Worth is an exciting young AdTech startup that turns a brand’s customers into their marketers.
Targeting small and medium-sized businesses, Worth finds vocal supporters on social media and invites them to post stories about the brand—for cash.
By using this unique micro-influencer marketing to boost revenues, not just likes, Worth aims to disrupt the $140 billion advertising industry.
Founder Patrick Kim leads the venture.
Patrick studied design at university before heading to MIT to learn product management. He has worked with a variety of startups, including one he exited at just 19 years of age.
To watch my full interview with Patrick, click here.
To see the hotspots from our conversation, including new insights into Worth’s unique story-based marketing strategy and the AdTech space in general, keep reading.
The Advertising Problem
Advertising Technology or AdTech refers to a wide range of tools and software. At its core, AdTech makes it easier to get the right eyes on the right ad at the right time.
AdTech is all around us. These days, everywhere you look there’s an ad starting back at you.
The largest brands spend billions each year to get their products, services, and ideas onto your screen and into your shopping carts. And each year, the tools companies use to do this become more sophisticated.
The problem is, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), largely miss out on any sophisticated marketing because of the steep prices. Hiring a marketing team is expensive, fancy tech solutions are expensive.
For these brands to get cost-effective, directed advertisements to their customers, it takes innovation.
Luckily, Patrick Kim and the Worth team built an innovative solution that puts sophistication into the hands of SMBs.
What Is Worth?
Here’s what happens when a brand signs up with Worth.
First, Worth searches the internet for everyone and anyone who has mentioned the brand on social media using a proprietary search engine.
Then, Worth reaches out to those individuals and asks them if they would like to promote the brand.
If they agree, Worth gives them the brand’s content and lets them get to work. They are free to edit the content, comment on it, and share it with their networks.
The service runs on a per-story basis. Depending on the product and volume of ads, stories cost between $5 and $10 each. Half of that goes to the customers-turned-creators, and half goes to Worth.
This way, everyone wins. Creators get paid to promote a brand they actually care about and the brand gets an increase in revenue.
That’s right, Worth doesn’t care about inflating likes or engagement, the system aims for pure revenue growth.
Worth does this by focusing on real individuals who will share with their friends and family—tight-knit groups that will trust the promotion and have a high chance of converting.
Patrick points to the saturation of influencer marketing, in other words, ads shared by high-profile individuals with high follower counts.
By ignoring influencers and focusing on real consumers who already care about the brand, Worth creates an authentic and streamlined advertising process.
Instagram and Story-Based Marketing
For now, Worth’s service all takes place on Instagram, an app that is one of the most influential platforms in the world when it comes to marketing.
Behind Facebook, Instagram is the most-used platform for social media marketing teams, 76% of them use it.
And Instagram is still growing fast. It passed the 1 billion user mark at the end of 2020. The same year, it was the firth most downloaded application in the world.
Worth gets customers to promote their favorite brands through Instagram stories. These are short-form videos with a maximum duration of 15 seconds.
According to Instagram, over 500 million people use stories each day.
Allowing businesses with tight budgets to plug into the rapidly flowing stories channel is Worth's specialty.
In the third quarter of 2020, Worth had a revenue of just $15,000. Three quarters later, Q2 of 2021, revenue reached $220,000—that’s an increase of over 1,400%.
Of course, in the early stages of a startup, growth spikes and large numbers like this aren’t uncommon. Revenue likely still isn’t close to the point of profitability.
However, this does show that Worth has a growing user base and is gaining traction, fast.
What’s more, Patrick says the company is at the crux of expansion into new industries.
Worth began with a focus on the restaurant industry. Since then, new types of businesses have eagerly approached him. Companies that make supplements, sporting goods, SaaS products, and more, have all sought out Worth’s unique solution.
The prospect of growth into a plethora of new industries makes Patrick confident that this exceptional growth will continue through 2021, into 2022, and beyond.
Patrick’s projections put current end-of-year profits at around $1.5 million.
Final Thoughts on Worth
For SMBs, it isn’t always an option to craft a proper ad campaign. Marketers are expensive, and the process can be complex and time-consuming.
Worth aims to be the alternative.
With Worth, real customers create mini-commercials that uniquely relate to their networks.
And whether that user has 100 followers or 10,000, they end up creating something that speaks to their circle.
Consider how differently a college student, a soccer mom, and a construction worker would share such a message. Think about their audiences.
You’d be hard-pressed to find such diversity of demographic from any ad campaign, but with Worth’s unique approach, marketing through existing customers, it is possible.