May 13, 2020

Paladin Roll with All Things Video's James Creech

Hello video insiders! Hoping that you're keeping safe and sane. Like many of you, we’re just keeping on, keeping on doing our work, plugging away during these quarantine times.

This week we welcome James Creech from Paladin Software as our first ever 3 people real-time interview.

James is the co-founder & CEO of Paladin Software, the essential influencer marketing platform for agencies and media companies. Prior to Paladin, James served as SVP, Growth of Bent Pixels, where he led the company's strategy, sales, and business development efforts.

James was employee number 5 at Channel Factory where he helped grow the video ad tech company to 40+ employees. He’s also worked with Blizzard Entertainment’s Global Planning & Support team on project management, process improvement, and globalization initiatives.

James is a fellow podcaster, actually one of the OG in the online video ecosystem with the All Things Video podcast.

Join us as we discuss James’ career from hosting All Things Video, Channel Factore, and Paladin Software.

- How Paladin is different from the competition in the influencer marketing space.
- James’ view on the current state of influencer marketing.
- What’s changed in the landscape for online influencers.
- James’ take on influencer video platforms to watch. Is Instagram on the way out?
- What to expect in regards to direct monetization on social video platforms.
- His thoughts on the history and current state of YouTube multi-channel networks.

..and his new venture, Measure Studio which is a beautiful analytics tool for Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram that's an affordable solution for independent online creators and influencers.

Show Notes:

- Measure.Studios Social video analytics
- Paladin Software
- All Things Video Podcast 
- James Creech on Linkedin

The Video Insiders Podcast is supported by TubeBuddy. You can use the same pro tools that we do and that YouTube professionals like we do to manage multiple channels. Click here for a special offer for Video Insider listeners.

Follow Tom on Twitter @channel_fuel and Carlos at @carlospache_co on Twitter. Podcast Music by Planets Collide and podcast editing by Joe Pacheco 

Machine-Generated Podcast Transcript

What follows is an Otter AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Carlos Pacheco 0:01
Welcome to the video insiders podcast. I'm Carlos Pacheco. And I'm Tom Martin. And we're two really, really old people.

Tom Martin 0:14
Yeah, she's the, we're just collecting our pension and what is YouTube?

Carlos Pacheco 0:19
Yeah, and we're, you know, we're the geriatric team behind YouTube channels. And we've been managing YouTube channels for longer than many of you have been on YouTube. We've been doing it for a bunch of TV networks, media companies, producers, creators, so we have quite a few views under our belt and have managed hundreds, if not thousands of channels between us at this point. Tom, how is it going?

Tom Martin 0:47
Ya know, pretty, pretty positive despite some, you know, world craziness. YouTube work seems to tick along, keep him busy, having a bit more time to watch a bit more useful. than I normally would. So, every cloud has a silver lining. But yeah, working on some, some cool new clients, pitching for some cool new projects. It's sort of very, very, very busy at the moment. And yourself.

Carlos Pacheco 1:16
Yeah, it's busy. There's a, you know, there's a little bit of like, you know, lingering clients that have sort of, like, you know, fallen off the radar for the time being, but I think they're just trying to get yourselves reorganized. But it's been interesting to see, you know, for me, it's actually I've consumed less YouTube. And last little while just because, you know, there's just a lot of news out there and I kind of want to tune out for a bit and it's been more catching up on series on the old amazon prime or Netflix or whatever. And I think the other night, my wife wanted to watch first, you know, for some reasons you want to watch contagion He was like, really? And I'll be honest with you, it depressed the show me pardon my French. So anyway, it's not we're not to get back onto that subject. But anyway, so we just that's been my world for the past little while.

Tom Martin 2:14
Yeah, it's interesting. It's interesting you say that because as we record today, and there was a article that went out saying that YouTube and Netflix, reduce their kind of defaults on quality and stuff. I'm not surprised. I'm currently watching Ozark I'm a bit late to the party. But Madison, it is such a good show such a good show. And I'm getting drip fed Better Call Saul over here on Netflix. So enjoying that. It's one of the few shows that you have to wait for every week, which I think is kind of like retro now. Pretty nice. It's pretty nice experience.

Carlos Pacheco 2:50
Yeah, I'm going I'm going through the same issues with currently watching Star Trek Picard, getting it every week and it's sort of like it's annoying and I Same time refreshing.

Tom Martin 3:01
Yeah, it seems such a quaint experience now it's just shows just how far we've come interview experiences in such a short space of time. It's Yeah, it's pretty crazy.

Carlos Pacheco 3:11
So obviously I'm gonna apologize because me and my wife are both working at home and she's going into cos we're in a very small space so we're hearing her in the background,

Tom Martin 3:21
man she's the she's the big she's the big boss of the household we Oh, yeah,

Carlos Pacheco 3:25
exactly. That's what's up she doesn't talk about anything super secret things while we're recording right now, so I'm just hoping that stuff anyways, we won't drag things on too much. I wanted to send out a big thank you to, to buddy for sponsoring the show to buddy is the ultimate tool for creators to streamline their daily workflow on YouTube allowing for more time to make great content for brands to help reduce busy work and focus on what matters growing your business on YouTube for agencies to help manage multiple client channels and For networks to give partners the tools for success and an attractive incentive for recruitment,

Tom Martin 4:06
Tom, do we have a special offer for our audience? We do, indeed. You can get a exclusive video insiders discount on a multiple channel license, which is super valuable by visiting video forward slash chew, buddy. Thank you, buddy.

