Can an AI find your next influencer?

Dovetale's machine learning tool scans brands' mood boards to help find the right social media celebrity.

Dovetale, a startup influencer management platform, has launched a machine learning tool designed to make it faster and easier for brands to find the right social media movers and shakers.

Mike Schmidt, who co-founded Dovetale with Navied Shoushtarian, in 2016.

Mike Schmidt, who co-founded Dovetale with Navied Shoushtarian, in 2016.

Influencer management platforms typically let brands search their proprietary databases of YouTube and Instagram stars, for example, matching audiences and content against branding criteria before helping manage any relationships that may ensue. These services range from fully managed to self-service automated dashboards.

Dovetale aims to automate as much influencer program management  as possible. To that end, it has created a recommendation engine with photo-recognition software. Want to find a popular online personality with a certain look or taste? Dovetale allows users to upload photos with that certain look to be scrutinized by its AI. The tool then produces a list of relevant influencers with their audience and platform data.

So, for example, a brand team with a mood board covered with pictures of young, fashionable bearded men in New York could feed those images into the tool to find just such a group of men with sizeable social media followings.

As more clients use the software, the better the tool becomes at identifying relevant elements of the photos.

Dovetale is also working towards a similar machine learning tool that analyzes video content.

Unlike other platforms that offer access to a database of influencers who have signed on with their services, “we look at how Google might do it,” says Mike Schmidt, the Torontonian who co-founded Dovetale in New York. Dovetale indexes everyone online it can identify as a relevant social media user and then offers to facilitate the introduction with the brand. This makes the company less an agency for fashion bloggers and more an influencer search engine with management tools.

“[Our] target customer today is agencies who are familiar with influencer marketing to whom we can offer our service on a day-to-day basis. Larger brands with internal agencies are also great for us,” says Schmidt, but he adds that future success will depend on making Dovetale accessible to smaller, more entrepreneurial companies.

He wants to drop his price points “very quickly… so Shopify stores can start to use us. This really is my goal over the next year and a half – to build out this layer that’s accessible just like Facebook Audience Network is available to brands of any size.”

The machine learning product complements the company’s existing recommendation tools that use key words to find potential partners. The company has been operating for about a year, funded through its involvement in Expa, a startup co-founding enterprise launched by Garrett Camp, Uber’s co-founder.