Published on
April 5, 2024
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[00:00:01] Paul: All right. Great. Alex, we're live and we're back here with another webinar. We've been doing these webinars for a couple of weeks now. Our goal is to help influencer marketers in space and other marketers, other marketers in the space, learn from some of the best brands and operators out there. We've done some with folks from Ruggable, we've done some with folks from Quince and really, really awesome agencies. We've got another amazing one today, one that I've been looking forward to a long time because Alex and I have been working together almost since we started archive, so I'm super excited for this one. Yeah, thanks for having me.

[00:00:38] Alex: Excited for it too.

[00:00:39] Paul: Awesome, awesome. So Alex, I'm going to introduce you quick. Alex here is COO and co-founder of agency eight agency. It's our number one agency partner, especially when it comes to scaling influencer programs. They're really, really good at gifting programs, which is totally relevant for direct consumer brands that have great products Alex and his team have worked with over 30,000 influencers, seated over 12,000 gifts, and generated over 15,000 pieces of content for some of the awesome brands that they work with and have worked with in the past that you guys can see. Alex. Mushrooms uni thesis a lot of brands that are growing super fast, and I think gifting plays a big role there. But one of the things that I really like about Alex is that kind of like me, he also has an engineering background. He went from engineering software engineering to growth on the brand side to now running a really successful gifting agency. So really, really awesome insights into how to build systems for some of the things that are typically run, I would say, in a not so organized way on the brand side. So I think there's going to be some great value for a lot of folks here. So again, welcome, Alex. Super excited to chat here and talk about gifting and some of the work you guys have done.

[00:01:55] Alex: Yeah, same. And I'm glad you brought up systems too. And like the software background because I think that's such a big part of why I love gifting. And I think how we've built our gifting program to be a little bit different. So yeah.

[00:02:07] Paul: We'll get to that. Metrics, systems, all that stuff. So for today's agenda we've got a lot of content. So we might go a little bit over. But we're going to talk about a couple of different ways that Branson go and find content that they need for their business, for ads, for all that stuff. We'll do Deep Dive where Alex is going to explain gifting from his point of view and how he thinks about influencer. With the Moneyball approach analogy, we've got two awesome case studies. One from actually it's Alice Mushrooms, where we're going to dive deep into program metrics. And another one thinking about the right product for gifting with uni, one of my favorite brands right now. And then we're going to wrap up with an overview of thinking about gifting as a whole system as an engine, and we'll have ten minutes for Q&A at the end, so stay tuned for that. If you have any questions, just drop them in the comments or drop them in the LinkedIn post and we'll get to those towards the end of the conversation. But before we jump into the, you know, content here, Alex, I'm curious to hear the proper story. How did you go from building systems at Amazon to running, you know, gifting for some of the fastest growing brands today?

[00:03:17] Alex: That's a great question. I'm not even sure I know how I ended up there, but the shorter version is I studied software engineering and math in college and worked at Amazon, and really just fell in love with the systems and operations as a software engineer. And just the that mindset is something that I wanted to take working with people. And at the time, it was a tougher path to managing at Amazon. And I was lucky to work at a company in LA called Basic Space, where I manage marketing and operations as the growth lead, and I feel like there I didn't want to do marketing. Actually, there's the CEO will tell you that too. I was like, I just want to do operations. He was like, you have to do both. And so reluctantly had to learn and figure out how to manage a marketing team and do that. And then Ori, my founder at agency, she. Took on basic space as a client, and we got reconnected there and kind of like she wanted to grow that. And I was like, we should just do gifting. This is like the best strategy ever. When I saw the numbers, it was a no brainer. And so here I am now, a year later, just giving stuff out for free.

[00:04:29] Paul: Very interesting. I actually didn't realize that basics was an early agency eight customer makes sense now. Early days, early.

[00:04:37] Alex: Customer for a.

[00:04:39] Paul: Yeah. No. And again, we you know, some of the last webinars we talked about the value of bringing a potential finance background to the equation. When you're thinking about influencer, same thing goes for systems and software, especially as you're trying to scale repeat interactions and maintain the quality as you scale those across hundreds or thousands of people. It's impossible to do without systems. And that's especially true if you're doing that across a portfolio of brands. Right. So Alex has some really good stuff to share there. So we're going to start with talking about a couple of different ways that brands can get content. Content is super important. You need it for your ads. You need it for your website. You need it for almost all of your marketing these days. Alex and you walk you through the typical methods and, you know, I guess channels people can use for content and what you like and dislike about them.

[00:05:28] Alex: Definitely. So I think not only do these three categories cover different ways to get content, but it's also just different ways. I think for like a modern day B2C company. You know, this is like where you're spending in most of the ways, and it's something that we talk about with clients and potential clients all the time because this does what we do. Does it fit into the funnel. So I think everybody's really familiar with paid social. I think that's where most of the money goes to. I think influencer before, kind of like the TikTok kind of like later stage Instagram when influencers started popping up, was like a real big growth opportunity and a big unlock because you didn't need to get like a celebrity endorsement. You could actually just find someone online who had actually the perfect community for you, and they were a little bit more attainable. And then obviously, in-house content creation is something I'm sure everybody listening is thinking about, even we think about as an agency, like how to make the best content and how to own the content that we create. And because you get the best return, if you can really like crush something like that. And they're all different, I think when I compare them, the three things I really think about are kind of how scalable it is.

[00:06:51] Alex: And I think part of that, there's a bit of pricing. I think the next part is really like, if you can own those results. And I think that's kind of like from a customer perspective, but also from a brand value perspective. And then the last thing is really operational, and that's how much time and management these different things take. And so to start with paid social, that's I think the most scalable by far. I think everybody who's figured out paid social knows that's where most of their money goes. And everybody who doesn't is like maybe trying to figure out how to get that on lock. But it's really like the only way brands can, like, spend money and be like, this is exactly how much return I'm getting. Trackability sorry, that's the fourth part. Extremely trackable as well. Like every conversion, every sale, everything is tracked, which is great. But what I always say about that is like the new consumers are trained to see ads and like we get so many of them and it doesn't really like build that trust. And it's not a sustainable investment into your business. Really. And I know that sounds counterintuitive, but the way I see it, like you might get a bunch of customers, but once you turn that funnel off, I think a lot of brands see things drop in terms of like sales and everything there.

[00:08:10] Alex: And so it really becomes like more of a fixed expense than something that kind of grows over time without putting more money into it. Influencer is a little bit like, you know, let still scalable because you can rely on somebody else to like, create this content and manage it and post about it. It's a little bit easier less trackable, but still pretty trackable because we have like affiliates and UTM links. And when you have these contracted relationships, you can kind of control them a bit more than with gifting. But again, I think the pricing is very gray. That's something we talk about all the time, is like two people with very similar metrics and very similar results might charge very different pricing. And really like the only way to get that baseline is to spend. And you know, there's not like a directory of influencer pricing. Like one influencer could quote ten brands a different amount. And also like the own results. I think and investment in like the brand value is something that's missing there as well.

