Facebook’s Influencer Platform: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Facebook’s Influencer Platform: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Ok, let’s start with one ugly: the name. It’s called the “Brand Collabs Manager,” which sounds like something Gina would say on Brooklyn 99, only it’s not funny.

Anyway, Facebook is apparently running out of ad inventory and, along with the top consumer brands in the world, looking to influencer-creators to appeal to all consumers, and especially younger ones. The tool is the other side of the influencer marketing contract and is essentially a search engine for influencers. Smart. But as with everything new, there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Facebook’s Brand Collabs Manager – A search engine for influencers

The Good

Facebook is to be commended for producing this search tool, which in itself should be the biggest Good and trump all the Bads and the Uglies. We can only imagine and hope that Instagram, Facebook’s higher achieving younger sibling, will follow.

Good #1 Audience Data

Facebook understands audience alignment and, with the rollout of their tool, are out to change how you think about influencers. Since influencers hit the mainstream decades ago, PR agencies have picked influencers based on their interests- travel, cooking, etc. About five or so years, ago, influencer marketing providers (like Mattr) have used audience data to select influencers but it’s still not mainstream. So that’s Good #1.

Good #2 Data Data

They have tons of data about you, as you know by now, and data that’s not generally available to other providers. Just as with an ad campaign, we’ll be able to search for influencer audiences by the following filters:

Top countries where they’re popular
Interests
Gender
Education history
Relationship status
Life events
Home ownership status
Home type

If you haven’t used a current generation influencer provider you’ll love the access to this data, which you and/or your provider will use to match to your consumer targets. And although they don’t list age range, I’d suspect that’s in mix. But there are some big gaps that will hopefully get filled in the product plan.

The Bad

Although you’ll think these baddies are worthy of an ugly, we think they’ll eventually be available. Brands and agencies used to the capabilities of current generation providers like Mattr will ask for these data sets and features and there’s no apparent reason Facebook won’t provide them.

Bad #1 No City Data

Brick and mortar retailers use influencers to launch store openings or for coupon promotions. These brands rely on hyperlocal data – cities and sometimes even neighborhoods. Mattr had a project just last year where we needed to find influencers in the Harlem section of Manhattan.

Bad #2 No Content Draft Review

Brands worth their salt want to review, edit, and approve influencer content before posting. In exactly 100% of the campaigns we’ve managed the past several years, posts needed editing. Brand names not labeled or tagged correctly, typos, and the copy or image or video ill-suited to the campaign theme. This is a feature companies like Mattr have had for some time and Facebook could do a good job of it.

Bad #3 Compliance

Compliance is a newish box to check for influencer providers, especially as highly regulated industries like financial services and pharmaceuticals move budget into influencer campaigns. Failure to disclose “material connection” to the brand (i.e., #ad or #sponsored) could be very simple for Facebook to implement as part of their service, including the disclosure in a sort of sponsored post wizard framework. Ensuring the influencer keeps it in the post after going live is another feature necessary to ensure compliance. In our experience if a provider cannot prove that they will monitor the post for its duration that provider will not get the business. Speaking of post-posting monitoring, ensuring the post stays live for the contracted amount of time may as well be stirred into the now bubbling product plan pot.

The Bads are all addressable by Facebook, and we’d expect they’ll get right on it as soon as they’re asked by savvy brands and agencies.

The Ugly

We can expect these uglies will remain unaddressed for the foreseeable future primarily because of business model conflicts. This is a business school way of saying, “they’ll lose revenue if they do them.”

Ugly #1: Fraudulent Followers

Like compliance, experienced brand teams ask how a provider knows if an influencer’s audience has been organically grown or bought. How common is this? Mattr sifts through its influencer platform each week, sniffing out the baddies who buy followers. The percentage is not in the double digits, but high enough that it’s worth the double-check. Is it easy to do, you ask? We did it as a test and wrote about it here. Running these algorithms is a heavy resource hog, but Facebook can afford it. They will be reluctant to kill off fake accounts, however, unless threatened by the government.

Ugly #2: Detecting Influencer “Clubs”

Although related to Ugly #1, these are legitimate clusters of influencers recruited to like each others’ posts. This is actually fairly sophisticated and requires even more resources to detect. Could Facebook do it? You bet. Will they? No way.

Overall..It’s Good!

