Data-driven Celebrity Endorsement

Forbes Validates Spotted’s Data-Driven Celebrity Endorsement Model

Spotted received some great coverage in Forbes last week, highlighting our data-driven celebrity endorsement model and the perils of using instinct (and not data) when making a celebrity endorsement decision.

When consumers see endorsements like Steven Tyler representing Kia, Lady Gaga for Tiffany & Co. or Peyton Manning for Universal Resorts, they often think, “Huh, that feels random.” That’s because these endorsements are randomly chosen.

Read the article on Forbes for the full story, but here are 4 key takeaways:

1. Invest in Up-and-Coming Celebrities

“Celebrities are commanding higher and higher payouts,” says Janet Comenos, CEO of Spotted. “Brands tell us that the celebrities who used to gush about their products and attend their events for free five years ago are now costing hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single campaign.”

That’s why brands are now turning to Spotted to uncover data around up-and-coming celebrities, the ones who are gaining the most momentum and are likely to become the next big star. If brands are able to sign talent while they’re on the upswing, they’ll pay a fraction of the price that they would pay once they’re considered an A-lister. This strategy also helps brands with smaller budgets get in the endorsement game.

2. Luxury Brands Need to Embrace Non-White Celebrities

We’ve seen that luxury fashion houses who gift and seed products to celebrities are gifting a very small percentage of that product to African American and Hispanic celebrities, compared to Caucasian celebrities. Janet says, “This means that the consumers who look up to black celebrities aren’t seeing their role models wear these luxury labels on Instagram or in influential publications like People Magazine or Refinery29.”

She adds that “luxury brands need to address that non-Caucasian segment, or else luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and MCM (who are doing a much better job at multicultural marketing) will scoop up that more diverse part of the market.”

3. Look Past Large Social Followings

We’ve heard so many horror stories about brands investing in celebrities who have massive social followings, only to see the campaign or endorsement deal fail to pan out as expected.

That’s why looking at a static number like how many Instagram followers a celebrity has is a poor metric to consider. Janet says, “You have to remember that this celebrity could have gained those followers when they starred in a feature film a decade ago and may no longer be relevant today.”

Spotted has metrics that help you understand whether or not a celebrity is relevant today, based on numbers like increased search traffic, Wikipedia page views, and the recent growth of the celebrity’s audience.

4. Capitalize on Celebrities Who Address Multiple Consumer Segments

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, you need to look closely at the audience of the celebrity you are considering to understand if they are going to help you appeal to various consumer segments.

To demonstrate why this matters, we looked at the example of brands working with celebrities who would appeal to the “mom” segment. We started by identifying the celebrity moms who have the highest concentration of moms in their online audiences. What ended up being even more interesting, though, were the celebrities we identified as non-moms who have the highest concentration of moms in their online audiences. These celebrities are the ones who could likely help brands appeal to multiple consumer segments.

Large, mass-market brands are often trying to address lots of consumer segments (teens, young professionals, moms, dads). If you cross-reference your various target segments alongside the audiences of celebrities you are considering working with, you can begin to understand which celebrities are going to help address all (and not just one) of them.


A special thank you to Forbes contributor Steve Olenski for so eloquently covering the Spotted story. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the full article now on Forbes!

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