[00:09:17] Alex: Just because you miss out on that community, like always coming over and a lot of the relationship and those customers, it's like from that influencer. And if they pivot to a new brand or a new product, sometimes they bring customers with them. The last thing. In-house content creation. Definitely hard to track. I think organic and organic social is one of those things that I think brands and agencies and every business struggles to price the investment into, really like how much it's worth investing in your own social. It's definitely time consuming, I think, like there's a lot of creative ideation and there's a lot of back and forth between like, marketing teams and coordinators and graphic designers and everything to, like, get a really good social. But it's a great like ownership in the results. Like, obviously every post you makes just yours. You don't have to ask anybody to whitelist. You don't need to pay anybody extra to run it as an ad if it performs really well, like you get all those benefits. And so it's like a really good way to get the brand value. But I think at a high level, that's kind of how I view these three channels. Thinking about trackability scalability, time and, you know, like pricing their.

[00:10:37] Paul: Yeah. One thing I really like that you said is one influencer can quote ten brands differently, and that illustrates the importance of working with influencers in a way that doesn't necessarily feel transactional and building relationships. Any thoughts there on how to actually make that happen at scale?

[00:11:03] Alex: There's nothing wrong with influencers charging different brands, different pricing. If some of the brands are better or worse fit for that influencer, it actually might make sense for them because obviously there are business as well. It's more B2B, I think influencer than people think. They all have to benefit from that relationship in their own way. But obviously we'll get into it when we talk about gifting, like whenever anybody wants to pay for anything. I always like to say, what about what you can get for free? Like that's the true baseline. And I think like that's the way we see brands effectively scale influencer programs is using something like gifting to funnel into that because you have like real data that's free. So you know what the lower, you know, end of the results look like.

[00:11:55] Paul: Yeah. And then try to put yourself in CMO shoes. Quick fire question for you. Imagine you're, you know, CMO of a DTC brand. You guys are doing 10 million going to 25 million. You're spending 500 K a month on marketing, and you're trying to spread out your budget across paid social influencer and content creation. What would that allocation look like for you?

[00:12:22] Alex: Trying to just make up numbers on the spot. I think the way I'm approaching that is probably weighing, I think, these options over time and, you know, hopefully there's like a good data person. This is what I love about kind of coming from software to marketing is just looking at different ways you can. I always kind of talk about it as like you want to look in the negative space, like paid social is really easy to just take out of your products. I mean of your like data and sales and everything like that because it's so tracked. And so then you want to like get creative with other ways you can segment that. So like SEO is like another one you could bring out. If you're looking at influencer that tracks UTM like take That Out and then you kind of want to look at all your untracked expenses and see how that performs with like what's left over in your growth. You know, like pretty loose way. And I think it's important to like. Take bigger bets that are little longer. And I think that gives you like a better way to track and see the results of things that are untracked. So. Yeah. Without knowing, like, you know what the brand is like. I'm spending probably most of it on paid social, I think, for sure. And I probably have another funnel like gifting or influencer, where I can kill two birds with one stone and get new content for that all the time. That's really hands off for my team, while still like getting results from that as well. And then like everything left over kind of exists in a bubble in house. And that's like totally no. I think it's like best CMOs and marketing managers, like whoever's running your socials should not be asking for approval on any post. They post like they need free reign. That's the only way to make it happen. Your job is to like, control the easy to control stuff.

[00:14:17] Paul: Cool. Let's jump into gifting is one of the probably people in the planet that have gifted the most Alex Santa Claus. Can you tell us a little bit about gifting you?

[00:14:37] Alex: So. Yeah. Gifting. Really simple. It's just in the name. Like we're sending out whatever products the brands need or, like, are looking to grow awareness on and what their best products are to as many people as we can find and want to respond and the brand is willing to send out.

[00:15:00] Alex: We're trying to like, really saturate. We say nano and micro influencers. The split ends up covering like a pretty wide range of influencers, even upwards of like a million followers. And. Yeah, it's true, but.

[00:15:15] Paul: Generally the majority skewing to the smallers. Right? Sure. I think what's the logic between like a large influencer? It's probably when, hey, there's just such a good brand fit, they're likely to be big fans of the product and post or contribute anyway.

[00:15:29] Alex: It's it's really for me. And, you know, my business partner Ori would have has a different take on a lot of this stuff from a more qualitative perspective. But for me, gifting is very like quantitative. And so if you're sending out like 120 or 200 gifts a month. You should try to just, like, hit up 10 or 20 people with $1 million and see what happens, because that's kind of like part of the game. And we'll get to that later. In the thing with the gifting engine that this is very circular, like it feeds into itself. And so it's important to like take those really small risks that virtually have no cost when you're doing like this. Many gifts sending like 10 or 20 extra messages to people who don't respond doesn't change anything. Really. Yeah.

[00:16:15] Paul: That's a good point, right? Like the actual cost of shooting your shot is zero, right? Totally spend an extra ten DMs and if like, oh my God, I love your products, I would love to try them. Boom.

[00:16:26] Alex: Even like there is a cost to shooting your shot when you're doing taking. Not a lot of shots. Like if you are paying one influencer $10,000, they have to make a good post and make a good impact. But if you're sending out 100 gifts, it doesn't actually matter as much. It's like we're looking at the whole program. Yeah. But yeah, so that's what we're doing. And really our philosophy is I kind of use this analogy, like everybody's standing in Times Square looking at like all the ads, and we're kind of for your brand coming up behind somebody, whoever your ideal customer or key opinion leader is tapping them on the shoulder and saying, like, turn around. Like, ignore all that. Here's the actual product. Like, you can try it. We're willing to give this to you to try and fall in love with. And the relationships that come from that are so much better and like, more of a real investment in somebody who's going to be a part of that community. You know, like we say, gifting a lot in this. But I think it's really important that we don't view it as like gifting and transactional. It's really like community building. Like even somebody who doesn't post is still a valuable gift because they're creating that digital word of mouth in their community.

[00:17:43] Alex: Really. Yeah, it's just about, I think, bridging like the gap between these things that exist online and making them exist for real for people so that they can interact with it, like tell their friends, try it out, and then, you know, from there. Just have the brand pop off?

[00:18:01] Paul: 100%. 100%. Before we move on to the next topic, I just want to reemphasize it's actually such a great point. When people are running gifting programs, you know, they have rough benchmarks, KPIs. Hey, we're going to reach out to 500 people, try to gift 100 people. Our range is under 50 K, but I really like the idea of just like sprinkle in some moonshots in there, right? Just send an extra 3040 DMs to really, really relevant folks. And again, if you're running a gifting program and you tell your manager, hey, this celebrity actually responded and is super down that's going to earn you, I think, a lot of, a lot of good karma at the brand and potentially lead to a really, really good outcome. And it's a big, big loop, big life cycle. Right? Because some of these, if you're seeding 100 influencers, chances are some of these bigger influencers are going to spot that product being shared and gifted. And they'll probably get a little bit of FOMO like, hey, why am I not getting hit up for that? So I think that's increasingly likely to succeed. As you start your grassroots efforts, start building up the, you know, seeding community. But again, take ten, 15 shots every month or something at the very least, and try to find those really, really. I would say one qualitatively good influencers to throw into your gifting mix.

