How It Started
Skillshare was no stranger to influencer marketing when we first reached out to them. Their interest in the channel began due to positive effects of their teachers’ social media presence and posts. They started partnering with content creators on YouTube, which proved to be a successful strategy for the brand. In fact, their presence on YouTube was growing daily by the time we began the partnership. However, Skillshare faced a common issue of companies looking to scale their influencer spend: lead generation.
Finding outstanding creators who could be a part of their program was a manual, time-consuming task, making the program less efficient, which kept Skillshare from achieving the scale they aimed for. In 2017, Makrwatch sought to solve this issue, by automating their search for new creators on YouTube and generating lists of fitting channels.
“ One of the challenges we face with YouTube is finding creators. There are hundreds of thousands of creators out there, so finding and qualifying channels that work for Skillshare was a very manual, time-consuming process for us.”
After working with us for a few months, we expanded our tech offer to include notifications that announced when sponsored videos went live on Youtube, allowing Skillshare to have more visibility over their content in an automated way. By creating these tailored technology solutions, we provided tools that Skillshare was able to use to start scaling their program more efficiently.
However, building tech solutions was only the first step in our partnership with Skillshare. As YouTube proved itself to be a very successful channel for the brand, their interest in scaling grew. Their work with content creators allowed the brand to grow their community of students and teachers in a very genuine way, with some of their more successful creator partners going on to launch their own classes within Skillshare.
Eventually, Skillshare reached out to us for a full-service partnership. Makrwatch was able to explore the ecosystem of nano and micro creators more effectively, saving time for Skillshare’s internal team. In 2018, we launched the first full-service program in partnership with Skillshare, which has since grown exponentially.
“Makrwatch has worked as an extension of the Skillshare team. While we had a successful YouTube program before Makrwatch, working with them has been impactful, and it allowed us to explore smaller creators, ramp up the number of videos launched monthly and become more efficient when it comes to reviewing videos, through their video review service.”
Scaling The Program
Kickstarting a full-service program was a key step in ensuring that Skillshare would be able to scale their influencer marketing efforts. By taking on the full process, we were able to design an efficient campaign that saved the Skillshare team time, while making it possible for them to work with smaller channels at competitive rates.
By aligning our technology and our team efforts, we’re able to categorize, source emails and contact channels five times faster. Our transparency allows the Skillshare team full visibility of the program, including channels and their rates, ensuring that our strategy remains aligned with Skillshare’s goals.
We were also able to respond to Skillshare’s budget changes more effectively, scaling the program as needed by the brand, which led to Makrwatch publishing 1,864 videos in 2019, 4,998 videos in 2020 and 9,298 videos in 2021.
“Makrwatch has allowed us to work with nano and micro creators at a much larger scale than our in-house team could, while keeping costs controlled.(...) We have also appreciated the visibility and transparency Makrwatch has given us throughout this process.”
Making data-backed decisions has always been one of the keys to Skillshare’s success in partnering with content creators, and Makrwatch was able to help them by building a dedicated performance tracker that allowed the brand to follow the performance of each individual video, including views and conversions. This made it possible for Skillshare to not only identify top performers amongst their creator partners, but also evaluate trends, identify dips in performance and compare performance growth month-over-month.
The performance tracker also aligned with Makrwatch’s commitment to transparency, allowing Skillshare to check breakdown of costs, creators and the individual videos they were sponsoring. We were also able to use the insights gathered from this performance tracker with macro trends across YouTube, in order to maximize the efficacy of our reports and propose the best strategies for the brand.
“Throughout our five years of working together, Makrwatch strived to go above and beyond to provide us high quality service. This ranged from building custom technological solutions, to providing us with high-value insights from the data they gathered and making the implementation of tech and service solutions simple and seamless.
Their punctual and detail-oriented communication, efficient response to campaign changes, willingness to experiment and ability to build proprietary tech has been a game-changer for our program and allowed us to scale and partner with very high-quality content creators.”
Relationship with Creators
As a brand who has established themselves as one of the key partners to creators in the YouTube space, it was important for Skillshare to not compromise that position even while scaling. One of the challenges of working with small and medium-sized creators at scale was the time commitment required to maintain these relationships, and the cost of doing this internally.
By working as an extension of the Skillshare team, Makrwatch was able to replicate this approach at scale, developing automations that assisted us on outreaching and negotiating with creators, generating contracts and reviewing videos. Aligning the knowledge of our team and technology led to Makrwatch reaching out to 20,000 creators since the start of the program, generating over 18,000 videos published.
Makrwatch’s approach to data analysis and reporting also made it easier to identify high-performing channels quicker and offer creators long-term contracts once their positive performance was established. Makrwatch has fostered long-term relationships with 1,755 creators on behalf of Skillshare, having signed them for a period longer than six months.
“In-depth data analysis is central to the Skillshare influencer program to ensure campaign ROI is accurately being captured. The Makrwatch team has done an excellent job of aligning their strategy and approach, with the Skillshare business goals. When goals and direction have changed over the course of our partnership, they have pivoted quickly to adjust. Because they interface with thousands of creators every month, the Makrwatch team also brings valuable industry insight to our team to help keep us up to date on the macro trends they are seeing in the creator economy. “
Skillshare’s openness to experimentation has always been one of the game-changers when it comes to working at scale. Because their community features a wide variety of classes in different subjects, we were able to explore a wide array of niches and categories within YouTube.
Makrwatch has become Skillshare’s go-to partner to test hypotheses, new markets and alternative niches with less risk, by helping them partner with a multitude of smaller creators within those areas of experimentation. Throughout the duration of our partnership, Makrwatch has launched localized campaigns in Latin America and the UK, as well as tested alternative channels, such as Instagram, niches and marketing messages.
Video Review Service
In addition to the full-service offer, Makrwatch also provides an additional service to the Skillshare team: video reviews. By having dedicated team members familiar with the Skillshare creative brief and requirements for influencer sponsorships, we’re able to provide fast, high quality reviews of multiple videos coming from Skillshare’s internal campaign.
This further helps Skillshare save time for their internal team, and allows them to have a faster turnaround time on creators’ video reviews, maintaining a positive relationship with them. During 2021, Makrwatch reviewed 212 videos for Skillshare’s internal program, in addition to the 9,292 videos published through Makrwatch’s program.
Over the last 5 years of partnership with Skillshare, Makrwatch was able to go above and beyond the brand’s needs, providing excellent service, building custom technology solutions and striving for continuous improvement that allowed the program to grow and thrive, while saving Skillshare time and money. By becoming Skillshare’s key partner when it comes to influencer marketing, Makrwatch has opened new doors for the brand and pushed their performance to new heights, making the most out of creators’ creativity, excitement and connection with their audiences.