May 30 - Startup Niche is turning profits just months after its launch, pairing established brands with emerging social media stars. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Meet Robby Ayala. He has 3.2 million followers across different social media platforms, but his main outlet is a six-second video app called Vine. At 23, he put off law school and focused on making vines. Some, like this one, bringing him, as he puts it, a "pretty decent amount of money." (SOUNDBITE) ROBBY AYALA, VINE VIDEO BLOGGER (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "Anywhere from a thousand dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the brand, which is incredible, but, yeah, it's definitely, definitely crazy for six second video." It all started in a college study room during finals mimicking Taylor Swift. Now, in addition to making vines, Robby manages campaigns for Niche, a new kind of advertising agency that uses analytic software to hook up social media stars with companies that want to target social media users. These include major names like Home Depot, Procter& Gamble, and the NFL. A study from Duke's Fuqua School of Business showed social media spending as a percentage of marketing budgets will more than double over the next few years. Niche co-founder Rob Fishman: (SOUNDBITE) ROB FISHMAN, CO-FOUNDER ,NICHE, (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "Audiences are migrating away from television and film and print, and they are spending all of their time on Instagram, all of their time on Vine. So if you are a big brand or small brand, it's pretty essential that you have a story there and you are talking to your audience on these channels. And what we do is, to pair you up with the best content creators in the world who grew up on these channels, to essentially be your ambassadors, to be your translators, to guide you on these channels, and help create content for you that will resonate with these new audiences." The campaigns leverage social media, but keep a grass roots feel. And there is money to be made, big money. Since it started just last November, Niche has made $1.5 million in profit. And it just secured a $2.5 million seed round. (SOUNDBITE) ROBBY AYALA, VINE VIDEO BLOGGER (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "It's amazing that I can make people happy just from posting on smartphone and change their day. That's unbelievable. That's so cool."