“Eskimo Wants to Be First French Unicorn to Never Fundraise”
The CEO of an SEO agency details his strategy and considers digital marketing trends. On the menu: AI in moderation and UGC as the future of social advertising.
JDN. You analyze the use of artificial intelligence in web editorial very carefully. Why?
Andrea Bensaid. The general public is discovering the potential of AI for editorial with OpenAI and ChatGPT-3, a tool that is starting to produce some really interesting results. However, many people will rush to these new technologies to automatically generate web content. But without moderate use of these tools, these people are at great risk. The reason is that Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to detect the difference between human-generated content and an AI-generated article. Sites that abuse AI can be penalized by Google. Therefore, content should be used wisely, reworked with real writers and originality.
What other powerful trend is driving digital marketing at the start of the year?
We live in an age where attention to social media is drastically reduced. The only way brands can really increase their chances of attracting the attention of users, especially Gen Z, is through the use of UGC (user-generated content). These are content produced by micro-influencers, who are certainly creative, but what they have in common is their almost spontaneity, naturalness and relatability to people. Users are tired of big influencers.
“Users are tired of big influencers”
In 2015, Eskimos had a turnover of 150,000 euros; 20 million in 2022 with the purchase of two European companies. How do you explain this development?
I started Eskimo in 2010. At that time I was 22 years old and had just finished my studies. I have invested 2000 euros in this company and have never invested any additional euros. My company is a living proof of the possibility of development without resorting to investment funds. Profitable since 2015, with 150 employees we support nearly 500 clients, including nearly 350 in France (Including Franprix, Bouygues Immobilier and Crédit Agricole, editor’s note.). What explains this performance, in my opinion, is simply our ability to retain both our employees and our customers, in addition to the quality of service provided. This longevity of employees is important for a consulting company: it allows it to build long-term relationships with its clients. This is the reason why we decided to open an SEO school. Another factor determining our development is undoubtedly our international openness. Finally, we would like to be the first French unicorn to never fundraise.
You are ramping up office openings and takeovers in Europe. Is this geographic diversification accompanied by the diversification of your profession?
In 2020 we opened an office in Madrid and in 2022 we acquired the Italian company Sembox and the British agency Digital Uncut. This year we are going to buy a very important company in Germany: if this transaction goes through, we will change in size. In France, we are in Paris and Lyon, and probably Bordeaux soon. This geographic expansion does not mean the diversification of our already developed business. Our historical business and main source of income remains SEO consulting so that our clients can rank themselves on the top of Google. But we have also opened three more service centers: content marketing production, paid center (Google Ads and social) and data and tracking center to measure campaign performance. These new centers act as drivers of development. All of these trades should yield an equivalent level of income fairly quickly.