What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing where brands collaborate with individuals who have influence through their large social media following, to promote their products or services.
Influencer marketing itself isn’t a brand new marketing innovation, and different verticals may be more or less mature in the tactic. However, it’s in recent years that we have seen a shift in social influence from celebrity to social media influencers.
A great example of this is the fashion industry. In the past many looked to the catwalk, magazines, and their favourite stars to help shape their style, however, over the past few years there has been a seismic shift towards people referring to fashion influencers like Chiara Ferragni or thefrugality for inspiration instead.
Why Has Influencer Marketing Become So Popular?
Put simply: traditional advertising medium are becoming less popular. Over 22% of the British population (and rising) are using ad-block software, and 85% of skippable ads on YouTube are being skipped. In contrast, most influencers build their businesses through creating authentic content that resonates with their audiences. To maintain their authenticity, they will largely only collaborate with brands they share an affinity for. As such consumers are happy to opt-in to their sponsored posts, especially as most influencers are so careful about collaborating with brands that fit their personna / style.
Influencer Marketing Facts
- As an industry influencer marketing is booming. 92% of marketers who used the tactic in 2017 found it to be effective. (Linquia Report)
- The most popular channel for influencer marketing is by far Instagram, as our 2018 survey of over 1000 influencers demonstrates:
- In 2017 Instagram had 800 million monthly users.
- 65% of influencers expect some form of reward for their work on a campaign(ZINE Influencer Marketing Report)
- 1 in 5 consumers said they would be influenced to buy a product if it was recommended by someone they didn’t know but trusted (ZINE Influencer Marketing Report)
Influencer Marketing Essentials
Influencer marketing is a package deal. Collaborating with influencers will in most cases return a mix of:
- Increased traffic / follows / likes
- Brand awareness
Influencers are often categorized by number of followers. At ZINE we break this down as:
- Micro = 2k - 30k followers
- Mid Tier = 30k - 250k followers
- Macro = 250k - 1m followers
- Social Celebrities = 1m+ followers
The Main Participants In Influencer Collaborations
The Influencer - this will be the personal with the social media following you would like to reach.
The brand - whether directly or via a marketing, PR, media or creative agency.
The agency - some influencers choose to be represented by talent agents usually taking a fee (usually 20%) of the collaboration fee.
Collaboration TypesThere are three main types of collaborations. They include:
This is where brands / agencies pay influencers cool hard currency for the collaboration.
This is where brands / agencies gift the influencer with a product of service for the collaboration.
This is where as part of the collaboration, the influencer agrees to attend the event. The event itself may be ‘payment’ e.g. Reviewing a luxury hotel or restaurant. The ‘event’ itself may act as payment however they may still be compensated financially.
Of course, any collaboration can also be a combination of the above, and more often than not, the influencer is supplied with a product or service for free in addition to payment.
Influencer Marketing Regulations
There are strict laws around the disclosure of influencer marketing posts on social media governed by advertising trade bodies such as the ASA in the UK and the FTC in America. The core sentiment in these regulations is disclosure. In essence, collaborations whether gifted or paid should be obviously disclosed as such. This means clearly labelled as a sponsored post - above the fold.
This might put off some advertisers, but our recent survey of 1,300 consumers showed 51% of consumers don't event notice when posts are labelled as sponsored.
How to Get Started With Influencer Marketing
The most important starting point with any marketing / PR channel is to define the audience you would like to reach. This may be your current customer base or a carefully researched new target customer. To help choosing the influencers you would like to collaborate with, you should know things like:
- Average age groups
- Average gender
- Location of the audience you are trying to reach
- Typical audience likes
- Typical audience brand affinities
Once you have done this due-diligence, you can then move on to the heavier stuff which we will go through next.
Setting campaign objectives
Influencer marketing campaign objectives usually fall under the following brackets. Here we have related them to the different stages of the marketing funnel:
Before you embark on your influencer campaign you need to set clear objectives. Your objectives need to be specific, measurable and time restricted eg:
“The objective to my influencer marketing campaign is to increase awareness of my brand. We aim to increase website visits by 20% in the month of June”
Setting out objectives like this at the beginning makes tracking success (beyond vanity metrics) far easier.
Influencer Marketing Budget & Pricing
Budget will be in part dependent on your campaign objectives - for example if you are collaborating with influencers for content creation your pricing structure will vary from that of a brand awareness campaign.
Pricing - what the influencer will charge has a great deal more variables. Pricing will also affect which influencers you approach and go on to use as part of your campaign - and indeed how many influencers you are able to work with. A good place to start is by setting a max CPM, as this will remain fairly consistent within influencer size brackets.
