he influencer marketing space has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade. I’ve seen exciting developments over the last three and a half years that I’ve been involved in the industry and would like to share the changes I’ve seen and the learnings I’ve experienced from working with brands and influencers every day.
When I stepped into a sales role in influencer marketing in 2018, most brands were sceptical to explore our offering. They were afraid to let go of their creative ideas and put them in the hands of influencers despite the in-depth briefing and managing processes we have in place. Hence, pre-approval of content became, and still is, a crucial control measure to set our clients’ minds at ease. Not only that, but clients had to set aside or reallocate budget to trial influencer marketing, which was a big hurdle at times. Today we are fortunate that influencer marketing has proven itself worthy to be a part of the marketing mix and, in most cases, receive budget allocation on schedules.
Change #2 – delivering real results
Influencer marketing was mostly reliant on organic reach in the past. It was thus common practice to use big-name influencers to reach mass audiences organically. A big focus back then, as an influencer marketer, was on proving that influencers’ organic audiences were good fits for brands’ target markets. That has since all changed. Today we convert the best influencer content into adverts on multiple digital platforms and can directly target our clients’ target audiences with relatable and authentic content to ensure that messaging is seen specifically by those who they wish to reach. Strategic targeting also allows us to set benchmarks and measurable campaign KPIs. These KPIs vary from link clicks, lead generation, sales, app downloads, impressions and so much more. Real, not just vanity metrics, have established influencer marketing as a credible marketing channel.
Change #3 – it’s not just FMCG anymore
It’s not only FMCG brands that benefit from influencer marketing, but most industries can find value in one or other form of it. FMCG brands were the most comfortable to explore influencer marketing initially. They wanted creative content and were comfortable using the influencer channel to drive awareness. Previously, influencer marketing was almost non-existent in the financial sector due to a lack of measurable metrics. These days we can measure some of the most important metrics in the sector - Cost per Lead (CPL) and P Factors (budget divided by the value of policies you sighed up). This opened up an entirely new sector to use the influencer marketing channel in. The results we’ve seen prove that influencer marketing delivers a lower CPL, CPI (cost per install), P factor than what brands can deliver from their branded ads. Proving the value in trusted referrals aka influencers.
Change #4 - Content value vs distribution value
As mentioned earlier, when brands used to run purely organic campaigns most of the budget went into enlisting big-name influencers and thus content creation. This was also true for brands’ own content as they would spend thousands on creative hours developing branded content elements that they required leaving fewer funds available for the distribution of content. We’ve seen a shift in budget priority, particularly on performance reliant campaigns. On typical performance campaigns, we suggest that 35% of the budget goes towards content and 65% of the budget goes towards performance media allowing enough content to be generated for us to A/B test and have the majority of the budget available to strategically target audiences to drive real results.