Meet The Disruptors: Ricky Ray Butler, CEO | BEN Group, Inc.

Where do you see more opportunities for disruption within your industry?rickyray

Advances in measurement that will allow brands to optimize campaigns based on clicks or sales offer the biggest opportunity for disruption. AI and deep learning technology are already improving the value that brands can expect from influencer marketing. This year, we will see a major shift in the metrics and ROI that brands should expect to receive from influencer marketing campaigns. Success will no longer be measured on views alone. Deep learning algorithms have the ability to provide predictive analytics on lower funnel metrics, like clicks and conversions.

AI will also be a major tool to help ensure brand safety, filter massive amounts of content, and combat influencer fraud. Talk to any brand and they will mention what a huge pain point fraud remains for them as they try to increase spend on influencer marketing. AI, and more sophisticated approaches like deep learning, will actually provide marketers with granular insights into a specific channel’s safety. It will break down not only overall health of the channel, but growth and engagement as well to determine whether that channel is a worthy investment.

What would you define as a successful, disruptive partnership with an ad/marketing agency?

We see unlocking new value for our clients as the best way to achieve success and disrupt the industry. For example, we applied our proprietary AI in Philo’s influencer campaign with the goal of driving conversions for its skinny TV bundle.  Through the use of AI, we were able to select the best influencers possible to drive a 10X increase in conversion efficiency over the course of the campaign. Our deep learning neural networks analyzed performance to drive 172% better CTRs and decrease the number of views to acquire a subscription by 1000%.  Those metrics are real and – most importantly – replicable with the use of AI.

As technologies advance and influencers reign supreme, how are you finding new avenues to stand out in your industry?

There’s a lot of hype when it comes to AI in the marketplace. Most influencer companies simply take an off-the-shelf AI solution, like IBM Watson or Amazon Rekognition, and apply it to influencer marketing.  While these technologies can do some things very well, they have not been built specifically to meet the needs of influencer marketing. BEN has developed proprietary models that allow us to go beyond simply doing things like object identification that matches influencers to brands – we can actually build custom client models that produce deeper funnel metrics so brands realize the highest possible ROI.  

We’re already seeing AI as a major contributor in helping campaigns reach those lower funnel metrics that marketers care about most.  The real promise of AI for marketers, which we expect to see in 2019, is better outcomes at scale

*Please Note: All statements are the opinion of the author and may not necessarily represent the views of The ADVERTISING Club of New York.