Your pictures are worth more than you think...
Last week, new research from Mintel reported that 29.2 million Americans have posted a food or drink picture at a restaurant in the past month. These numbers confirm what we pretty much already knew; people love to post dish pics. But to excuse this volume as a mere consumer trend ignores the fact that peer-to-peer advertising is now fueling more than just the food industry. So how are restaurants and brands maximizing this data and influence? And how can picture-takers get rewarded for the free marketing that they're generating?
Enter Popular Pays, a mobile app that allows users with a certain amount of Instagram followers to cash in on their influence by trading a post (if they have a good experience) for a deal. For example, I could see that this new restaurant is offering half off to members with 500+ followers. I would get the deal regardless, but if I enjoy the dish, I'm encouraged to post about it, resulting in a genuine recommendation from someone with clout. (Ed. note: Will does not have 500 Instagram followers - nerd).
We spoke with Corbett Drummey, CEO and Founder of Popular Pays, about these numbers, why they excite him, and what's next for the company.
Chicago Inno: What is it about the new data from this release that excites you in regards to Popular Pays?
Corbett Drummey: We're all about harnessing existing behavior and riding someone else's wave. Those stats tell me it's time to paddle harder.
CI: How will Popular Pays help use these numbers to its advantage? Basically, why is Popular Pays good for restaurants?
CD: It's cheap: we don't charge local shops, so all they need to do is give out product. A cup of coffee probably costs them 40 cents, and what they get out of it is powerful: a word of mouth endorsement from an actual person to his or her friends. It beats the hell out of the restaurant talking about themselves. No one listens to McDonalds when they tell us how good their burgers are. But if my friend tells me the coffee at the new corner shop is good, I'll listen.
CI: How is Popular Pays different than a typical loyalty program?
CD: We're rewarding people who are good at creating content, not necessarily rewarding loyalty. Pop Pays lets influencers pay with a post. It's bringing barter back and democratizing social currency.
CI: What services, outside of restaurants, could utilize Popular Pays and are currently using you?
CD: Anyone but lawyers. We've featured food, drinks, clothes, hotel rooms, skydiving trips, concert tickets, and even a food truck that would deliver you burgers on demand if you had 40k followers.
CI: What's next for Popular Pays?
CD: Launching local deals in NY, SF, LA in all the right spots. Signing up more national brands like Harry's and Bonobos that have products worth sharing so we can ship them out to our influencers nation-wide. Doing to advertising what UberX did to taxis and AirBnb did to hotels.
Having a brand advertise to an audience is a dying model. Facebook got the biggest audience known to man – a billion eyeballs – and they still treated it like it was TV. Soon advertising will all be peer-to-peer. And the internet runs on advertising, so when we pull the rug out from under the whole damn thing, it's gonna be interesting.