Working With Video Influencers At Scale With Jake Leatherman of Paladin

Last updated on June 15th, 2024

Paladin Software helps agencies and brands manage their video influencer networks. Jake Leatherman tells us how it all works.

GUEST: Jake Leatherman of Paladin Software. Connect with Jake on LinkedIn.

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HOSTS: The VidAction Podcast is hosted by:
– Dane Golden of VidAction | LinkedIn |  | YouTube
– Renee Teeley of VideoExplained and ReneeTeeley.com | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddy, VidIQ, MorningFame, Rev.com, and other products and services we recommend.

TRANSCRIPT

Dane Golden:
It’s time for the VidAction Podcast. This is the podcast where we help marketers just like you get more value out of your video marketing efforts. My name is Dane Golden from VidAction.tv and VidTarget.io along with my co-host, she’s R-E-N-E-E T-E-E-L-E-Y, Renee Teeley from VideoExplained. Hello, Renee.

Renee Teeley:
Hello, Dane. I never get tired of that intro. I love it. I am overjoyed to be co-hosting this podcast with you today.

Dane Golden:
She’s overjoyed, she’s thrilled, she’s excited, and today we have a special guest, Jake Leatherman of Paladin Software. Welcome, Jake.

Jake Leatherman:
Thanks, Renee and Dane, great to be here.

Dane Golden:
And we will have, Jake, we will have all the links in the show notes, but Paladin is P-A-L-A-D-I-N, correct?

Jake Leatherman:
That’s right.

Dane Golden:
Okay. Now, Jake, we asked you on today because you work for Paladin and you help brands track the type of influencers, and how much influence they have, and what that brands are working with among other things that your platform does, but we’re particularly interested in how influencers and brands connect via the YouTube platform today. Is that okay with you?

Jake Leatherman:
Totally fine with me. And yet we’ve been building platform or we’ve been building software for agencies, creators, publishers, for the last five years and we’re really excited to continue on with that. And I’m excited to share my knowledge on the influencer space and how brands and influencers can work together.

Renee Teeley:
Awesome. So I love this topic because I’ve been on both sides of influencer marketing. So being paid by a company to represent them, and also working for a company and paying influencers as part of a marketing program. So it’s pretty interesting to come at this from both sides. So most of the questions in this episode will be related to YouTube, but I’d love to just get a general sense of which platforms does the software track overall?

Jake Leatherman:
Sure. So YouTube is definitely something that we’ve focused on for the longest as most of the influencer marketing space has done alongside of us. We can track a ton of data that comes through YouTube’s authentication portals, but our system has grown, and we’ve expanded into the world of Instagram, capturing Instagram stories and capturing engagement data, and also on Facebook as well looking at a similar data set. Our system has also expanded into Twitter and Twitch. Some of our live gaming customer are… Some of the customers that are focusing on live games streams have really enjoyed our Twitch integration, and in the future we’re devising some ways that we can start reporting on TikTok and Snapchat. Those are things that are a little harder to grab just due to some data structures, we can probably talk more about that later. But we’re excited to expand into our capabilities into the platforms that are a little less open to API access.

Dane Golden:
Okay. So basically how does it work? Is the creator giving the brand a password and say log in and now you have all my data, or is there some sort of OAuth or another method? I think particularly with my types of clients that are very software knowledgeable, I think how this data is connected is a good question.

Jake Leatherman:
Yeah. So great question. We are treating brands and agencies very similar within our platform. Whether a brand’s going out to a creator to build a relationship with them and start to promote their products alongside that creator’s audience, or they’re an agency who is contacting creators and then going to a brand with some opportunities to work with creators. The platform works pretty much the same. You simply can add creators into our CRM, which is our Creator Resource Management platform.

Jake Leatherman:
By doing so that creates an authentication portal. And an authentication portal is pretty much a way for you, the brand, or an agency to contact a creator and ask permission to see private data points. And private data points are things that are going on behind the scenes on the account. Not things like total views on a video, or total number of subscribers. We can see those on the UI. But an authentication will allow us to grab things like audience demographics on YouTube, or impressions on a certain kind of post on Instagram. Those things are behind that wall. And authentications are super simple. You’ve probably used one yourself when making an account or signing into Spotify with your Facebook account. That’s an authentication that allows Facebook to access some data about you and create an account in a pretty click-through manner.

