Insense was founded in 2015 by Saliukov brothers, Danil and Anton, from the Russian city of Ufa. At the time, Anton ran a small advertising agency and Danil was leading the digital content department at Qiwi (listed on NASDAQ (QIWI), a major payment services provider in Eastern Europe. The brothers grew tired of their routine and knew they wanted to do more than that. Just like their hometown, Ufa, which was not once in its entire history conquered by anyone despite the attempts, they wanted to become independent. To do that, they decided to build a strong and reliable product in an industry they're both good at: brand promotion. But with the market being oversaturated, they needed to find something specific, something that would change how brands interact with their customers. To make sure all business areas are covered, they joined forces with Alexander Fedorenko, an expert in advertising and product development, who became the third cofounder.
The three liked Instagram, and since Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for creativity in the world, they decided to tap into the industry — and revolutionize it while they're at it. Influencer marketing has always struggled with metrics and analytics. No one really knew the exact effect of their campaigns, they just knew that it was there somewhere. Another problem the founders saw was the lack of authenticity and creativity in Instagram ads, and they should be striving in this respect. This is how Insense was born, with the first office opening in Moscow. By the way, Insense is a portmanteau word, meaning it consists of two: Instagram and Adsense. This is to show that the company blends the creativity of Instagram with Adsense's precise analytics. And just so you know, portmanteau itself is a portmanteau word.
So, the three cofounders wanted to harness the creativity of Instagram influencers into something good, to connect their emotions, interests and authenticity with brands. They wanted to create a platform where brands and creators could meet to tell inspiring, creative stories. Not forgetting about the practical side, they still needed to provide analytics for this beautiful yet chaotic industry.
How do this all work? Insense combines influencer marketing with paid social: by integrating the creator's Instagram account directly into clients' Facebook Ads Manager, the platform lets them track influencer campaigns in real time — that's a first.
The company hit the right spot on the market, supplying the huge demand for analytics in a pretty vague space. The first clients, Uber and McDonalds, saw how transparent influencer marketing can be and saw numbers where they could only guess before. Before long, in 2016, Insense participated in an NYC-based VC fund Starta Capital's accelerator, and in early 2017 the company opened its New York office.
Today Insense is the only Instagram influencer marketing platform that provides clear, precise, and performance-based metrics for campaigns made with creators. This also means that Insense doesn't need to worry about the followers count and instead can focus on the quality of the content the creators produce. The company is working with more than 35.000 creators, picking out the most creative minds on Instagram.