If Influencer Marketing hadn’t already made an impact on the marketing industry in years past, it surely did in 2016. In fact, new research says that 86 percent of marketers used this strategy last year and most marketers are looking to double their investment in 2017. Let’s talk about some brands we believe rocked the 2016 Influencer Marketing space.
We’ve seen this time and time again, consumers are constantly searching “how-to” for everything and reading that ‘this trend or that’ has forever changed the beauty industry. No longer do celebrities on TV commercials or billboard ads dominate the buying behaviors of beauty product consumers, but rather it’s influencers like Jaclyn Hill that are captivating audiences and moving them to buy products.
With a staggering 3 million YouTube subscribers and 2.9 million Instagram followers, this beauty blogger, in collaboration with Becca Cosmetics, gets our vote for an 2016 influencer marketing campaign done right.
Not only does Hill give her approval for Becca products after having used them many times, but the brand goes a step further in this campaign by working with the influencer to develop a product produced by both parties – Champagne Collection Face Palette. This relationship benefits both the brand and influencer. The influencer expands her profile, while the brand gets direct access to an audience already bought into the creator of the product.
Beauty isn’t the only industry being transformed by social media influencers. Check out this collaboration between Mercedes Benz and Loki the Wolf Dog. This Mercedes Benz video captures the emotional appeal of its audience by telling the story of Loki and his owner Kelly Lund, inspiring others to get out and experience life in the outdoors, all while remaining only a background object in this cinematic A+.
Without even mentioning the features of the 2017 Mercedes GLS (the product which the video is effectively promoting), the car captivates viewers. In conjunction with this commercial, a 2016 Influencer Marketing hashtag campaign, #MBPhotoPass, also took to Instagram to showcase beautiful imagery of the experience, and produced another video using a HD 360 camera – giving viewers the sense that they could be sitting right next to Loki and Kelly on another adventure. Curious what other possibilities mixing 360-degree technology and influencers can do for your campaign? Read about how we’re equipping our influencers with the technology to stay ahead of the game.
Putting video aside, brands like TD Ameritrade are tapping into the belief that real people as brand ambassadors can make a bigger impact on the way average people connect with them. TD Ameritrade developed a campaign to change the perceptions about the finance industry altogether. And instead of calling this an influencer campaign they are calling it a “movement”.
The Human Finance Project tells stories from real registered investment advisors (RIAs) about what it truly means to be an advisor. All of these stories were collected through a traveling storytelling booth and are now being shared on their website. Developing this movement put the most important part of the business at the forefront of the campaign – the people. By putting a face behind the name and using the right people to spread the word about what they do, TD Ameritrade is effectively building trust, awareness, and real engagement with the audience they’re aiming to attract.
Corona stretched its creative possibilities by teaming with fashion bloggers to showcase beer-inspired outfits to promote Corona Lite – the lower calorie version of the popular beer. Partnering with Gilt Groupe, an online flash sale site, the fashion influencers were shown on its website and Instagram wearing “Light Looks” curated by the fashion bloggers. In this case, their audience is being persuaded by these influential fashionistas that you can drink a delicious low-calorie beverage and look good doing it.
Lastly, let’s take a look at one of our own clients. Western Digital needed a cost-per-engagement pricing model to limit risk while requiring fast turnaround for influencer activation so they tasked Mattr with sourcing influencers through our Virtual Agent platform to create unique campaign content. We identified and activated influencers in the “parent” and “travel” target markets that were also available for travel and campaign stunts.
Western Digital authentically reached new target audiences by securing three influencers on extremely short notice. By the end of the campaign, the influencers had driven consumer engagement that far exceeded estimated engagement and impressions (15+% more than average influencer engagement), increasing brand awareness and conversation.
This is a great example of how knowing your audience, having an objective and bringing on the RIGHT social media influencers to promote your brand can produce effective results.
Which 2016 Influencer Marketing campaigns did we miss? Tell us your favorite brands and campaigns in the comments.
By now we’ve all heard the standard influencer marketing metrics that the internet claims can make or break a campaign. Referral traffic, trackable links, brand awareness metrics and engagement to name a few. But what do all of these standard metrics really mean, when you break them all down? For the newcomers to the Influencer Marketing world in 2017, what are the absolute musts for metrics when building and monitoring an influencer campaign?
At Mattr, we have our own ideas about what’s important for a brand to monitor and measure before, during and even after a campaign. Some of the most important metrics we promote to our clients fall under the umbrellas of brand fitness, brand alignment and brand budgets.
