What We Made This Year: Product Update

Holy road map, Batman! If you’re familiar with Paladin, you know that early versions of our software were developed when YouTube was still an adolescent platform and when it was practically the only online venue for video creators. So much has changed since that time. For us 2017 was Paladin’s coming-out party, when we consolidated our tech solutions into a single platform and introduced a collection of features leading up to the launch of our brand campaign management solution.

One User, Multiple Social Media Accounts

If there was a theme to our tech development this year, it was a response to the increasingly multi-platform nature of our space. When the year started, you could sign in to Paladin (or apply to join a network using a Paladin dashboard) with YouTube but not including accounts from other platforms. But early in the year, we created One User Profiles. It’s a capability that enables creators to join or log in using multiple accounts, with platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. In turn, our software now aggregates and tracks the presence and performance of creator accounts across these platforms. Treating each creator as a single user with multiple accounts and data points has, by design, enabled new features that are advantageous for creators, networks, and brands.

Single Platform

Paladin was initially developed as three separate product suites: one each for network management, digital rights management, and talent discovery. Each had a slightly different user interface and required a separate login from customers who used more than one of these products.

Establishing Paladin as a single platform became a major goal in the evolution of our product. We achieved it in May, meaning our customers need to sign in only once to use multiple Paladin tools. Developing single-platform Paladin meant streamlining the design of each solution, and having a unified homepage from which our customers could easily jump from tool to tool. This change wasn’t only about ease of use. It was about a shift in mindset and organization, the idea that all the account and performance information Paladin collects on creators, individual network data (which is private to each network, of course), and more become a cohesive whole for comprehensive insights and tools that talk to one another.

(Here’s a related fun fact: Paladin actually has the largest private data trove of its kind, tracking over 20 billion views per month.)

Monetization & Payments

Payments were as much of a priority this year as they always are for us (hint: we like to say we’re a leader in creator payments). In particular, we added an Asset Manager tool to help assign and pay out YouTube revenue where no Asset Channel ID is available in YouTube’s reports, and we enabled support for automating YouTube Red Music payouts. The latter automatically calculates payment rates by country, eliminating hassle so our customers don’t have to manually do the math by region.

We also incorporated support for new revenue streams, YouTube’s Super Chat and Sponsorships features (now commonly used by esports and gaming creators) that fall within the YouTube Paid Features Report. This update makes it easy to handle the unique revenue arrangements that networks may have with specific creators for Super Chat and related features. To eliminate other manual headaches, we also added the ability to enter different revenue shares for videos on a partner’s own channel versus videos claimed on their behalf.

Staying one step ahead of new and revised payments reports is what we do.

Campaigns

Our biggest new solution of the year was our Social Campaign Management tool for managing brand campaigns across platforms including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Campaigns allows sales teams to easily find creators that align with the brand or agency being pitched, and to share beautiful, auto-generated RFP responses that are constantly updating with creators’ latest data.

Further, once a campaign has been sold, our customers can automatically track posts across each creator’s social media accounts. They can also aggregate data into automatically updated and shareable reports so third parties (usually brands) are always on the same page.

The bottom line is that Campaigns makes it way easier to package and pitch talent for brand campaigns, and to monitor campaign performance in real time.

Campaigns functionality continues to grow, and we’ll have exciting news to share on that front soon.

Data Insights

Having reliable data on individual talent, and aggregated across your network overall, is more complex and crucial than ever. We saw our clients struggling to aggregate data from multiple YouTube CMS accounts, as well as individual social accounts for each creator, so we dove into creating a solution.

With our Data Insights tool (now in beta), we leverage the power of the Paladin data warehouse to show a high-level snapshot of metrics such as views, followers, and more per platform across your network, as well as detailed analytics per creator so talent managers can audit performance and help creators grow with ease.

As our industry matures, having access to smartly organized business intelligence becomes increasingly mission-critical. It’s a way of making more informed decisions about creator roster and content creation choices, and even of determining the value and direction of your network.

Stay tuned for more about Data Insights in 2018. Finally, last but most important:

The People

This is not part of the platform, but we wouldn’t have the platform without these folks! We have two incredible teams of developers (one in Krakow, Poland; the other in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) whose discipline, talent, and productivity made our big year possible. We were also fortunate to have experienced team members branch out from their usual roles at Paladin and use their insight to inform our products. Our Head of Design project managed the development of the Campaigns tool, and a longtime Accounts Manager applied her knowledge of customer needs to our Creator Relationship Management dev team – ensuring that our network and creator dashboards continually evolve in response to client pain points.