[00:19:19] Alex: No, I mean, you you said it well and like the only thing really to add on there, we do that strategically and it's something that at Basic Space Vesper, one of my old partners there was really like into is if you want person A and they are you know, they have like a wall around them. They cost a lot of money whatever. Like they have a lot of people B, c, d, e, whatever who have lower followers who are in their community, like gift all of them, and then that other person that is going to.

[00:19:51] Paul: We give literally.

[00:19:53] Alex: Like celebrities, roommates, best friends, like whatever all the time knowing that that it is only like one degree removed away now from having like a really valuable relationship.

[00:20:03] Paul: And it's like straight up not that hard. You could literally look at their follower list, right? So here's a tactic. Find a mega influencer gift, you know, 20 to 30 relevant people in their people that they follow list and then guaranteed they're going to see your products. And then when you hit them up, boom. Yeah, hopefully that works. At least you have greater than zero odds for that to convert. Cool. Let's talk about Moneyball. Yeah.

[00:20:34] Paul: I actually haven't seen the Moneyball movie, so. Okay, well, I'm not adequately equipped to this, so this you need to give me a good overview.

[00:20:42] Alex: Think my I think at least he's watching. I think the rest of my team is watching. I've probably never brought this up on any client call like or anything, but when I was working with you guys to make these slides, I just watched this movie one of the days, and I was like, this is what, like we do, this is the world we live in. Just for context, this movie is about this guy, Billy Beane, who was general manager of the Oakland A's in baseball, like in 2002. And. They are like did not have any money. Every good player they would get and sign would just get like another team would just pay more and like get them over and like the Yankees and everybody else was just like buying all their good players from them. And they had nothing left. And they kind of sit in these meetings trying to decide like which players to work with and which players to buy. And it sounds like a marketing meeting talking about what influencer to sponsor, like, oh, this person's the right look. They're really like clean cut whatever. And he's like, okay, but do they perform? And they're like, oh no, it's you know, like look at the way he hits the ball. Look at the way whatever. Like it's so abstract and I think there's a place for that. But what he does in the movie is he says like, you know This young guy comes into the team and is like, we're going to use numbers to do it where they look at like on base percentage.

[00:22:04] Alex: And they're like, we only care about if they get on base. Like the only way to score is to get on base in baseball. And we'll work backwards from that. And they almost like won the whole MLB spending. Like I think the numbers, like they spent $200,000 for every win. And like the Yankees spent $2 million for every win. And the way they do it was by focusing on things that matter for their brand and kind of like using numbers and actual learnings to like, dictate what's going to happen instead of like trying to make the results happen from your guesses. And I think it's how we approach influencer marketing and how gifting really works. Like our thing is like post rate, it's like all about post. It's all about like average follower count, what types of content they're getting, what the funnel looks like for different demographics and everything like that. And then you can inform like a real big spend, like if someone's out of range for you, you know, because you have to buy like ten influencers posts. You could just reallocate that towards like one that's going to crush it because you already know it's going to crush it from the data you have. You know, kind of like looking at the whole gifting program. So. Great movie to watch. I think everybody should watch it because it's amazing if you like baseball, even better. But even if you don't, I think it's a really like, cool movie that definitely got even me thinking about how I can use stuff like this for marketing.

[00:23:34] Paul: Yeah, I think you did a good analogy between the core metrics that you look at from a brand funnel perspective, and you called out the on base percentage, what's the equivalent for an influencer? And then I like the idea, which is like, hey, look, there's so many influencers out there. If you're able to have one metric that's easy to measure, that you can use to just filter out and make sure that at least everyone you consider has the basic performance characteristics, then on top of that, you can look at the on brand ness, the vibe, all that stuff. You're making sure that, you know, if the performance part of your brain or your team is arguing with the brand part of your brain, or your team, at least the performance side, like, hey everyone, we suggested here is good to go now. Brand team can kind of go ham at thinking about who's on vibe, who's cool, who's not cool. But we filtered the list of influencers so that we're happy with everyone here from a performance perspective. So I think it's a really good way to get the list filtered and make sure that everyone you're working with are considering at least has the potential versus doing it on the flip side, which is like, hey, this person's like really, really on vibe. And it's like, yeah, we'll just check their followers. They're all fake, right? I'm curious what that metric would be. The equivalence there from a gifting perspective.

[00:24:48] Alex: Yeah, that's a great question. And I think that's something that there is a little bit of vibe for the first wave. And there's nothing wrong with. The vibe, by the way. Like, I'm not saying everything that every brand and like every marketing person should be like all numbers based. But if you're going to do vibe guesses, you have to be willing for them not to work like that after that first wave. If your guess is wrong, you need to be willing to change it instead of like either forcing it or just giving up on the strategy. Because now you have real numbers. And I think like that's the key thing for me. Is that there's definitely ways you can use engagement rate and you can use, you know, hashtags and follower count and stuff like that to like, do an initial screen on the list locations. And there's lots of ways to like, enrich that data. But my answer is really like that first wave doesn't matter as much as the second wave. And the second wave matter is not as much as the third wave. Like this is a program that grows on itself. And like after the first wave, what we're looking at is taking our, like qualitative demographics. And kind of looking at how the funnel fits each one of those. So like response rate and confirmation rate, kind of like how hard it is to get somebody in this demographic to accept a gift. That's really important because that's like the time and then the post rate and frequency of people in that group and the type of content. Is like the other part of the funnel, and they kind of live independently, and it's important to kind of look at them both separately at times. But like eventually you kind of want to merge them because. Once the results and one is the effort. Oh, my. Sorry if everybody's watching my computer like that. When I do a hand gesture, it does those pop ups. I don't know how to turn it off. No one else I know has it.

[00:26:44] Paul: It was.

[00:26:46] Alex: In a while. Does like a. Yeah. Anyway. So Yeah. So? I think that's like, really, for me, what's important when we're screening lists is like, I mean.

[00:27:00] Paul: Just the I'm just curious, like, are there not so many good influencers out there, especially when you're starting out gifting where.

[00:27:09] Paul: Just filter. Right. Like so. So I'm just curious if that's like just something that everybody should start doing is like, hey, don't even consider an influencer if they're not this minimum threshold of follower engagement rate combination, right.

[00:27:22] Alex: It's really like, you know, this is where the vibe thing comes in and you can start to quantify what the numbers that I brought up are like, you know, even thinking about it like that is like, not, I think, the right approach in the beginning because it's about like building community. If you're a brand that hasn't done gifting, you've been paying influencers, you've been paying for social ads and like getting customers, everybody, you know, brands will say like, oh, we want to engage our community. And sometimes what they're really saying is like, we want to have our customers spend more and there's nothing wrong with that. Yeah, but when we say engage our community, it actually looks really different. And I think that's where like Ori's built a lot of the non qualitative part of our program out really well. Because you know she's been able to like create these touch points. And this feeling for influencers to feel like they're really a part of the brand. Like it's about reengaging and everything like that. And so it's kind of like to wrap it up. There's a lot of influencers out there. You should want to work with people because you like them. You like the type of content. There are people that if you know, if you're the marketing person for a brand, it should be people you want to follow. Like ultimately you're directing that voice like it. You're kind of at a loss if you're going to like, go pick people who you don't even know what their community is like at all, because you're going to miss out on lots of those nuances. You can definitely get there, but you kind of want to like, use what you know, to kind of like, gotcha. That new.

