Bolder Thinking Blog

Influencer marketing isn’t dead, it’s evolving: What brands need to know

January 20th, 2020 | Jeannette Ornelas

Adage recently published an opinion piece, Opinion: The Dishonest and Wasteful Practice of Influencer Marketing,” that got heavy traction on Twitter; As many of our clients have questions regarding influencer marketing, we wanted to share our take. 

Influencer marketing can help brands reach new audiences but brands must have a clear vision of their target consumer and campaign objectives. We’d like to refute a few points from the original article, below:

“Influencers artificially inflating their numbers”

Having the proper vetting and audits in place can mitigate this. There are also such things as affiliate links where you can literally track exact conversions. As brands work to mitigate risk, we’ve seen micro and nano-influencers take off. Comperemedia data shows in 2019 brands shifted investments from top-tier to lower-tier influencers, with 72% of sponsored Instagram posts coming from micro and nano-influencers.

The implication for marketers: Focus on brand alignment. Having an auditing process in place allows for proper vetting which enables you to select talent that best aligns with your campaign objectives. While micro and nano-influencers may offer lower reach, they tend to retain higher levels of engagement than top-tier influencers.

“We need to stop chasing vanity metrics”

But that’s not to say there is no value in measuring engagement. The reality is when you place too much weight on vanity metrics you dilute your brand. Engagement is a predictor of action, not an end-goal in itself. As influencer marketing matures, brand strategies are evolving. 

The implication for marketers: Collaborate, don’t transact. Nurturing long-term relationships with your influencers is critical to creating maximum value. Repeated brand exposure builds trust and has a higher likelihood of resulting in conversions.

“Consumers find it difficult to identify when influencers are advertising” 

This highly underestimates consumers, particularly those who follow influencers. Per Mintel research on internet influencers, 71% of adults who follow influencers agree an account that pushes a product/service must be getting paid. Brands must be wary of creative blindness as feeds become increasingly saturated with sponsored content.

The implication for marketers: Give up (some) creative control. While brands need to make their campaign and business objectives clear, they also need to trust influencers to understand their market and relinquish the creative reins to create content that really resonates.

Next month, we will be presenting an influencer marketing webinar on February 27. We’ll update this blog with more details and a registration link once available.

Jeannette Ornelas

Jeannette Ornelas

Jeannette Ornelas is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst for Comperemedia. Jeannette is responsible for producing syndicated and custom reports and providing marketing insights across a range of industry sectors and channels.