Renee Teeley:
So that’s really helpful to understand how people can log into the platform and authentication. I also love that you guys have repurposed the acronym CRM, more geared towards creators instead of just customers. So that’s awesome. I’m just curious. So as part of the platform, it looks like you have a dashboard. Can you tell us a little bit about the dashboard and the value for different types of users? So whether you’re a creator or an agency or a brand?

Jake Leatherman:
Sure. If you’re a creator looking at our platform, really the key elements are helping you communicate with the agency or the brand that you’re working with. It’ll have things about communication pieces around campaign requirements. It will also have payment receipts. So if an agency is using our platform to pay you for that integration, you’ll be able to see that receipt reported on your dashboard. If you’re an admin at an agency or a brand, our dashboard is allowing you to control the data flow that’s coming in. So that’s probably from most of the creators you’re working with, you’re able to organize those creators into different categories, and also by in an internal tag that you could use on our platform.

Jake Leatherman:
So you could go back and find all the creators that play Minecraft versus the creators that play Fortnite, if you’re interested in dividing those into a certain campaign. From the admin perspective as well, we can also help you track content. So as creators post content coming from a campaign, you can grab those pieces, put them into our tool, we’ll even help you do that automatically, and we’ll build you an automated report. So tons of functionality on the admin side, on the creator side, we keep it very simple and let your team maximize their relationship and have some tools to help do so.

Dane Golden:
So on some campaigns that I’ve worked on from the brand side, the types of things that we like to do sometimes are pretty in depth. And so the only way so far we’ve been able to do them is actually some of the creators made us managers of their accounts. But that’s great if you’re a brand and you know what you’re doing because that gives you a lot of power. But it also creates a lot of security problems such as, I could delete something, I could either inadvertently change something with the revenue, all sorts of things. But what type of access does the agency brand get to the YouTube channel when it’s part of your system, when it’s part of your platform?

Jake Leatherman:
For sure. Granting managerial access is something you really only want to do with a handful of folks. And those people should be pretty close to the development and production of your social media strategy. If you’re interested in simply sharing analytics with a company who is interested in sponsoring you or even just representing you to potential sponsorship opportunities, the authentication process is much safer simply because it’s read only data access. And that’s the key to the differences between how you would access that data. If you log in, you’re right, you can accidentally delete things, at very least there’s a risk on accidental things, and at the very most there’s a possibility that that account could fall into the wrong hands and you can lose it all together. With a read only data authentication, all our system would be able to do is pull in information about different posts in your account and the audience that follows you.

Jake Leatherman:
That information stored in our system and also a very safe way we deploy a two-factor authentication. And we also are very passionate about making our platform GDPR compliant as well. So if you choose to remove your information, it is a true deletion from our platform or a true delete from our platform, rather than simply just removing your account. So we find that that advantage, it has been a crucial component to how agencies and brands are able to scale their… create relationships by being able to grab the data that they need, but also keeping creators safe within a system that protects them and thinks about them as well.

Renee Teeley:
So we’ve talked a bit about the technical side of things in terms of access to the platform and how different users might use it. But I want to zoom out just a little bit and talk about influencer marketing. So, what are the important things to actually track in terms of influencer marketing? And maybe some key metrics that are typically overlooked?

Jake Leatherman:
Sure. Well, I think the question should also kind of start with an answer around, what is the goal of your campaign? If the goal is driving awareness and driving new viewers into your brand’s portfolio of content or into the copy that you have written on your website or onto your social media pages in general, I would ensure that the audience demographics first and foremost are aligning with what your brand’s priority demographic is. Not meaning if you are going to work with a YouTuber and you know that your product is primarily sold to 18 to 24 year old females in North America, that I’d make sure that that is also the primary demographic of the creators that you’re working with, or somewhere close to it. So that’s something that is accessible through authentications and I think it’s very important.