[00:28:49] Paul: Yeah, that makes sense. That's actually a good point because again, just.

[00:28:53] Alex: Check your followers, check who's following your brand and like go through that. Like, there's nothing wrong with starting with people who already follow you.

[00:29:03] Paul: Cool. Let's talk about the first case study that we have. I'm excited to dive into the metrics and to walk people through a sophisticated, well tracked, well oiled gifting funnel and all of the metrics to track and optimize that. But before we jump into the numbers, can you tell a little bit more? Tell us can you tell us a little bit more about Alice mushrooms. What kind of brand are they? What do they do and what made them want to initially work with you from a goals perspective? To get going with the gifting program?

[00:29:34] Alex: So Alice Mushrooms is a great brand. It's a great product. I literally have it right here on my desk. And it's.

[00:29:43] Paul: Did you take some before the call?

[00:29:44] Alex: I didn't take any before the call. These are. These will put me to sleep. Maybe if I need a nap later, I'll take some. But they're you know, they use functional mushrooms in a chocolate to create, like, a they have a sleep. One for arousal and one for focus. And, like, our team is obsessed with them. First of all, it's like, the best product. My mom's obsessed with them. They taste amazing. Like. And it's a great product, which is why it's great for gifting. And I think that's probably one of the things they knew and why they wanted to start doing this, because they had really good belief in in their product. But. I think with something like this, it's. A great product to gift because there's like a novelty about it. And there's kind of, I call it like a low cost to accept a gift because it's not like a huge burden. Right? Like you'll try it if you were out at a restaurant and they came up to you and said, like, hey, do you want to try this appetizer for free? You would say yes, because you're there's nothing wrong with trying it. And so I think gifts that have some sort of like tribal element is like a really cool experience and generally performs really well. And I think that was a lot of their motivation. And then also just to like help grow and oversaturate the market that already kind of like knows about the product is like a pretty important part of it as well, that with high volume seating you could really like take over your key market, like where everybody's talking about it.

[00:31:13] Paul: I gotta try.

[00:31:14] Paul: Let's talk about the metrics. You want to maybe start walking through you know, left column like, what are those mapped to? And then curious if you have any observations. Yeah. For how you guys think about Feb, Jan, December numbers.

[00:31:28] Alex: So these are kind of revert like, you know, reverse. We would look at like December, January, February, but kind of like the main metrics we're looking at. And then there's some edge case edge cases that I'll talk about a little later. Outreach, obviously. This is like your initial message. And then also this is important because it correlates with how many people you need to source. Right? Like whatever that number is.

[00:31:52] Paul: When where are you sending outreach right now? Is it IG, DMs, email, TikTok?

[00:31:57] Alex: We do. And this is our philosophy is through the DMs. And that's one because we found that it gives really the best results, especially because if you want people to post and you're messaging them in the app that they can post about, it's really easy versus like emailing them, you know, everyone's like looking at their work emails and then you get a message from some brand like, you should post about it. You're not on your phone. But also even more important than that is that it? It's how brands start to own these results from a social perspective, because now people are like engaging with the brand. They're following the brand, they're checking the profile. You know, they can easily go in and share a story and tap and it's just all right there. And so those are like the two main reasons we do everything through the DMs. But.

[00:32:45] Alex: All those people are new. So when it says 300 every month, those are 300 new people. So 900 over like the whole period. Responded is just we're looking at initial response. And here it's just, you know, there's a certain amount of messages get hidden in that like hidden request. Sometimes people just don't open it. People forget. And we do follow ups and stuff at different stages as well to like, boost this, but. Overall response rate is kind of like an indicator of how if you're reaching out to the right people and kind of like the brand's presence, kind of like what their social media gives off, because the first thing you do and you get that DM is go check the profile.

[00:33:29] Alex: Confirmed. Probably we could have. We actually were just talking about that as a team confirmed and former sponsor. Pretty much synonymous. We can kind of like ignore confirm for this. But the reason you would track it, especially early on and we kind of like know this already so we don't need to do it. But we did track it for a while. You want to see if there's a drop off between somebody saying yes and actually filling out the form or doing whatever the call to action is to get the gift. Because as we'll talk about with uni, sometimes there are certain barriers that you can ease the burden of for the influencer so that it makes getting those gifts even better. And then posted is the number. This would be the number of people who posted. Now those are kind of like other than posted. The first ones are like I would call early funnel. That's like all the effort we do. Middle is kind of like on this chart form responses response rate gift rate. Those are. Really like the the middle of the engine. And that's like the feedback. The response is like everything that you can kind of look at across the whole program to make assumptions. So I talked about response rate a little gift rates. Another good one. Obviously you want your gift rate to be 100%. It's never going to be 100% because people are lazy and they forget or they just, you know, get gets lost in the DM or like they just change their mind and, you know, there's really no reason behind it. But you want to make sure that that's high. I think our benchmark for that is at least 70%. And I think that's probably even higher than other gifting programs would see. And that's just because we that means we're reaching out to the right people, and our messaging is very clear on what we're offering for them. And kind of like the products are good.

[00:35:20] Paul: And I think speed of speed of response is also really big there. Right. If you're able to respond like right after the influencer confirms versus waiting a weekend, right? That's something that we've seen play a big role. Yeah. And then and then actually, I think a lot of it is we've seen big drop offs in gift rates in the past. With more complicated products where I think if you've got a simple product and again, we'll talk about this a little bit in the next in the next slide. But for simpler products like yeah, sure. Send me the address. Good to go. I think you can get a really good gift rate. Yeah. When you've got a product where you've got to maybe pick a size, pick a couple variants, that's where you start adding some steps, making it more complicated. And where we see brands really struggle with gift rate is going to be with personalized products. For example, if you've got to go through a more complicated quiz or process to be able to, you know, get the personalized shampoo or the personalized experience that just requires the influencer to get thrown in a complicated flow. Sometimes there's login issues, all that stuff. I think all of that friction makes it really difficult. So again we'll talk about simplifying the experience and picking products, but that's interesting to measure it as well and then contrast it for different brands.

[00:36:36] Alex: No definitely. And I think you bring up a good point with the gifting flow. And that's kind of again with uni we have like a lot of the tips and tricks there that I can share with them, but also with other clients especially personalized ones. The last part of these metrics we would look at high level for a brand is just what the UGC breakdown looks like. And I think, you know, everybody could just look at these numbers. I don't need to go into like what stories and TikToks and everything means. It's simple. We use archive to track it because it's the best, by the way, and we've been using archive since day one. Like Ori knows this before, Ori and I worked together and she was doing this. She was like doing it like probably a lot of other brands did before. Archive where you would like check the DMs every day, screenshot, Dropbox, whatever. And like the first I was like, this does not make any sense. Like there's someone's gotta figured it out. Like this can't be like 2024 2023. The best way to do this met with archive like over in February of last year. So that was pretty early. I think I was an early adopter for sure. And now can't we we need like you can't work with us unless you use archive. There's just no it just doesn't make sense. Like if you've like some secret system you don't want to share with us to track your UGC, that's fine. But like we're using archive whether they want to or not. Like we pay for it. Like, you know, we need it. So that's the shout out to archive for sure on just making all this really easy because there's, there's just no way to run a successful gifting program or even have like a successful brand without having a really easy way to track the UGC.

