As a teaser for his session, we sat down for a chat with Ricky Ray Butler from the Branded Entertainment Network, and he opened up about the power of AI in social and influencer marketing, and how a data driven approach to video is crucial to staying relevant in the future 

You’re a VidCon veteran in the US and you’re heading over to VidCon Asia in Singapore. Can you give us an overview of what you’ll be talking about? 

I will be talking about the decentralisation of content and the power of AI. Because there’s more content now than ever before, you need technology solutions to monitor content and observe what is working and what to prioritise. 

How does Branded Entertainment Network use data to find the right influencers for clients?

Data is everything. The way AI works is it looks at historical data based on over a decade of conversion data on influencers, as well as over 40 years of data on entertainment. Our AI can  measure performance, conversions, views and clicks. 

When we look at influencers, we look for correlations and comparisons with our conversion data to see which influencers are going to drive the highest return on investment. The AI can also analyse their history and data to figure out if engagement is real or fake. 

How long have you used AI?

I first started using AI around 14 years ago, but prior to this my entertainment company was around for eleven years. That has given us the advantage to be able to have very strong technology and proprietary data. 

Where do you see AI’s place in the future of video marketing?

If you’re going to scale video marketing and work with influencers, you need AI because it’s impossible for human minds to navigate content in a decentralised landscape. AI can learn like a human but know which influencers to prioritise to drive brand influence. 

For example, I could describe a pen but AI can describe that pen in 10 million different ways. It looks at structured and unstructured data which is the visuals, audio and groups of text. We see video content from one perspective and can’t correlate a video with a thousand other videos. But our AI is able to look at the video, audio and visuals in millions of different ways. It then finds correlations and nuances with other videos that can help predict successful outcomes. 

The world of video content still growing, and we’re barely grasping the localisation effect of content. It’s going to get much bigger and to be successful and break out the clutter with video marketing, you’re going to need the help of robots and AI. 


Do you have a recent example of a campaign you’re most proud?

A memorable campaign was the launch of Apex video game. We did it unannounced, with no media behind it and with no-one knowing that it was coming. We worked with over 100 influencers to produce streaming videos online. 

In our first week we got 60 million views and 25 million people ended up playing the game. The AI was able to predict those organic views from different influencers. It was 99.9% accurate. When you use sophisticated AI that can make guarantees and predictions, the outcome is something that’s impossible for humans to achieve. 

What is your perspective on the the AI influencer?

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Some people call them AI influencers, but really they’re just animation. But as it progresses we’ll have open arms to those AI influencers. 

We will be cautious, however, about the way those influencers are growing. Is it organic or through the purchase of bots? As long as there’s authenticity around the engagement then we will treat those AI influencers with respect. Essentially, we’ll use our AI to validate this kind of AI. 

What is the most exciting to you about video marketing?

Brands are becoming more data driven and creating content based on numbers and science rather than emotions. There’s a level of sophistication that’s increased, and brands are figuring out how to measure themselves to stay relevant. 

It’s no longer going to be about the commercial, it’s going to be about getting inside the content rather than outside the content. When you’re creating commercials, you are targeting casual reach. But being inside content builds trust and loyalty, and achieves campaign return on investment. It’s exciting that everyone is now starting to pivot and figure out how to get conversions by being data driven. 

What is your best piece of advice you’d give to brands who are starting to really scale or expand their video marketing? 

Be data driven and be open to changing all of your systems and processes. And look for the happy medium. Our data shows that when the brand and the creator reach a consensus, something amazing happens. The audience is happy, the viewers are happy and the brand has empowered the content rather than disturbed the content. In order to scale that type of approach, you’re going to need AI technology or have data driven systems and processes that are going to help you gain momentum, be inside the content rather than outside of it. 

Ricky Ray Butler will be at VidCon Asia Summit on 3-4 December 2019 in Singapore. Learn more about his session on using AI to drive social video success here and book your ticket today.