Influencer marketing has been through quite a ride this past decade, especially across social networks. It is one of the fastest growing segments of digital advertising, forecasting annual growth of 32.4% between 2019 and 2024. We’ve seen major celebrities touting everything from dietary supplements, to monthly subscription boxes, to clothes, and skincare products. In its early days. People wanted to be more like the Kardashians, Justin Bieber, and countless other mega influencers. Over time, their ads lost their luster. One of the reasons why mega influencers lost their impact on their audiences was because in reality, they don’t really have an intimate relationship with their followers. Their followers may have only idolized them for certain aspects, but didn’t actually view the mega influencers as their friends. Many of their ads also seemed far from authentic due to images being overly staged, and captions being too salesy. There was also the issue of dishonesty, such as brand endorsements not being marked as ads, and even cases of fraud as seen in the infamous case of the Fyre Festival, which led to a $100M class action lawsuit. Collectively, the trust was broken. Audiences started responding better to macro influencers, or people who had between 100K-1M. followers, which was usually the likes of reality TV stars and popular vloggers. Macro influencers have a much better understanding of the interests of their audiences, due to a stronger connection. In some cases, interest began to fizzle as audiences weren’t generally able to keep up with the over-the-top lifestyles of macro influencers. Audiences ultimately turned to micro influencers (10K-100K followers) and nano influencers (10K followers or less), because these influencers were far more relatable, highly specialized in their niche interests, and generally possessed great influence on their respective communities. With engagement rates going up to 47% higher than their celebrity counterparts, audiences loved macro and micro influencers, and marketers came to realize they were the sweet spot with the best ROI. There was, and still is, just one problem: how can marketers and influencers find one another, and ensure a successful collaboration that would yield optimal desired results for both parties? This is where Humanz, an AI-powered platform for micro-influencer campaigns, comes in. Humanz bridges the gap between marketers and influencers by using advanced techniques in artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms to optimize their connections. The company just announced on February 11 the launch of its free academy to help ensure marketers and influencers can have the most successful collaborations possible, using data-backed actionable insights to fine-tune and improve their approach. Registered users can also learn how to track progress across areas that go far beyond data points that are natively offered on the analytics side of each respective social media platform. What makes Humanz stand out from most other platforms in the space is the quality of unique, proprietary data that marketers and influencers can access. The platform allows marketers to make data-driven decisions based on influencer specifications tailored to marketing needs, including gender, age, interests, demographics, previous content shared, and quality of followers. Influencers can access parts of their own data, meet other creators, and participate in paid campaigns—all by simply registering. The engagement and collaborations between all parties on the platform is done in a smart, safe, efficient, and measurable way. It’s equally a win-win for both parties. Marketers can approach the most relevant, high quality influencers (who haven’t purchased fake followers, and haven’t engaged in fraudulent activities) for their purposes, and the influencers can make themselves available for more endorsements, which will obviously boost their credibility, grow their following, and help make some extra money on the side. Humanz was founded by five veterans of the elite Intelligence Corps Unit 8200 of the IDF in 2017 in Tel Aviv, and has gone onto expand to South Africa, Turkey, Nigeria, Brazil, and the UK- with US operations set to launch in the near future. Some of their leading global multinational clients include McDonalds, Kimberly-Clark, Zara, L’Oréal, Nestlé, Unilever, Group M, Omnicom and Universal McCann. The platform quickly became a success, which explains how it managed to raise $3M in seed funding from private investors, with NGN Partners and Buffett Group leading the round, and also received a $1M grant from the Israeli Chief Scientist. Its service, Humanz Connect (which launched last year, and allows influencers and content creators to swipe to match with one another) sparked over 800,000 collaborations. Liav Chen, the Co-Founder and CEO of Humanz, has extensive experience in devOps, big data and machine-learning–all of which he acquired through his five-year military experience with Unit 8200. After experiencing the pain points and shortcomings of influencer marketing firsthand, Chen created Humanz by incorporating deep social data analysis with proprietary AI technology on a SaaS platform. His partners are CTO Eliran Moyal, R&D lead Shmuel Goldfarb, CPO Kobi Dalal, and COO Roi Emanual Naaman. It’s high time that influencer marketing campaigns universally got the revamp needed, and it’s a relief to see that Humanz is making it happen at scale. I can’t want to see what the future holds for this company once it sets up an office in the US, and it’s a relief to know that ads from influencer campaigns will no longer feel nearly as forced as they used to. We can finally go back to trusting influencers, because Humanz will ensure that it’s the tech experts that recommend the tech products, the skincare enthusiasts that recommend beauty products, and the foodies that recommend the restaurants. Just as it should be.