[00:38:09] Paul: It's funny. I mean, just just just quickly, the the reason we came up with archive initially was that we used to run gifting programs not as nicely as Alex and his team. We were, I think, a little bit too quantitative and I guess we were missing Ori so very, very numbers driven, but we were generating a lot of content and we, we had shifts on the weekend for people, you know, saving this content and tracking it. And so, yeah, it's been exciting to kind of you.

[00:38:37] Alex: Still probably miss, like a good chunk of it, even when you do it manually. Like it's.

[00:38:42] Alex: But but yeah. So to look at this and the reason why I picked Alice to show this and the reason why I picked three months to show this, is because I think with gifting and with a lot of things, especially in marketing, and especially if you've got some like VC money behind your brand is like, where's the results? Like we need to see results. We need to see return. Like we need to know that this is working. These three months. December. January. February. Outreach is the same pretty much within like 17 and. If you go down to gifted. Ugc you're like huge jump 83 to 2 10 to 241 like form responses which is gifts 895 120 136. Like what happened? You know, like, did we do anything differently? And this is where I think two things come into play. One is. There's just a natural like need for this to be evergreen, because people take a while to respond and post and they have lives and they're doing all this other stuff like this isn't their full time job to be an influencer all the time. Especially because the people reaching out to are smaller. So things are delayed like a lot of the UGC. And February is probably from December because people are holidays and whatever.

[00:39:58] Alex: But also this is where like the demographic and response rate and post rate informs the next wave and the next wave. Like people who respond, we source from their community and then people who post, we source from their community too. And like before you know it, you've got like a bunch of people where everybody's like, how come I open my Instagram every day? And somebody posted for Alice mushrooms. Like, if you think about it, 240 is what, like eight videos a day that's people post for. Or eight pieces of content that are posting for Alice a day, which means like if we're doing our jobs right, like every day, there's people who don't know about Alice, who see it like every day that month and probably convert and follow and everything like that. So this is just a good one to show. Like if you're doing gifting, you just started like stick it out. Like you need to really like commit. And that's why when we work with brands, we work with them for six months because there's so much iteration you can do to get this to a really successful place and extract value.

[00:40:57] Paul: Just such great. This is such a great tactic actually, that not a lot of people are thinking about. And it goes back to your initial suggestion for looking at your audience to find people to give to. People do this when they're launching in retail, right? Hey, we're going to start in the city, and then we're going to do Facebook ads for that city, try to get reach in that city, then expand to California. Then we can expand to, you know, the whole of that coast and expand national. And you guys are doing the same thing for gifting, except instead of a specific location, it's just graph based, based on the communities that exist on Instagram. And that's such a better strategy because you're going to have limited budget initially. You can't gift a million people unless you're Nike or something, right? So if you're going to gift a couple hundred people, if you're able to just focus that on one community and slowly expand that community, the amount of reach and frequency you're going to get on that certain group is going to be so much higher than if you just kind of like, spray across a ton of different types of people.

[00:41:56] Paul: So actually, that's probably the best reason for just starting off with your, you know, followers and kind of that community versus maybe using a platform to find, hey, let's look at like the top quote, engagement influencers and find the top performing influencers, because again, then you're going to lose out on a lot of that connectivity and those repeat impressions. So I think that's a great tactic. And I don't think enough people are thinking about that. So that's a that's a big win to share that Alice is clearly a crushing it from a metrics perspective. Right. Really high confirmation, really high response rate and really, really good amount of posting, especially from a post. Sorry. Especially from a I would say reply rate response rate perspective. What does that funnel look like for other brands is, you know, 40 to 50% average. Is it outstanding? Can you give us a couple benchmarks and maybe some thoughts? Across, you know, different brands and industries you've worked on.

[00:43:00] Alex: Yeah, definitely. I think.

[00:43:04] Alex: Rates, we think about being 30% at least. So if you want to send out, you know 300, if you're going to do 300 outreach, 100 of those people are going to respond. And then we think about confirmation rate is around 70%, like a good gift. Confirmation rates around 70%, like 60 to 70 is solid. And that just again is like you don't need to worry about every single person. Like you shouldn't feel bad if somebody doesn't respond or if they respond. And then don't accept the gifts like. That's they'll come around if they want to come around. And if they don't come around, they don't come around like it's okay. But it keeps the funnel efficient. If you kind of think about, like the 30 and then the 60 to 70% gift rate, we want to see, like at least above 50% of people. And that's really just kind of a number we came to looking at, even when you pay for like low amounts of UGC and you factor in the cost of the gift, like we there's a level of arbitrage here that like you reach when you have at least 50% of people posting even like stories and stuff. Because even if you think about like a micro influencer, if you DM them to post something, it's going to be like 200 bucks, which isn't a lot. But you know, if your product only costs 20, then like one post for every two gifts is really good, especially when you do it at scale. So that's kind of how we're looking at the numbers.

[00:44:24] Paul: And without giving all the secrets away, can you give a couple tips of what outreach looks like to get those numbers? I bet if you wrote your messages in a different way, you could tank that percentage.

[00:44:36] Alex: We see it happen, and that's like where ori's like, really good at that. And I'm lucky that I just get to look at the good stuff and like, kind of be like, oh, can we improve response rate or gift confirmation rate and like, whatever she does works. But Really it's about, I think, like having it be concise. I think like having it feel like really clear what's being offered and like what the product is and what the expectations are is like the easiest way to boost any of those numbers. So like, you know, you don't want to get like two crazy. This isn't the place for you to have like that really silly, like confusing message with all your brand lingo and everything like that. It's like, hey. You know, Paul, we love your content. Like we're Alice mushrooms. We're functional mushrooms. Company like, we'd love for you to try our product and, like, see if you like it. We have one for sleep. Focus sex. Great. And that's like. That's enough. You know, that's not. That's not what Alice is, you know? Copy. Looks like I'm gonna be honest. I actually don't even know what any of the copy really looks like for our clients.

[00:45:41] Alex: That's an easy thing to deal with, but Yeah, it's And then it's just about tweaking it. Like, I brought this up earlier about having, like, a longer a B test. Like, don't think that you could tweak the copy and it's going to work the next week. Like do it for a month. And then do it another month. Or like split up your month half and half and just kind of track what those people look like in your spreadsheet. Tag them differently, tag them differently in archive when you can use the bulk upload, which is something that I'd like to think I contributed a lot of the features to that one, but like use all the tools at your disposal to see and then kind of like make the adjustments. But we've done this now for over 20 brands, like, and we've had a lot of different results across the spectrum. Like we haven't had any where it doesn't happen, like we have not had a brand where you can't get the gifts out like nobody wants it. Like there's always ways to improve it enough to like a reasonable baseline of getting those like 40 to 60 gives a month out.

[00:46:38] Paul: Yeah, 100%. Let's move on to the second case study that we have today. We're going to talk a little bit about uni. They've also been an early archive customer. I absolutely love their branding. They have such a cool community. So cool to know that you guys have something to do. For for some of that. Yeah. Really just insane community on Instagram.

