Influencers Win For Brands In The Ad-Blocking Economy

I grabbed coffee with a girlfriend this week and she raved about a new restaurant in the Lower East Side of Manhattan called Charlie Bird. I immediately wrote it down and committed it to next weekend’s brunch plans. It’s that simple. 

With the natural trust and authenticity in our personal relationships, it is no surprise that a Nielsen study found 83% of people agree recommendations from friends and family are the most credible form of advertising, solidifying word-of-mouth marketing as the number one vehicle for brands to reach consumers.

Ad blocking technology and banner blindness are symptoms of a broken system. Do you want to be disrupted online? Hugely successful YouTuber PewDiePie claims that 40% of his 43.8 million subscribers are currently using ad blocking technology.

To capture the word-of-mouth zeitgeist and circumvent ad blocking, brands can maximize their marketing dollars through targeted, transparent and compelling influencer marketing. According to a McKinsey study, 70% of leading brands plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets over the next 12 months.



Influencer marketing is when a brand partners with individuals who have large social followings and a trusted voice to craft compelling branded content that moves the needle on ROI. 

Here is an influencer marketing road map to success that maximizes evergreen social content:

1. Target Influencers Across Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., all vary in user-experience and demographic target. Brands can engage influencers who have strength on each platform and allow them to test content formats to find what works best.Kmart saw success during the holidays by leveraging Instagram influencers to highlight holiday gift ideas across categories: beauty, decorations, and apparel. Influencers posted photos across social and items soon sold out on site! Strong engagement from the influencer’s community provided qualitative feedback for the brand: “Wow on the shirt looks so blah, on you it looks fabulous/diva. It goes to show you have to wear/rock the clothes and not let them wear you!”

2. Allow the Influencer to Craft the Message: Personal storytelling is what makes these influencers compelling and authentic. Your brand should feel comfortable with the integration but lenient in the influencer’s creative concept. P&G’s Venus Razor partnered with popular YouTube stars What’s Up Moms to launch Venus Swirl Razors. The influencers were given creative freedom that aligned with Venus’s brand messaging. What’s Up Moms launched “Mom’s Guide to Shaving,” a YouTube video campaign that wrapped in June 2015 with 341,000 views, and as of April 2016 has generated more than 1.5 million views, a 340% earned media increase. Content is evergreen, searchable and sharable – it’s marketing in perpetuity. 

3. Amplify the Content in Social for Earned Media: Influencers promote the content across earned channels, as well as encourage their audience to do the same. Tagging the content with custom hashtags can provide trackable results. The evergreen nature of the content allows it to be promoted in social for as long as the brand wishes.

4. Leverage Influencer Photos and Content in Targeted Social Posts and Paid Media: Facebook and Instagram Carousel Ad Units provide an effective and efficient media vehicle to deliver engaging influencer content to a hyper- targeted audience. Furthermore, Facebook and Instagram provide guaranteed reach and full transparency to identify what’s working. Custom ad units that leverage influencer content drive 30% higher click-through rate in paid media versus traditional banner/display ads.

Is influencer marketing important to your advertising strategy? Share below or tweet me: @morgan_buell.

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