Carlos Pacheco 4:25
Thank you too, buddy. Tom, who's on the show this week. Yeah,

Tom Martin 4:29
this is actually our first attempt at a three handed interview show. So this is really interesting. And from memory Actually, we gave this very, very highly decorated person, a secret intro in person. So I actually don't think we need to hang around too much now, especially as your wife's about to reveal all of our corporate secrets. I think we should cut straight to the interview. And then we'll be back on the other side to wrap up the conversation.

Carlos Pacheco 4:57
But I've actually learned to mute the While you're talking, so we don't hear things in the background. Yes, we won't lollygag too long. But I like how you described our three, I would have called it something else our three team recording. So obviously, let's get to it with James Creech.

Tom Martin 5:22
So, on a lot of podcast, your interview shows you say, Oh, you know, this person needs no introduction. And in this case, I actually think it's true because if you're listening to this podcast, you have something to do with the YouTube industry or the industry side of YouTube. And if you're in the industry side of YouTube, you know, James Creech because in my work, James Craig is Mr. YouTube industry. I think of any conference. James is there. Everyone knows James. James knows everyone. Everyone loves James One of the friendliest, loveliest guys in the industry super knowledgeable. Host of the All Things Radio Podcast, which I've been listening to since maybe the start and if not the start close by. But just in case you've been living under a rock. James, please say hello to our lovely audience of fellow industry insiders. And tell us a little bit about your journey in your career and how you got to where you are now with Paladin software.

Unknown Speaker 6:30
Well, first of all, thank you, john. That's the best kind of introduction I've ever received. I think I'm just gonna we'll just wrap up the interview right here.

Carlos Pacheco 6:37
He's fishing for a free license.

James Creech 6:40
Sounds like it.

Tom Martin 6:42
So down here from Hey, James. If you ever seen like frost Nixon, this is where it kicks in.

James Creech 6:48
That's right. But yeah, again, thank you for the introduction. I've been an admirer of your guys's show for a long time. So it's a dream to get to chat with you both. As way of background I started my career in app Tech, working for a digital media startup here in LA called channel factory. And we were doing video advertising on YouTube. Really before that was a concept right before TrueView existed, trying to make videos go viral and promote content on YouTube after two and a half years at Channel factory, building it from, you know, five people in the founders apartment to, you know, eight figure revenue business opening offices in New York and Chicago, moved on and went and worked at an influencer network or an MC n called Ben pixels, which was started out of Vegas. But you know, wanting to expand into Los Angeles I helped open that office, work with talent work with advertisers helped grow the careers of these digital influencers at the time, you know, we were building a lot of tools internally really out of necessity right to make our jobs easier because we were managing some of the talent and growing quickly and I you know, kind of looked around and and all of our competitors were doing the same thing. And so I started asking my friends in the industry, well, how are you tackling this? problem or how do you solve for that? And they said, similar idea, either we do it very manually, or, you know, we're building some internal solution. And that's when it hit me. You know, this is this is the real opportunity. This is something I'm passionate about, and it's a much bigger play. And so I teamed up with two partners, our co founder and CEO, Thomas Kramer, and then our CTO le Morton. And we launched Paladin about four years ago at this point and we build influencer marketing software for agencies and media companies all over the world. We have customers now and over 35 countries across six continents. So it's been a fun journey and fun growth story over the past few years, that's awesome.

Carlos Pacheco 8:40
Yeah, I've been sort of like a big fan of your work over the years and sort of been following both from the event pixel days to your new your Paladin days, you know, for us, working as channel managers and all that. So if we sort of understand me and Tom sort of know what Palin is, but Tell us what Paladin is and how it's different from the competition.

James Creech 9:05
Sure, so Paladin is the leading influencer marketing suite for agencies and media companies, right? So we streamline everything from influencer discovery and talent management to royalty accounting payments and campaign reporting across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Twitch more platforms coming soon. But those are the kind of core five that we focus on today. And you know, over the last 18 to 24 months, influencer marketing has certainly gotten a lot more competitive. And there are a number of good solutions out there, but it's a you know, it's a bit of a crowded space. So it is helpful to understand how we differentiate. And there's there's really kind of five key ways that I've identified how we're different. The first is business model, right? Everything that we do is software as a service. So you pay a license fee, you get access to our suite of products. We're not a marketplace, right? We're not doing matchmaking between brands and influencers. We're not an agency. So the There are some very good service companies out there that run campaigns or maybe have built some tools, but also will help you, you know, run an influencer activation soup to nuts. That's not our business and never will be. The other aspect is data privacy. So we offer all of our customers a dedicated private environment for their data, not just creating a shared database and dumping everyone in there, especially when you're working with agencies, having that private white labeled environment is really essential for them to protect this big asset that they've worked so hard to build up over the years this relationships and this trusted database of influencers. So data privacy is number two. The third is our value chain focus, right? We are very much focused on the supply side of the ecosystem, meaning companies that work directly with talent. So it's influencer agencies it's influencer networks or MC ns talent management companies. You know, there are certainly good competitors out there that are catering to the demand side working with brands and media agencies. But that's not our business. One because we don't want there to be a conflict of interest with our customers and to just because the use cases are different, right, what some what a brand needs out of an influencer marketing suite is very different than what an agency needs in order to manage its creators and present that data to brands. Fourth is platform support. So you know, we started off being a multi platform solution and not just thinking about, say, Instagram or not just focusing on YouTube, but really offering a comprehensive solution across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch. And then perspective, you know, the last pieces that we've always viewed influencer marketing digital media as a global phenomenon. And we've built a global vision and footprint not just focusing on you know, the US the domestic market. But we have, you know, quite a bit of customers in Europe, we have quite a bit of customers in Southeast Asia in the Middle East and a lot of these other emerging markets in Latin America, and so having that global vision and perspective has been essential to how we stand out from the competition.

