ZEFR has signed Covergirl and Pantene as its first partners in a pilot program to help brands find, interact with and profit from their most influential fans on YouTube.
ZEFR will use its own technology to track any videos that fans make about those brands, whether it's a girl showing off her new lipstick or giving beauty tips. It will give brands data about who uploads the most popular videos and what kinds of videos their fans want to see.
The brands can then use that information to inform their marketing, tell super fans about upcoming products or contests and see what their competitors are doing.
ZEFR co-founder Zach James and head of operations Tae Lee told TheWrap this information is vital to brands because the vast majority of videos related to those brands on YouTube are unofficial -- videos made by fans.
"This entire time, people have only been able to measure what they do on YouTube. The problem with that is they're missing sometimes 99% of the effects of [those videos]," Lee said. "All these different things are happening and they're not able to catch it. This is where Brand ID comes in."
ZEFR, formerly known as Movieclips, has already built a successful business doing something similar for movie studios, TV studios, sports leagues and record labels, using its technology to track clips of movies or songs for everyone from Warner Bros. to NASCAR.
ZEFR identifies those videos, places advertisements around them and gives money back to the content owners. It also operates channels fo a handul of clients.
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ZEFR has already signed up more than 80 percent of movie studios and record labels, so it has decided to expand its business to brands where there's an unlimited number of customers. Brands pay a commission for ZEFR's services.
"For every brand there's going to be a brand specialist who's going to be constantly scouring YouTube of anything going on with their brand," Lee said. "We also have a team of consultants here that's going to give you very insightful reports around your competition, you brand, your industry, a campaign that you ran."
ZEFR will be showing the service to companies at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
"ZEFR has invested years in building and refining the technology to identify fan activity on YouTube," James said in a statement. "We applied our technology to help many content owners manage their fans on YouTube, and now with BrandID we are leveraging that expertise to enable brands to gain visibility and insight into their official and fan-generated presence on YouTube."