Brand Fitness: Monitoring the Online Health of Your Brand
Brand Fitness gives a detailed view of the ‘health’ of your online brand over a period of time. Generally, those metrics break down into the number of followers a brand has on Twitter, the number of fans they have on Facebook, their total YouTube views as well as their Google search volume. These engagement metrics can be customized based on a brand’s social networks and goals.
Another piece to Brand Fitness is a brand’s online Share of Voice – or how a brand’s share of social chatter and online searches compares to their competitors. Having a side-by-side view of social mentions as well as Google searches compared to rival companies gives brands a way to monitor developments in their influencer campaigns as they happen.
Brand Alignment: Are You Reaching the Right People?
Another feature of Mattr’s Influencer Marketing metrics is psychographic analyses of a brand’s influencers as well as an influencer’s audience. In other words, does the brand know the target audience they are looking to attract, and are the influencers they’ve hired for their campaigns reaching and aligning with those target audiences?
This psychographic analysis can start way before the actual influencer campaign begins. Through natural language processing algorithms, Mattr has the ability to analyze a brand’s own social audience and identify specific values, such as how green the group is, or how cost-conscious they might be. These values might help a brand identify target groups that are ideal for a specific campaign.
Next, Mattr can identify specific social influencers who hold those same values dear, and even further, can analyze the influencer’s audience to make sure they align with the brand ideals as well. This gives brands more confidence in hiring the right influencers, as well as more confidence that the right eyes and ears will be subjected to the influencer’s content. A win, win for the brand. Keep in mind that this psychographic analysis is also an ongoing metric, that can be tweaked as needed through a full campaign, or from campaign to campaign based on specific brand goals.
Brand Budget- Keeping Your Dollars in Check
A last metric Mattr monitors for our clients throughout the influencer campaign is the brand budget. The success of a campaign is often related to how much a brand spends, especially if those brands are smaller and have less resources to waste. How do we do this? We hire influencers for brands based on a Cost Per Engagement model that ensures that a brand’s influencers are performing, and that their target market is actually engaging. Mattr provides reports to keep track of spending and engagement, and allows brands to increase or decrease spend, and add or cut influencers, based on their influencer marketing goals.
If any of the above-mentioned influencer marketing metrics are important to your brand as you plan your 2017 strategy, give us a call to chat more about your options.
(Originally posted in Austin American Statesman)
In 2012, Sarah Ware founded a company called Markerly that built tools to make it easier for bloggers to share their content on social media.
Ware said their widgets allowed Markerly to gather data on which bloggers were “truly influential” based on how many people were sharing their content. So Markerly had the idea of sharing this data with brands interested in working with these social media influencers.
Soon, they were making more money off their influence marketing business than the widgets. Markerly, which started in San Francisco but moved its headquarters to Austin, is now focused exclusively on helping brands find influencers and develop campaigns.
They employ 15 people and raised $800,000 two years ago, most of which came from a single angel investor, Ware said.
As the popularity of the influence marketing industry soars, it’s also created an opening for middle-man tech companies.
These firms develop technology that helps brands find influencers, manage and automate campaigns and create metrics for measuring influence.
In Austin, there are several influence marketing companies that launched within the last three years. And even traditional advertising agencies like GSD&M now have entire teams dedicated to influence marketing campaigns.
Some influence marketing companies act like talent agents, building a network of influencers who sign up with them and then connecting them with brands based on the type of campaign. They will also help out with the negotiations and with planning the campaign.
Other companies also have developed technology that helps pinpoint exactly how much influence these influencers have.
It’s not enough to just count how many followers on Instagram a fashion blogger has accrued, in part because it’s fairly easy to “buy” followers.
Daniel Carter, a doctoral student at the University of Texas’ School of Information, has studied influence marketing. He wrote a paper that examined computer science techniques that could be used to better measure influence on social media.
But he explained that social media companies keep a lot of their data to themselves because that’s how they sell ads, rendering it nearly impossible to use extensive data science to find the best influencers.
So influence marketing agencies are forced to look instead at only the publicly accessible data, such as followers, retweets and likes, comments and shares.
Markerly, for instance, has developed software that allows a brand to find their own influencers based on keyword searches. They also measure influencers based on “engagement” scores, which Ware defines as how many people liked, commented or shared content from a certain influencer, as well as total follower count. “They are able to find the perfect voice for them,” Ware said. Markerly’s technology also helps brands contact the influencers and monitor campaigns.
She said the company still handles influencer campaigns on behalf of companies, but they built this software so that companies can manage these campaigns in-house.
Austin-based influence marketing firm Mattr has also developed software and other techniques to help brands and influencers connect.
“We come in as the middle man and we have different reports and features through the app that monitor the campaign from beginning to end,” explained Carol Scott, a senior director of marketing for Mattr. Like Markerly, the agency also developed ways to measure engagement, which can help guide how much an influencer is paid.
