Before we could scroll through Amazon’s customer review sections for the truth about products or check out Twitter feeds for trending hashtags that sometimes criticize brands delivering subpar experiences, most consumers relied on more personal offline sources to find the endorsements they needed to influence their final purchase. It’s no wonder why these two worlds have recently collided through influencer marketing. Whether tapping into family, coworkers, acquaintances, or any well-regarded individual that can vouch for goods or services, it’s undeniable that a referral valued by your audience will be of even greater value to your brand.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Although it’s definitely not a new practice, Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising survey found that 83% of consumers trust the opinions of friends and family most, proving that word of mouth advertising still holds incredible weight.
Today’s digital marketers are hyper-aware of how saturated their audiences’ inboxes, apps, dashboards, and news feeds are. With so much digital advertising crossing our path every day, whether it be video, Instagram ads or email banners, we often tune out the noise and rely on a familiar face to guide us towards our next purchase. This is where influencer marketing has seen success. Influencer marketing relies on word of mouth reviews but also gives us a recognizable online personality’s face that we trust and may even aspire to be like. “Influencers,” or people with a large social media following, are paid thousands of dollars to talk about, post or market how great a specific product is.
Brands and advertisers are hungry for influencer endorsements, especially in retail, beauty, and other CPG verticals. A recent article by Forbe’s stated, “Great influencer marketing content can sway opinions, spark conversations, increase brand loyalty and boost sales.” But none of this matters if the strategy behind the content isn’t right. Just as with any marketing, the ad needs to hit the right consumer, at the right time, in the right place and with the right message. The brand, its message, the influencer, and the time, place, and relevance all need to align. Organic content that is only distributed from the individual influencer’s blog or social channels simply doesn’t hold as much lifetime value as a digital ad campaign, so why not marry the two?
Influencer Marketing Enabled by Programmatic
According to eMarketer’s 2017 Influencer Marketing Roundup, “Marketers continue to spend big— investing anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 on a single influencer marketing campaign.” To leverage this investment even further, 74% of U.S. marketers repurpose influencer content on their brand’s social channels and 46% across the sites that they own and operate. However, a mere 14% of marketers are leveraging programmatic media buying to distribute the influencer content that they originally invested their ad dollars in. Digital advertising agencies like January Digital that are pushing out their influencer content through programmatic channels have seen engagement rates up to 100x higher. With that type of investment and this lift, what digital marketer wouldn’t want to leverage programmatic in their next influencer marketing campaign?
5 Programmatic Influencer Marketing Tactics
EVP of Arnold Worldwide, Brian Babineau, believes that brands need to change their mindsets when it comes to influencer marketing, stating that “[it’s] a different production model, but many treat it as a media channel. Influencer marketing is no longer just a niche tool that companies can use. The better you can measure the ad, the more information you will have about how much to spend.” Beyond measuring ad spend, there are certain programmatic tactics that you can use to take full advantage of influencer marketing.
- Retargeting: Programmatic data can track the audiences that interacted with the influencer’s content, re-market to them and also use lookalike targeting to find more user like them.
- Channel Variety: Limiting yourself to just influencer marketing limits your channels to owned and earned, but incorporating programmatic unlocks a different paid channels to leverage.
- Digital Out of Home: Incorporating the influencer in DOOH ads, allows you to place the ad in a great location. Placing an influencer near a store drives customers to it. Placing a display ad along during a commute that you know your audience takes, increases brand awareness. This is a great way to directly target an audience in a location that you know they pass.
- Knowing which influencer works best: If a brand is using more than one influencer, programmatic allows you to see who is more successful or resonates with your audience more effectively.
- Print advertising: Through programmatic, you can determine which magazines, newspapers and websites your target audience is drawn to and incorporate influencer marketing in those channels.
As programmatic advances and enables even more precise targeting, the capabilities to incorporate the tactics into influencer marketing will grow as well. Serving your audience with an ad that includes a friendly face they are familiar with will become an even more successful advertising tool.
Watch Out for Influencer Fraud
As popularity in influencer marketing rises, there will also be a rise in fraud, making it important to look out for red flags. From fake accounts, to fake followers and engagement, there are multiple platforms that allow people to buy followers and engagements for their pictures or posts. According to eMarketer, marketers spent $570 million on Instagram influencer marketing last year, meaning there is a chance that huge sums of money are going toward fake accounts.
There are various services and platforms that use algorithm-based detection of influencers’ accounts to ensure that their followers are real. This is an option to use when deciding on an influencer. It is also important to look at the history of the account and chose someone that has a reputable track record. Just as with any advertising agreement, if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Before jumping on the influencer marketing track, make sure the person you chose fits your brand image, has great consumer engagement and the proper following, granting you the best return on your investment.
Looking to implement influencer marketing in your next programmatic media buying campaign? We can help. Learn about how Digilant can determine the best influencers and micro-influencers to lift engagement in your next programmatic media buying campaign. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or here.