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Peeping Behind The Influencer Marketing Agency Curtain



Peeping Behind The Influencer Marketing Agency Curtain

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You’re reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Six huge, pumped up bodyguards in black attire are escorting a 26-year-old to his suite after a meet and greet session with his fans at a plush Delhi hotel in Connaught Place. The 500+ fans who gathered are vying for a selfie, an autograph- anything they can manage- but the bodyguards are a seasoned lot and take their subject to safety. This isn’t a Bollywood actress, an A-list actor or some reality TV star- it’s a comedy influencer who creates humorous content on YouTube for his followers, who are more than 6 million in number.

It’s no state secret that influencers are the new celebrities. What started off on YouTube and Facebook, spilled over to Instagram and other social media platforms, creating the new age celebrities, whose fans follow them for their content, whether it be in comedy, entertainment, current affairs, finance or other fields. And along with their rise, a new kind of organizational structure has emerged- the influencer marketing agencies.

What was once solely the dominion of celebrity public relation companies which managed A-listers and other stars, has now seen the evolution of these agencies, some of whom manage an ever increasing number of influencers. Globally, major influencer marketing agencies include names such as NeoReach Agency, Moburst, Quotient Technology Inc., Launchmetrics, JuliusWorks, Trackr. Inc, Upfluence Inc. House of Marketers and inCast Inc., while back home our own giants are emerging with breakneck speed.

One of the most well-known names in this market is that of Monk Entertainment, which has the renowned influencer Ranveer Allahabadia as its co-founder. Along with Viraj Sheth, Founder and CEO at Monk Entertainment, they have an impressive roster that spreads across all the major sectors of fashion, beauty, infotainment, food, lifestyle, wellness, entertainment, automobile and tech with their clientele including BeerBiceps (Ranveer), Niharika NM, Yashraj Mukhate, Your Food Lab, Ruhee Dosani and Abhi and Niyu. The bootstrapped organization’s business model is split in two: a commission-based model and a retainer model.

Many of them have also launched projects with their own creators. When it comes to direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, take the example of IPLIX, co-founded by Jag Chima, who are working with India’s number one tech creator, Techburner, who boasts of a YouTube community of over 10 million subscribers. Together, they have ‘Layers’, a mobile phone skins brand, apart from working with other top individuals in India’s creator economy. IPLIX have received funding from various VC, institutional funds, and private equity sources.

Finnet Media, founded by Ayush Shukla deals in influencer marketing, content production, ad production, strategy for both influencers and brands and talent management. Their business model entails different streams including retainer with brands to run influencer marketing programmes, long term associations with creators to enhance their personal brand value while focussing on increasing credibility, ad production as well as content production based projects. Currently, they manage over 40 influencers across infotainment and finance including Anushka Rathod, Sharan Hegde, Shivanshu Agarwal, Nidhi Nagori, Unfinance, Ujjwal Gadhvi, Vijay Chandani amongst others. As the name Finnet suggests, Shukla started the company with an objective to create an ecosystem for creators who focussed on finance and infotainment, contributing to the now commonly used term- finfluencers.When the creator economy was just about booming, he identified a new niche – the one of finance creators, post which they have also diversified into other niches such as education and technology. Till now they have been bootstrapped and have been deploying their own profits to further grow teams and expand across geographies.

Another prominent name in the finance and tech sector is DigiWhistle, which works with pioneers in the finance influencer marketing sector, such as Neha Nagar, CA Rachana Ranade, Anant Ladha, Nitish Rajput, Think School and Prafull Billore. But what does their business model entail?

Founder Prashant Nagar explains that at the outset, they engage in a holistic exploration with the client, to gain a thorough and detailed understanding of their marketing objectives, target audience, and financial resources, thereby creating a customised strategy that aligns with the client’s specific needs and objectives. “With a deep dive and intensive search on a variety of factors such as audience demographics, engagement rates, and relevance to the client’s brand we pick the best influencers for the campaign. Once the campaign is launched, we closely monitor its performance, tracking key metrics such as engagement rates, reach, and conversion rates. This enables us to make real-time adjustments and optimizations to the campaign’s components, ensuring maximum impact and ROI,” says Prashant.

The sudden spurt of all these influencer marketing agencies owes itself to the explosive growth of social media and the rise of creator culture. “With millions of people now following and engaging with influencers and content creators online, brands have recognised the value of partnering with them to reach their target audience. Additionally, the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards e-commerce and digital channels, creating new opportunities for DTC brands and influencer marketing,” Chima explained.

PR firms like Avance PR, a boutique Agency in Gurugram headed by Ritika Garg, too have taken the hint and along with being a full-service PR firm they focus on business communications and influencer connections, specialising in startups with their forte being tech-based clients like Edtech, HRTech or SaaS based products.

