A new tool on the market aims to make it easier for brands and talent agencies to determine the return on investment of potential deals with bloggers and other influencers.
New York-based social media analytics provider D’Marie Group Inc. recently introduced an app and platform that can be used by models, online influencers, athletes and others to peg a valuation to their social media portfolios. That information is then used by their agencies and brands to negotiate payment terms.
Its aim is to alleviate much of the head-scratching that has occurred in trying to hash out pay with the ballooning number of bloggers, vloggers and others as businesses unto themselves.
“This entire concept comes from my background in being a casting director and having to work with the brands and calling the agencies to try to determine the valuation,” said D’Marie cofounder Frank Spadafora. “After getting a lot of guesses and a lot of feedback from agencies that they didn’t know, we set out to make an algorithm.”
Spadafora recalled speaking with senior agents who would throw out pay numbers, such as $50,000, but that figure would largely be based on follower count.
“And then when I would take that back to the brand, they’d say that’s ludicrous,” Spadafora said. “Maybe $50,000 isn’t so ludicrous if the ROI is 15 to 16 times and some of the girls’ portfolios for social media are more valuable than their [modeling] day rate.”
Initial social media valuations largely looked at followers and then as more brands became skeptical of their actual ROI, companies began placing a magnifying glass on those followers to see just how many were actively engaged, among other metrics. The algorithm D’Marie came up with looks at more than 56 measurements of engagement to assign a value to a social media portfolio.
Model Kendall Jenner currently tops the list of models in D’Marie’s database of about 8,000 influencers. She’s followed by Cara Delevingne and Miranda Kerr. A single post by models on that higher end of the spectrum is generally worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $230,000, according to D’Marie.
The algorithm, although originally developed to be a tool for models and social media influencers, has since expanded to include athletes, actors, musicians and chefs.
The app has been downloaded several thousand times and the company currently works with a dozen agencies, including New York Model Management, Lions Models and LA Models.
“The math makes sense,” Spadafora said. “[The agencies] understand the value that rising tides rise all boats and if all the agencies are using one system, one single vocabulary for their models, it makes it easier for brands to understand.”
It’s also, in some cases, helped brands save money or help models get the rate their portfolios would seem to command based on the algorithm’s findings.
The top 10 percent of models and other influencers in the industry generally had their social media portfolios undervalued by about 45 percent, according to Spadafora. At the same time, some influencers skewing lower on the spectrum, perhaps charging $200 to $300 per post, were found to be overcharging for their work.
“That’s exactly what the frustration was as a casting director, getting feedback from agencies trying to get way too much money for a single post and other agencies who were giving this away for free,” Spadafora said. “There didn’t seem to be one cohesive algorithm to line everybody up side by side.”
D’Marie is currently focused on the U.S. market but the goal would be to expand to cities such as London, Milan and Paris.
The company makes its revenue via a subscription-based model, paid by the agencies. Brands can also pay to have their garments uploaded to the D’Marie database, where they’re housed and easily accessible for someone, such as a blogger, to tag those products so the brands receive proper credit.
The concept is one that sidesteps the often-used affiliate pay scale, which Spadafora argued does not take into account secondary paths of shopping and instead only rewards the last click. In other words, only crediting when a shopper goes directly from a link to the shopping cart and that’s generally not how people shop, Spadafora pointed out.
“We don’t take a cut on the click-through,” he said. “We don’t believe that’s the future of fashion and technology.”