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Hyper Aggressive Social Marketing Might Make Everyone an Influencer Target
By: Mike Bush
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A startup named HyPR garnered some digital ink a few weeks back for its concept of identifying social media influencers and attempting to build a layer of programmatic advertising into influencer relations. Essentially, the company seems likely to approach folks with more than 10k followers and who segment their follower bases by a variety of demographics such as location, gender, etc., then try to sell promoted posts to advertisers (assuming those identified as “influencers” sign up).

Putting this into tech PR terms: It’s a disruptive approach that democratizes social media ad dollars and taps into the sharing economy. In plain English: It’s payola for the masses.

Schemes like this have been around for a long time, and it seems to me that the biggest challenge is that people who are actually influencers have attained that status by being genuine. Selling that off to brands looking to capitalize on an audience is likely to alienate followers, drive down engagement, and, well, end poorly.

I get it…it’s a new way to offer ads in places that people don’t typically see them. Perhaps instead of saying “Where else can we send an ad?” we should be asking “Do people really want to be advertised to in this place?”

Allow me to share a theory on advertising:

Ads are an agreement between the viewer/reader and content provider.

As a reader, we accept that we will see ads because they pay for the content we’re seeing. As a content provider, you offer content for free, but still get compensated.

However, many advertisers (and, yes, content providers) have taken advantage of the agreement and made the user experience lousy in an effort to bombard us with ads. Earlier today, I went to read an article, but a full-page interstitial popped up, so I couldn’t see the text. I “X’d” out of the ad, scrolled a paragraph, and received a second full-page interstitial from another advertiser.

At this point, I lost interest in the article. I’ll take an ad for an article…just not an awful experience.

How many times have you clicked on a 30-second clip that begins with a 30-second ad? This 1:1 ratio of time spent on a ad and time spent with content won’t fly with viewers…and this is precisely why ad blockers are becoming more popular.

Maybe HyPR will find a way to create compelling, authentic interactions on behalf of its advertisers. However, if tweets and posts start getting caught up in ad blockers, it seems like they’ll have completely missed the mark.

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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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