Which Type of Influencer Solution is Right For You?

Which Type of Influencer Solution is Right For You?

As Influencer Marketing enters its second decade in the modern world of marketing, the confusing fragmentation of providers is lifting. This means more clarity for you when it’s time to either dip your toes in the water or, if you’ve been doing it a while, fully insource the capability. But navigating the waters is still challenging: exactly what does Company X offer? Will they do the whole thing, or only parts of a campaign? Does it require a subscription to use Company Y’s platform?

Who does what?

There is no shortage of influencer marketing companies out there. Whether they describe themselves as tech companies, agencies, platforms, marketplaces, or solutions, they are all working to help connect brands and influencers in one way or another. Some are simply tech platforms that allow you to go into their pool of influencers and search yourself, while some search for you but once they find the influencer you’re on your own. Then there are the white glove services which are providers that do the searching, engaging, and activating for you. These different types of providers have their pros and cons. Choosing the right one will depend on what type of campaign you are looking for, your company’s experience with influencer campaigns, and how much bandwidth and budget you have. Here are a few things to consider when deciding which type of influencer provider is right for you.

DIY

A do-it-yourself type solution can mean a couple different things. It may simply be a tech platform where you gain access and search through their influencers, or perhaps the company finds influencers for you, but you carry out the campaign on your own. Many companies see a lot of pros in running these campaigns themselves. One of the biggest is the fact that the control is still in their hands. When brands are new to influencer marketing a lot of times they fear not having complete control over the outcome of the campaign and allowing a third party to take care of it. Hanging on to that control means no middleman between you and the influencer, which could mean less room for misunderstandings. Another benefit to this DIY approach is cost. When you do not have to pay a vendor for what you can do yourself, it will of course be a lot cheaper.

Not having that third party can mean a lot of cons as well. There is always a lot of friction and uncertainty in influencer campaigns because you’re often depending on people who have a full time job such as an accountant, personal trainer, stay-at-home mom or whatever. Especially if you are new to the game, you may come to crossroads and have to make decisions that could cost you engagement in the long run. One of the biggest downfalls to running a campaign yourself is the time and stress it can cause you. Searching, engaging, and activating influencers can be a long process, and a stressful one at that. On the surface level, influencer marketing seems very simple. There are millions and millions of social profiles out there, so of course it’s easy to find the right person for you, right? Just do a Google search for Denver based mom influencers or New Jersey based food influencers. But don’t forget that on top of that you need to make sure their audience is a certain age, and they have the right location, and they create good content, plus their psychographics need to align, their engagement has to be high, and their credibility with likes and impressions needs to be authentic. Even after all of that, are they going to be interested in working on your campaign? Are they complicated to work with? Too expensive? Do they have the availability? There is so much more that goes into these searches that isn’t realized. Searches like that cannot simply be automated or all found in one platform. Lastly, most DIY platforms require an annual subscription. And if that platform’s list of influencers is static, you’re going to see the same influencers appear each time you search for “moms, finance, New York.”

These providers do work well for certain brands and certain campaigns. Those who may be more experienced in influencer marketing may have the experience and time that doesn’t require a third party. On the other hand, maybe you are so new to influencer marketing that you want to run a small test campaign. If you are running a small and/or short campaign with micro influencers, it can be a low cost way to step into the world of influencer marketing.

White Glove Service

White Glove, or Full Service providers, are those that choose the influencers, engage, activate, and carry out the campaign for you. If the provider is heavy on the tech behind the selection of influencers and offers you a log-in at real time stats during the campaign, we’d call them a “Full Service Platform”. There are many pros to going with a full service solution. Perhaps the biggest one is having the stress of influencer campaigns lifted off of you. There is a lot more that goes into a campaign beyond choosing the right influencer. After the influencers are chosen, contracts have to be written up based on the guidelines of the brand, the FTC, and any partnership guidelines the influencer may have. And no matter what, keep in mind, that there is still the possibility of mistakes in the campaign. Perhaps the influencer created a post without #ad. Or content was sent a day late. These mishaps can happen often, even with the most experienced influencers. Most brands may not have time to troubleshoot and worry about these tiny, or sometimes big, bumps in the road or worse may not even notice them until they become large problems. We talked last week, when discussing Facebook’s new influencer platform, that the human-ness of influencer marketing means the possibility for mistakes. Working with humans has its pros, such as authenticity and engagement, but humans are only, well, human, and working with them also means anticipating the possibilities for errors along the way. It is extremely rare to go through an influencer campaign without one single mishap. When you engage a truly skilled influencer service, you shouldn’t even know when anything goes wrong because your service provider has the time and experience to quickly fix any issues that may pop up in a campaign.

The most obvious con to having white glove service is the cost. To have all of this work done by a third party it is going to be more expensive. It’s up to you to decide if the extra engagement and time saved are worth the cost. One of the most common reasons brands are hesitant to go with agencies is their fear of giving up control. Many brands see the product or service as their baby and they are protective of the way it is marketed, which is understandable. They want to have say over the entire look and feel over the campaign, when, how, and what is shown. However, a good full service company will still allow you to have say. Find a platform that works with you and allows you to give approvals on dates, influencers, content, etc. Try and think of this approach as more of a collaboration between you and the company.

White Glove Service is for many brands and companies. It can be extremely beneficial to companies that are new to influencer marketing and have little prior experience. It can also be for bigger and more experienced companies too – ones that might have a huge campaign that they do not have time to run completely alone. This is especially important if that campaign is going to include lots of influencers, niche targets, or long running partnerships anything that may be out of norm.

