Influencer marketing is something that just about everyone in the advertising industry is talking about,with the issues of trust and authenticity often taking centre stage in this conversation.  However, there are only a few individuals in South Africa who have the kind of extensive first-hand campaign experience as one of South Africa’s top celebrities and influencers, Pearl Thusi.  Thusi can speak to the issue of trust from an influencer perspective based on her vast personal experience within the South African context.
“The biggest problem in the influencer marketing industry is a lack of trust. There’s no trust in the influencers that they actually care about the brands they’re promoting. There’s no trust that their followers are real.” – e-marketer
To address this concern, and some of the other challenges facing both agencies and influencers, Thusi is part of the team that has recently launched the Humanz platform in South Africa. This software analyses, not only influencer profiles, but all of their followers too.  Using natural language processing and image recognition paired with artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning, to understand variables such as gender, age, interest, activity and previous mentions of specific brands, Humanz is a significant technological step-forward.
The consumer market has matured, and as Thusi states, consumers are savvy enough to know influencers are being paid. “Authenticity is everything. Things go viral not because of numbers only, but because they speak to people in an authentic way, it doesn’t matter how big the numbers are- content is king. Its the content that people have to engage with- and it has to resonate.”
According to Thusi, often agencies do not fully understand the potential of influencer campaigns, “Some agencies and even influencers are just getting the job done in the cheapest way possible and do not understand the value and worth of influencers on every tier. “I believe campaigns could improve when influencers are made to understand their value, power and worth and treated as such, also when the numbers speak for themselves, like with Humanz its easy to tell which influencer really loves sharing and creating awareness, regardless of the remuneration.”
Humanz officially launched in South Africa on March 1st  after successfully carrying out pilot projects with some of the largest agencies, brands and influencers locally. A free trial of the platform is available on the website along with information on their partner programs for agencies and content creators.