[00:47:03] Alex: So uni is a great, great product first of all. Like what's on the see what's on the screen is their body serum which is like. If lotion didn't suck. Like it's literally just the best thing ever for, you know, keeping your skin hydrated and everything like that. Branding is beautiful, products beautiful, like all their products look great, feel great, smell great. So we're really happy to work with them. When they launched with us well, they didn't launch with us, but when they started working with us, they this product was sold out on their site. And this was early for us. This was they were one of our first clients that Aubrey and I had together. And, you know, coming from the software perspective, I was like, we got to use Shopify collabs. We got to use an affiliate platform. Like we're going to track it. It's going to make the gifts really easy. Everything like that, and we just weren't that happy with the response rate. Like, confirmation rate was kind of confusing. We were like, why aren't there a lot of people accepting these gifts? The posts were like a little weird because we were gifting three different products and you had to sign up to Shopify collabs. You had to pick which one you wanted. Then we had to approve it, and then you had to go in and accept it and like, fill out your shipping and get the gift right. So like really confusing. I was like.

[00:48:23] Alex: Like there's got to be a bulk upload solution we can use for this with Google Forms. Let's just collect addresses and like have them fill it out. That was like a huge jump. And then when body serum came back in stock, we were like, let's just like switch the whole thing to just this product. Not because the other products weren't good, but because it's a barrier mentally for people to like, even pick which product they want, as crazy as that sounds. Literally like a month apart, switching to body serum with like again, same number of outreach. It was like double gifts. Like literally like an extra 200, like 250 gifts in one month compared to like 130. And all the content was cohesive and there was way more of it as well. And I think it feeds into a lot of things. We talked about where there's this brand awareness around a product that's really good, where people see it a lot more on their feed. So that's one thing. It was easy to get the gift because we just needed their address. You don't need to select anything. And we actually ended up using Zapier to build out a script that we use for all of our clients.

[00:49:27] Alex: Now to like, upload these from a Google form directly into your Shopify store. But it also just made it easy to, like, engage with people and then show them the other products in the, you know, in the lineup for the brand after they've kind of like had this intro in something that's like easier to understand, you know? Yeah, body serum sounds different, but it's like, you know, a lotion type product. And I think that fits into people's lineup more easily than Uni's other products, like a shampoo or conditioner. Like, that's a lot more segmented. People have like a lot more issues here. But with this, it's like you have dry skin or you don't or you don't, but probably everybody has like a little bit dry skin. And so you're like, cool. This solves this one thing for me. It's really easy for me to understand what it is like. I'll take ten, you know, instead of being like, oh, like, I like my shampoo, but maybe I'll try the conditioner or maybe I'll try, like I have. I could use this hand wash in one bathroom, but not my kitchen like this. Just, you know, fits in where it needs to in your life.

[00:50:27] Paul: This is everybody has dry skin in New York, not Miami. Yeah. I mean so it's true. So you said that switching from that platform Code labs to the Google form had a bump in gift rate. And then you also said that when you're able to refocus the products, you got a bump in gift rate. Do you have a sense of the magnitude or the numbers there?

[00:50:48] Alex: Yeah, it was pretty much double like I had the numbers before when I was looking at this with your team to build the slides. I don't have them in front of me right now. Yeah, but like about double.

[00:50:58] Paul: Moving just so when you simplified the flow when almost old school. Right. Just the Google form and DMs, you were able to double the gift rate.

[00:51:08] Alex: Yeah. Pretty much like it's.

[00:51:10] Paul: Pretty crazy.

[00:51:12] Alex: Because there's nothing wrong with collapse. Like we actually like collapse and use it for a lot of our clients. It's just that. I kind of like to say to our team and to our clients, like, it's good to have options, like just because you want to get something in a certain way, it's not worth it to sacrifice getting a gift out to like, force everybody to follow that flow because you miss out on closing deals with influencers that are so close, right? Like there's no reason that anybody who responds and confirms interest shouldn't be able to get the product in any way they want. Like they could send their address in ten different DMs, like, I'll still send it to them. And that's important because again, it's about like building community. You want people to feel like that, you're excited to work with them. And it's it's clear if you're sending them links and you're like, sorry, can you use grin? Like, can you use nothing wrong again? Like, can you use Shopify collabs? Can you use grin like we want you to use this platform to whatever. Like it just decreases that feel. Some people aren't going to care, but there are a lot of people who do. And so, you know, like even if somebody sends what they want and doesn't use a form, like we still just put it in manually and, you know, it's time consuming. But like overall it's more worth it because we're looking at this whole program like 10% makes a difference when you send 300 gifts a month.

[00:52:36] Paul: And then when you talk about like the gift ability of products, do you ever see tension between what a brand wants to gift, maybe their business goals and what Ripps with influencer? For example, if the, you know, body serum is just working really, really well, but it's out of stock, that's I think a clear example. But when there's a product launch potentially of a new SKU that might be great that we need to market, but maybe it's not as giftable versus some of the staples that are super giftable. How do you design a program that supports both outcomes here?

[00:53:12] Alex: So there's kind of like two things there. I think one is like you think about the product selection that's available. And then I think you think about how to use gifting to like maybe support a product launch. And I think they work a little differently for the product. You know with uni is a great example. I just talked about how we switched to body serum and it did so well, like we've since switched and gifted other things for a month and had it done, had it performed just as well because we have so much more learning later on in the program that we know who to reach out to, who to accept the gift from the brand, and it becomes less about the product and the brand. When you've been doing this for, you know, eight months or six months as a, as a brand. I.

[00:53:54] Paul: I imagine just with the momentum that you're building now, right, like all of these influencers seeing the brand, the reputation going up that then increases reply rates, post rate and all that stuff. So it becomes easier over time.

[00:54:06] Alex: Yeah, because it's a real community and that's important. It's not like we're trying to sell you on anything, like we're just we want to work with you because we like you and we already have you in the community. You want to be a part of the community. You know, we could gift uni crayons probably for a month and people would be excited about it. Like if that was what they wanted to do, we would try it. We.

[00:54:24] Alex: They could make a somebody take note of that. If you have a cool color lineup, make some crayons, send out a coloring book as like a, you know

[00:54:33] Paul: Skims crayons would do good too.

[00:54:36] Alex: So that's one thing. The other thing with the product launch is a great example. And I think that's something that like we'll talk about with the gifting engine, but really like we. Brands ask about that a lot. They're like, we're launching a product. We want to do gifting. How do we make it a successful launch? And there's two ways you could do it. I think the old school way is like you're launching a new product, like you want to just gift out like hella of that product, as many people as you want, like way more before the launch and like around the launch. So everybody's like getting this product and it feels really great and that works. But what's even better is if that big push is already on top of like an evergreen gifting program. Because with uni, if they were launching a new product tomorrow, I could reach out to 4000 people we've worked with who have posted for us. You know, I just made that number up, but it's in the thousands like and send them all this new product. I already have their address. We already have a communication line with them. They already like the product. We already know they're going to post, probably for free anyway. And so like you just take all that risk from not having done gifting and now like you have a super successful product launch with people who already get the brand already get the product already, make content you like, are already briefed and like even if you just think about the time saving, they're like. It's you're missing out when you want to use your community. If you're not doing something like gifting all the time, because when you need to force it and rush it, it's not going to be as good. Because like I showed you with like, these things take three months to kick in, six months to kick in and be like really full, fully tuned, like a fully tuned engine. And so yeah, if you're not. Yeah. I mean.

