The End of the Great Impression

The End of the Great Impression

When Impressions Were King

Rumpled CFOs from time immemorial (or at least 1960) have raked their fingers through thinning hair trying to understand the value of “awareness campaigns”. CMOs, chin forward, lay out a dizzying buffet of data designed to fill you up fast, so you keep your seat, feeling guilty at whatever-it-was you just ate. Relief was on its way, though.

In 1994, AT&T had the first display ad with a clickable link, ringing up a whopping 44% click-through rate. At 9:05am the next day, delighted CFOs dashed down fluorescent halls waving the Wall Street Journal article under the nose of the skeptical CMO.

The end of the Great Impression had begun. Now what?

What’s The Difference?

It might be instructive to define the difference between reach, impressions, engagement, and conversion:

  • Impressions: potential views of a post from all of an influencer’s platforms
  • Reach: potential views from one platform – followers
  • Engagement: confirmed views, eg. Likes
  • Conversion: action on a post (eg. link click)

An important consideration of moving from an impressions or awareness KPI to  engagement is the inverse relationship of engagement rate and followers count.

We often tell clients that it’s “quality versus quantity.” High quality influencers, especially those in a niched mid-level sweet spot, typically have high engagement rates. But using them might mean missing your awareness goal of millions of eyeballs. 

This can be a profoundly important calculus to your campaign because you may be able to activate a mid-level influencer whose absolute engagement is higher than a big (expensive) macro influencer. And with a targeted mid-level influencer, you’re more likely to project to an audience who’ll be receptive to your campaign.

And for what it’s worth, here’s how we count engagements by platform:

Make sure to clarify this with your provider so you know what you’re getting and you can defend it to your boss! This is especially important because platforms are continually adding and sunsetting features.

The Platforms

Speaking of platforms, you may already realize they’re competing with you–and they act like it. With the exception of YouTube, gaining API or automated access, is nearly impossible. And even if you were to get access to Instagram or Facebook’s APIs, notifying you of changes is less important to them than remembering to charge their Tesla.

And remember platform popularity has a shelf life. Read Andrew Chen’s “Law of Shitty Clickthroughs” for some historical perspective. It does feel like Facebook and YouTube have pocketed the market though, doesn’t it? Staying on top of platform popularity, new features, and data access is critical for your subject matter expert status.

What Can You Measure Now

Bought into the end of the Impression Era? Great! So what can you do now? If you’re not using engagements as your key performance indicator (you will soon), prepare to lose the confidence of your internal or external clients. The “quality versus quantity” is an argument we’ve never lost.

Next, conversions. At this point, conversions are a nice-to-have metric. But here’s the important bit of information: every campaign we’ve had in the past three quarters had a conversion link and metric. You’ll of course want to use a shortened link for each influencer so you can track who did what for you. Make sure you check this daily unless you have your own shortener and unfettered access to that data.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Based on the demand we see, Instagram is at the top of the mountain, arms spread wide as if they own the world, which I guess they do. But like those beautifully composed and exuberant traveler posts, the edge is never far away. YouTube will continue to quietly dominate video, especially for complicated and expensive consumer purchases like phones and cars. Facebook, the kindly aunt of social media, is keeping it fresh with foodies and cooking, with some videos earning tens of millions of views. Snap? While anyone can add a link to a snap, getting wide distribution is tough. They’ll continue to excel with brand stories, which are easily the brand’s most effective way directly to a Gen Y or Z’s eyeballs.

How do you see the platforms evolving?

 

About MATTR

MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

How to Troubleshoot on Your Influencer Campaign

How to Troubleshoot on Your Influencer Campaign

Working with humans means you get authenticity, but also complications you don’t encounter with programmatic ad platforms. These imperfections are what make influencer marketing feel genuine, but sometimes they can get you in serious trouble. So how do you keep the authenticity of working with humans, without the errors? First of all, you won’t. You should expect a few bumps in the road, and learn that the best thing you can do is know how to handle situations when they arise. This is how to troubleshoot your influencer campaign.

Can’t Find the Right Influencer…

There are millions and millions of profiles across social media. So if the brand is looking for a very specific persona with, for example, a niche interest in a hyperlocal area, surely you can pull a good list of perfect influencers right? But that is not always the case, and it can be extremely difficult to locate the perfect person when there are many aspects to consider. You could find the most ideal person but find out half their audience has been purchased, or their engagement is under 1%. It can be helpful to have the brand prioritize the qualities they find most important in an influencer and work from there.

Say you do find this perfect influencer, what if timing issues come up? Or maybe they have worked with a competitor recently. Who knows, maybe they won’t even like the product. Finding the influencer is just the start; availability and willingness to work on the campaign comes after. It is important to give yourself more than enough time to find these influencers and to work with them on cost and scheduling. Having approved backup influencers ready at hand can help alleviate some stress when dealing with tight schedules or difficult creators. Or finding influencers that really care about your brand may be willing to be more flexible with pricing and posting.