Tom Martin 12:03
I'd like to go on to talk about the wider video industry in a minute. But in terms of the kind of the, this is a quite a broad question, but I'd be it'd be good to get even just a kind of a soundbite from you what what is the kind of current state of the kind of general influencer marketing space? Is it? Is it one in like burgeoning growth is it kind of matured now? Is it kind of stable? In the glory days gone? What are your kind of rough rough ideas around that?

James Creech 12:34
Yeah, well, it's it's massive, right. And it's still seeing explosive growth. And I think those of us who are so close to it, right, working in the day to day we remember the early days when no one knew what what is what should an influencer charge for a post or how do you run a campaign and handle reporting? You know, we certainly evolved significantly since then. So it is maturing, I wouldn't say it's mature yet because you think of some of these You know, traditional formats, right? television is almost 100 years old. You think about, you know, radio and some of these these analog formats, what we have in digital is still so new and so burgeoning that it's growing really rapidly. And there's still a long time horizon on the growth trajectory of these, you know, these new businesses and these new models. And then you think about influencer relative to some of some other Digital Trends, right, like social media at large or, you know, mobile advertising, mobile display advertising. It's certainly gone from you know, you work with a media buyer and there isn't really a clear idea of who owns this or where the budgets come from for influencer to now there are established influencer programs that brands right they're looking at longer term Ambassador models there are clear allocated spends for influencer marketing and it's being demonstrated that it works right. Not only is it a good way to reach an audience, but it's a great way to engage them. There's a lot higher ROI in response from influencer marketing than, you know, some some legacy forms of media.

Tom Martin 14:06
It makes real sense to mix I'm working more and more with you know, quote unquote, brands, and you know, less kind of just creators. And often when I look at, you know what their end goal is to sell their services or products and how far they are away from where they need to be to kind of grown organic follow in often My advice to them is what you know, they come to me helping they want help to grow their existing YouTube channel or something to YouTube channel. Often when I look at look at what they're doing in the cold light of day, often my answer is, well, I would do just paid ads, or use that budget and give it to influences in your space, who already got the audience who already got the influence, already got the trust, and you're going to see a much better return on that investment and much faster than, you know taking five years to grow up. half assed YouTube channel. So yeah, I can definitely see the value of influencer marketing, I still think there's a little bit of a, I don't know, maybe a bit of a stigma around it around, you know, tracking ROI and, you know, being able to track the success of a campaign or not. But I'm assuming tools like yours, and a lot of the partners that you work with probably have solved that problem or getting close to solving that.

James Creech 15:26
Yeah, that's the idea, right? Most of the time, when we come in and talk to a new customer, they are, you know, doing a very manual approach to reporting where it's screenshots, you know, it's building a deck, and putting together examples of the posts and some of the key metrics around performance. But what brands and their agency partners are looking for as we progress is a greater depth of data and true analysis of the content performance so we can measure results right, and that comes from truly understanding the audience right real time data about audience demographics. So the age And gender splits the location of where these viewers are coming from understanding and not just impressions and reach and viewership at the top of the funnel, but, you know, really more engagement driven metrics. You know, the the click through activity, in some cases purchase right or intent to buy a product after engaging with an influencer post. So we're trying to provide a more comprehensive real time holistic reporting solution. One of the points that I think you mentioned and I think you sort of like touched it a little bit and this is reminds me of a rainy actually goes back to challenges had with you know, Brendan gone. Yeah, of course,

Carlos Pacheco 16:43
making a burden. Yeah, exactly. So I just talked to him this weekend. FYI. If the episodes might be one before the other, I don't know. But like we just had the same conversation where you know, the evolution of influencer marketing you know, is where brands are starting. To learn to build relationships as opposed to just coming in and you know, asking for a campaign and disappearing. And I think you sort of mentioned something in that in that vein where you guys are sort of trying to find a way to or building that dashboard that lets the brand have a continuous relationship with the Creator.

James Creech 17:18
Yeah, ultimately, every brands objectives are different. But I think we're seeing more success from a true partnership model rather than, you know, the transactional approach that may have been popular A few years ago, right? We we saw these marketplaces popping up and this isn't a knock against marketplaces, they just fundamentally serve a different need. Many of them were focused on Well, how do you activate micro influencers at scale, and maybe that helps you snag makes a lot of noise, right, you can snag like these vanity metrics of great viewership and engagement and, you know, you've you've reached a lot of eyeballs but if you are really trying to move the needle, then I think we've seen time and time again that these larger activations With true influencers, right, that wield influence among their audience, there's there's no replacement for that.

