Influencer marketing has become a really big deal in a relatively short time. According to Google Trends, average monthly searches related to influencer marketing have increased 6X since early 2016.
As an industry, influencer marketing has grown by nearly a factor of 10 in that time, from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $16.4 billion in 2022. 93% of marketers have used influencer marketing at some point, and collectively they plan to directly spend almost twice as much on influencers in 2023 as they did in 2016.
Why? Put simply, while 38% of consumers say they trust brand-produced social media content, 61% trust influencer recommendations.
Among other differences between B2B and B2C influencer marketing, the consumer side is larger, has more established processes, and has a more extensive ecosystem. That wasn’t always the case though. In 2017, when influencer marketing was still a fairly new practice, it required a lot of manual work and it was difficult to find the right influencers.
Frustrated with the challenges, inefficiency, and lack of tools, one agency owner set out to build an influencer discovery platform that would automate manual processes, save time, and make it easier for marketing professionals to measure their influencer marketing results. Here’s the story of Pavel Beinia and the company he founded, BuzzGuru.
In the early days of influencer marketing, identifying and evaluating relevant and effective influencers was a tedious, time-consuming manual effort. Marketers searched out, followed, and created spreadsheets filled with influencer names, contact information, and social media links.
Then they reached out to influencers one at a time, developed campaign ideas, negotiated pricing, and manually tracked results as best they could. The efforts were productive, but difficult to measure and scale without dedicated tools, much less optimize.
BuzzGuru is a B2B SaaS solution for brands, agencies, and solo marketers to manage their campaigns with content creators on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch.
It makes ad launches simple, through an all-in-one technology platform that enables marketers to manage all the stages of a campaign: to find influencers perfectly aligned for their specific needs, analyze influencers’ performance and audience quality, get the whole picture of the influencer marketing landscape in any business niche, analyze competitors’ activities and budgets, manage advertising campaigns with content creators from A to Z, track marketing performance, and get a full report in just a few clicks.
The solution helps analyze all the relevant metrics, and assists in preparing, running, and evaluating campaigns.
The BuzzGuru platform is a part of a global influencer marketing ecosystem that also includes an influencer marketing agency Famesters. The agency brings together data-led performance, trust-based relationships, creative expert approach, and accurate media targeting, bringing a data-driven approach to strategic decisions.
Year founded: 2017
Funding rounds: Self-funded to date.
Company size: 5,000 users of the BuzzGuru platform; 1,000 clients of the Famesters influencer marketing agency; and a team of 75 employees.
Tom: What inspired you to work on this particular set of problems?
Pavel: After launching an influencer marketing agency, as our expertise significantly grew, we did research to discover what the real demand in the industry is. It appears that 85% of marketers and agencies evaluate finding relevant influencers from medium-difficult to very difficult. So did we.
That’s why when I started developing the BuzzGuru analytical platform. My primary goal was to create an ultimate solution that automates as much manual work as possible.
Now we’ve created an influencer discovery platform that saves time, finance, and human resources. Using this tool, we and our clients conduct the preliminary study and find relevant influencers five times faster (on average) than before.
The BuzzGuru platform not only helps to search for influencers but also analyzes their content, metrics, performance, predicts performance, and arranges all the data neatly to make it easy to understand.
Another thing that helps create a profitable influencer marketing campaign is competitor analysis. Our platform enables marketers to see which influencers are affiliated with certain brands, what creative they made for the brands, and what the performance numbers look like.
It’s easy to get the data on what your competitors are doing in terms of influencer marketing and insights to use in your own campaigns.
We didn’t stop there; we continued development and created the campaign management tool. This feature helps our users conduct campaigns and monitor results. And that was something that attracted 78% of our new clients among brands and agencies.
BuzzGuru continues to evolve. We continually add new capabilities to our platform and look for new high-tech solutions that can make a marketer’s work easier, and even help define the future of influencer marketing.
Tom: What were the most effective channels or methods for you to get the word out to prospective customers when you first launched your product?
Pavel: Prior to launching the BuzzGuru platform, we had a ready-made strategy. We came up with an entire campaign that brought us first users. We showcased the platform on Product Hunt; implemented SEO practices; prepared a press-release published in 59 media outlets.
In general, here at BuzzGuru, we put a lot of emphasis on media relations and on expanding brand awareness. In our case, that works well.
Moreover, we always test diverse marketing channels. We utilize performance marketing channels, including paid ads. Our sales team not only works with inbound marketing leads but also does outreaches to new prospects. And we are developing an affiliate program.
Tom: If you would, please finish this sentence: “Knowing what I know now, if I were starting over today, what I would do differently is…”
Pavel: Frankly, I would not change anything. I believe that a person who never made a mistake has never tried anything new. I am a big believer that mistakes and failures only make us stronger. And without failures, I would not be where I am today.
As for one of my biggest mistakes, I can’t help but mention that I would diversify risks as much as possible, and not put all my eggs in one basket. Let me explain.
Since the very beginning, BuzzGuru was a marketplace, and almost all our clients were from the CS:GO sphere. We had good connections with the owners of sites for cases opening. The business may have seemed simple, but it was really profitable: the budgets of such clients for influencer marketing could exceed $100,000.
This whole niche was eliminated in one day when Steam—the platform these sites depended on—released an update that made their very existence impossible. We saw our revenue and profit plunge overnight.
This situation showed me that contracts with big clients are good, but you always have to pay attention to other opportunities: work with smaller clients too, from other niches, and close more deals. Diversity saves and eliminate risks.
Tom: What’s the most important advice you could offer to an entrepreneur starting out today?
Pavel: Do not dream—set targets, goals, and objectives instead.
You can spend hours, weeks, months, even years dreaming. But until you turn these dreams into goals and everyday steps, they will remain nothing but dreams. Instead, think about a strategy as clear steps, create a roadmap, and start your journey.
When we had lost 95% of the revenue in just one week and appeared in the Death Valley of startups, I decided not to give up. Together with the team, we shifted the focus, figured out new ways to utilize our resources, and launched work to set up a new high-tech project: the BuzzGuru analytics platform.
One more important piece of advice: your team is your strength. Surround yourself with forceful personalities. Make sure they are passionate about the idea of disrupting the industry with innovations. When you have the right people to lean on, your business will rise despite any difficulties.
You can connect with Pavel on LinkedIn, find out more about the platform at BuzzGuru.com, and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.