Influencer marketing should be part of performance partnership marketing
Influencer marketing spending has skyrocketed in recent years, with more than double to $13.8 billion in 2021. But the growth spurt has not come without growing pains. In Europe, 62% of B2C marketers say they measure the efficiency influencer marketing is a concern. Fifty-eight percent said finding the right influencer was a challenge, and 32% said they struggled to build an “always-on” influencer strategy.
Advertisers wanting to capitalize on influencers’ social followings don’t need to reinvent the wheel when getting into influencer marketing. Instead, they should view influencer marketing as part of partnership or affiliate marketing and leverage the tools of this existing discipline to measure channel performance.
Let’s explore the benefits of influencer marketing, how marketers can start taking advantage of it, and why it makes sense to incorporate influencers into a partnership marketing program.
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Benefits and Challenges of Influencer Marketing
Influencers offer many of the same benefits as other creator partners, such as publishers offering sponsored content opportunities. When a brand works with an influencer, it not only reaches an audience that may be interested in their service or product, but also capitalizes on the trust the influencer has established with that audience.
Additionally, by leveraging relationships with diverse influencers, brands can reach a variety of customer types, expanding their reach beyond the audiences internal talent knows how to communicate most effectively with. For example, a brand wishing to reach LGBTQ consumers could tap into an influential influencer in that community, increasing the authenticity of the messaging and avoiding the awkward. blunders this can happen when marketers try to tap into new audiences.
But as the data cited above suggests, influencer marketing has its challenges. Influencers can have large or dedicated followers on social media without necessarily being professional marketers in their own right. This could mean they are producing content that diverges from brand expectations, have no way to measure their campaigns, or deviate from brand safety guidelines. This is where it helps for brands to adopt standardized, technology-enhanced approaches to influencer partnerships.
Different models to engage influencers
Brands can pay, discover, and work with influencers in different ways, and finding the right method can determine partnership success.
For example, brands can pay influencers flat fees for campaigns, varying amounts based on the number of followers, or calibrate spend based on metrics like impressions and conversions. Most marketers would benefit from adopting a test and learn approach. It’s part of treating influencer marketing as a mature channel not so different from search, social media, or TV: testing a partnership, setting KPIs, and evaluating results lay the foundation for success.
Discovery is another potential pain point. Searching for influencers on Instagram is like browsing the aisles of a random department store; the seeker can find gold, but there are more effective strategies. Technology-enabled influencer marketing platforms can allow brands to identify ideal characteristics – such as demographics, location or language and follower count range – and identify the most successful influencers. positioned to achieve their goals.
Finally, there is the question of the management of an ongoing collaboration. This is where it is most useful to integrate influencer marketing into a larger affiliate strategy.
Why influencers should be treated as performance partners
Brands can solve much of the mystery surrounding influencer marketing if they approach influencers as performance partners, just like publishers, loyalty affiliates, and coupon programs. Most brands have ventured into affiliate marketing, paying a publisher, for example, to produce or publish content related to their brand and calibrating the payment based on measurable KPIs such as customer acquisition, engagement or revenue growth. Marketers can apply the same principles to influencers.
The issue here is more about technology than strategy. If brands know how to nurture performance-based partnerships, they should be able to replicate that success with influencers. The challenge is to equip the influencer with the technology needed to prove their performance and the brand with the technology they need to optimize discovery, communication and payment.
Influencer marketing is relatively new, but it’s not rocket science. With a performance partnership mindset, brands can tap into trust and targeted influencers without the uncertainty that undermines partnerships for marketers and influencers.
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