Tom Martin 18:07
So going to a kind of a step broader than influencer marketing. You know, as I said at the start, you're kind of to me, Mister industry, your podcast, you spoke to so many people from so many different parts of the industry. you attended one of the events, you know, you've obviously got your finger on the pulse. I'd be really interested to see an outsider's perspective, or at least outside for me and Carlos, what have you really seen change in the last month across the video industry in general? And what do you think is kind of coming in the next six to 12 months? That's really going to be the big the big shift?

James Creech 18:43
Yeah. Well, I feel fortunate to have the chance to work with companies all over the world and have some some insight into this. And I started the podcast, all things video, really as a passion project because I was having a chance to meet all these great entrepreneurs and innovators in the digital media space and just You know, kind of selfishly curious to learn about their their success and the lessons learned along the way. And then also wanting to give back and share those stories with a bigger audience. So it's been such a fun initiative and a great way to, to learn so quickly about many different aspects of digital media. But in terms of, you know, the shifts that we've seen, say over the last 12 months, you know, I don't think I'm going to surprise anyone here. But obviously Instagram has become the predominant platform for influencer marketing. One just because of the ease of creation and the natural tie ins to things like commerce, you know, and also the fact that it's maintained this level of the cool factor right among youth but also doing a good job of letting brands engage and publishers and media companies play in the ecosystem. It's just built a really successful foundation for influencer marketing to occur. You know, I think the other thing that we're witnessing is More influencers creating products and driving commerce. And you know, the the traditional examples of this way back when would have been something like Michelle Phan and Etsy, right, these creator driven businesses, but now we're seeing even more examples of that and not just, you know, merchandise solutions or every influencer has a store and a T shirt. But actually seeing influencers, build businesses and creating their own product lines, you know, Jeffree Star cosmetics and you know, some of the things that that obviously, like Kylie has done are just other great examples of the power of influencer marketing in the space. And I think we're going to continue to witness more influencer driven projects and companies. And then the last thing is a bit you know, outside the influencer space specifically, but we're seeing a enormous rise in digital publishers. And so the Internet has removed barriers and created more ways to produce distress Have you to monetize content? And the first iteration of that was, you know, web based almost blog style publishers that you know, you think of like a refinery 29, or kind of a Conde Nast and Hearst have done to lean in from a traditional print publication into, you know, shifting that online. And then there was this kind of 2.0 model where it's like, Okay, well, now we can do video, we can do rich media. And then with the growth of social. Now, we've seen companies built entirely on the backs of that, that said, Well, you know, we're not going to leverage influencers, we're going to be that influential voice. We're going to build a publisher strategy around an audience on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, tick tock event, and so you know, whether it's done a media tune star cheddar, the young turks, right, all of these businesses being built through social media, the rise of digital publishers over the last 12 to 24 months has been pretty astounding.

Carlos Pacheco 21:56
Yeah, it's been definitely a trend of publishers sort of adopting a little With the influencer ecosystem or even influencer tactics to grow audiences, you touched on the point of Instagram becoming very popular. Do you consider that still the one to watch and is there? We know out of all the platforms we're talking about these days. Today is like everybody's freaked out over Twitter announcing its version of stories, like which ones don't want to watch which ones on the way out, like any insights on that if you can give to our audience.

James Creech 22:28
Sure. You know, from a b2c standpoint, Instagram I continue to foresee it being dominant. If you're an influencer, you have to be on Instagram today that's just a great platform for discovery it's a great way to do branded content so yeah, you know keep an eye on importantly, but in terms of where the growth is coming from again no surprise it's it's Tick Tock and I was a bit of a wait and see mode. I made a I've even been an early tik tok naysayer just because, you know, musically had stagnated when by dancing. Ended up acquiring it and then merging it with with tic toc a very similar, you know, user experience in terms of a mobile app. I was hesitant initially because, you know, there was just there's so much ad spend behind it. That was propping up the activity that was really hard to know, you know, what's organic interest from influencers versus what is promoted content. That's the driving activity on the app. Now, I think it's pretty clear that Tick Tock is here to stay. It's a great new platform for influencers to feel like they have control over the content, they're having fun on the platform, which is cool to see. It's also you know, allowing new influencers to build an audience and get discovered and then you see them, you know, migrating over and also building audience on YouTube and Instagram. So definitely keep an eye on tik tok. from a b2b standpoint, you know, the number one to watch is LinkedIn. I think Pinterest is also pretty interesting in terms of what it's doing with with video content. So keep an eye on those, you know, the one that I think I've been a little bit more bearish on is probably Twitter and Twitter still, you know, has a place in the world and serves a purpose if you're in live sports and journalism and you know, politics, a few other kind of sectors, but most Americans and certainly the rest of the world that Twitter is not their go to destination for content or their social media platform of choice. I think you know, Donald Trump has been probably the single greatest lifesaver of Twitter and in the past four years, and we'll see, you know, if it can continue to go the distance, I don't think anyone needs stories on Twitter, much like, I don't think we've needed them on Skype or any of the other platforms that have followed suit and just kind of copying that feature set, because it's clearly working. But you know, it's it's a way for Twitter to kind of try to stay relevant and remain in the cultural conversation.