[00:56:28] Paul: Tying it back to your analogy versus Facebook ads, right. You turn off your ads, you're basically at square one, no more value. You pause gifting, you still have all those relationships that as you're talking through now, you can reuse in different ways and leverage for these launches. Right. So that's actually a real asset. And you're saying you'd save time. I mean, I'd argue that it's more than saving time. It's straight up like not possible to not possible week or two. Activate 4000, 3000, 5000, whatever the number is of influencers for your product launch. If you haven't been building and nurturing that community for a long time. So again, like you could stop gifting for a month, two months, three months, pause your budget and you'd actually still get a ton of people continuing to post, continuing to buy the product. And then when you're actually coming back to that channel you can almost go back where you left off, right? I'm sure there would be a little bit of churn in the community, but the majority would still be there, ready to support the brand.

[00:57:21] Alex: Pretty much. We see like even clients who who pause with us like they get content from gifting three months later, still, like it's still kicking in and those people are still engaged in the community, they still follow. And so, yeah, you're spot on there. When you say it's more than just being worse, it wouldn't be possible.

[00:57:40] Paul: We're super over time. But this is great. So we're going to continue. Just heads up for folks that have to go into other meetings or whatnot. We will share the recording, we'll share the slides, so feel free to come back to it later. But Alex is sharing so much value, so much valuable information. I just don't want to cut it short. So we have one more slide and then a bunch of questions queued up as well from some of the comments and chats. So quick update there on timing. But Alex excited to continue the convo. Let's talk a little bit about, you know, putting it all together in what you call the gifting engine.

[00:58:16] Alex: I'm excited to hear the question. So this one will be quick. You already know what this is. Everybody is listening because it's all the different parts of everything I've been talking about. But I think it's important we almost didn't put this slide in and I was like, this is the only slide you need to see to understand why gifting works, so that you can see that it's not like one directional. All the other things on the first slide other than maybe owning your own organic content, are like pretty one directional. Obviously, you can always like use learnings to influence like the next wave, but it's not really like the same as the cycle here. That's just like always going. That starts with sourcing, growing the community. You're communicating with them, you're seeding products. That could also be like getting product feedback from them. That could be like inviting them to an event. People think gifting needs to be like sending out free stuff. It doesn't. You could gift wish people Happy Valentine's Day like and not send them anything. Just DM them and say like hey, we love you. Like Happy Valentine's Day. Thanks for being a part of like, you know, the Alex community, the uni community. And then there's the real results, which I think like all the CMOs and like, you know, this is what you need to convince if you're on your marketing team and your CEO is like, why should we do gifting? This is what they want to know.

[00:59:26] Alex: The answer to is like, what's the content going to look like? How many sales are we going to get? Are we going to get affiliates? Like, what are those results? And that's kind of like why it's important that your gifting engine is always on and exists in like an isolated way. The main reason I wanted to leave my last company and start doing this was because I saw how important gifting was, and how much better it is when you outsource it, and it could be like you can own it internally. You can have like your own dedicated team to it, but if it's if they're doing other stuff, it won't be as good because you need to be in the DMs every day. You need to check in everything every day. You need to look at the content every day because like every DM that you send new is informed by somebody you worked with in the past, a piece of content you got. You're going to update the content brief that we send to everybody when we send a product to. That's like another way that Ori helps us get more content. You know, you're going to update that with UGC that we like constantly, so that it always feels like fresh and is always like shifting in a direction we want. You know, I didn't talk about this that much, but the other two I like to just highlight quickly. We've had clients hire employees and content creators from people we've gifted.

[01:00:41] Alex: Like now we're talking about, like, saving money on air and everything like that from doing gifting. Like we've had people we've had brands reach out to like 80 creators to make UGC content, just putting an affiliate link in and have like 60 people or 50 people respond like even a dozen people. Right? Like in a week, make content for it. You can't do that. Like if you're not doing gifting, you don't have a community. Organic algorithm improvement is another one I didn't even touch on. You know, like all of our clients say this, you could turn other stuff off. A lot of their top line results are tied with gifting, like it's correlated between UGC and gifting. And like CAK being low organic traffic being up on their website. And I would literally urge you, anybody, any of you guys with your brand, like have one of your friends post and tag your brand on Instagram and they'll tell you nonstop for the next two weeks, all we saw were ads, all your social ads from them and all their friends who clicked on the link and everything are going to see those ads too.

[01:01:43] Alex: Like, it makes sense. But that's how the algorithm finds people in the first place. Like when Paul posts about something and I DM him and ask him about it, or even just click it or watch his story, it's easier for the ad to find me if I'm in his demographic. And so if you're saturating a market really well, the paid ads are going to perform better in like, that gifted audience. And. Really like all the learnings I said. All the tweaks is just like tuning this engine. That's like how I talk to clients about, like, you don't want to start this up and do it for like a month. That's like not even close to the level of sophistication that this is going to be in like six months or a year or over a year, like some of our clients like, it's just there's so much to do with building a community, and you can use gifting so strategically. And I just think it's different for every brand. But you need to like have somebody who's on top of it.

[01:02:37] Paul: Now, whether when you look at when we look at our customers that are crushing on social in terms of awareness generated reach, in terms of, you know, sales from all of that to. Some of them are going to painful and some of them are not. But it is absolutely clear that every single brand that is crushing is doing gifting in some way, shape or form. And the majority of the time, like you said, the volume is so significant that it's either done through an agency or a dedicated person or team. And when those brands are thinking about gifting, the way the more sophisticated brands measure success here is number one, there's usually like a break even or hopefully positive ROI cost of running the program. Hey, we gifted 500 people and we got 250 pieces of content that's worth this much. Plus these impressions, right? Which is worthwhile from a brand awareness compared to what you would spend on TV or Facebook. And then you'd also generate some sales from that as well. Hard to measure, but typically there's a way to track and get a sense of that. Right. So hopefully you're breaking even. But we talked about here is clearly you're building an asset, you're building a community. So that's impact beyond your direct initial break even. And then the other two massive things that we see all the time is paid social. If you talk to your paid social team, what do they need? More creative. We need more creatives to test. We need more creatives to lower CPA, and a lot of the times the best creatives either are straight UGC or Recuts or Re-edits of that. Ugc so gifting plays a huge role in that.

[01:04:07] Paul: And so, you know, when we're running gifting programs, we made it really, really easy for people to get access to all the UGC because some teams would spend so much on paid social. That one asset that rips from the gifting program pays off, you know, the gifting program for a year, right? So you can have really, really big impact there. And then the other thing, when you look at other influencer teams or affiliate teams, the hardest thing is often recruiting new members, right. And so if you've got an ongoing gifting program right, you're going to get more inbound people DMing you to join the program. You're also going to be able to take some of your I don't want to say better, but some of your maybe specific influencers maybe that are converting well or different type and then funnel them to the affiliate team as well. So there's so much value beyond the actual gifting interaction. We really see that as a huge flywheel. And so it was really, really great to have you, Alex, walk us through how to do that. This was an awesome masterclass. Thank you for walking through all of that. It's been really, really helpful. We do have some questions and there's a decent chunk of them. So Alex, let's try to run through them quickly. Sure. Like, try to let's do like 30s per That way we can just get some of these folks answered. So how do you prevent generic unboxing where an influencer says, hey, thanks so much for sending me this product. And it's clearly, you know, something they got for free and you can't use it for ads.

