In 2021, Vericast announced the expansion of its advanced influencer marketing solution after seeing almost 40% growth and success among clients in the consumer-packaged goods vertical. We checked in with Tina Seitzinger to know how the solution has changed since then and its impact on Vericast, influencers, and brands.
Who is Tina Seitzinger, and what’s her role at Vericast?
Tina Seitzinger is the Senior Director of Influencer Marketing and Paid Social at Vericast and oversees go-to-market strategies and innovation for both products. She also manages the teams that are executing social campaigns. This team comprises the following:
- Strategy team that pulls together all the strategies and proposals for Vericast’s clients;
- Influencer relations team that does all of their recruiting, vetting, negotiating, contracting, and content development with creators;
- Paid media and analytics team, who run all the media for their campaigns, including optimizations, campaign reporting, and analytics; and
- Account management team, which is the team that’s client-focused or client-based.
Can you tell us about Vericast and its history in the marketing industry?
Vericast is a leading marketing solutions company based in San Antonio. Vericast was born from uniting four different independent businesses; Valassis, which is the company’s digital arm, Harland Clarke, which is their products and services for financial institutions; NCH Marketing, which is a global business leader; and QuickPivot, which is their customer data platform. All of those businesses were unified to form Vericast.
In 2020, these four businesses were brought under one umbrella to harness the collective value of each and what they can deliver to clients. Presently, Vericast helps thousands of clients in businesses across 13 different industries. Vericast helps them connect with and activate consumers through rich data and insights.
Vericast also offers a diverse portfolio of marketing solutions to offer true omnichannel media delivery. They have a print side and a digital side of their business. Influencer marketing falls under the latter.
What kind of brands and industries does Vericast typically work with?
Vericast works with consumer-packaged goods or CPG, retail, restaurant, finance, healthcare, and grocery, just to name a few.
Why did Vericast decide to expand its influencer marketing solution?
Vericast’s influencer marketing solution is still in its fourth year. They expanded in 2022, following nearly a 40% growth they had in 2021 based on CPG business. The expansion included restaurant and retail clients and new social media channels, like TikTok.
Vericast is still expanding further this year with new restaurant and retail clients. Tina adds, “We have numerous untapped opportunities to collaborate with additional clients, including the finance industry.”
Besides the expansion client-wise, Vericast is also expanding its capabilities. The company is running full-funnel campaigns for clients, including conversion campaigns and retargeting campaigns. They’re also conducting social measurements, expanding with automation, and looking into different social platforms and features.
Can you explain how Vericast’s new AI-powered solution works in influencer marketing?
Vericast leverages AI technology to help them implement a holistic approach. For example, with their influencer vetting selection. They take more of a quantitative and qualitative approach to help them best align influencers with brands and their objectives.
Vericast looks into the qualitative aspects first, like the influencer’s personal brand, content quality, and reputation in the industry. They also use AI tools to implement a quantitative approach to the process, which includes analyzing data like audience, demographics, and reach engagement rates.
Incorporating AI into their vetting process helps Vericast with the quality and integrity of their campaigns. This tech also helps them safeguard against follower fraud and protects against harmful and questionable content.
Even though AI highly benefits Vericast, they believe there should always be a human aspect to complement the tech. For example, when analyzing influencers, channels, and content, the team behind Vericast uses their firsthand knowledge to select the best creators. They consider subjective and objective factors, given that influencer marketing is a human business.
How does Vericast’s solution differentiate from other influencer marketing platforms in the market?
The biggest difference that Vericast has is its expanded audience reach. They blend first-party data, social platforms, and audiences and use their proprietary Consumer Graph technology. This helps them build more customized and high-level audiences based on different data points.
Vericast looks into the purchase data, location data, and purchase intent to ensure they’re getting influencers’ content in front of the right consumers — consumers with high-intent and value-seeking shoppers. As a result, Vericast is able to maximize ad spend and ROI for their clients.”
Vericast’s Consumer Graph also gives the influencer ads a stronger reach without relying too much on Meta or TikTok’s audience segments. Their consumer graph refreshes in Vericast’s system and throughout the life cycle of a campaign. What this means is that they’re consistently introducing new audiences throughout a campaign and assessing if there are new consumers that come in, searching keywords or are ready to buy. They can pull these consumers into the next refresh, ensuring they’re getting the ads in front of the right target audience.
