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Webfluential — which will be housing staff members from both organisations in its South African offices — links people who have strong social media presences with brands in order to boost online campaigns. Retromedia, on the other hand, shares its skills through its online research and analytics offering together with a focus on paid media.
“This merger is in response to the market reality that influencer marketing and paid media are much more powerful, and secure stronger campaign results when combined. It therefore made business sense to merge Webfluential and Retromedia into one integrated organisation offering complementing services,” says Kirsty Sharman who will be heading the new entity.
Webfluential continues to grow its audiences globally, and now reaches 70-million people via targeted campaigns across the platform’s 2 050 registered influencers and their combined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube accounts, and blogs.
As a result of the merger, Webfluential has extended its overall product offering to include the three core components of paid digital media: premium display, influencer marketing and paid media on social channels.
Sharman explains that creating communities around a brand is far more important than how the brand is communicating its key messages:
Brands that historically invested solely in social communities are starting to come up short as social platforms, particularly Facebook, have minimised the organic reach of brand pages to almost zero. Influencers are still part of a community’s digital network. When we apply paid media to supplement influencer campaign posts, the results increase exponentially.
The company opened its London office in November last year, and has plans to grow its operational staff to 35 people in five countries in 2015, with a number of vacancies open for account managers, developers and sales staff.
“Webfluential has grown exponentially in South Africa, on the African continent, and abroad in the little more than a year that the company has been operational. The company is also extremely successful, having dominated the influencer marketing sector in Africa over the past six months, paying out over R2 million to social influencers during this time,” says Steven Murray who will focus on extending the company’s reach and sales in London, Kenya and Nigeria.