Affiliate Programs

Influencer marketing gets a Gen-Z upgrade with Emcee launch

Influencer marketing gets a Gen-Z upgrade with Emcee launch
Written by publishing team

Fashion influencer Alyssa Coscarelli prefers to feature niche independent posters for her base of more than 366,000 followers on Instagram, but that often means fewer opportunities to monetize her account.

“I’ve been working with myself as a content creator for over 10 years now, and I’ve probably missed a lot of affiliate earnings,” Coscarelli said. Products you love to highlight, like Lirika Matoshi’s dresses or Bien Mal art blankets, aren’t often available on major platforms like LikeToKnowIt and RewardStyle. But she recently became the director of partnerships for a new affiliate influencer platform called Emcee, which is launching on Wednesday. It aims to bring buzzing independent brands into the influencer marketing arena.

“I choose to support smaller independent brands often, so this really expands the network, from the Neiman Marcuses and Michael Kors of the world, to more Lisa Says Gahs – more indie brands running on Shopify and back left and right now,” She said.

Founded by John Agian, who is also the CEO, Emcee is a site and soon-to-be iOS app that offers influencers the opportunity to create a curated storefront on its platform with commissions ranging from 5-25% on items sold. Unlike other affiliate link programs that link to a brand’s website, Emcee is integrated with Shopify’s “Sales Channels” platform to allow participating brands to leave the site. To reach Depop-obsessed Gen-Z shoppers, the platform also allows influencers to sell their personal items directly on their storefronts. With a bold, colorful design and buzzing brands including One DNA, Simonett and Chillhouse, the new platform aims to open up affiliate marketing to a younger, more independent audience.

“Influencers are among the most powerful retailers,” Agyan said. A former founder of clothing store Le Board in New York, he was inspired to start the business after seeing the imperfections of wholesale distribution and the rise of influencer marketing before and after the pandemic. To attract smaller independent brands, they do not charge a fee to be on the platform but take a 10% commission on every sale. “It’s an alternative distribution model for brands,” he said. With affiliate links currently represented 3% of influencer revenueAccording to CB Insights, it also sees room for growth for its participating influencers (which the platform calls “Emcees”).

While the previous generation of influencer platforms like LikeToKnowIt had more of the dominant millennial pink Instagram aesthetic, Emcee is definitely “more of Generation Z,” Agian said. The decision to pursue looking younger and richer was to target all age groups. “We also think that if you have Gen Z, anyone will come, but if you go into a slightly older demographic, you will probably lose out to Gen Z.”

One of the first retailers to take advantage of Emcee’s new aesthetic is online fashion boutique Lisa Says Gah, known for spearheading what has been dubbed the “essential avant-garde” Instagram trend with brands like House of Sunny and Ganni. retailer Active in the pre-release of the platform since it joined 30 other brands earlier this month. Madeline Sensibile, Director of Content and Partnerships, said Lisa says Jah has already seen success with affiliate channels like Impact and Radius, but this is the first time she’s branching out into influencer affiliate marketing.

“Lisa’s storefront says Jah is Instagram and always has been,” Sensibel said. She predicts that “the affiliate channel will continue to establish itself as a strong source of revenue for brands like us and for influencers like Alyssa, even those with more and smaller followers.”

A strong e-commerce model is critical for independent brands. Coscarelli noted that some of her favorite independent retailers, including Opening Ceremony, Totokaelo and Need Supply, “didn’t [survived] This new climate. Meanwhile, a lot of these independent brands, like Lisa Says Gah or the smaller brands that operate in Shopify, have seen explosive growth in the past year.” Lisa Says Gah, for example, saw sales growth of 300% year-over-year. in the first quarter of 2021.

The platform is launching with a focus on influencers, and plans to add a dashboard by the end of 2021 for brands to find and contact influencers directly for campaigns. It will also continue to add features including one-click buying and the opportunity for influencers to create an email newsletter for followers.

Influencers must apply to be on the platform and go through a vetting process supervised by Coscarelli. Once accepted, they can sell any brand on the platform and they must use their original images for each post. According to Coscarelli, they are chosen based on their aesthetics, whether they have prestige and can be considered a “tastemaker in some places”.

“It doesn’t have to be fashion or beauty, but we just want to make sure they’re an authority whatever their audience or world,” she said. Coscarelli is the first influencer to have an active storefront to launch, and is currently evaluating around 500 influencer apps.

According to Coscarelli and Aghayan, the rules are changing for influencers, as an overly polished personality and sponcon dumping are unacceptable for younger shoppers. With Gen Z, “You can’t constantly publish sponsored posts; Agian said.

“We have reached a point where the audience can see through the fakes. They want authentic tastemakers who love their style,” Coscarelli said. “People don’t want to be followed by people who are bogus, overly loose or unrealistic anymore.”

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