How important are data and analytics in Vericast’s approach to influencer marketing?
Data science and analytics are the backbones of Vericast. They’re using the data from their graph to continuously learn and improve decision-making. Tina explains, “As we know, we can do the backend look at influencers and audiences and make sure they align.”
Tina understands that no one has control over organic reach, including who is seeing ads. This is why Vericast emphasizes paid ads and layers its consumer graph. This allows them to ensure they’re getting in front of the right target consumers.
It also helps them come up with strategies based on historical data. When running campaigns for clients throughout the year, they’ll look into historical data to see what audiences engage with the ads. This can help Vericast track and measure its ROI against the outcome.
What are some of the main benefits of using Vericast’s influencer marketing solution for brands and marketers?
First, Vericast tailors their approach by looking at the brand’s goals. They look at quality over quantity and ensure they produce high-quality content. They work with a smaller set of influencers who they know can create high-quality content as they’re putting paid media behind it.
Vericast also tracks and measures ads that perform best in front of the target audience to make informed optimizations. They don’t solely rely on what performs based on organic because they don’t know exactly who’s seeing that content. Instead, they pull all the content into highly targeted ads across influencers, audiences, and platforms to see which ads resonate best with the target consumers. After, they’ll quickly shift budgets according to what’s performing best for a specific target audience. This means that Vericast isn’t wasting any of their client’s budgets. On the contrary, they’re maximizing clients’ budgets by delivering high-impact results.
Another benefit of Vericast’s influencer marketing solution is that brands and marketers can access holistic audience insights through its consumer graph. The graph presents six proprietary data categories that they can look at.
Brands and marketers also get to enjoy Vericast’s multi-channel marketing approach. This allows them to scale influencer content across other channels like connected TV, email, and print. Often, Vericast will run a campaign on social media to see which ads perform best in front of a specific audience and then use those ads in other digital channels.
How has Vericast been able to incorporate TikTok into its marketing solutions?
Last year, Vericast announced the expansion of its influencer marketing solutions to include TikTok. Their strategy has always been to align the right creators with the right brands — and their partnership with TikTok allows them to do just that.
Vericast also has a partnership with TikTok that gives them access to TikTok’s newest features, beta testing capabilities, and up-to-date strategies. In fact, the team behind Vericast and their TikTok partners will brainstorm together to develop winning strategies for Vericast clients.
Can you talk us through some of the challenges that come with using TikTok as a marketing platform?
Tina recalls facing two big challenges over the last year. The first is balancing brand guidelines with TikTok culture. “It’s important for us to educate our clients about the unique nature of TikTok, especially when it’s their first time working with TikTok,” Tina says.
It’s hard for some brands to let go of that creative freedom, so Vericast spends time educating them. Vericast believes that clients will feel better and more confident in using TikTok once they’re aware of how the platform works and how it’s different from other social media sites.
The other challenge Tina has seen over the last year is clients trying to keep up with content creation. Vericast has run a lot of influencer marketing campaigns on TikTok that have been very successful. Seeing the success these marketing campaigns receive, brands want to invest in their own content and want to take advantage of them on their channel.
The problem with that strategy is trends in TikTok are fast-paced, meaning they come and go. Some brands don’t have in-house creative capabilities to keep up with these trendsFortunately, Vericast has a creative solution where they create content really quickly for their clients, allowing them to leverage the popularity of TikTok while still retaining ownership of content. It gives brands more oversight and control of their content since it’s going on their channels.
How do you ensure authenticity and transparency when working with influencers?
Vericast has several measures to ensure authenticity and transparency. First, they work with influencers to develop a relationship. Vericast believes this is where it all starts — having that relationship with influencers enables parties to understand each other and form a connection.
The other measure is Vericast provides detailed brand guidelines in a comprehensive creative brief for their influencers. This allows influencers to review and understand the brand, as well as encourages them to take that information and put their creative spin on it. As a result, influencers can easily bring any product to life and naturally humanize a brand.
Tina states, “When influencer marketing is not scripted, this is how it really shines. And we see powerful results by doing that.”
How do you work with influencers to create authentic and engaging content that appeals to audiences?
