Will brands take to being educated?
ZEFR spent a few years convincing movie studios they could make them a lot of money on YouTube, and now the Venice-based start-up has a new target: brands.
It launched a service last summer called BrandID, whereby it uses its own technology to track videos fans are making about new products from brands like Adidas and Pantene.
It then gives those brands data about which fans are uploading the most popular videos — “influencers,” as ZEFR calls them. Those brands can use ZEFR's data to let those fans know about upcoming products, and to better target their advertisements to potential buyers.
ZEFR's initial efforts were part of a pilot program, but now ZEFR is looking to expand that business, hiring several new executives to its sales team and releasing an e-book called “Beyond Reviews.” The book demonstrates all the different ways YouTube videos are influencing potential shoppers. According to ZEFR, 53 percent of shoppers are influenced by product reviews on the video site.
“We have access to an enormous amount of data and we go through and find videos according to brands or rightsholders,” ZEFR co-founder Zach James told TheWrap. “We said why don't we start to categorize and educate people on what's going on.”
Billion-dollar brands may not want to be educated about their own business, but James countered with a story about a cosmetics company that uploaded a commercial featuring a certain celebrity. He can't use names because of ongoing business. The company though the commercial only got 700,000 views, but ZEFR did some research and showed them it actually got 7.7 million views.
“They were shocked that all these people on YouTube were teaching each other how to get that look,” he said.
ZEFR's growing client list includes brands like Adidas and agencies like Wieden and Kennedy and the Starcom Media Group, but they are convince even more will but into it.
“We're still trying to illuminate the opportunity to certain constituents,” Jason Kirk, ZEFR's head of business development told TheWrap. “Not everyone has realized the power of the fan in video.”
In other words, listen. please.