Carlos Pacheco 0:27
Yeah, we do have LinkedIn stories now.

Tom Martin 0:30
So I know a related question to that James is what about direct monetization on some of those platforms? So you've, you've spoken about like, how influencers can use commerce and how they can do brand deals and stuff like that. But you know, for many, I'd say at least two years now it's we've always been just a few months away from like, a some kind of create a program on Instagram where you can directly monetize video and stuff like that. Yeah, I think I think tic tocs probably not too far away from By have recently announced that they've got a few hundred thousand dollars to give away to their first few hundred net like featured creators something like that. Have you heard anything on the grapevine that you may or may not be able to share with us?

James Creech 1:13
You know, I'd say don't hold your breath. Right people are always optimistically hoping for that. And YouTube is really the only reliable platform today where you have a chance to do essentially passive monetization and have an ad program built in that, that as long as you meet the criteria, you know, you can take advantage of you know, the second closest behind that is Facebook. And we've been waiting for years right for Facebook monetization to kick in, and it's really only for top creators and publishers. We're seeing more creators kind of being on boarded into the program. Now, Instagram is probably the likely next successor to that just because of the built in advertising reach and scale that Facebook can bring to bear and Instagram, tick tock I would be much more skeptical that it's coming in a meaningful way for the money jority of creators anytime soon, I could certainly see a program similar to you know, YouTube preferred where, where top talent on the TIC Tock platform are going to get deals and can take advantage of it. But if you're an average Tick Tock creator, don't expect to see monetization headed your way anytime in the near future. So, you know, that's probably my predictions. Aside from traditional advertising revenue, there are some other approaches like commerce, or like direct to fan monetization. Of course, every creator can start up a Patreon account. But I think what twitch has done, they certainly have ads in the platform. But most most streamers are making their money direct from their audience. And it used to be a bit of an older audience a bit more disposable income, but twitch has done a really compelling job of building a direct monetization link between a broadcaster and their audience in a really powerful way. And I would be curious to see if other platforms will follow suit and look at alternatives to monetization that aren't solely ad dependent.

Tom Martin 3:00
Speaking of making money from create, as I've, I've always been super fascinated by the world of MC ends, and when again, when I think of MC ends, if I ever had a question about an MC n, he'd be the person I'd go to James because you know, you've you've, you've spoken to so many people, you've interviewed people on the podcast from full screen x maker, you name it, you've spoken to them. You 've had the tech experience from Ben pixels and Paladin. There are some MC ends that are still holding on. What's this? What is the state of the of the MC n world from the inside? Like? Are they still exist in? Are they healthy? Are they they will pivot into become talent agencies? What are you seeing around that world? And like, do you predict that even though the kind of last few strongholds will still be there in say two months time?

James Creech 3:52
Yeah, it's a good question. And, you know, I'll give you a bit of probably an abbreviated answer. There's probably a link conversation we could have about this at some point. And I've actually written quite a lengthy kind of history of MC ends and the evolution that I think they've gone through yet to publish it, but maybe one of these days, I'll, I'll put it up on LinkedIn or something. But, you know, the original impetus for the multi channel network, the MC n model grew out of YouTube, it grew out of the fact that in the early days, YouTube was growing so quickly and didn't have a way to provide customer service and direct monetization for all partners. And so they, you know, granted permission to these multi channel networks to administer that on their behalf. Right. And so, you had these companies pop up, that started to sign talent, you know, in the thousands and in the 10s of thousands. And they were scaling quickly, essentially, a bit of a kind of an ad network model in the 1.0 days, and after that land grab phase, you know, shifted to Okay, is there other other models where we can work with at least the top talent to help them build a lot term business, right? Do 360 talent management, think about merchandise, think about content licensing deals, think about, you know, migrating to other platforms, whether that's in digital, or maybe it's, you know, also kind of bridging the gap and moving more into traditional watching a TV series, things like that. Over time, YouTube has changed its policies and change the way that it interacts with MC ends. And part of that is, you know, being much more restrictive in the number of new content owners that they grant and the number of YouTube certified companies or MC ns that they allow to exist. So they've certainly become, you know, it's much more difficult to get approved for that than it was in the past. The other aspect is, I think they witnessed a lot of MC ends, particularly the large scaled American ones, gaining too much power right in the days of maker and fullscreen and machinima. You had this idea that your MC ends would push back pretty aggressive. delay when YouTube made changes, and I think there was a sentiment within YouTube that that wanted that to change. And meanwhile all the other social platforms, Facebook and Twitter had a chance to observe what was happening in the MTN ecosystem. And most of them have elected not to go down a similar path and offer a program like what YouTube has done. And so, MC ns have changed their business over time, shifted more towards premium ad sales shifted to providing services to talent, typically in the in the way of audience growth and digital rights management, brand deals and sponsorships. And so if you if you think about what is the model look like today, most of what we think of the traditional MCs have evolved into either talent management groups right where they are providing these services to influencers and often there's an agency component where they're out running influencer marketing campaigns on the town's behalf. And the other half are kind of studios or publishers, creating next generation content for digital platforms, that that kind of feels like what most of those businesses have become.

