Lyle Stevens, CEO and Mavrck Co-Founder on Buying Linkin.bio, the Metaverse, and Creator Economy
What’s the next stage of influencer marketing? According to Lyle Stevens, the CEO and Co-Founder of Mavrck, it’s the convergence of affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. Read on to learn about his recent acquisition of Linkin.bio, emerging trends in the creator economy, and the metaverse.
Who is Lyle Stevens?
Lyle Stevens is the CEO and Co-founder of Mavrck. Lyle has a background in aerospace and defense but started Mavrck in 2014 to understand how individuals drive influence and engagement on social platforms.
A few years later, the creator economy exploded.
Lyle Stevens notes, “The creator economy has emerged as the primary way by which we make decisions as consumers. This is a result of engaging with folks on social media. So, sure enough, brands definitely want to work with folks that have influence.”
The Later Acquisition
Later is a well-known company that began as software that allowed creators to schedule their Instagram posts. Later has since expanded into other social media platforms, such as Linkedin, TikTok, and Pinterest, along with creating a Linkin.bio service and creator analytics tracker.
Lyle Stevens shares, “They [Later] have been a pretty big participant in the creator economy by helping creators and influencers schedule their visual content on these social platforms.”
The beginning of this acquisition began with the Mavrck team looking for better measurements about how a creator can create down funnel performance for brands.
Lyle notes, “We all know one of the biggest frustrations of influencer marketing is that marketers want more measurements, creators want more monetization to make more money, but neither side has a great way to close that gap, or the best way to measure in order to understand the best way to pay.”
He explains that Linkin.bio traffic is an interesting metric that he and his team were surprised wasn’t used more by brands as a key measurement when deciding which creators to work with.
Lyle Stevens shares that they surveyed a handful of brands and found that many were interested in using this metric rather than traditional metrics like engagement and follower counts. The Linkin.bio data may be especially useful for working with micro-influencers and nano-influencers who don’t have huge audiences yet but can still drive significant traffic.
So, Lyle and his team reached out to Later about the Linkin.bio data and the two companies working together.
Now that Mavrck has acquired Linkin.bio, Lyle shares that there are several key steps they will be taking.
“First and foremost is taking the more than two billion Linkin.bio clicks that Later has tracked and pulling that into the Mavrck system to help our enterprise customers select creators that will actually drive down funnel performance, so more than just views, more than just engagements, but actual clicks, and ultimately conversions.”
Later, Mavrck is planning on helping their database of creators and influencers become Later users.
“I think those are the two [benefits] that we’re willing to share at this point. We do have some interesting plans down the road. I would just say that Later is going to stay focused on the small business user or the creator, and Mavrck is going to stay focused on the enterprise customer.”
They are also planning on keeping all employees from both businesses and hiring multiple new employees by the end of the year to continue growing their business.
Changes in Creator Marketing
Lyle shares that TikTok is one of the biggest changes in creator marketing.
“We’ve seen an increase in TikTok activity of more than 400% year over year on our side, so that’s growing very quickly, but Instagram is still number one by volume, but I think that’ll change.”
Another change he is seeing is the convergence of affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. Affiliate marketing is traditionally performance-based marketing, while influencer marketing is more brand-oriented. This change is just one more reason why Lyle believes the Linkin.bio data will continue to be more and more critical in the future.
He is also thrilled about the growing number of creators.
“Last year, there was a 40%+ growth in the number of creators according to Stripe, which is a partner we use for payments, and if that trend continues, there’s going to be more than a billion self-identified creators by 2030.”
Without closing the measurement and monetization gap, he notes that those one billion creators won’t be successful, which is why Mavrck is thinking a lot about that problem and solutions for it.
Problems within the Influencer Marketing Industry
Lyle shares, “I think pricing based on followers is problematic, especially when the follower model doesn’t apply to every single social network. TikTok and Pinterest are two examples where the follower account really doesn’t matter at the end of the day because it’s all about the algorithm that surfaces the content.”
He notes that the current industry standard is pay based on followers, but he wants this model to change, especially with the convergence of affiliate and influencer marketing. A performance-based pricing model would be ideal for brands and influencers.
Examples of performance-based pricing include per view, per engagement, or per click payment structures.
Lyle shares that Mavrck is preparing for the many changes coming in the future.
“The social feed is going to go from very structured and like nice little squares that we are all consuming or stories and in many cases to very unstructured [content], which is what the metaverse will become.”
He shares that Mavrck is already preparing for how creators will participate in making the metaverse a reality. Currently, the creation devices for the metaverse are not widely available. Lyle predicts that we’re about three years away from the metaverse being realized.
“I think that the biggest thing that’s next for us is closing that measurement gap and helping more creators make a living from their passion, especially smaller creators that don’t have the follower counts yet.”
He notes that he believes the Linkin.bio data will be critical to this, so that’s Mavrck’s primary focus through the end of the year.