According to Statista, the global influencer marketing industry was only worth $1.7 billion in 2016 with the industry reaching $9.7 billion in 2020 and a projected industry market size of $13.8 billion in 2021. These numbers show how fast the industry is growing with a ridiculous 8.1x of growth between 2016 and 2021!
Word-of-mouth (WoM) has become one of the most trusted ways of advertising in recent years. People are more likely to trust their friends and family over branded ads they see on TV or in magazines. This is where influencer marketing and user generated content (UGC) comes in.
Using brand influencers is one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing to your target audience, but what is brand influencer marketing? How does brand influencer marketing work? What are micro influencers? What’s the difference between influencer marketing and affiliate marketing?
In this article we’ll go over all these questions and more so you can get the basics of influencer marketing down and get it woven into your overall marketing mix by tomorrow!
Brand influencer marketing wasn’t a thing 20 years ago, so what is it?
Think of it as a modern sponsorship version of when Reebok partnered with Shaq for endorsements.
Influencer marketing is all about relationship management and building up trust with your customers. Influencer marketers speak on behalf of the brand to the target audience in an organic way that the target audience can relate to.
Brand influencer marketing is a growing vertical in marketing and is based on creators making recommendations based on brands that sponsor them.
These top macro brand influencers have huge followings where viewers read and watch their content regularly. It’s this internet famous status that brands are wanting to harness to get the most reach with their message as possible. The goal is awareness and can greatly increase sales.
Take for example how bottled water got famous. There weren’t a whole lot of campaigns that Evian and Fiji were launching for awareness, it was influencer marketing to the max!
These bottled water companies would sponsor events like the Golden Globes and be seen in five-star hotel lobbies. They would be found in the hands of celebrities, actors, and models as a status symbol.
We’re talking about a product that is as common as air that got repackaged and sold at a premium price. Now all the top beverage players have joined in from Pepsi to Coca-Cola so they can cash in on this new luxury status symbol. This is a perfect example of how effective influencer marketing can be at the tippy top level.
If you’ve watched any of your favorite YouTubers in the last couple of years, you’ll notice that these creators are plugging their partnered sponsors and providing a discount or checkout code to use at the point of purchase.
This is to track the effectiveness of the partnership and see how much sales volume the influencer is making for the brand. A great example of this would be the penguinz0/Cr1TiKaL YouTube channel and Charlie’s partnership with G-Fuel.
Influencer marketing can work in a number of different ways. There’s the more traditional approach where brands will partner with a brand influencer directly to sponsor content and drive more conversions, then there’s a separate approach that uses micro influencers and produces content that will go directly on the brand’s different platforms and channels.
More on micro influencers and what the perks of using them are later. Let’s talk about how brand influencers actually WORK.
Top brand influencer marketers can be found through various different channels. There are specialized brand influencer agencies, you can contact the brand influencer directly via email, or search through different creator marketplaces for the brand influencer that fits your needs and goals the best.
The brand influencer agencies are companies that specialize in matching up the right brand influencers with the right companies. They take a pretty handsome cut of the profits and take out some of the leg work in hunting down a brand influencer.
These influencer agencies are significantly more expensive than if you were to have a creative advertising agency make the videos for you, or if you messaged the brand influencers directly. For example, hiring a brand influencer agency generally STARTS at $1,000 PER POST and goes up from there.
To get a post on a creator with more than a million followers doing influencer marketing on Instagram, it’ll cost around $10,000 for a single post. You could get waaay more assets from a creative ad agency with that kinda cash!
If you’re especially picky on who you’ll be using as a brand influencer, you may want to try contacting some content creators your target audience is closely watching to get the best results from influencer marketing.
If you don’t know where to start or you’re wanting to use brand influencers on a platform you’re unfamiliar with, there will be creator marketplaces for those platforms you can browse through, do some research, and find the one that will vibe the best with your target audience.
