High growth brands are spending more time and resources on their influencer marketing campaigns for one simple reason – it drives results.
In my last article, I talked about what’s causing traditional marketing and advertising to become increasingly less effective and how consumers are embracing the influence economy. Below, we’ll walk you through how brands are seeing influencer marketing fuel their growth.
New to the Influencer Economy?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on identifying, building relationships, and activating key leaders, partners, and individuals who have reach and relevance to your potential customers.
Who is focused on influencer marketing? According to Forrester, 73% of marketers have a budget for influencer marketing. Overall, 59% of marketers at consumer brands say they’re planning to increase their influencer budget in the next 12 months.
Now, onto why brands are growing with influencer marketing.
# 1 Greater Influence with Potential Customers
Whether you’re working with celebrities, journalists, or pro influencers, they already have strong relationships with your potential customers.
Many brands initially start their influencer campaigns by seeking out celebrity endorsements. While this can be a good use of ad dollars in the beginning, most brands quickly realize what research shows- when it comes to community size, 54% of consumers agree that the smaller the community, the greater the influence (source: TechnoratiMedia).
McKinsey, Nielsen, and others have found that word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted sources are the primary factor behind 20% to 60% of all purchase decisions, with younger demographics being at the upper end of that range.
# 2 Influencers are Social by Nature
Influencers thrive on being social. They’re actively engaging with their friends and people they’re connected with across different social channels.
It’s not just that they’re sharing on social. Many influencers feel that it’s their responsibility to tell their followers about their experience with brands. FleishmanHillard and Hearst Magazines found that 73% of millennials feel it is their responsibility to help friends and family make smart purchase decisions.
# 3 Influencers Want to Work with your Brand
#4 Influencers Let you Magnify your Reach
With each new influencer you bring onto your campaign, you’re able to tap into the growth of another audience. Many brands already have an existing influencer and brand ambassador list, while others are just now starting to build these relationships. That’s one area Sideqik helps. Our tools help identify and build relationships with influencers that would otherwise be impossible or costly to do manually. On average, our customers are able to extend their reach by 50x – 300x, from their email lists alone.
Click here to see our Social Media Comparison by Age and Channel infographic, for both traditional and new social networks.
#5 More Cost Effective than Advertising
Without getting into the debate of whether influence should be purchased or earned, I wanted to walk through the value of an individual short campaign with influencers. The calculation also helps when looking at the return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing.
One of the most common metrics for looking at the value of content is CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions). The great thing about CPM is that there are standard benchmarks for TV, print, and digital. The table below shows the value of brand impressions based on the size of the audience you’re able to reach, assuming a 2.5% engagement rate and a CPM of $5. While many brands are driving KPIs deeper in the purchase decision process, this is good for quick comparison with advertising rates.
We’ve worked with hundreds of brands across different verticals and see engagement rates and the number of posts significantly higher than these. When looking at the cost to set up and run a successful influencer strategy over the year, it’s easy to see why almost 25% of marketers say influencer marketing is their most cost-effective acquisition channel.
|Reach of influencers||Avg Engagement||CPM||# of Posts||Value of single campaign|
#6 Increased Conversions and ROI
A majority of marketers believe that influencer marketing brings in higher quality customers. Not only that, but they also see higher revenues from these campaigns. Research shows that offers shared by a trusted influencer or brand ambassador convert at a 4x – 12x higher rate than offers shared by brands.
One consumer electronics company reported a 10x ROI by making it easy for ambassadors to share promotional offers with their friends. They estimated that 50,000 offers were shared by ambassadors. This drove clicks, sign ups, and sales from both the ambassadors and their friends.
#7 Ability to Scale
Successful brands approach influencer marketing as a fundamental strategy within their company. Just as email marketing works best when consistently done by a marketer with expertise in the area, the same can be true for influencer marketing.
Manual influencer marketing can work to start a program. However, most brands find themselves using a variety of tools built for other purposes, and spend too much time and effort using spreadsheets and people-power to run their campaigns. If you’re a single person team, this may let you run a few campaigns per year for a boost, but it won’t support growth and predictable results unless you have the budget to allocate a substantial headcount.
One of the reasons our team gets so excited working with new marketers, is that we get to rescue brands from a dependence on legacy and ad-based marketing models. Just as long-tail and marketing automation has revolutionized other marketing channels, we started Sideqik to offer that same disruption to influencer marketing.
These are just a few of the reasons that influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the most important online marketing channels. Budgets are growing fast, and marketers are seeing short-term and long-term results not matched in other channels. Given the results we’re seeing, expect to hear more soon.
Editor and Contributor: David Polstra, Aug. 2016