Insourcing

Another option is bringing influencer marketing in house which many enterprises are moving towards. This can be a long process and it’s important to understand every aspect before deciding if this is right for you or not. Insourcing is for brands and companies truly committed to influencer marketing and thinking about it long term (next 3-5 years). There are many things to consider such as: You may need to create an entire department with many employees. You may need to work with other departments like the brand teams, marketing, and IT to make the new team efficient and effective. But, the upside is that the cost savings can be immense for a large enterprise with multiple brands – into the millions of dollars per year. You can check out our White Paper on Insourcing which gives you details about this process here.

Conclusion

There are lots of options in influencer marketing when it comes to choosing which partner is right for you. Take into consideration what your campaign needs, where you’re at with influencer marketing, and what your budget is. Each option has its benefits and setbacks; think about what you can afford to do on your own or if it’s worth outsourcing to obtain your goal. Once you know influencer marketing is something you want a long term relationship with, then you can think about insourcing and becoming an internal agency yourself.

 

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.

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.

Will the Threat of IGTV Cause YouTube to Step Up Its Game?

Will the Threat of IGTV Cause YouTube to Step Up Its Game?

It seemed to appear out of the out of nowhere, surprising creators, users, and even brands. One day you logged onto Instagram and noticed a new little TV icon at the top of your screen…and all of the sudden we had IGTV. Out of the blue, this new feature has influencers and marketers alike questioning its potential and wondering how it can benefit their business. So, what is Instagram’s goal with IGTV? Are they looking for this new development to stand out like nothing else or is Instagram looking to take on YouTube as some much needed competition in the industry?

Brands should be intrigued and excited about IGTV’s potential. Disagree? Think back to Instagram stories which took some time to warm up to, but have now become a necessity for nearly every influencer campaign. Stories’ only drawback is their 24 hour shelf life. On the other hand you have Instagram Live, where the limitation is the risk of live videos following FTC guidelines and putting full trust in the influencers to create content that can’t be pre-approved. Now that IGTV is here we seem to have the best of both worlds. IGTV will last longer than stories and it doesn’t have the risks imposed with Instagram Live. Another plus, longer form videos provide an opportunity for influencers to better connect with their audience. A lot of influencers can seem elusive to their audience when you only know them through images. But videos allows them to share more of their life and personality. And in terms of influencer marketing, IGTV could be a better way for them to explain or showcase products.

So how is IGTV going to benefit the Instagram community? Simply put, Instagram decided to have a place for users to create more engaging content. Videos can be up to an hour long, which is a significant increase from their previous one minute limit. The format is specifically made to be viewed on your phone and, like flipping on the TV, audiences can scroll through channels of creators they follow as well as a ‘Popular’ channel and a ‘For You’ channel. IGTV will thrive with companies such as Buzzfeed or Refinery29 as a space to upload their content since these are channels which are not reliant on any sort of ad revenue but rather reaching the largest audience they can. Another place IGTV will succeed is with “Instagram comedians,” which are a huge genre on the platform – these are pages with millions of followers that create comedy videos that would be too short to upload to YouTube. IGTV gives them a chance to create longer videos in a space where they already have huge audiences.

If IGTV’s goal is simply to allow users to create more engaging content and better connect with their audience, we predict this will be a successful addition to the platform. But, if they want to be seen as a serious competitor to YouTube and draw YouTube creators to the Instagram platform, their business model will need to change. One thing IGTV needs to consider is that most long form creators are going to continue making videos on YouTube, unless Instagram gives them a better reason to come over. Unlike with influencers on Instagram, YouTubers aren’t relying solely on sponsorships to make their income. They make their money passively, from ads that run before their videos. And, as every influencer knows, pitching to brands is a difficult way to make a living. If running ads before IGTV videos is something Instagram will consider, then a lot more YouTubers would consider coming on board. 

After Adpocalypse, many YouTubers were left seeking alternative sources of revenue since ads were being taken off their videos for seemingly no reason. And after several mishaps with influencers (ahem, Logan Paul), YouTube has made serious efforts to keep content within strict guidelines. However, these efforts have unfortunately caused the demonetization of small channels. Larger channels, like Philip DeFranco and H3H3, have been very vocal about their disapproval of certain YouTube regulations and have welcomed competition to YouTube that might cause the platform to step up its game when it comes to the way they treat their creators. 

YouTube knows that if Instagram truly wants to compete, they will make it happen. Just look at what happened to Snapchat after the introduction of Instagram Stories. And, YouTube is fearful. Where creators go, their audiences go, and where the audience goes, brands will go. Perhaps this is why it’s been speculated that they have tried to ensure their content creators’ loyalty by paying YouTubers up to six figures to upload their content to YouTube first before any other platform. But, will this be enough? Influencers want to be where they can find the most success. Their loyalty lies with their followers, not the platform they post on.

To get more perspective on the issue, we asked YouTuber and founder of collegeinfogeek.com, Thomas Frank, who has over one million subscribers, his thoughts on IGTV as a competitor to YouTube: “I absolutely see IGTV as a YouTube competitor…IGTV is fighting for the same thing YouTube is – the long-term attention of the largest possible user base. But they’re embracing their mobile-first roots and bringing something to the table that YouTube isn’t known for. I see it as a great thing for the industry, as competition is almost always a good thing for consumers.” 

The future of IGTV is up in the air. For now, brands will stay curious as influencers continue to experiment with its true potential. There is no question that this new feature will be something to keep an eye on when it comes to influencer marketing. But, to be a giant in the space of long form video, Instagram will need to make efforts to make their business model closer to that of YouTube. As for now, it appears IGTV is a great space to upload extra content, behind the scenes, etc. The question is, will this be enough to keep IGTV relevant?

 

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.