With a gold mine of creators to choose from, venture capitalists are not one to lose out on such an opportunity to invest in disruptive startups. Sheetal Bahl, Partner at growX Ventures says that they are always on the lookout for companies that are poised to revolutionize their respective industries. “Cosmofeed is one such company that caught our attention due to its unique approach to addressing the challenges faced by creators in managing and monetizing their content. With its innovative platform, Cosmofeed is well-positioned to become a leading player in the creator economy, which is a rapidly growing industry with enormous potential. When evaluating potential investments, we look for rockstar founders with a grand vision, and Cosmofeed checks those boxes, which is why we were eager to invest in their growth. Looking ahead, we plan to work closely with the Cosmofeed team to help them achieve their goals and continue to build upon their early successes,” Bahl told us.

Fact Sheet


No. of employees: 9

Year of starting: 2021

Average employee age : 24

Revenue in past year (FY21-22) : 2 Cr

Revenue in past year (FY22-23) : 10 Cr

Approx earnings for influencer per Instagram post : 3-5 Lacs (Depending on the following and the brand image of the influencer)

Finnet Media

No. of employees – 20

Year of starting – 2021

Average employee age – 23

Approx earnings for influencer per Instagram post -1 – 2.5 L

Monk-E Entertainment

No. of employees – 108

Year of starting – 2017

Average employee age – 21-25 year


No. of employees: 65

Year of starting: 2019

Average employee age: 24

Avance PR

No. of employees – 7

Year of starting – 2022

Average employee age – 27

Revenue in past year – 2.4 lac

Approx earnings for influencer per Instagram post – 40000

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Is this X’s (formerly Twitter) final goodbye to big advertisers? It looks like it



Is this X's (formerly Twitter) final goodbye to big advertisers? It looks like it

It looks like big advertisers are leaving X (formerly Twitter) for good and its owner Elon Musk couldn’t care less.

In the packed DealBook conference in New York on Wednesday, he bluntly told them to shove it. 

This response came after another round of advertisers including IBM, Apple, CNN and Disney bailed on his social network after Musk seemingly supported an antisemitic conspiracy theory last month by responding to an X user’s post — a move he’s since admitted was silly and apologized for. Musk was less remorseful over the uproar caused among advertisers, telling the room: “This advertising boycott is going to kill the company… let’s see how Earth responds to that.”

For many large marketers, this marks the end of a drawn-out farewell (lasting a whopping 13 months) to advertising on X since Musk took over. Surprisingly, even some of X’s own staff members are now calling it quits. Freelance journalist Claire Atkinson reported a “wave of resignations” from CEO Linda Yaccarino’s sales team, including a few of the remaining ad executives who were there before she officially joined in June. Musk’s actions are essentially reversing any recent progress made in reviving X’s advertising business.

Lou Paskalis, CEO and founder of AJL Advisory confirmed that Musk’s comments were indeed another extra nail in the already well sealed coffin because it reaffirmed what most large advertisers already know — Musk resents having to be beholden to them.

“He is trying to position their legitimate brand suitability concerns, largely precipitated by his ongoing antics on X, as a vast, left-wing conspiracy among advertisers to ‘blackmail’ him into constraining his right to free speech,” Paskalis said. “As someone who spent over three decades in the ad buying business, it’s laughable to think that we could all act with that level of coordination, presumably in secret.”

This event highlights how out of touch Musk is with what keeps his company running. He takes an ad boycott as a personal insult when, truthfully, it’s just part and parcel of managing a platform these days. Look at how often YouTube and Meta have dealt with similar issues over the years. The difference? The bigwigs at those companies prioritized protecting their businesses, not their public personas, and were willing to make compromises to win back advertisers. Not that it took much to win back those ad dollars — advertisers rely on those platforms as much as the platforms rely on them.

“It’s just a very sensible decision not to continue advertising on that platform which poses such a strong brand safety risk,” said Ebiquity’s chief strategy officer Ruben Schreurs. “To do all this on stage is unheard of, I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

The largest advertisers seem to agree. Unlike their previous boycotts of advertising on X, this one is permanent for many of them. Some of the most active accounts like Disney, Paramount, Liongsate and Sony Pictures haven’t posted in nearly two weeks. This chimes with what one senior ad exec, who had been in touch with a number of X’s advertisers over the past year, told Digiday last month. Advertisers who had continued to spend on the platform only paid a fraction of what they used to prior to Musk, out of fear of getting called out by Musk if they didn’t.

“It’s easier to pull advertising than it is to return, and what makes the X ad boycott unique is that it isn’t primarily about content adjacency or moderation,” said Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst, social media at Insider Intelligence. “Advertisers are concerned about the reputational damage and the uncertainty of doing business with Musk, and yesterday’s comments will deepen the rift between them.”

An impossible job has now become even more challenging for Yaccarino. Ad dollars weren’t exactly flowing into the social network before Musk’s latest rant. X has averaged a 55% year-over-year revenue decline, according to Guideline. This figure increased to 61% YOY between May and August 2023 — despite Yaccarino joining the company during the summer. 