Jake Leatherman:
From there I would also then if the campaign has a call to action, engagements are what’s most important in that realm. So making sure that the audience is not just an audience that likes to watch the content, but they’re also highly engaged in the description in the comment section as well. And of course baking the strategy of moving people from the video into the comment section, I think that’s really important as well. And making sure that the creator has some track record of being able to do that. That can be seen within the data structure itself.

Dane Golden:
So this is sort of anecdotal from a previous campaign, but when a creator was included in a campaign of many creators, one creator had some views that were overvalued because they had to essentially run their videos as ads. Now, there’s sort of two parts to this question, and one, when you are researching creators can you tell if their videos have been amplified by ads? And afterwards during the campaign or afterwards can you tell if they were amplified? We believe in ads we just want to know how they’re valued, how the views are valued.

Jake Leatherman:
For sure. And it’s definitely helpful to know if the paid media outweighs the organic views that are coming through. Today we’re not breaking that out as a data point that we can source. It’s definitely something that would be helpful in the future for us to work on, but today it’s something that is not viewable within the platform itself. A great way to figure that out is talking to the creator and being able to understand if they’ve had a run past ads and on which videos, and just taking that into account. Most times creators aren’t running ads constantly on their own videos unless that’s a tactic that they would use. And [inaudible 00:13:34] helpful to also run some paid media behind that creator if you’re going to be using them in that campaign.

Renee Teeley:
Yeah, I love that answer. I’ve talked to the creator. That’s great. So just one last thing to leave with is, is there anything that we really should have asked in this podcast and didn’t ask?

Jake Leatherman:
Sure. Well as, I think where our head’s been focused because we’ve been pushed in so many different ways is, how do you see the roadmap progressing in the future? So, our thought process behind that is, there’s going to be more snackable pieces of content that creators are going to be based on. And we see that really around the expansion of YouTube stories, the quick rise of TikTok and the ever floating Snapchat that seems to be in the background in different ways. So thinking about that from our platform’s perspective has become really important. Saving Instagram stories has been kind of a mandatory thing for all of our customers over the last two years. And now the attention has turned to, how are we going to support TikTok?

Jake Leatherman:
So thinking about the differences between a company based in China that doesn’t want to give any API access, which means the authentications aren’t exactly on a TikTok account and they’re not possible at all, how are we going to gather data from that? So our team has devised a way to start to record a few pieces directly from the UI but putting those pieces of content in with the rest of the campaign has been a really great next step for us. So being able to display the entire breadth of what the campaign is looking at, even if it is on platforms that are harder for us to gain data access on. So that’s something we’re really excited about and I’m excited to keep exploring and growing our relationship with the TikTok team.

Dane Golden:
And I just wanted to follow up to a previous question, and that was about researching particularly on the YouTube platform, I believe you guys are really good at helping research potential influencer creator partners, but could you talk a little bit more about that. Is that still a big thing that you guys do?

Jake Leatherman:
Yeah, one of the… So we have three core pieces within the platform. We have our CRM, we have our campaigns tracking tool. And the third piece we haven’t talked a lot about today is our locator, which is our database of 31 million YouTube creators. We’ve been sourcing these through the YouTube public API for years now, and I’m confident that we have pretty much every large, medium and a small emerging creator documented within our platform today, and it allows you to search for public information. So these creators haven’t authenticated in there. We’re just seeing things again that appear on the UI, but we can find video tags that’s super powerful, that’ll help you find a creator that’s talking about a really, really niche subject, not just the vertical of video games, but instead a new video game that’s coming out or a promotion that they’ve done. You can find those creators really quickly.

Jake Leatherman:
You can also find them by country and language, by growth rates. We’ve even devised a way to estimate audience demographics. We definitely are very clear about that. We don’t want it to be misconstrued as a real interpretation of their demographics. But if you’re searching for a creator and you know the kind of audience you’re trying to reach, it’s helpful to understand or at least take a guess at what their primary demographics would be before setting up a call, talking to them and pitching them on the campaign, eventually bringing them onto our platform as well. It’s helpful to have some information leading into that.

