Head geek and CEO at Fanbytes Timothy Armoo on working with Snap (formerly Snapchat) and becoming its first MCN
SMP: What is your name and what do you do there at Fanbytes?
Timothy Armoo (TA): Im Timothy Armoo, head geek at Fanbytes. Some people choose to call me the CEO.
We are a team of nine using crowdsourced design network to create Snapchat first ads for brands and distribute these through curated influencer audiences on Snapchat. We then use data and analytics to help brands measure and opitmise that content and repurpose to other platforms.
We’ve raised three rounds of funding from seasoned investors. We operate programmatically, so make money on a cost per view basis.
SMP: SMP spoke to you in August 2015, what’s new at Fanbytes?
TA: Its been a bit of a whirlwind, since then weve brought on new investors many who have built successful companies in the media and advertising world. Our headcount tripled from the last time we spoke including a head of special projects.
Our client list has rapidly increased, were started to see a lot of brands who are typically described as laggards banks and governmental organisations hopping on board the Fanbytes train. Weve also now become razor focused on Snapchat as a platform. Were the first Snapchat MCN helping brands to reach audiences on Snapchat through an exclusive influencer network and top of the range analytics
SMP: What are the challenges that youve encountered and how are you overcoming them in what you have been doing so far at Fanbytes?
TA: What were building is a fundamentally different way of engaging with millennials.
How Fanbytes works is by having a crowdsourced design community creating custom ads for brands, distributing the ads through a curated influencer network on Snapchat and then using insane analytics to help brands optimise and feed that content onto other social networks.
Explaining that to brands can be quite an education experience, but its been a fun challenge.
TA: To us, we think if youre trying to engage with the younger Generation Z audience then there is no better platform out there. Fundamentally, I believe Snap is the new TV however right now unless youre a deep pocketed brand, its hard to reach the audience there and to be able to get the data and analytics to help justify ROI.
We help brands do the full scope by having the most creative designers on Snapchat create ads for brands, distributing this through the most engaged influencers and then using our proprietary analytics platform to help brands extract valuable insights and analytics
SMP: What do you think brands are not getting right and why working with Snap?
TA: Brands think they can take their exact same format from elsewhere and just slap it onto Snapchat. However, they fail to realise one needs a complete different mindset and a respect for the context vertical and mobile video.
They also need to realise that Snapchat is the new TV and consequently one cannot use the same interrupt mechanism that ads on TV are, brands must aid content and thats why weve built the curated network of designers who create Snapchat content day in and day out thus helping brands tap into the mindset of the modern day storyteller.
Another thing brands dont quite understand is that although its true that there isnt a proper ad network around Snapchat. The prime thing that Snapchat has is the attention, the full attention of an audience and you must respect that attention and understand the value in that.
SMP: What do you think brands are getting right and why with Snap?
TA: A few brands, the forward-thinking ones are understanding the value that full video attention gives and they are reaping the results. Snapchat is the new TV and creating content which very much aids the consumption experience is the way to go as opposed to be disrupting the content.
SMP: What has Snap done recently that agencies and brands should be most interested in?
TA: I think people dont quite understand the gravitas that Spectacles have. I managed to get my hands of a pair of those as theyre quite rare in the UK and theyre completely revolutionary. Theyre much cooler than Google Glass and when they lower the price point, which they will, it will become a staple of Generation Z which will be a changer.
SMP: How do you see the future of Snap developing?
TA: I think hardware will increasingly play an important role in the future and the distribution of Spectacles will be broader.
Its ad program is going to be much more sophisticated and will start engaging more longer tail brands
I read their S1 and there was a focus on ARPU, I think ARPU will be increased through introducing more content enhancing ways to monetize. Be prepared to see lenses become more cost effective and more interesting uses of AR as a consequence of it being more accessible to brands.
SMP: How are you moving the millennial story on?
TA: Were ridiculously focused on keeping things very young but also intellectually rigorous. There is a strange misconception that being a millennial is just being this airy fairy 20 year-old who isnt interested in the reality of the world, were trying to redefine that. Between our cofounding team of three, we have two computer science degrees and one masters in mechanical engineering from Imperial college, Were bringing on board people who are ridiculously in touch with the young, but also have the intellectual capacity to understand the science of what makes people tick.
SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities and sustaining relevancy?
TA: Our biggest challenge is that were competing against ourselves in terms of being at the forefront of the industry and constantly predicting the next wave of marketing. Our biggest opportunity is to really define how brands engage with generation Z on Snapchat and were well on our way to doing that.
SMP: What do you think is going to be the most interesting aspect regarding influencer and millennial marketing 12 to 18-months and why?
TA: I think one of the biggest lies marketers are being told is that influencer marketing is this mystical thing which represents a panacea of opportunity. Fundamentally these are just people with large audiences and as time goes on, they are going to be seen solely as distribution mechanisms.
SMP: What are your top millennial predictions in relation to marketing for the next 12 to 18-months and why?
TA replies with:
- Savvy marketers will create budgets solely for creating mobile video for example Snapchat and soon musical.ly iOS and Google Play.
- Brands will focus on attention being the main currency and realize that thats what wins.
- Brands will start accepting the role that psychology plays in marketing.
- Brands will move from a width first approach to a depth first. Impressions and all that reach stuff is pretty crap, whats important is engagement and how they make people feel.
SMP: Best way to contact you and Fanbytes?
Check us out on Fanbytes http://www.fanbytes.co.uk weve just created a Snapchat Dictionary which were giving out to help brands understand the ecosystem and giving that to everyone who signs up so go and grab one!
Now some questions for fun
SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?
TA: Noodles and fish
SMP: Whats the last good thing that you did for someone?
TA: Helped a friend raise money for a cause close to her heart.
SMP: Whats the next big thing in marketing and why?
TA: The transition to mobile video and the importance of respecting the consumer. The phone is a precious personal thing to an individual and allowing brands to be a part of them is an opportunity which brands need to respect and I think this is going e quite an important thing.
SMP: Whats the best Snap campaign youve seen and why?
TA: One of the ones I really like is the one with Lebron James and McDonalds providing a backstage, behind the scenes look at ad they were looking. I think that just encapsulates the raw, unfiltered nature of Snapchat which brands should be mindful of.
SMP: When / where did you go on your last holiday and why?
TA: In 2014 Christmas, for my Nans 80th. I dont holiday much, Im 22 and dont think I need a long break anytime soon.
SMP: Whats the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?
TA: Crack open my laptop, theres work to be done.
SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?
TA: The ability to read minds, can you imagine being able to know what buttons to push to get people to do what youd want?
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