does. And you’re so smart.

Terry Tateossian (45:28):

Not really, if it believe me, if it makes sense to me, I think that a lot of people are thinking about it already.

Brett Garfinkel (45:35):

Look, this, this is my plead to the industry. Can I get a plea now? You know, just plea to everyone right now.

Terry Tateossian (45:40):

I don’t think you need to plea. I think it’s, it’s pretty obvious that there’s a ton of room for improvement here. We’re in the wild, wild West, and we need to quantify our activities.

Brett Garfinkel (45:53):

Look, shout out to the large agencies of group M’s IPG who are really taking the initiative to to, to really get this in place. We can move faster. The Unilevers, the Proctor and gamble is out there. The biggest, they’re the ones who move mountains here. And, and it’s, that’s where Digiday and add. We can add each right about this the New York times, when they do something, they get the most press. So I say to everyone out there, first and foremost, the principal agent problem, you are a vendor. You are measurement separate. The two, can’t be the same. That’s number one, then certification. Don’t use people who are pushing, pushing a button who are scraping data and violating privacy laws. That’s pay attention to that. That’s do it the right way. That accompany, who positions himself such as silo to verify, to certify and if comfortable implement, put into the contracts, creators, talent managers lean forward, understand this is good.

Brett Garfinkel (47:00):

If I’m CAA or ICM, UTA, digital brand architects, I want those creators. I’m working with to be authenticated, silo certified. And I want to tell all the brands have we only work with creators who are certified, so they feel safe and confident with that. And then that started looking at the metrics differently, do away with the vanity metrics. Let’s start looking at effective reach, effective engagement. We have those performance data points. It’s create how many brands you walk in now and say, where are your key KPIs? They don’t even know. So that’s, that’s a figure that out, right? Get your standards, regulation that the benchmarks in place, and now watch what happens. It will be beautiful. So much money will come into the space. Everyone rides the elevator up, do away with the influencer fraud tax better performance will follow better talent pool. And that’s why I would love to see before my time is up.

Terry Tateossian (47:57):

Awesome. Well, thank you, Brad so much. How can people find you?

Brett Garfinkel (48:00):

Well, let’s go the go check out, meet Spend time on the site. If you’re a creator register, get in a, if you’re a brand call us, that’s get first. Let’s get the standards, benchmarks best practices in place for your firm. It’s very easy to do. And then let’s start implementing by the yeah. We’ll see you there.

Terry Tateossian (48:24):

Awesome. Thank you so much for your time. I learned a lot. I feel like this is definitely the way the future is heading.

Brett Garfinkel (48:35):

I hope so. And I’ll be here anytime you need me. I love this. Awesome. Thank you. Take care.

Terry Tateossian (48:44):

Thanks for listening to the amplified podcast. Follow us on our social channels and subscribe on Apple and Google podcasts, Spotify pod, bean, or wherever you get your podcasts on the next episode, stay tuned for more trailblazing insights, energy and culture to help fuel your pursuit in the modern digital era.


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