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An Industry Shifts: Influencer Marketing In The UAE Let's face it: the influencer industry grew at such a pace in the region that multiple problems preceded –and demanded– the newly enforced UAE legislation.

By Tanaz Dizadji

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Let's face it: the influencer industry grew at such a pace in the region that multiple problems preceded –and demanded– the newly enforced UAE legislation. From issues surrounding inflated pricing and "diva" demands, to concerns about fake followers and lack of accountability, a definite stigma has been circulating around the term "influencer" for quite some time.

Despite these issues, the fact remains that, when done right, influencer marketing is the most effective way to reach relevant audiences and build brand loyalty, which is why it will continue to spiral into a multi-billion-dollar industry over the next five years.

With the recent introduction of its three-tiered influencer legislation, the UAE's National Media Council (NMC) has sought to resolve and regulate the social media marketplace with the aim of protecting both consumers and brands (and, rightly so). Three clear tiers were established for those who want to continue earning money from branded collaborations:

1. Influencers can buy an Individual License (AED 15,000 + Trade license)

2. Influencers can buy a Partnership License (AED 15,000 + Trade license)

3. Influencers can get registered under an official NMC-approved influencer agency.

By allowing influencers the opportunity to register under NMC-approved agencies, influencers can now continue to work on brand collaborations, without footing the cost of an individual license, so long as they are registered exclusively with one agency. This is a move that will not only assist with market regulation but will also allow for creative partnerships between brands and influencers to flourish.

The industry shift from macro to micro

The need for influencer marketing platforms and agencies stems from the social shift that's happening on a global level. Rather than using one or two macro influencers, brands are investing in the micro influencers, with the assistance of platforms that can assist with the logistics, insights, and performance of running such campaigns effectively.

In a nutshell, a group of micro-influencers can achieve the same (or better) results as a macro-influencer for a lot less money! While their following maybe smaller in size, they have highly-engaged and trusted audiences who follow them as a result of shared interests, whether that be fitness, beauty, travel etc. On top of that, the engagement percentage of a micro is significantly higher than that of a macro, so when you group them together, you can tap into multiple audiences and measure a far greater impact overall.

It's evident that brands are now waking up to the over-commercialization of macro-influencers; they are tapping into the behavioral trends of their consumers who are statistically proven to be much more likely to follow the recommendation made by a micro. Overall, it's about targeting your key consumers and ensuring you reach them through the right people.

Working with micro-influencers is not only a move that triggers better ROI, it is also a safer option for brands since the micros do not have the celebrity status that can cause a global outcry. Brand Ripplr determines levels of engagement and delivers relevant, quantifiable data for those investing in influencer marketing campaigns, thus taking out key "risks" for businesses and brands.

The industry shift from diva to data

As anyone with a vested interest in influencer marketing knows, finding genuine influencers is also a real issue in the industry; you have to distinguish between big numbers and real influence. We're all aware of fake accounts, fake followers, and fake engagement– this all exists in today's social sphere. However, platforms -like Brand Ripplr- are implementing tech solutions that allow for a vigorous vetting process. This means being able to detect the real from the fake and deliver insights on influencer audiences, alongside data-centric campaign results.

There are thousands claiming the "influencer status," but brands need to understand the data behind the social media masks in order to determine whether or not these influencers have real influence– audience size, engagement, audience demographics all need to be analyzed. As such, platforms –like Brand Ripplr– have evolved to facilitate the process through from start to finish.

Related: Entrepreneur Middle East's Achieving Women 2018: Tanaz Dizadji, Founder And CEO, Brand Ripplr

Source: Brand Ripplr

How do influencer platforms follow in the footsteps of the NMC?

Whether you're an individual, an SME, or a big brand, the same industry frustrations exist when trying to bring an influencer marketing campaign to life. The proven benefits of influencer marketing has seen the digital advertising spend shifting to accommodate influencer campaigns; however, the reality is that it is a difficult, time-consuming, and very manual process. For such reasons, influencer platforms are stepping in to offer solutions.

Brand Ripplr, the region's largest influencer platform, is following in the NMC's footsteps when it comes to advocating not only the transparency of paid collaborations, but also the transparency of its influencer terms. Brand Ripplr will not shut the door on brand opportunities for its influencers, and neither will it charge additional costs to brands. The reasons behind this are simple: we want our influencers to have the ability to create content with a variety of brands. They also need the flexibility to work with the right brand and, likewise, brands need the flexibility to tap into the right talent.

Brand Ripplr has always been on a mission to connect brands with regional talent; first and foremost, the platform's mission is to ensure that creative content ripples across social platforms and does so transparently, while meeting all e-media regulations.

Is the influencer bubble set to burst?

Unless the likes of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat disappear, influencer marketing won't be going anywhere. Brands will need to work with ad-tech platforms and connect with aligned content creators for compelling campaigns that can reach relevant audiences via social media channels.

The introduction of the UAE's e-media regulations is a sure sign that all parties -influencers, brands, agencies and consumers- need to understand, more than ever, the importance of transparency and step up to global advertising standards. Influencer marketing is here to stay, so it's time for us all to become more socially savvy, budget conscious and data driven.

Related: The Pros And Cons Of Regulating Social Media Influencing

Tanaz Dizadji

Tanaz Dizadji, founder and CEO, Insydo and Brand Ripplr

Tanaz Dizadji is the founder and CEO of insydo, a search-centric city guide that provides people with curated recommendations, and has gained a following of over 500,000+ unique visitors per month since its launch in January 2016. The content platform has been awarded considerable recognition in the UAE for its fresh approach to video content and branded storytelling in the past two years.

In September 2017, Tanaz launched her second venture, Brand Ripplr, a micro-influencer marketplace for the Middle East. The tech platform has already received considerable investment from OLN and is set to stir the region’s advertising sector with its innovative solution to a key industry problem. The platform, which automates and streamlines the entire influencer marketing process for the MENA region, was listed as a favorited startup at Web Summit 2017– just a few weeks after its inception and launch.

Graduating with a BSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Warwick, Tanaz started her career as a chartered accountant in investment management at PwC in London.  Before delving into the world of technology, Tanaz was the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Omnicom Media Group and led philanthropic and artistic projects for the Elephant Parade and START. It was here that she gained considerable marketing experience and built up her leadership expertise before branching out to build her own startup portfolio.

Tanaz’s agility, foresight and reactionary approach to global transformations in the media world has led to the success of two disruptive digital media platforms that have made a regional impact and won leadership recognition at award ceremonies, conferences and in leading business publications.

Known for her industry success, Tanaz is proactive in her approach to playing a key role in the startup world and in growing the UAE’s thriving entrepreneurial community.  She regularly speaks at events, and imparts her industry knowledge to aspiring entrepreneurs through mentorship events and personal coaching.


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