Carlos Pacheco 7:11
Yep, that's, that's feels like a lot of conversations we've had in the past in terms of how we see this space has evolved over the last two to three years. Now let's talk about what you're doing. Tell us about measure studios. What is it?

James Creech 7:29
Yeah, so we built an entirely new product. We spent a lot of time over the past 12 months, really, you know, understanding what other changes are happening in the digital media ecosystem, spending a lot of time with other types of companies. So in addition to our core customer segment of influencer agencies, talent networks, talent management companies, we wanted to understand, you know, what is this trend with digital publishers? What are traditional broadcasters and studios doing on social and that led us to ask me a lot of questions and tinkering with this idea of There needs to be better analytics and business intelligence solutions for these types of companies, right? We got a lot of encouragement as well from our our platform partners, specifically YouTube and Facebook saying, you know, there aren't really good tools out there for these segments today. And what started as an experiment and you know, these conversations, kind of developed into an MVP and developed into, you know, okay, there's, there's a real product opportunity. And so we recently launched measure studio, which is an analytics tool that covers YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram today, and we're rolling out Snapchat and Twitter support in q2 of this year. And the whole impetus behind it was if you're a small publisher, you're probably pretty reliant on Native platform analytics, which you know, does a pretty good job on YouTube, you can get pretty far, but it's admittedly weaker on Facebook, and also Instagram in particular. And so we wanted to address some of those challenges. We wanted to bring everything into a single interface where you have multi platform data analysis capability. is where you can, you know, benchmark content and understand what's working well, what's resonating with my audience. And you know, let's do more of that content versus what's maybe not performing. So well. How do we improve it? Maybe we kill this series, because it's clearly not working. Let's focus our energies over here. So there's a big emphasis on on just understanding the content performance. The other pieces that I think are kind of unique and cool about what we're doing. We're doing hourly data tracking for all posts for the first 72 hours, which is really that critical period when you first upload something to make sure it performs right. Is it ranking in search? is it helping us boost organic discovery of this content? And we had heard from group nine and others that they had people manually tracking that in spreadsheets, right, going into backend analytics every hour and manually pulling that down so they could analyze the results and try and understand the algorithms. So we're doing that we have full access to the Instagram Graph API. So we're storing Instagram Stories forever. You Even after they expire from the account, we'll save the content and allow you to play it back. We also track all of the metrics around Instagram Stories from impressions and reach to all the types of engagements taps for the back, and you know the likes and other activity around the story. And then we allow you to group content, slice and dice it and better analyze things in a comparative way. And the example I like to give is, you know, if you post a piece of content on a platform like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, you can see how it performs on a fixed time horizon. But if you post two pieces of content on different dates, there's no true way to get a good apples to apples comparison, right? If you if you post something on the first and then you post another piece of content on the fourth of the month, then the only way you can look at that on an analytics scale is how do we do from say, the first to the seventh? There's no easy way in native platform analytics to say how did each of our pieces of content do in say the first week Or do in the first 30 days. And with measures Do you can now answer those questions and say, you know, what is getting the most engagement across all of our content? What's making us the most money? what's getting the most viewership? And how do we continue to make great content like this? That's going to drive you know, more views more audience and more revenue for for us as a business?

Tom Martin 11:21
Yeah, one one really interesting thing that one of our recent guests said that the problem with analytics is that you're they're only as useful as the person that's kind of reading them and you know, you have to be able to I think his his quote was, you have to know how to read the tea leaves, which I thought was really cool. Does measure studio currently or in the future have plans to actually give like pullout insights and give actionable advice rather than just saying, Here is a tool from which you can draw your own inferences when it actually say to someone like, do more of this x, y, and Zed because of this kind of thing.

James Creech 12:04
Absolutely, that's where we're going right? With great improvements in technology, like machine learning, we can push proactive recommendations to users based on, you know, what we observe in the data. So that's all what we're building towards in the product. Today, data nerds. And, you know, people who are deep in the weeds of these platform analytics are really going to find a lot of value in it because they know how to interpret the signals. But even if you are, you know, a lay user who maybe isn't as educated about data, we wanted to make the tool very accessible. So there are visual indicators of performance, right? If a post is doing above average, we outline it in green, if something's below average, it's outlined in red, you can drill down into that and every every metric has a visual indicator to say, Hey, you know, impressions are 1.6 times higher than average for this post type. And then you can drill in and see okay, what might be driving that so you still need to draw your own inferences from, you know, the the creative itself or maybe it was something about the thumbnail or the metadata that helped this perform very well. But it at least lets you start asking the right questions and tweaking your content production or your programming strategy, based on what the data suggests.

Tom Martin 13:17
I've just had a really good idea for a feature. So if I'm going to say, I'm going to say it publicly, just in case you release it in the future, I can take full credit for it. Or it might already exist, it might already exist, but I was having a conversation with a client today. And they were basically saying, like, what period of time do you know whether you've got a hit or not? And I said, you know, well, once you've run the channel for long enough and you've got a groove, you'll know pretty much within the first few hours, whether you've got a hit or whether it's average or whether it's a flop or you know, you'll know what your kind of benchmarks are. But what about a feature whereby after say a few hours, even if you're tracking hourly you You could have like an email alert or a push notification that said, Hey, Tom, your video that you published three hours ago sucks, because it's getting 30% less views than normal, you know, you might want to go and try and change the title on the phone now or something like that.

