Webfluential, which connects brands with consumers through credible influencers, has merged its South African business with digital media buying service Retromedia in a bid to combine their respective expertise for expansion.
Kirsty Sharman will assume overall leadership of the new entity, with Webfluential South Africa now incorporating all staff members from both organisations.
“This merger is in response to the market reality that influencer marketing and paid media are much more powerful, and secure stronger campaign results when combined. It therefore made business sense to merge Webfluential and Retromedia into one integrated organisation offering complementing services,” said Sharman.
Webfluential is now able to extend its overall product offering to include premium display, influencer marketing and paid media on social channels, which the company said completes the typical campaign funnel of brand awareness, endorsement, and ultimately sales, for brands targeting specific online audiences.
Sharman said the most important thing about the digital sector was not what a brand says online or how it communicates key messages, but rather what others say about these brands online.
“Brands that historically invested solely in social communities are starting to come up short as social platforms, particularly Facebook, have minimised the organic reach of brand pages to almost zero. Influencers are still part of a community’s digital network. When we apply paid media to supplement influencer campaign posts, the results increase exponentially,” she said.
Having led the successful rollout of Webfluential in South Africa, Steven Murray will now focus on extending the company’s reach and sales in London, Kenya and Nigeria, simultaneously expanding in-country teams in these markets. Founder Murray Legg will lead the strategic direction of Webfluential’s global operations.
Webfluential claims to now reach 70 million people via targeted campaigns across the platform’s 2,050 registered influencers and their combined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts, as well as blogs and publisher websites.
It opened its London office in November last year, and plans to grow its operational staff to 35 people in five countries in 2015.
“Webfluential has grown exponentially in South Africa, on the African continent, and abroad in the little more than a year that the company has been operational. The company is also extremely successful, having dominated the influencer marketing sector in Africa over the past six months, paying out over ZAR2 million (US$170,000) to social influencers during this time,” said Murray.
“We are confident that our consolidated approach will add additional value to brands that want to harness the power of influencer marketing in the measured, calculated way that is made possible by the Webfluential platform.”