Of course the biggest ask by brands is activation. And frankly, it’s why companies like Mattr will always exist. Recruiting, contracting, and managing influencers will always be the heavy lifting in any campaign. There’s a good reason programmatic influencer services haven’t (yet) succeeded: brands will always want control over the content. The “human-ness” of influencer campaigns is what makes them authentic and special. But that human-ness comes with the price of working with humans, who are prone to error and sometimes willing to deceive or otherwise not comply with their contracts.

How to Make Your Influencer Campaign Not Be #Basic

How to Make Your Influencer Campaign Not Be #Basic

School is back in session, fall is in the air, and people are getting back into their everyday routines. For marketers, the summer slump is finally over, and although influencer marketing should never be taking a summer vacay, many brands have saved their big influencer campaigns for arguably the most important quarter of the year. Autumn brings many opportunities to get back into the game: comfort foods, football, the start of holiday preparations. Since influencer marketing is no longer a new idea for brands, having the same old influencer plan or simply rerunning last year’s campaign is not good enough. If you want your brand to cut through the social noise and make an impact, you have to step up your influencer game and as many influencers would put it … stop being #basic. Here’s how to make your influencer campaign not so #basic.

Don’t Fall into the Same Routine

It makes sense that once you find success in a campaign that you’d want to use the same techniques as before. Many brands see how well a campaign does and then do their best to replicate that plan in order to get that same engagement each time. But audiences are intuitive, and many people notice when an ad seems to be calculated or repeated. The best part of having a social media campaign is knowing that social media is ALWAYS on, and your audience is always there, even during your “off season.” This gives you the opportunity to mix up your campaign details, strategy and timeline.

Instead of a seasonal campaign, a lot of brands are starting to try year long campaigns to gain data on their engagement during every season. Having a campaign run throughout the year also gives you the chance to leverage brand ambassadors instead of just one time influencers. Brand ambassadors are influencers that you have a long standing relationship with and who can post often about your product. And even on social repetition is key to really building brand recognition and driving action. This can also mean letting go of some control when it comes to posting dates. No one knows the audience better than the influencer – they’ve managed to build such a great following for a reason – so sometimes letting them have input on when to post can be your best bet for the highest engagement. Especially since the more control the influencer has, the more authentic their posts appear.

Trying a year long campaign is not the only way to mix up your influencer plan. You can also try starting your campaign earlier in the year, you never know what insights you can gain until you try new things, so do something different!

Try New Mediums (Yes, there are more social platforms than Instagram)

There is no doubt that Instagram is the front runner when it comes to influencer marketing. You can find every type of influencer, it’s simple content to approve, and it’s an easy medium to track and gain insights from. But, just because Instagram is the norm doesn’t mean it’s for you. At the very least you should not limit yourself to only one medium. You should choose platforms based on where your audience is. Also be aware that certain types of content do better on different mediums. Videos on Instagram tend to get lower engagement than images, however videos on Facebook can potentially be shared and viewed millions of times. And don’t underestimate the power of Pinterest or YouTube. The audience there may be niche but they are mighty.

If your audience is primarily on Instagram, you still have the chance to branch out with content. Instagram Live and Instagram Stories provide opportunities to try new things and see what works. Even the start of IGTV will potentially be a game changer with long form videos in influencer marketing.

Branch Out with Your Influencers

The influencers you choose also provide a chance to shake things up in your campaign. The influencer’s audience is just as important, if not more so, than the influencer themself. For instance, an influencer may be a millennial mom on the west coast but maybe a lot of her audience is located in the east coast. Or, perhaps you are a food brand that usually leverages foodie accounts, but instead you could try a mom influencer posting a meal for her family that night. The size of your influencer can also vary. If you always use one or two macro influencers, try using many micro or mid level influencers, or vice versa.

Call to Actions

You hear over and over that engagement is key. And it’s true, engagement is one of the most important parts of your influencer campaign. But what good is that engagement if it’s not going to turn into anything? Having a call-to-action for influencers and their audience is a way to gather data beyond the post. Maybe you are running a new promotion or a coupon for the product, so have your influencer talk about that in the post and lead their followers to a clickable link. Using a bitly link for your destination is a easy way to keep track of clicks as well as see where they are coming from and on which days. It’s also important to learn where to put this link to find the most success. Try different places with each campaign. Maybe the link is in the influencer’s bio for 24 hours, maybe they leave it on their website for a week, or maybe they post it in an Instagram story as a swipe up link. Runnings tests will help you learn what works best for your product and your influencers.

