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Socialbakers’ Jan Rezab: ‘Creative agencies have no idea how to engage influencers’

The founder and chairman of a Prague-based social media company has claimed creative agencies are clueless when it comes to using celebrity influencers to promote a brand.

Jan Rezab, of Socialbakers, told an audience in Singapore that creative agencies have “no idea” how to “engage influencers” and that marketers should simply let social media stars “figure out” their product themselves.

Citing the example of Swedish video blogger Pewdiepie, who with nearly 60 million followers is the most subscribed user on YouTube, Rezab said brands should look beyond just an influencer’s content alone.

Speaking during the Asia TV Forum conference this week, Rezab said: “Pewdiepie has 80 billion views historically and 50 million-plus subscribers. Some of his videos have bigger watch rates than most of the biggest TV stations that day. If you look at campaigns this guy has done, the brands instantly sell out.

“He completely owns that it’s a paid post and has his own way of tagging it and explaining it to his audience why it is sponsored. Brands come to me and say: ‘How should we work with these guys’. And I say: ‘Don’t figure it out for him’. If he likes your product, he’ll figure out the best way than most of you guys can.

PewDiePie

“Creative agencies can’t do this. They have no idea how to engage influencers. There are a few good storytelling agencies and MCNs out there that do understand it, but most of them won’t be able to do it half as right as these [influencers].”

Rezab’s advice to let influencers have control over a branding campaign stands in contrast to comments recently made by the head of Visa APAC’s content division who said marketers need to do “due diligence” when working with product ambassadors.

Speaking to Mumbrella Asia, Kris LeBoutillier said how the brand would always accompany influencers on shoots “to make sure [the content] was as intended”.

However, Rezab claimed the video’s final presentation represents only one component of an overall campaign, even going as far as to say Pewdiepie’s content isn’t “that good”.

Rezab: ‘Creative agencies have no idea how to engage influencers’

He said: “Look at his format, story delivery, his frequency. Those things matter. How quickly does he grab your attention in the first few seconds; how many conversions does he have. This is where the relevance is.”

He added: “We work with influencers from around South East Asia. Some of them have between 50 and a quarter of a million followers. They can create over time maybe 150,000 downloads for your app. I don’t understand why everyone is not working with these.”

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