“The hill she [Yaccarino] must climb to rekindle advertiser demand for the platform just went from steep to vertical,” said Paskalis. “I don’t know how anyone could overcome a direct verbal assault of the magnitude that Musk delivered at the DealBook conference against a customer base already alarmed by his previous rage inducing, divisive and dog whistle laden tweets. None of this will cause Linda to leave, in my opinion, as she sees quitting as failure and failure is not an option in her calculus, no matter what damage may be done to her reputation.”

X did not respond to Digiday’s request for comment.

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YouTube Adds New Analytics Cards, Simplifies its ‘Product Drops’ Feature



YouTube Adds New Analytics Cards, Simplifies its ‘Product Drops’ Feature

YouTube’s making some updates to its Product Drops feature within live streams, while it’s also adding some new analytics cards, and testing a new format for its TV app.

First off, on Product Drops. YouTube’s changing the requirements for Product Drops in live streams so that more creators will be able to include drops to highlight their items.

Up till now, Product Drops have only been available to creators who’ve connected their Shopify stores, or have access to Google Merchant Center, while creators have also had to plan Product Drops in advance, and schedule them via Live Control Room. But now, YouTube’s giving more creators more ways to access the feature.

As per YouTube:

“Any creators who have connected to their first party stores, or are participating in the YouTube Affiliate Program can set up Product Drops in the live control room on YouTube. This means that more creators will be able to use Product Drops to boost sales and engagement on their live streams.”

YouTube will also now enable creators to implement Product Drops at any time during a live stream, eliminating the pre-planned requirement.

“This will give creators more flexibility to react to the moment, and drive excitement in real time.”

YouTube says that many creators have seen good response to their Product Drops, with the interactive, engaging process helping to drive hype, and spark more response from viewers.

Product Drops are available via the Live Control Room in YouTube Studio. You can read more about how they work here.

YouTube’s also updating its Community Posts creation flow, in order to simplify the process, and ideally get more channels posting text-based updated in the app.

Community Posts remain a lesser element, though YouTube’s been working to make them a bigger focus throughout the year, by adding additional engagement elements like pollsquizzesdisappearing updates, and more.

Simplifying the creation process is another step in boosting awareness, and potentially driving more interaction with you YouTube audience.

YouTube’s also adding some new revenue analytics cards, including “Total Members” insights (which includes subscriber data) and “Where Members Joined From”, which will provide more insight into what’s driving channel growth.

YouTube’s also adding new data on why users have canceled their membership within the insights tab in YouTube Analytics.

YouTube analytics cards

As you can see in this example, the new card will show the reasons why people have opted to stop their subscription to your channel, based on responses provided in the cancellation flow.

Finally, YouTube’s also experimenting with a new format for its TV app, which will make it easier to access different elements.

YouTube TV app

As you can see in this example, shared by 9t05Google, the new format will include bigger buttons to access different elements, and further customize your YouTube experience on the bigger screen.

Connected TV is the fastest growing viewer segment for YouTube, with more and more people now looking to consume YouTube content on their home TV set. As such, it makes sense for YouTube to roll out more updates aligned with big screen viewing in order to feed into this usage.

Some handy updates, across various elements, which are worth noting as you go about managing your YouTube presence.

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Musk regrets controversial post but won’t bow to advertiser ‘blackmail’



Elon Musk's comments at the New York Times' Dealbook conference drew a shocked silence

Elon Musk’s comments at the New York Times’ Dealbook conference drew a shocked silence – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP Slaven Vlasic

Elon Musk apologized Wednesday for endorsing a social media post widely seen as anti-Semitic, but accused advertisers who are turning away from his social media platform X of “blackmail” and said anyone who does so can “go fuck yourself.”

The remark before corporate executives at the New York Times’ Dealbook conference drew a shocked silence.

Earlier, Musk had apologized for what he called “literally the worst and dumbest post that I’ve ever done.”

In a comment on X, formerly Twitter, Musk on November 15 called a post “the actual truth” that said Jewish communities advocated a “dialectical hatred against whites,” which was criticized as echoing longtime conspiracy theory among White supremacists.

The statement prompted a flood of departures from X of major advertisers, including Apple, Disney, Comcast and IBM who criticized Musk for anti-semitism.

“I’m sorry for that tweet or post,” Musk said Wednesday. “It was foolish of me.”

He told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin that his post had been misinterpreted and that he had sought to clarify the remark in subsequent posts to the thread.

But Musk also said he wouldn’t be beholden to pressure from advertisers.

“If somebody’s gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money?” Musk said. “Go fuck yourself.”

But the billionaire acknowledged that there were business implications to the advertiser actions.

“If the company fails… it will fail because of an advertiser boycott” Musk said. “And that will be what will bankrupt the company.”

Musk, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Israel earlier this week, insisted in the interview that he holds no discrimination against Jews, calling himself “philo-Semitic,” or an admirer of Judaism.

During the interview, Musk wore a necklace given to him by a parent of an Israeli hostage taken in the Hamas attack on October 7. The necklace reads, “Bring Them Home.”

Musk told Sorkin that the Israel trip had been planned earlier and was not an “apology tour” related to the controversial tweet.

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