Influencer platform Tribe shelves plans for Singapore launch amid market concerns

TribeAn Australia-based influencer marketing network set up by a radio and TV personality has shelved plans to launch in Asia after concluding the social media advertising market is too under-developed.

Tribe, a micro-endorsement platform launched in late 2015 by Jules Lund, had earmarked Singapore as a likely first overseas market after successfully completing a $5.4m capital raising in September.

But after in-depth analysis of more than 50 markets around the world, Tribe has opted to open in Europe ahead of Asia.

While the region remains a potential target, chief executive Anthony Svirskis said it was not yet ready for Tribe’s model, which sees influencers produce social media content on behalf of brands.

Svirskis said Tribe employed Bain & Company to analyse several key metrics in each market, including social media spend, growth potential, ease of conducting business and the competitive landscape.

ant“We have done a full assessment of the entire globe and Asia is very interesting for us but we are just watching that market at the moment,” he told Mumbrella.

“It’s a little premature for us to move in there. We are keeping close ties there and have a lot of good brand contacts, but at this point in time the most suitable markets for us were not in Asia but in Europe. That is our focus.”

Svirskis said its analysis showed the social media ad market “is developing very fast but is still coming from a low base and has a long way to go.”

Tribe is looking for markets which have an infrastucture but which are not saturated, he said.

“We wanted to see a little bit of establishment in an industry and market, but not over population.

“Asia came back really strongly on growth metrics. It has got the velocity but it is coming from a low base,” he said. “European markets are much further along the maturity curve and display attributes very similar to the Australian market.

“If I had $100m I would try and go into both Europe and Asia. But as a business like ours we are trying to achieve an expansion strategy that is challenging in any capacity. So the metrics and qualitative assessment indicated Europe is going to be less challenging that Asia.”

However, Svirskis suggested there is potential for far higher growth in Asia, “especially when you look at parts of Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand where a lot of social media usage is sky rocketing”.

“We also have great contacts in Singapore and had some amazing conversations with big media agencies over there who are keen for our product.

“It’s not that we saying no, we are just watching it and waiting for the right time.”

At the launch of Tribe in 2015, Lund insisted the “connection economy” provides “the greatest opportunity in history to drive word of mouth marketing at scale”.

He said the idea would create a new pay per post market that “doesn’t exist at the moment” and could create a “micro-endorsement” marketing model.

He added that while bloggers and vloggers have to sit down with a brand to talk about campaigns “no-one’s going to have a meeting over a $300 post”.


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