One thing to take note of is that using a brand influencer is essentially an endorsement deal between the company and the brand influencer. The brand influencer will be an extension of your brand so please please please be careful when choosing a really popular brand influencer. They should reflect your brand values and help reach, not deter your target audience.
If the popular brand influencer has a scandal or something newsworthy happens to them in a bad way, that bad news could funnel its way back to your brand.
Influencer marketing on Instagram is currently the most popular among the major social media influencer platforms. The average number of views for influencer marketing on Instagram is 1,542 likes and a 3% engagement rate.
Instagram has about 1 billion users and an average of $10/CPM (Cost Per Mille/Thousand) for influencer marketing on Instagram. This is a great influencer platform for brands expanding their reach and has a lower CPM than YouTube does.
Instagram is more fast-paced and the content is easier to digest as these quick hits can come and go in as little as 30 seconds.
Instagram is a great influencer platform to use brand influencer marketing on if you have a lower budget and know that your target audience is not likely to sit through a longer YouTube video.
Influencer marketing on Instagram is a bit tougher than it is on TikTok. The influencer platform doesn’t have their own creator marketplace… so it’ll be the brand’s responsibility to find a creative ad agency, influencer marketing agency, or a third-party creator marketplace to find their brand influencers.
When it comes to influencer marketing, YouTube takes the crown. It’s not the most popular among the major social media influencer platforms, but YouTube has more users, more average viewers per brand influencer, and a higher engagement rate than Instagram does.
The numbers are 2 billion users, 24,343 average viewers per brand influencer video, and an average engagement rate of 18%! As a digital marketer, those numbers look a whole lot better than what Instagram’s selling. The major drawback is that their average CPM is a bit high at $20. That’s about double what it is on Instagram or TikTok. The engagement rate can be explained by the fact that YouTube is almost only used for video posts compared to Instagram which allows photos.
As we discussed in our previous blog article about eCommerce Software and Marketing, we know that video content is by FAR the most engaging form of content someone can post explaining how YouTube’s engagement rate is 6x bigger than Instagram’s. The issue is that creating high quality video content can be more difficult for some to produce compared to photos and text.
Similar to TikTok, YouTube has their own creator marketplace where brand influencers can connect with sponsors to get paid. Their version of the TikTok Creator Marketplace is YouTube BrandConnect.
YouTube BrandConnect is currently an exclusive clubhouse only allowing new members to join by invite only, but they’re hoping to roll the service out to everyone as soon as possible.
So, we’ve already discussed TikTok influencer marketing a bit in our previous article about Paid TikTok Marketing, but we only glanced over it a little bit. We spoke about how brand influencers can easily be found on the TikTok Creator Marketplace and a bit about the importance of brand influencer marketing.
Brand influencer marketing on TikTok has an average engagement rate of 16%, over 1,1 billion users, an average CPM of $10. To give you an idea of how popular this social media influencer platform is, TikTok was the #1 downloaded app in the Apple App Store for all of 2020 and ss of August 5, 2021 it’s STILL #1!
It’s worth noting that TikTok users hate most advertising and are put-off by sales pitches. ANY advertising done on this social media influencer platform should be as close to the organic content that appears on this app as possible. For this reason, it’s best to use brand influencers that are familiar with the platform and know what kind of content does really well. Anything else could be as damaging as using emojis on Reddit and you won’t see the level of ROI that you’re looking for.
To make a long story short, there are oodles of social media influencer platforms to choose from, but all of them may not be relevant to your brand.
The best way to make your selection is to have a completed customer persona, a customer journey, as well as a multi touch attribution model to figure out which influencers, platforms, and customer stages work best for your overall marketing strategy.
Brand influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching your target audience and should definitely be a part of your overall marketing mix and strategy. From celebrities to micro influencers they all produce incredible results leveraging the trustworthiness of the creator with the message the brand wants to put forward.
