Philippines-based media company, Nexplay, has launched KOL-Lab, a tech-driven creator network platform. It aims to promote the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in today’s creator economy.
Nexplay began as a gaming and e-sports organisation. In recent years, it expanded into influencer marketing with a growing creator network, collaborating with brands such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and PepsiCo.
As a network, Nexplay has accumulated a pool of talents and creators across Southeast Asia, including key opinion leaders (KOLs).
According to Goldman Sachs, some 50 million content creators around the world could see up to 20% compound annual growth in the next five years. This is primarily attributed to direct brand deals, a keystone of Nexplay’s business, it said in a statement.
With the launch of the KOL-Lab platform, Nexplay aims to bridge the gap between micro-influencers and brands through data-driven matchmaking. By eliminating middlemen in this relationship, the platform seeks to increase KOLs’ earnings, while enabling MSMEs to discover and engage directly with KOLs in their marketing campaigns.
According to Nexplay, multiple studies have shown that compared to other influencer types, micro-influencers have the highest engagement rate at 8.8%. This is attributed to their perceived authenticity, relatability, and personal connection with their followers.
Marketers are also increasingly turning to micro-influencers to reach smaller but more targeted audiences, according to Nexplay. Brands are projected to spend US$32.5 billion on influencer marketing in 2023.
Considering these trends, KOL-Lab seeks to allow creators with smaller but highly engaged audiences to be discovered by brands and get monetised. This would level the playing field for influencers and brands across different follower counts and business sizes. Small businesses can pick brand ambassadors from thousands of creators on the self-serve platform, while keeping with budgets.
“The choice to relabel our creator business as KOL-Lab is a reflection of our company’s focus on influencer marketing and our dedication to growing the creator economy,” said Gabriel Benito, co-founder and CEO of Nexplay.
“I envision KOL-Lab to be a game-changer that democratises influencer marketing by allowing brands to find the best brand ambassadors regardless of budget,” said Miguel Bernas, co-founder and COO of Nexplay.
Bernas added that content creators will also have the chance to successfully monetise their content through the platform.
On top of connecting brands with ambassadors, a KOL-Lab Premium option will additionally offer campaign strategy, execution, and analytics support to brands with larger budgets.
KOL-Lab also emerges in a time where influencers have increasing traction on purchasing behaviour. A recent study has also shown that 82% of consumers in Southeast Asia are making purchasing decisions based on the recommendations of influencers and celebrities.
KOL-Lab is among many emerging platforms in support of the creator economy. In June 2023, Indonesian customer relationship management (CRM) firm, Slice Group, completed a seed round of financing for its influencer marketing platform.
Founded in January 2022, the platform was aimed at helping brands and agencies better manage their relationships with influencers and content creators. It sought to help them work faster and more efficiently, as well as to build long-term relationships. According to Slice Group, the platform offered brands and agencies a full suite of tools to manage long-term relationships and unlock the ability to work with more creators without increasing headcount.
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