Conde Nast's Kostelic Discusses A Publisher's Role In Influencer Marketing

Craig Kostelic, Chief Business Officer of Condé Nast’s Food Innovation Group, which includes Bon Appetit, Epicurious, the branded content studio The Farm and FIG Influencers Network, spoke at MediaPost’s OMMA conference at Advertising Week. He discussed how legacy media publishers can provide clients with access to their network of influencers to beef up their content-marketing offering and mitigate the challenges of the print market by growing their emerging businesses.

Publishers Daily: "It seems that influencers are tapping more into influencer marketing and seeing this as a valuable form of advertising and revenue. How is Condé Nast using influencer marketing specifically in your group?”

CK: “The media world is extremely fragmented right now. We are in a place in which it’s all about bigger, fewer partnerships. We want to be a one-stop shop. We developed an influencer-marketing end-to-end solution so we can go to partners and work with them across all of their different budgets. We want to drive creative strategy and media distribution.”

Publishers Daily:  “What value do publishers get from influencer marketing versus other types of marketing?”

CK:  “For us, our influencer-marketing programs are editorially led, editorially vetted, have our tonality and aesthetic, but [influencers] don’t have to work for us at a full-time capacity. We use our influencer network like an extended talent agency outside of Bon Appetit and Epicurious.”

"You don’t want to completely overwhelm your editorial team with brand or advertising-related requests. If they are the face of every ad campaign we do, it does affect credibility to some degree... the integrity of the editorial does take a hit. People want to hear from different voices. The value we get from influencer marketing is a diversification of talent.”

“The value that a brand gets from working with a publisher that has an influencer network strategy is economies of scale and efficiencies. Everything is fragmented, which means agencies and clients have to take more meetings to understand the landscape. They are trying to find those partners with single points of contact to stretch their budget and create content that is on brand.”

Publishers Daily:  “A recent study showed four out of 10 marketers don’t know how to evaluate their ROI with influencer marketing. How do you measure the success of an influencer-marketing campaign?”

CK:  “It really depends on what the goals of the advertisers are. From a strategic standpoint, I’m trying to create paths for whatever outcome an advertiser wants. It’s less about one single metric than an umbrella for all influencer campaigns and more about the four or five main KPIs they are looking for.”

Publishers Daily:  “What are they usually looking for? Have you seen a trend of what clients want from these campaigns?”

CK:  “They are looking to move product. If we are not proving how we move product, than the budget is going to get cut next year.”

Publishers Daily:  “What kind of trends are doing well in influencer marketing and what trends seem to be on their way out?”

CK:  “Condé Nast acquired a company called CitizenNet, which started as a social-media analytics platform. It’s one of Facebook’s first marketing partners and evolved into, for lack of a better term, a social DSP. We can pull audience data and build profiles and see who are the right influencers to leverage for a campaign. It’s a very data-driven approach.

Also, we are able to estimate, from a distribution standpoint, the quality score of that influencer and how well the earned media will be on an organic post or how efficient the CPV or CPM cost can be on a paid post. There are two benefits: it maximizes earned media and minimizes the paid support behind it or the margins of that.”

“As for what is on its way out, the usage rights on programs have very high costs. If you are shooting something with an influencer and they are the star of this campaign and the brand wants to use that asset on programmatic,  theoretically you have to tell them it will run on 1,000 sites and they create a licensing fee based on it running on 1,000 sites. That’s the quickest way influencers price themselves out of the market.”

Publishers Daily:  “Do you see more marketers using influencer marketing?”

CK:  “That need is only going to go up as content marketing continues to grow.”

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