“The more engagement they get on their post, the more a brand will pay,” Scott said. Like Markerly, the 5-year-old company initially focused on a different type of technology before shifting to influencer marketing.
They also offer marketers access to a “few thousand” influencers that have signed up to be part of Mattr’s network and are vetted by the company to determine their suitability for campaigns, Scott said.
Influencer marketing firms said the companies and brands they work with aren’t always concerned about generating sales.
Sometimes the goal is simply to generate awareness of their brand among millennials, or to get people talking about a certain product.
“Millennials have zero trust in anything outside their own social networks,” Scott said. “They only trust their friends, their family, a small group of people, and they all have social media accounts. This is how they are getting their news, their value, what to buy, what to wear, what to eat.”
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Host: Kyle Leach, Mattr
Guest: Elizabeth Ollis, VP Business Development at Mattr
News From the Front Lines
In Episode 4 of our ‘And It Is Amazing’ podcast, Elizabeth Ollis discusses what she hears from travel brands regarding their relationships with influencers. She taps into what brands are looking for when choosing influencers, and identifies which metrics are most important to the brand when choosing to partner with influencers. She shares how the things that are going to make an influencer successful with an audience are the same things that are going to make them successful with a brand.
“No matter what your influencer focus might be, make sure you’re being authentic with the brand.”
In this episode, Elizabeth shares:
- What brands are looking for from travel influencers and who they consider for partnerships
- Why it is important for an influencer’s style to align with a brand’s values and campaign objectives
- The key metrics, like engagement and follower count, that brands focus on when choosing influencers as marketing partners
- How important passion, style and voice is when it comes to choosing influencers for a campaign
Running time 6:36
Be sure to subscribe to us and review us on iTunes!
Driverless cars, bitcoin, Airbnb – technology, alongside innovative business models, have been changing the way we’ve done things for decades. Advertising is a market that feels destined for a major disruption. We’ve seen that millennials and Gen Z consumers won’t go for digital and, even with more creative content and new platforms, clickthrough rates have remained dismal. Think about it: what else would you buy that has a success rate of less than one out of a thousand? That’s a failure rate, not a success rate! Marketers know we need to evolve the model of getting a brand’s message to the consumer and there will be some steady progress for Influencer Marketing in 2016, but we’ll be running through deep sand for a while.
Millennials and Gen Z will continue to frustrate marketers
Past precedence has shown that the marketing methods that work today won’t resonate with those in the prime buying generation. For example, Baby Boomers moved from direct mail to telemarketing. Generation X moved from telemarketing to email marketing. Now millennials are moving from social media to influencer marketing. Gen Z, however, will demand complete transparency in marketing efforts, leading to a decrease in paid influencer marketing and a rise in open and honest influencer marketing, or brand advocacy.
Marketers will get budget for advocacy pilot projects
Consumers are longing for more personalized interactions with their favored brands beyond complaints. Millennials, in particular, will advocate for brands they love. To cultivate these loyalists, marketers want to rely heavily on technology to gain insight into their behaviors and desires and participate in content creation, crowdsourcing and even social activism. But think about what’s needed to convert a brand’s consumer list into social profiles, which are then sorted and segmented so that social marketers can listen and respond. The project touches at 2-3 department heads in Marketing along with 3 or more department heads in IT. Because the value is becoming clearer to enterprise executives and the CMO is getting more budget, we’ll see some budget allocated for pilot programs in 2016-17.
Influencer marketing will need transparency to scale
How did you find your last babysitter? How much did they charge? Did they even know what to charge you? Babysitting is a disorganized, inefficient market – similar to Influencer Marketing.
Influencer marketing is no recent invention and most agree that word-of-mouth is the most effective advertising. So, why is it still a sub $500 million market when the digital ad market will bill over $60 billion? The answer is scaling and transparency. We’re finally getting great, next generation software tools to identify influencers. But the business model remains archaic: brand contacts agency, agency contacts an influencer from their database or from a tool, brand pays agency, who then pays influencer. This model is pinning the market’s shoulders to the ground. How can we start taking chunks out of that big digital ad budget? A standardized and transparent pricing model, so that you can hire tens or hundreds of influencers to be authentic and loud voices for your brand. You find influencers you’d trust with your brand, then know how and what to pay them in bulk. You get millions of impressions. But brand managers are fiercely protective of their brands, so it has to be authentic – hence the difficulty that great discovery tools can help with.
Remember that B2B changes course like a sluggish cruise liner, while B2C can maneuver like a jetski. So be patient, but persistent, and start building the foundation for a new marketing model whose wake is as mighty and large as the ocean.
By Jack Holt, Mattr CEO