Disagreements Between the Influencer and Brand…

This is something that can come up a lot, like delays on the subway when you have to be at your next meeting in 15 minutes. Sometimes the brand and the influencer have different ideas in mind for the campaign. Maybe it’s the style of the shot or the wording in the caption. But it usually comes down to the fact that the influencer wants to be completely authentic and the brand wants to make sure their product image and messaging are coordinated with other marketing outreaches. It is important to find a happy compromise that allows for creativity while reminding the influencer that certain rules need to be followed. Play the mediator – give the brand team real data on how ‘staged’ images usually garner less engagement. Talk to the influencer before the photo shoot – some hire professionals and a reshoot can be expensive and/or unrealistic with timelines. Remind the influencer that this is still an ad, but reinforce to the brand that it shouldn’t look like one.

Influencer Posts the Wrong Thing…

So the day finally comes when the influencer’s post goes live and…surprise, it isn’t right. They added an alcoholic beverage in the image or the caption mentions a competitor. Maybe they forgot to add that link in their story or tag the brand in their copy. While it may seem like small changes, none of it was approved by the brand and now it’s on your hands. This is where I cannot stress enough the importance of a good relationship between you and the influencer. The most effective thing you can do is to get on the phone with the influencer before the campaign to ensure they understand all of the guidelines of the agreement. Never assume the contract is simple and they will read every inch of it. If mistakes are still made in a post even after doing this, get on the phone and call them, because it could be 8 PM on a Saturday and they are nowhere near their email. Fix the issue as soon as you see it. Most influencers want to maintain a strong relationship with you as well and are willing to fix anything the brand may not like. So don’t blame anyone, just work together to see the issue through.

Another place we see complications is FTC guidelines. The rules have changed and they can sometimes be hard to keep up with. The brand team will expect you to stay educated and up to date on all guidelines and ensure compliance. Again, do not assume the influencer will know every rule, especially if they are micro-influencers or new to the industry. Go through the guidelines with them and write every piece into the contract. One way to ensure you’re taking compliance seriously is to provide an audit trailt hrough the blockchain. Something we have done here at Mattr. It may seem like overkill to you, but legal will rubber stamp the campaigns much faster, especially if it’s a highly regulated industry.

Conclusion

Influencer marketing is still young and new to many brands. It’s hard to have an exact system and plan for every scenario. When working with influencers you have to know that sometimes things can go wrong, but, through time and experience you will learn to perfect your process. Until then, communication, understanding, and patience will help you better learn how to handle these situations along the way.

 

About MATTR

MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

No Summer Vacations with Influencer Marketing

No Summer Vacations with Influencer Marketing

Every brand has their peak season. Whether you are a grilling company that focuses on advertising in the summer or a candy company that pops up all over social in October, every marketer knows what time of the year it is best to be in eyes of the consumer. But when it comes to influencer marketing, hardly any of the rules for traditional advertising still apply. You already know how important it is to tap into the world of influencer marketing, but here’s why it could benefit you even in your off season.

Consider Ambassadors

Ambassadors are creators that love your brand and post frequently about you. They promote you in genuine ways and at times that feel right to them. One of the biggest draws to influencer marketing is the authenticity that comes along with it. More and more consumers are trusting those they follow rather than big named brands. A huge part of this authenticity comes from letting the influencer post how and when feels right for them and their followers. Popping up through tons of influencers only during specific times of the year could come off calculated and inauthentic to their audience. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to consider leveraging ambassadors rather than just one time influencers.

Stand Apart From Your Competitors

In a time where attention spans are lessening with every generation, one of the most important things you can do is try to stay relevant. If you want to get the attention of millennials and gen z, then you have to consider marketing through influencers throughout the whole year. If you think it is your off season then most likely others in your industry will think that too, so here is your chance to grab the audience’s attention while no other competitor might be. Again, ambassadors that post often about your product in their own way, can help you stay relevant during slower seasons.

Create an Annual Strategy

If you are strictly a seasonal brand and wanting to maximize your seasonal campaigns, you will need a year long campaign. If you always have a strong seasonal revenue uplift in the fourth quarter, start some campaigns early in the year to both seed the larger campaign in the 4th quarter and determine the influencers who worked best for your brand.  Creating an annual strategy can drive more impact than single one off campaigns and better help you understand what works and what doesn’t leaving you better prepared when your time comes to shine.

Social is Always On

Think about traditional media for a second. If you advertise on the radio you want to play during rush hour, when most people are listening. And if you advertise on TV you want to play during the Super Bowl or the Oscars or PrimeTime. But this isn’t the case for social media. Sure, we may see small peaks at certain times of the day, but for the most part social is always on. When it comes to social media, there is no off season and there is no primetime; the traditional rules of media simply do not apply.

Conclusion

In an ever changing industry that can sometimes seem over-saturated, leveraging influencer marketing year-round is an efficient and cost effective way to stay relevant to your audience while maintaining that ever so desired authenticity.

 

About MATTR

MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.