[01:05:31] Alex: Great question. A couple things. Content creation guide, doing extra follow ups to like check in and see how they like the product after they posted. And then really like the most important one is just like re-engaging with them and gifting them again, which sounds counterintuitive, but if you think like they've already posted an unboxing, you're going to send it to them again. Like they might make better content, they might do like an install, they might do a refresh review. How I've liked it, a lot of things there, but that's my short answer.

[01:05:58] Paul: Good tip with IG DMs. When you're gifting, how many people can you reach out to a day?

[01:06:05] Alex: That's a good question and an important question. It depends on the brand. There's lots of factors that unfortunately, we don't have the answers to around meta. Blocking lots of outreach. Generally you anywhere from like a thousand. You know, I think around a thousand. Most brands can get up to a month. And it's still easy to manage. You don't have to worry about getting blocked after that. You really have to be, like, strategic about how long you take to respond and how many you do in a batch. We've gotten up to like even 3000 for some clients of like just straight DMs. And you want to use like a gorgeous or something like that to help with the response. And one thing there that's important, you can always like, even if you're blocked, you can always respond and follow up with people. So that's why it's always important to like have people in the funnel who maybe didn't convert. Because when you need to like, tap back into somebody three months ago, you can DM them and be like, hey, didn't hear from you. We want to send you the product.

[01:07:08] Paul: Some good insights. So number one, if you do hit the limit, don't overly stress because you're still going to be able to reply to people and that maybe won't affect your customer support and whatnot. Right.

[01:07:20] Alex: It yeah it won't it won't affect customer. It definitely doesn't affect customer support. Like people can always DM and you can always respond to that. So we've never.

[01:07:29] Alex: Client issue there. It's only like new outreach that you get blocked on.

[01:07:34] Paul: Do you give out contracts when gifting? Especially if I'm considering doing it for furniture where it's quite expensive.

[01:07:42] Alex: We definitely consider it. We don't feel like that's a requirement. But again, it's something we might shift a program to. Like, sometimes we ask for content in exchange for a post. We might not necessarily write a full contract without deliverables. And again, that's really just like a time saving thing that we look at from the actual program. Because, you know, even for for high value products where you're getting lots of good UGC and the post rate's really high, even if you miss out on like two, you probably like made that back not sending out and like dealing with back and forth and countersigning like 40 contracts.

[01:08:20] Paul: Lot of overhead every.

[01:08:22] Alex: The answer is it depends. And if it if it works for the program, like we're not opposed to contracting at all.

[01:08:27] Paul: Once you gift an influencer, how do you handle usage rights when they post? Do you just assume it's fine to repost and can you use that content for ads?

[01:08:36] Alex: As a general rule of thumb, we assume like stories, you can repost a story. Instagram gives you that option if you want to like repost stuff on your feed, probably fine too. You can always ask an influencer. You can always post if they. We've had people say, hey, can you take this down? Or hey, I have a contract and you just be polite and, you know, be nice to them. So that's that there for ads. You need to get explicit permission for that as well. You can use usage rights archive has stuff for that as well to get that and like pay for that really easily. But the other thing we do a lot that that's pretty great. If you're a brand that doesn't want to pay a lot up front is. Throw their affiliate link in the ad and virtually like if their ad performs better, they make more. If it doesn't perform well, they make less. And if it performs well, it encourages them to like, make more content for free and builds a strong relationship there. So.

[01:09:33] Paul: Another quick tip for me. If you throw in a check box in your Google form when people are submitting their address, you can actually, you know, add the language to get rights for all content posted throughout the campaign as part of being gifted. So that's something we see a lot of brands doing as well. So anyone you gift basically has completed that form has opted into rights. It might affect your you know, your gift rates a little bit, but if you are really trying to collect a lot of content for ads, that might be something to look into. Alex TikTok recently started letting you DM people up to three times. Have you tried DMing TikTokers for gifting? It used to be a restriction.

[01:10:15] Alex: Yes, we were excited about that. Definitely tried it. And we're still like in the early stages of like getting what the TikTok benchmarks are, but we haven't seen like cold TikTok DMs matching up with what we see on Instagram. And really, I think like the big part of that is just if you think about how you use the platform, you're not really like DMing your friends on TikTok the same way that people DM each other on Instagram. And so I think until we see that shift, Instagram is still going to be the primary place for us to do DM outreach.

[01:10:47] Paul: It sounds like you guys are using native platforms directly to find influencers. Have you tried using things like TikTok Creator marketplace? What do you think of them?

[01:11:00] Alex: I think, for sourcing. You know, we've talked about this a lot, Paul, with you and people on your team on like, ways to find and source. I think. There's a time and a place for those platforms, but I think the best our philosophy on it is like. It kind of creates a more specific type of community than if you're just sourcing from your community and like cold or from the program or from people's followers. Because if you think about like somebody who's opted into this is a little bit more businessy. You know, it's a little more transactional. It's a little more like organized, even other platforms. And so the type of person is a little less organic. And that's not a bad thing. But unless it makes sense for your funnel, we just find that 300 to 1000 people is not an unreasonable amount to find normally. And I think it's good because you get that feel, you get the eyes on them, you get to see what these people look like, and you're just helping build like a more organic and real relationship.

[01:12:09] Paul: All right, that's it. Those are the questions. Thank you. Alex, this was awesome. We definitely earned some Alice mushrooms to sleep in focus after all this great content. So appreciate you taking the time to walk us through all of that. Where can people follow you to learn more and hear about your learnings? And where can people learn more about agency eight to potentially work with you if they are looking to start ramping up gifting or influencer initiatives?

[01:12:38] Alex: Well, obviously we're active in our Instagram. If you want to DM us at agency A, go to our website. We have a type form there. You can email myself, Alex at or Ori A or I at You could DM if you know one of our clients, ask them for an intro. If you know Paul, you can ask him for an intro. We'll find you if you want to work with us or you can find, you know, we'll we'll.

[01:13:04] Paul: And speaking of Ori, we're excited to do a webinar with her in a couple of weeks as well. So we'll get the more qualitative side as well. Excited about that. And then that's it. Follow us on LinkedIn for more webinars. Like I mentioned, we have a couple great ones coming out next month in April. We're archive. We're an AI platform for social listening and UGC management. We work with over 2000 brands in the space to help capture content, track influencer programs and a lot of other great stuff. So if you're looking to try out our software or book or demo, we have a QR code that you can scan or head over to Thank you all for tuning in. We'll share the slides in the comments and we'll have a post with the recording as well. This is really awesome. Thanks again Alex for this amazing content.

[01:13:54] Alex: Thanks for having me and it was great to share all of our learnings. And obviously if you're not using archive, you're missing out. So everyone go sign up for that now because it's the best.

[01:14:05] Paul: Thank you.