Vericast does a lot of collaboration throughout the content process. Their influencer relations team works closely with the influencers during this process. The team provides a creative brief and guidelines while maintaining open communication all throughout.
Vericast’s team will brainstorm with influencers. Often, they’ll do a storyboard subject for approval before any content is created to ensure that brands align with the suggested creative direction.
Can you explain how Vericast measures the success of its influencer marketing campaigns?
Vericast measures success by using various KPIs. They use benchmarks on client history and categories to give them estimates and engage success. They also benchmark on seasonality to know if a certain quarter is a more expensive timeframe than other quarters. They also run studies to measure the impact of a social campaign on in-store sales.
The biggest metric success that Vericast sees is the retention of its clients. They’re working with more clients throughout the year on multiple different campaigns. They’re seeing bigger budgets and clients being more open to testing.
How do you see influencer marketing evolving in the next few years?
Tina is interested to see how generative AI can help creators expedite their content creation processes, like developing post captions, and how AI-generated content can help them spark ideas. But she believes any AI-generated content should still have that human touch where creators take initial ideas and develop them even more into their own voice.
Another interesting aspect Tina expects to see is social commerce. She thinks social commerce will continue to rise over the next few years, especially as the industry sees more drastic changes in Gen Z’s shopping habits in TikTok.
Can you share any insights or key takeaways from Vericast’s recent research into consumer behavior during the pandemic?
Vericast has conducted several surveys to assess consumer behavior changes over the pandemic and had the following results:
- Early in March 2020, Vericast conducted a survey showing a favorability towards trying out new purchase behaviors due to disruption from the pandemic. Over half (52%) of consumers were changing their brand loyalty purchase behaviors, meaning they’re more willing to try a mix of old and new products, discover new brands, and purchase whatever’s available.
- A follow-up survey was conducted on March 30, 2020. Over the short period of March 16, 2020, to March 30, 2020, Vericast saw more consumers planning to increase their use of grocery delivery services (31%), restaurant delivery services (43%), and restaurant carry-out services (53%).
- Vericast’s research also showed that this behavior change in favor of convenience and discounts was primed to stick. A survey in June 2020 revealed that 76% of consumers enjoy discovering new products based on deals they receive from brands, 53% of consumers have tried a new grocery store, 52% have tried a new restaurant, and 49% have tried a new retailer since the pandemic began. Across all three categories, the biggest driver for trying a new establishment was an offer, discount, or deal.
- Additionally, according to Vericast’s 2021 Consumer Optimism Outlook report, 72% of consumers said they increased their saving behaviors during COVID, and 82% planned to continue this behavior over the following year.
What advice do you have for brands and marketers looking to incorporate influencer marketing into their strategy?
Tina’s first advice for brands and marketers is to clearly define their goals and objectives. They should know what they’re trying to achieve — is it awareness or driving sales?
Tina also advises brands and marketers to find influencers that align with their brand and understand their audience. They should avoid focusing on the number of their followers, and instead, brands and marketers should prioritize quality over quantity at all times.
The biggest advice Tina has is for brands and marketers to allow influencers to be part of their creative or brainstorming processes. Influencers have the pulse on trends, know what performs well in front of their audiences, and can bring a product to life using creative and unique strategies — strategies that brands and marketers haven’t thought of.
How does Vericast ensure regulatory compliance with influencer marketing efforts, such as FTC guidelines?
Tina’s teams participate in industry training and certification programs and subscribe to many influencer marketing newsletters to stay on top of the constant changes in the FTC guidelines. They also host monthly internal training to ensure that everybody — from Vericast’s strategy team to its account management team — has insight into all of the changes in the FTC regulations and other regulatory guidelines.
In addition, Vericast conducts a yearly influencer survey with its network to gain insight into new trends and feedback on compensation rates to ensure that they’re paying competitively. Vericast takes all those learning and implements them into their processes and strategies while keeping in mind all the guidelines and regulations.
How can interested parties get started with Vericast’s influencer marketing solution?
Anyone interested in using Vericast’s influencer marketing solution can head to their website and go to their content contact section.
Are there any exciting developments or plans in the works for Vericast’s influencer marketing solution?
Vericast is scaling its influencer marketing solutions quickly and is planning to expand even further throughout this year. Next year, they’re planning to integrate more capabilities with automation features for their clients.