We’ve already talked about how bottled water got famous, but another great case study to look into is how Bang Energy leveraged brand influencers to shoot them to the top of the non-alcoholic beverage category.
Bang Energy came in at the #1 overall growth beverage in the non-alcoholic beverage category. They were the #2 company in overall spend for YouTube advertising in 2020, only second to Epic Games, making influencer marketing a priority in Bang Energy’s overall marketing strategy.
Brand influencer marketing has been used throughout the years even before the phrase influencer marketing became a thing. Celebrity endorsements would be the closest marketing type we had in the past, and has evolved and really taken off in this new era of entertainment with social media.
Now that we understand what brand influencer marketing is, the different types that are available, and why it’s effective, we can start talking about where we can start adding it into our overall social media marketing strategy!
Let’s go through the customer journey and see where brand influencer marketing would be helpful in each step.
Remember to take into consideration the multi-touch attribution model and do some research into where your marketing dollars would be best spent with respect to your customer personas.
The first stage of the customer journey is awareness. The brand influencer will have a large reach and be able to bring awareness around the brand to get the viewers’ noggin joggin’ about how the brand’s product can solve problems in their own lives.
The brand influencer will also be able to point them to other platforms/channels to find additional knowledge moving them along to the next stage and allowing for better retargeting rather than having the target audience blindly crawl the web looking at irrelevant websites.
The second stage in the customer journey is consideration. This is the stage where brand influencers will use their charisma and content to engage the target audience and educate them on the brand, the product, and have a call to action to generate more leads. This is best done with micro influencers as the major factors in this step are engagement, authenticity, and trustworthiness.
The goal is to get the viewers to look through the sponsor’s website, social media channels, and reviews to get a better idea of what the brand does and how their product can help the viewer out in their own life.
Convert is the third step in this journey. This step is all about making the sale and closing the deal. Brand influencers can contribute to this step by pushing their viewers to make a purchase at their sponsor’s shop.
The brand influencers will usually have a link to follow to a landing page with a unique identifier on it to track conversions, and may even include a special coupon that is unique to the influencer’s channel. This serves two purposes as it’s a special discount offer for a special group of people and can also be used by the sponsor to track additional data on conversions the influencer is responsible for.
Loyalty comes after the buy, and it’s really important for brands to maintain a good relationship with their brand influencers and target audience to get the most out of the lifetime value of each customer. It also reinforces the buy the customer made and reduces buyer’s remorse.
Building up brand loyalty is a really important aspect of the customer relationship as returning customers have a lower acquisition price than new customers. Doing this stage right will complete your loop sending completed customers back for more purchases.
Brand influencers are important to this step as they’ll keep mentioning their sponsor to their followers helping the brand stay top of mind, tip of tongue. The best approach is by having the brand influencers infotain their viewers as to why the brand influencer loves the brand, uses the product, and how it relates to the target audience.
Advocacy is the final, and possibly most important stage in the customer journey. After a while of brand loyalty, regular repeat customers should progress to the next stage where they’re openly advocating for your brand and giving out free word-of-mouth (WoM) advertising!
This is the stage where brand influencers can launch a call to action for spreading the good word, leaving a review, or even making a whole testimonial video about the brand.
Why not roll the whole ordeal into ONE step? There are creative ad agencies out there that do video advertising that aim to go through EVERY step of the customer journey in one go!
Everything from awareness to conversion are handled in as little as 30 seconds to 2 minutes! Viscap Media specializes in these types of campaigns with incredible ROIs for our clients.
The main distinction that can be made between micro and macro brand influencers is their follower base. Most people will define micro influencers as creators that have less than 100,000 followers and macro influencers as creators that have more than 100,000 followers.
Another difference that should be pointed out is that micro brand influencers won’t cost an arm and a leg to get. The macro brand influencers cost will start at a few thousand dollars to get the ball rolling. This is compared to a micro influencer which will cost closer to a few hundred dollars.
