|We are excited to launch ‘Key Points of Influence’–a Q&A series with thought leaders in the influencer marketing industry. As you may have read in the news, Julius recently acquired another leading influencer marketing platform, HYPR. In this edition of Key Points of Influence get to know Julius' very own CEO, Jared Augustine. and why the strategic decision was made to acquire HYPR.||
Setting The Stage
Q: Before we get to HYPR, you founded Julius, but haven’t always been the CEO. What’s the story and why do you believe in the industry?
A: My co-founders and I founded Julius under the brand Thuzio in 2012. We rebranded the business as Julius in 2016, when we pivoted from an athlete marketplace to influencers of all genres. I was the CEO until 2017, and have now come back to the role. That said, even in my time away I was an active founder and board member, so I feel right at home. As an aside, the Thuzio company and brand still exists, as a sports events and media business, and sister company to Julius.
While I’ve always been enthusiastic about influencer marketing, since we launched Julius at the advent of the industry, I find myself now more than ever impressed at its power, resiliency, and importance to marketers. We, as a company, are committed to supporting the growth of the ecosystem and continuing to play a key role in enabling success.
Q: Can you tell us a little more about HYPR? What’s their story?
A: HYPR has been a friendly competitor to Julius since we started. They’ve always been a part of our customer, investor, and influencer conversations, as a worthy competitor chasing victory in the market. Early on, HYPR established itself as having the largest influencer database along with proprietary demographic data, and that position brought them notable success with customers.
Q: When and how did the relationship with HYPR start? Why did Julius acquire them, and why now?
A: I’ve had the great opportunity over the years of getting to know HYPR’s co-founder and CEO, Gil Eyal. It was our relationship that enabled us to bring Julius and HYPR together in this exciting way. Upon meeting years back, we recognized right away given our similar goals for success in the market, it would be best to be in touch and share challenges. This is an approach not all competitors take, but it is my preference and has served Gil and I well.
We acquired HYPR because the businesses were mirror images in many ways. Gil and I both felt that by combining the businesses, we had an opportunity to better serve our customers and win new business. This is the case because; i) Julius and HYPR share a robust customer set of the best performing brands and agencies in influencer marketing and now we can learn from 2x as many of these customers and funnel that feedback to one product team; ii) combined we are much more financially capable of making sizable investments in product and technology to meet enterprise brand and agency demands; and iii) we feel we’ve cultivated the most talented minds in the industry under one roof and that knowledge base will give us a competitive advantage.
Why now? Why not.
Q: As influencer databases merge, how will Julius ensure the same quality of profile data in the future?
A: The combination of Julius’ profile depth with HYPR’s influencer database breadth is one of the most exciting developments for our customers. One way to think about the product challenge is a Julius profile has 2x the data points of a HYPR profile, and HYPR has nearly 50x the number of profiles as Julius. So how do we scale the robust Julius profile data points across the high volume of HYPR profiles? The answer is - with a phased approach. We’ll start by defining a heavy and light profile on the combined platform (which is months away) and making that clear to the customer. Then we’ll use machine learning and human editing to make the light profiles heavy over time. Regardless, immediately upon accessing the new combined platform, Julius customers will have a much larger database for search, and HYPR customers will have much more depth in their profiles to search and review. We are committed to always being best-in-class in search and discovery.
Q: What about audience and campaign data? Will that change? Will historical information remain intact?
A: No, customers will not lose any data. And the new platform will provide a number of campaign measurement and custom reporting features not currently available on either platform.
Q: Let’s talk about the roadmap–what features can customers expect to see due to this acquisition? When will it be rolling out?
A: There are some exciting items on our roadmap that will be released over the next year including integrating TikTok data, adding new influencer relationship management features to pay partners within the platform and keep track of mass mailings. Other areas of development include content management and approvals, analytics, and search and discovery.
Q: How will Julius ensure the same quality customer support during the merger and beyond?
A: One thing that has been abundantly clear since the integration started, is how serious both Julius and HYPR take account management and customer support. This starts with the talented teams involved. For every conversation at the company about product improvements, there is one about service improvement. Our goal is for our customers to have a relationship with our team that is equivalent to the one they have with our software, in terms of supporting their goals in influencer marketing.
Q: Outside of the acquisition, what’s next? What’s on the horizon that customers should be excited about?
A: What we’re referring to around the office (virtual office that is…) as V2, is what our customers should be excited about. The V2 platform will combine the best features of Julius and HYPR, as well as a number of key innovations our customers seek in the way of enterprise software for their influencer marketing strategy and campaigns. This will take months to complete and deliver, and we’ll be very sensitive to customer transitions, but soon enough, all our customers will be on the single best influencer technology platform in the industry. V2 will solve every problem in their workflow, alongside a unique and best-in-class service offering to support their journey with our knowledge base and insights.
Q: Why should Julius customers stick around for the long haul?
A: The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, and we plan on evolving our services to match this growth. As the industry blossoms, consumers are going to continue to become pickier with the influencers they follow, and rightfully so. Millennials and Gen Z will continue to evolve their influencer tastes, and gain purchasing power, so it will be up to marketers to identify and establish partnerships that have purpose and depth–that’s where our technology will shine and help our customers find the best results. The future of marketing is going to thrive on building consumer trust on a very personal level, and we look forward to enabling our customers to find the most data-driven path forward with influencers firmly in their toolkit.