If you’d like to learn more about any of the projects we described here, email us at [email protected]

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Adventures in Digital Talent Management: 3 Experiences You Might Have as an Influencer Manager

Working in the digital Wild West of influencer marketing is new, thrilling, and often challenging. Together, though, we’re finding ways to mature our industry in order to survive and succeed. In this article, I’d like to share my experiences from my previous career as a talent manager, and advocate for the importance of network/creator transparency.

1. Hell hath no fury like a creator who needs to get paid.

“My rent is due next week, my microphone broke and I barely have enough cash to get a beer this Friday night. When do I get paid for my campaign?”

I’m sure that every influencer manager can relate to this question. Creators, used to the fast-paced service industry, want to get their wishes granted as quickly as possible. Understandable, since after all: money talks, and it’s not always easy being a digital influencer. Since they rely on your payment system, they have no shame in emailing, texting, calling, Whatsapping, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagramming, Skyping and pinging you every Friday and Saturday night until they receive their funds. Most times, they do this while you’re still waiting for the PO number so you can actually bill your client! ARGGG!!

As an influencer manager you have to deal with creative digital talent that has no clue about essential details such as invoices, contracts, and client relationships. After all, this is YOUR job.

The creator usually trusts you because you’re an amazing human being with interpersonal skills. Yes – they like you, they trust you and they (hopefully) listen to you.

You are an irreplaceable factor for them to succeed. Be flattered! But since their dependence can be a double-edged sword, also remain vigilant. If they leave, you have the possibility of losing everything that you built up. You need to bust your ass – and show it – in order to actually earn your 20% commission! If the creator doesn’t see the actual benefit of working with you, it can be a slippery slope. This is because:

2. Influencers don’t always think they need you.

“Why am I paying you any commission for my work? I might as well have done this without you and put the extra cash in my own pocket.”

“I know you have proposed the other blonde girl for this campaign. Why don’t you ever propose me to a client?”

I’ve noticed over the years that for some talent, nurturing them is so important that it can take up your entire day: relaying information and comforting them. After all, you don’t want to lose your talent to another agency. The creators want to be sure of having access to the best business deals, feeling confident in how often you try to get them into a campaign and mostly, feeling safe with you. There is no business without trust. This requires valuable time and hand-holding from your side, when you need those same hours to focus on building proposals, compiling campaign reports, and sending those damn invoices to get your talent paid!

Most talent managers have multiple influencers to manage. And talent behavior varies from simple back-and-forth on negotiations and tax handling to Jenna Maroney levels of hysteria (from 30 Rock, if you aren’t familiar). One time, I was working with an A-list celebrity who didn’t want to join in on a campaign because one of his rivals was in it as well. The talent cancelled…10 hours before the shoot. European contracts are not super strict, so the talent just refused to show up on set….The solution was certainly not to threaten the talent, so guess who could fix the matter?

3) Talent manager to the rescue.

During those situations you’ll have to do something like I did: put on your talent manager super power suit and comfort the client, the agency, and the old talent, while finding a new talent, keeping the financial deal intact, and offering the same (or better!) reach+engagements. These crises make you stand out from the crowd and allow you to be a warrior for all parties (even though your client does hate you for a few minutes).

Of course I told the talent that they were never ever allowed to do that again, and that they have to consider such things way in advance. It kind of feels like you’re raising a child. Nurture and praise them, but call them out at moments they need it most.

Sometimes it seems like you can never win. There is not enough time to curate, negotiate, administer, and communicate with all your creators and clients all day every day, while keeping the manager-talent relationship light and fun.

My solution to this? Eliminate the yucky details and automate, so you can focus on relationships.

I don’t manage talent anymore but ever since I joined Paladin, I’ve been able to help talent managers alleviate their workload with solutions to automate their payments, contracts, and more. Not to mention curating and packaging talent for campaigns, and automating engagement reports for the brand client. No delays, all the interactive displays you could want, all in the cloud. The talent have their payments in the correct amount and on time, and the brands have all the engagement data they could want. You’re showing transparency, and everyone’s happy.

Heck, with automated solutions you can even evaluate your creators’ channels through auditing, so you can praise them for their 25% growth over the past six months or give some tough love on their lack of regular uploads. Doesn’t that feel good?!

Say goodbye to those damn Excel sheets and email searches and you can spend the extra hours on nurturing your creators.


Sebastian Wulff is an award-winning child actor, video producer, social media manager and influencer manager from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Throughout his professional career, he has learned the challenges of being in front of and behind the camera first-hand. He recently moved to Los Angeles to explore the online video industry in the United States and to advocate for a more mature industry globally. As a growth manager at Paladin he handles clients throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.

If you’d like to learn more about the automation solutions Sebastian described, contact him at [email protected].

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