Renee Teeley:
Yeah. So just diving in a little bit more in terms of the platform and your capabilities, you did mention something about building out a network or having something available for seeking different types of creators and not just the big influencers. Can you talk just a little bit more about that?

Jake Leatherman:
Sure. So, one of the strategies I think our customers or I’ve seen that our customers have deployed that’s been the most successful is the is building out a tight network of creators. And that means, having not just a list of creators that you’re reaching out to and maybe hundreds of creators on that list, but really investing time into a smaller grouping of creators. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are “their representation,” anything official, but having a tighter group of creators that you have conversations with frequently that you understand the needs of their channels. And maybe those conversations also reflect the brands that you’re going out to pitch. That’s the workflow that I see to be the most productive for an agency.

Jake Leatherman:
Our platform has kind of taken the stance of helping the smaller network or the closer network of creators. Some of our customers only have 10 or 20 creators that they’re working with. Some of them have thousands. But we’re seeing that the tighter network of creator strategy to be the one that’s paying off highly. And that’s just simply because you’re finding the right voices and you’re connecting the brands and the voices together. It oftentimes nets out a more positive relationships simply because the creators feel more taken care of, you are aligning to their priorities, and as an agency that has access to money brands, you’re going to find the right brands for that creator.

Jake Leatherman:
So taking this on from a creator first perspective oftentimes ends up being a better outcome and a more lucrative outcome for the brands that end up contracting those agencies, and for the brands that go directly to the creators, they end up getting better relationships and better connection to the audience. And I think at the end of the day that’s the goal that everybody is trying to or achieve, which is reach the audience that the creator has and do it in a way that comes from a natural voice, and in a helpful voice as well.

Renee Teeley:
Yeah, so that’s really helpful. I just have one follow up question for you, which is if you are a creator who is looking to work with brands as an influencer but you don’t have a high subscriber count or a lot of views, so you’re essentially kind of a small creator but you’d like to work with brands, do you have a direct way for them to connect on the platform with brands?

Jake Leatherman:
So we don’t offer a marketplace approach for creators to find agencies, but in simple terms, if you have a certain following that is going to align with the brand’s need, I would suggest doing some research on LinkedIn if you’re a creator and seeing if there’s agencies that speak directly to your vertical. For instance, Viral Nation in Canada, they’re located in Toronto, are fully gaming all day, every day. So if you’re a gaming creator, reach out to Viral Nation and see if there’s somebody who is willing to talk to you there and work with your account.

Jake Leatherman:
In the same way you probably already have a list of brands that you are interested in working with. If you have the right size, looking for community managers, affiliate marketing managers at these companies on LinkedIn and reaching out directly to them is a great way to start a conversation with a brand or an agency as a creator that you might be interested in, ask that creator coming aboard and working with.

Dane Golden:
Fantastic. Jake Leatherman, how can people find out more about Paladin Software and connect with you personally?

Jake Leatherman:
Well, we’re easily found on the web at paladinsoftware.com. My name’s Jake Leatherman. Please send me a LinkedIn message. I’m active over there and would love to keep in contact and answer any other questions you may have. And major socials. We’re a modern company with a modern outlook on how to communicate with people.

Dane Golden:
Thank you, jake Leatherman. My name is Dane Golden with my co-host, she’s R-E-N-E-E T-E-E-L-E-Y, Renee Teeley, and we want to thank you the listener for joining us today. Don’t we, Renee?

Renee Teeley:
Yes, absolutely. And we hope that you love this podcast just as much as we do.

Dane Golden:
We want to invite you to review us on Apple podcasts. And if you can’t find that review button on your podcast app, click that share button. Why not? It’s free. And let your friends know that we want to help them as well with their video marketing via this podcast. Renee and I do this podcast in our various other YouTube videos and speaking in other projects because we love helping businesses do YouTube and video marketing better. Thanks to our special guest, Jake Leatherman.

Jake Leatherman:
Thanks again for having me on.

Dane Golden:
Thank you. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.

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