James Creech 14:15
Yeah, that's a great idea. And there, there can be situational factors about, you know, maybe just released this at the wrong time of death, or, you know, maybe the thumbnail just didn't catch people's attention. And, you know, you don't want the content to be penalized as a result. And I think we've even seen from what some of a lot of folks have done research into the algorithms and theorized that not just as a post impact that single post performance, but it can have a bleed over effect into subsequent content that you're just not going to get, you know, you're not going to appear in recommended content or in discovery features as frequently if your past content doesn't perform well. So it is critical to really understand how that works and to dial it in appropriately and you're Maybe you kill content early on that's not working. And you re upload it and you try a different tactic. You know, we certainly want to be able to encourage people to do that and measure the results with a tool like Metro studio.

Tom Martin 15:10
Cool. Yeah, I've been lucky enough to have an early demo from you, James, and also a brand new demo just a couple of weeks ago. VidCon. London, that was really cool to see. It's such a beautiful tool. And what I think is amazing about it, and this is a James has not paid me to say this. I do. I do. I do accept bribes. It's a really affordable solution. You know, there are a lot of dashboards and tools that are kind of enterprise level only or, you know, only enterprises could afford them. But I think this is accessible to the pro shear mother, the kind of serious hobbyist Steven. You know, I really think it's gonna help a lot of creators too. To be a bit more analytical without having to, you know, be a nerd like me and Carlos and enjoy exporting things to csvs and getting extra nerdy. So yeah, I can't I can't speak highly, highly of it enough. So yeah, kudos to you, James and the team. Well,

James Creech 16:15
thank you. Yeah, really appreciate that. And that was a big goal was to make something accessible for individual creators where they can come in and, you know, get powerful analytics and make decisions on it. Right. We've been testing it with a few creators, one of which was a musician, and he said, I didn't realize that my behind the scenes and backstage performance content did so well, I'm certainly going to start doing more of that, because that's clearly what my fans want. And he also, you know, ended up sharing with us that he posts a lot of Instagram stories, as many people do. And he said, I didn't realize that after I post 10 stories in a sequence, people just start tuning out right, they drop off significantly. And so it was helpful to have real data 2.2 from Mr. studio to say, you know, now I know If I'm if I'm doing a concert or I'm doing like a snap a series of stories on my Instagram, I'm going to limit it to about 10 posts, because that's what holds people people's attention. So we can answer those questions for an individual creator. We've also built this scalable flexible pricing model that also works for small to medium businesses all the way up to the biggest publishers in the world, like group nine who are using it to understand you know, how is Josh content doing? How is pop sugar content and all their other brands? How are we performing and how do we move the needle to continue to grow our audience on these platforms?

Tom Martin 17:33
So you know, you've got your kind of core product you've got mega studio which is like your your baby. I know that people like you, James, you're never gonna kind of be comfortable. Just you know, releasing some great stuff. There's always gonna be another you must have a shoe box full of ideas somewhere like me and Carlos do that you don't have time to get around to do you think there's another another product Coming from Paladin are in the pipeline in the next few years.

James Creech 18:04
Yeah, we're constantly experimenting, that's one of the things that our engineering team loves to do is, you know, brainstorm new new products and sometimes we'll build like the MVP and, you know, some some things work out and you know, we really believe in them in the market validates that there's no need and, you know, we've built tools in the past that just, you know, weren't quite as successful as as we thought they could be. And you know, that's why you stress test an idea. And so we've we've certainly deprecated products or cut short, some of the research and development initiatives that we do, but constantly tinkering, constantly looking for feedback and asking people, you know, what are you struggling with today? What are the other tools that you use? Or what are the manual processes that you're just sick of doing and how can we help make your life easier and give you that time back so always focused on that for the short term and a lots of continued growth for us on the core Paladin suite. We're making a lot of improvements including adding tic toc support which is coming very soon people have been dying to have that included in the tool. So that's, that's in the works. We've also, you know, released a lot of improvements to our campaign management and reporting tools, including content approval workflows, just making it easier to review a post for an influencer before it goes live. And then lots of activity on the on the measure studio front. So I mentioned Snapchat and Twitter support coming next quarter. And we're constantly adding new features and considering ideas based on you know, what our customers suggest.

Carlos Pacheco 19:29
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I mean, considering that literally every social platform is has essentially pivoted to video. I think, you know, having the tools that you're providing is becoming more and more essential for marketers and brands, and anybody who's who's could make does a business on online as a publisher, right? So it's really interesting to see how the space has evolved back to the whole thing with you know, with Twitter creating stories, right, it's like okay, now you to track those those videos, those views and how does that work compared to everything else and I keep making a joke online about everything turning to stories at this point. So obviously there's going to be, you know, some correlations to compare.

James Creech 20:12
Yeah, absolutely.

Carlos Pacheco 20:14
What's the best way for people to get in touch with you?

Unknown Speaker 20:17
Yeah, I encourage people to find me on LinkedIn. I'm pretty active there so you can connect with me I share some updates I post a lot about my podcast. So that's another good way to get in touch is check out all things video. And you know, let let me know if you have any suggestions for guests or questions and things you want to cover on the show. Other than that, if you want to learn more about Paladin, you can visit our website Paladin software comm or find us anywhere on social and measure studio is measured dot studio for the web address and again, measure studio everywhere on social media.

