Views from the industry: influencer marketing

Following IAB UK’s YouGov survey on influencer marketing, contributors from across the industry give their views on how advertisers can get the most out of the format

What are the key considerations for brands when choosing influencers for their campaigns? 

Adam Williams, CEO, Takumi

Alignment and relevancy is key between the brand and the influencer. Brands need to understand which influencers to work with as there is a risk of working with the wrong influencer, and creating content that doesn’t resonate with an audience. Another big consideration is fake audiences. Thorough checks and vetting are required to dig deep into an influencer’s audience profile, making sure to consider:

  • Followers: who are they? Real people, bots, fake followers…

  • Following to follower ratio

  • Demographic and geographic distribution within an audience base

  • Engagement: who is commenting and are they genuine posts?

 

Anthony Capano, Managing Director – International, Rakuten Marketing

One of the main considerations for brands partnering with influencers must be relevancy. Influencer marketing has come a long way and understanding from consumers, brands and influencers themselves has grown. People increasingly appreciate the work and financial investment involved in making great daily content. However, this level of consumer savviness comes at a price: if influencers are promoting products that aren’t a natural fit, audiences will switch off. It’s about being authentic. Brands must prioritise partnering with influencers that align with their brand values. They also need to understand what they want to gain from working with an influencer and how they are going to measure success. Meanwhile, influencers must prioritise promoting products that align with their own ‘brand’ or risk losing their audience. 

James Sharman, VP Sales, Buzzoole 

Marketers need to remember why they’re investing in influencer marketing: advocacy, voice and creative are key and, as such, relevance and brand affinity must be paramount. However, these aren’t the only factors to consider. With influencer fraud a very hot topic, brands fundamentally need to ensure that they're reaching real audiences, not bots. 

Analysis of first-party performance data is the only trusted way to ensure brands reach legitimate audiences. It enables them to see actual reach to follower ratio, average impressions generated and engagements, allowing for meaningful decisions to be made based on robust data. Couple this with first-party audience data (location, age, gender) to ensure that real people are being reached, within the correct demographic and location. This analysis will indicate whether an influencer has built a genuine following or has engaged in fraudulent activity, such as buying followers and engagements. 

What can marketers do to ensure their influencer posts stand out among the rest? 

Claire MorrisHead of Influencer Marketing, Publicis Media

Audiences are getting savvier. This means that outdated influencer techniques such as inauthentic brand fit or uninspiring product placement will no longer cut it. Marketers need to find the right balance between content creativity and media performance in order to cut through the noise of soulless product features to drive ROI. Marketers have a responsibility to select the right talent that is sincere fit for the brand and they need to combine this with more creative content that facilitates the value exchange by offering real experiences, peer guidance and expert recommendations. Audiences want connections that are relatable, unfiltered and genuine.

Adam Williams, CEO, Takumi

As the industry has matured and as more brands get involved and put more marketing budget into the activity, advertisers need to focus on how to activate influencers. If they want to maximise results and build a successful campaign, it’s not just who they work with but how. As part of the shift from WHO to HOW, brands will need to come up with ways to activate influencers in new and creative ways. For example, by encouraging content creators to establish themselves as their own creative directors and become involved in brands’ story-telling process. This offers brands direct engagement with influencers from the very start of the campaign process and enables that creative execution.

What are the exciting automation opportunities within influencer marketing? 

Anthony Capano, Managing Director – International, Rakuten Marketing

IAB UK’s influencer survey found that, along with measurement and cost, one of the main barriers for influencer marketing is finding the right partner, with 37% of marketers saying that they have had trouble finding the right influencers to work with. There’s an exciting opportunity for data and automation to ease the friction of this process. Utilising data to identify suitable influencers – and not just in terms of reach but also relevant topics and audiences – in an automated way enables marketers to find effective influencer partnerships more efficiently. This will enable more brands to find the right influencer to help them make the most of the sweet spot offering both reach and engagement.

Claire MorrisHead of Influencer Marketing, Publicis Media

At its very core, successful influencer marketing relies on human connection: connection between brands, influencers and audiences. Therefore, there needs to be a healthy balance between automation and human judgement. Marketers need to input a strong creative concept that provides value to audiences, as this drives greater resonance than artificially devised campaigns. Human touch also allows marketers to generate greater value from running long-term partnerships rather than one off activations. So whilst there is an increasing number of automated solutions on the market, marketers should be wary of achieving efficiencies through fully automated approaches.

Find out more about our YouGov Influencer Survey here. 

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