@viscapmediaWho are Micro Influencers? What do they do better than their macro counterparts? ##digitalmarketingtips ##videoadvertising ##adagency ##smm ##viscapmedia
♬ April (No Vocals) – The Young Ebenezers
♬ April (No Vocals) – The Young Ebenezers
In addition to affordability, micro influencers also have more engagement on their content than their macro counterparts. Shane Barker from Medium states that micro influencers have a more dedicated following that are more likely to take action on a message.
Shane shares a statistic with us that influencers with less than 1,000 followers have an average of 8% likes from their audience compared to influencers with over 10 million followers getting an average of 1.6% likes on their content.
On top of all this, you’re more likely to hit specific niches with micro influencers allowing for hyper targeting of your target audience instead of casting a very wide net with a macro brand influencer.
Micro brand influencers also feel more authentic than their star-striking famous counterparts. Viewers see them as more trustworthy and authentic, which can spill onto your brand when using these types of creators.
A post from Digiday claims some interesting statistics stating that 55% of agency partners are using micro influencers for their Instagram strategy and that micro influencers get 2-5x more engagement on their posts than macro brand influencers.
When using micro influencers, you can also use them in a different way than posting on their social media channels. You can also have content made specifically for your brand that will go directly on your branded channels and platforms. This can be done through a creative advertising agency and is a lot safer bet than tying your brand to a major influencer.
Publishing micro influencer content on your channel also adds to your library of content on those platforms. This’ll help you grow your follower base, help grow the number of likes, and increase the overall brand visibility on those platforms.
There’s a difference between affiliate marketing and brand influencer marketing. Affiliate marketers usually get paid a commission based on the sales volume they’re able to bring to the business. This is done through tracking & reporting programs to make sure the affiliate marketer gets paid the right amount.
There’s usually a really long link viewers can click on to buy a certain product. The extra symbols in the url are part of their unique tracking ID so the influencer marketer can track the sales volume they’re solely responsible for.
Brand influencer marketers usually get paid in a fixed lump sum for a set number of endorsements. They’re more worried about total number of views than conversions and are not the best option for calling on their viewers to take a certain action. They’re the better option if your goals are for the most reach and impressions.
Some issues you may run into when trying to do influencer marketing yourself are:
Tracking & reporting on how well the content is doing
Hiring a creative ad agency will be your best bet at getting the ROI you’re looking for and hitting your goals as they’ll take all the heavy lifting and guesswork out of the brand influencer marketing content. Unlike an influencer marketing agency that simply matches up creators and brands, a creative ad agency will write the content, come up with creative ideas, create a storyboard for the videos, cast the models/actors, shoot the videos/pictures, edit the content, deliver the content, and manage the projects through tracking & reporting.
To make a long story short, brand influencer marketing is essentially an endorsement deal between an influencer and a brand. It’s like a modern-day partnership between Reebok and Shaq. Using brand influencers in marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways of advertising in the digital age and is especially effective as it applies social marketing in a way that uses word-of-mouth to generate buzz around the brand and product. The main differences between macro and micro influencers is the number of followers they have (more or less than 100,000).
The main differences between brand influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are the marketing goals and the pay structure. You’ll see the best ROAS with a creative ad agency using micro influencers to make content for your channels.
Want to see what high quality brand influencer marketing videos can do for your company? Contact us at Viscap Media today to get started! As video marketing experts, we know all about influencer marketing, social media platforms, the theory behind marketing, and creating influencer marketing video content that converts!
Contact us today, and let’s get started working on your brand influencer marketing plans!
Global Influencer Market size | Statista
Micro Vs Macro: How To Get The Most Bang For Your Buck With Influencer Marketing | Medium
Micro Influencers | Digiday
What Is Influencer Marketing | Digitalmarketing.org
What Is Influencer Marketing And How Can Marketers Use It Effectively | Forbes
Influencer Marketing | BigCommerce
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