Conclusion:

There are many ways to mix up you influencer campaign. We are now in the sweet spot of influencer marketing, where the game is new enough that there aren’t set/hard and fast rules – you make your own rules and decide what’s best for you. But,  it’s not so new that you have to play it safe and do the same old #basic things you’ve done before. Cheers to trying something new!

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.

Why You Should Use IGTV In Your Next Campaign

Why You Should Use IGTV In Your Next Campaign

We’re pretty excited by IGTV here at Mattr. Last week we asked the question: would the introduction of IGTV compel YouTube to up its game–to be more competitive in the quest to retain creators and maybe attract them from Instagram? We’ll find out soon enough, I suppose. But in the meantime brands and influencers are sniffing and poking this newly discovered species, trying to figure out just how best to leverage IGTV for upcoming campaigns. Guess what? It’s ready now!

How It’s Different From YouTube

Instagram designed IGTV to take the fight right to YouTube. They have thousands of Instagrammers with large audiences who have yet to make that jump to YouTube. Now they don’t have to grow on a new platform. And with their initial rules, Instagram is aiming for compelling, fresh content. For example, a creator can only upload video content that’s already been shot, opting not to allow videos to be created spontaneously and shared directly from the app. Although a pretty low wall for users to step over, this presumably will lead to higher quality videos with at least some post process review.

Further, you’re able to upload videos directly via Instagram’s desktop site from your computer. (You still can’t upload photos from your computer though). And their goal to attract larger creators is furthered by allowing videos of up to one hour–as long as the creator has a big enough following. What’s that bar, you ask? Although it was reported to be 10,000 followers there apparently are cases of users with over 10,000 still constrained to ten minutes. And last, according to Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, their insistence on portrait orientation was to enable original content rather than re-posting YouTube videos.

This is actually good news for brands this fall and winter. All these rules work in the brand’s favor for influencer campaigns planned in the near term. Now you just need to learn a solid approach for how to integrate IGTV into your next campaign.

A Taste for Conversions

You’ve read how we’re at the End of the Impression Era for influencer campaigns; brands have had the sweet taste of quantifiable engagement and are now aching for the umami: conversion. To note: every campaign we’ve run for brands this year has included a conversion link. And because we’ve seen overall conversion results of just under 5% with some outliers at 39%, eyebrows are raising higher than the temperature in Austin. It gets better. It sounds obvious, but the longer the link stays in the profile, the higher number of conversions you’ll receive. For example, on a recent campaign of ours we saw average conversion jump from 7% to 13% when the link stayed in the influencer profile for longer than an average of 20 days. The excitement is tempered, however, because a live liink for more than 24 hours is currently a one-off in the influencer world.

To ensure the link stays in place you’ll need to work it through your provider, and probably pay up for it. So how can you keep the clicks rolling in? This is where IGTV can help, at least for now.

Optimize Your Campaign With All Three

With the addition of IGTV, Instagram has punched that extra hole in your cute new suede belt for the holidays, extending your impressions, conversion, and engagement beltline. We see engagement taper off from image and short video posts over 70% after just 12 hours and diminish to effectively zero after 48 hours. And always a concern – will Instagram decide your influencers’ posts should be featured in their audiences’ feed? But the legacy of posts still rates high.

Adding Stories, constrained to a life of 24 hours, provides more value than you think. Stories can be more prominently visible than posts for that 24 hours, can be a lot more fun and informative, and do not seem to suffer from the dreaded “Algorithmia”. But IGTV? Depending on how prolific the people you follow are on IGTV, videos can hang near the front of the carousel for days – sometimes weeks. And because you can add hashtags, comments (including non-hyperlinked URLs) and tags, it’s like having a 10 to 60 minute well-edited video post that stays in front of your consumer for days instead of hours. It’s as close to bottomless mimosas as you’ll get at the Instagram brunch. But you better hurry because time is not on your side. As with each new feature from a provider like Instagram adoption will be slow at first then, as people figure out how to use IGTV, that carousel will fill up, effectively shortening the shelf life.

An integrated, comprehensive campaign consisting of posts, stories, and videos will extend the awareness and conversion of your campaign. As we at Mattr roll out these kinds of campaigns for our clients in the fall and winter, we’ll keep you apprised of metametrics so you can plan accordingly for next year.

 

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.