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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OCTOLY MARKETPLACE (A revolutionary Influencer Marketing solution that creates a new sales channel for SMEs and self-employment opportunities for Social Media influencers)
H2020

OCTOLY MARKETPLACE Report Summary

Project ID: 756850

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OCTOLY MARKETPLACE (A revolutionary Influencer Marketing solution that creates a new sales channel for SMEs and self-employment opportunities for Social Media influencers)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The OCTOLY Marketplace project is focused on creating an innovative new approach to “Influencer Marketing”. Currently, on social media, brands’ “official” message makes-up less than 10% of overall visibility – more than 90% of mentions of their brand are made up of influencers talking about their products. Brands have realised that they must work with influencers, but struggle to mobilise them at scale: how can they collaborate with millions of influencers?

To tackle this, in 2015, Octoly launched the “Free-Store”: a platform where brands can distribute free products to influencers and see them featured in millions of social media posts (YouTube and Instagram reviews). Since then over 10 000 influencers in 5 countries have applied for products from our Free Store, generating over 200 000 product reviews for our partner brands and helping Influencers to develop their activity. Octoly has rapidly gained a leading market position with its unique Free-Store approach.

The aim of the OCTOLY Marketplace project is to go beyond the Free Store, by providing influencers with their own “Influencer Store”: a place where their fans can buy the products influencers mention in their posts. This approach enables influencers to generate commission fees and make a living from their passion - and brands (particularly SMEs) can gain access to a powerful new sales channel.

The project therefore involves 5 major objectives:
- Implementing product detection (WP1), so that we can automatically detect the products mentioned by influencers and provide links to purchase them. This is the key technical foundation of the Influencer store.
- Creating the Octoly product catalogue (WP2), which will enable influencers to add a product listing to their influencer store.
- Creating the Influencer Store (WP3), so that Influencers can create their own personalized store in a few clicks
- Creation Influencer Store functionalities for brands (WP4), including logistical, monitoring and reporting tools
- Marketing strategy and project management (WP5), with a focus on continuous user testing.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Significant progress was made across all Work Packages during the first reporting period. We have developed both the improved influencer detection engine and the product detection engine (WP1) – and work in RP2 will focus on reinforcing our image detection algorithms. We have also successfully built the foundations of the product catalogue (WP2).

Towards the end of RP1, we successfully launched a beta version of the Influencer Store – under the name “OctoPrime” (WP3). OctoPrime is already receiving highly positive feedback from Influencers and Brands. We also have begun working on the brand-oriented features (WP4).

Finally, we implemented many activities related to the development of the commercialisation strategy (WP5), including formalized user-testing procedures, work on the legal strategy and diverse communication activities.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Developing the technical foundations of the Influencer Store has implied pushing our innovative technology for the automatic detection of content in social media posts beyond the current state of the art – through the development of machine learning techniques that mean we can detect not only the brands mentioned influencers’ videos and posts, but also specific products.

Octoly’s core business activities (the Free Store) have continued to grow at a rapid pace during the first year of the project. The Octoly platform is now used by over thousands of influencers in our 5 target countries (US, France, Spain, Italy, Germany) and our 200 partner brands launched over 1 000 Free Store campaigns in 2017. Our success has continued to attract private investors, with a successful round of fundraising completed in May 2017. Octoly is therefore close to reaching the expected growth figures indicated in our project proposal, and the team has grown to over 60 staff.

The recent launch of the beta version of the Influencer Store (OctoPrime), as a result of the OCTOLY MARKETPLACE project, means that in the second reporting period Octoly influencers will be able to begin launching their own stores. This will enable us to begin realizing our main project goals: giving thousands of young social media creators the opportunity to experiment with business opportunities at no risk (using OctoPrime as a hobby or as a springboard to more formalized business opportunities) and providing affordable marketing strategy for brands (particularly SMEs).

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