Carlos Pacheco 20:49
Awesome. Yeah. I was gonna say almost at 150 podcast episodes, which is a crazy number for us. Yeah,

James Creech 20:56
it's adding up. We've been I've been at it for a little over four years. Now and still love it. I published a new episode last night constantly, you know, working on new interviews, and it keeps you know, it keeps me learning and keeps it fun and engaging for me. So love doing it.

Tom Martin 21:11
I'm gonna ask you one more question, James, because you're obviously the energy of the industry, who is one smart person in industry? I know, you know all of them. But who is an amazing person that our audience would really benefit from hearing and say, Who should we get on as a future guest?

James Creech 21:28
Oh, who should you guys have on a podcast? That's a great question. Well, the first thing that popped in my head and is Thomas Kramer, my co founder, he's a brilliant guy who we work together back in our ad tech days at Gen factory and then he ran optimization for Maker Studios pre and post Disney acquisition. So it was really in the weeds on the data side there and that's why building a product like measure studio, it's been pretty close to his heart, but just super knowledgeable and and you know, plugged into what's happening in the digital space. He's a deep thinker about it. So that's someone I'd recommend. You know, a lot of other smart friends in the space Matt Levin over at donut media is building a great company and creating the coolest automotive content on the internet. So you know, talk to him and encourage people to check out their stuff. And then I love what the guys that licked are doing in in the UK. So your backyard Tom, they're very, very good friends of mine at least. Oh, cool. Yeah, Paul and Simon and the rest of the gang have built just an incredible solution for for commercial music licensing, which has been a huge pain point for creators on on social platforms for a long time. And you guys are probably gonna tell me to shut up. But now I'm thinking of so many. The last one is is Jesse Sherman from paper cap, who's building like the world's coolest synthetic voice technology to help auto localize content. They started with English to Spanish and vice versa. Now, there are They're working on German. So love what they're building big fan of Jessie and his team. So that would be a few suggestions for you.

Tom Martin 23:07
I'm actually speaking to those guys next week. So hey, I should invite them onto the podcast quickly as as also my friends from LinkedIn, I can't believe I haven't invited on yet. So thank you, James. They'll have a lot. They'll have a lot to live up to after this episode, so thank you very much, James Mr. Industry Creech really appreciate it. You must check out all of the software and definitely make sure you go and give a subscribe to all things video podcast, you may even find really scrappy episode that he did with a couple of reprobates the might as well so yeah, go subscribe, leave me a review and tell him that you heard about him through the video inside his podcast.

James Creech 23:53
Amazing. Thank you guys both so much, Tom Carlos, big fans of both of you and what you're doing love the show. And can't thank you enough. It's been a privilege to be here.

Tom Martin 24:02
Thanks James!

Carlos Pacheco 24:10
big thank you to James for stopping by and coming to the show and being our guinea pig in our first three person.

Tom Martin 24:22
YouTube industry sandwich.

Carlos Pacheco 24:27
Yeah, it's amazing. I've had many discussions with James, either with other companies where I was working at other companies, because I can't think of another way to sort of sort of should shoot the shit in terms of discussing, you know, what's happening in industry and we're all sort of like, you know, we can geek out in this space and it's been sort of the the case with everybody we bring to the show. It's sort of like people that we, we know we'd have like great conversations with in general, just, you know, over beers over pints. I love having them on the show.

Tom Martin 25:00
Yeah, and I think the reason that James has been so successful in his career in the industry is not because he's so super connected and not just because he's so super knowledgeable, but he's genuinely one of the nicest people on the planet. There's no one that could ever, you know, say a bad word against them. And yeah, we've had a few pints on both sides sides of the Atlantic now so yeah, thanks for coming on James. Really great insights into the world of both influence and market in and I'm always happy to get nosy about the the glory days or the dirty days of MC ends as well. So yeah, yes. You can also check out the episode where myself and Carlos appeared on James's awesome podcast. All things video will link to that in the show notes. But please do give us a rating and review for this podcast on Apple podcasts, give us a star on overcast, whatever kind of pod catcher you're using. Give us some kind of street cred and do share this with a friend who used would find it useful to hear more about the YouTube and online video industry.

Carlos Pacheco 26:04
Yeah, I mean, I would also add that Spotify is starting to become a serious podcast player. So obviously, if you're listening to Spotify, subscribe to us on Spotify, that'd be great. The big thank you once again to to buddy to buddy is the premier tool for managing optimizing your YouTube content. I'm personally a big fan of the keyword suggestion tool. Sometimes I even have a hard time finding keywords and I'll just click that tool and it analyzes my content and sees you know, gives me the best keywords to use so it's probably the best one of the most used feature for me. On top of the copy paste tool. Tom, we have a special offer for our audience.

Tom Martin 26:49
Yeah, you can get an exclusive video insiders multi channel discount by visiting video forward slash ci buddy Thank You Tube And thank you to all of our video inside. There's thanks again to James and we'll speak to you in a couple of weeks.

Carlos Pacheco 27:06
Take care, keep safe

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