Average CPM Per Social Media Channel
Influencer Marketing Pricing By Social Media Platform
Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat are among some of the most popular influencer marketing spaces. Each platform offers a different audience with specific content and online media options (e.g. live streaming, Stories, post, etc.), which can affect pricing.
As with influencer posts we are unable to to yet see post impressions, CPM is calculated by reach. The averages per channel are:
- Instagram - £4 - £10
- YouTube - £7 - £30
- Blogs - From £10- £100 per 1,000 unique visitors to £10 per 1,000 page views per month.
- Snapchat - £30- £50 per 1,000 views
- Facebook - £4 - £9
- Twitter - £6 - £10
Influencer Marketing Pricing Variables
While the above is a good place to start, there are still a number of variables that can affect the price an influencer may charge. These variables include:
- If there is more than one activity being booked
- Any exclusivity clauses
- The influencers affinity for your brand - the less there is the higher they are likely to charge
- Industry and influencer vertical - mum bloggers for example are generally the most expensive influencers
Things To Remember
It is important to discuss objectives, what will constitute as success, budget and timeframe with the team - especially senior management. While increasingly social media platforms are catching up with the world of influencer marketing there are still some objectives which can be harder to measure if you are unable to use tools like Instagram click to buy - or they don’t fit with your campaign objectives.
Take for example our objective of increasing website visits by 20%. If the campaign is run using instagram you may not be able to add in your full URL with UTM link for tracking. In which case, you agree your team that anything above your average website visits for the month of June will be attributed to your influencer marketing campaigns (less 3% variation) that will run during this period.
How To Find The Right Social Media Influencers
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but influencer research can be the most time consuming task, and poor influencer selection will result in huge budget wastage. The core focus of this section is how to find the right influencers.
Influencer Database / Technology
While social media influencers are everywhere, finding influencers at scale whose followers match your target audience requires using a well organised database with technology like ZINE.
ZINE has over 35k verified, global influencers in its database and an intuitive search function. That means if you can easily build a list of influencers who perfectly match your requirements. Using the filters both for the influencer and their audience. Audience is arguably more vital that influencer data, as this is the target you are trying to reach. A blogger based in the UK doesn't necessarily mean their audience is too as outlined in our blog post ‘Influencer Marketing: Who Are You Really Reaching’.
The further advantage of ZINE is that this information is broken down per channel as opposed to aggregate data which really isn’t accurate.
Programmatic Influencer Platforms
These programmatic platform act as an influencer marketing place for cheaper, large scale micro-influencer campaigns. The positives are that they require minimal input for a quick turnaround - place a brief and micro-influencers on the platform can sign up for the job. However approach with caution, as a bad experience can result in compromised brand safety.
Influencer Marketing Agencies
A good solution for the cash-rich / time poor. Influencer marketing agencies often have a number of influencers on their database for mid-tier to social celebrity campaigns. They offer full campaign management, however briefs can fall victim to ‘Chinese whispers’, and often lack the full range of follower data and transparency an influencer marketing platform would provide.
For those with very limited budgets, traditional influencer research is conducted via searching the social media channels you want to use for collaborations. You can search for influencers by hashtags, and build lists of potential influencers in excel.
When doing this type of influencer outreach, it’s really important get the right information from the influencers so you can fully understand who their audience. Ahead of collaborating with influencers, where relevant, you should ask them for the following information, per channel you wish to collaborate with them on:
- Monthly unique visitors to their blog (if a blog collaboration)
- Monthly growth of
- Average age of their audience
- Gender split of their audience
- Top locations of their followers
If your influencers are unable to get this information, they can sign up to a free ZINE media kit which will automatically display all of this information up-to-date. They will then be able to send you a link to their digital media regardless as to whether or you have access to the ZINE platform. Because influencers directly connect their social media channels to their media kit, you can rest assured that the data is accurate and you are comparing like for like metrics. Since it’s free for influencers and doesn’t require you to sign up to ZINE, it’s a great little hack for those who can’t afford a whole influencer technology platform.
Influencer Marketing Campaign Checklist
To help you dot the i’s and cross the t’s ahead of your first influencer marketing campaign - or maybe you want to do a double take of your own campaign structure, we have put together this influencer campaign checklist:
- Set campaign objectives
- Set campaign time-frame
- Set campaign budget
- Set campaign guidelines
- Draft your legally binding influencer contract
- Compile your influencer list
- Influencer due diligence - check their audience: demographics, engagement rates and previous content
- Send collaboration request to chosen influencer list
- Approve content where necessary
- Post campaign reporting
How To Measure The Success Of Your Influencer Campaigns
Set benchmarks: In the absence of any monetary value via sales, set a benchmark value, such as cost per mille (CPM) from other digital marketing campaigns you run, and compare it to the CPM achieved by the influencer campaign.
Calculate EMV: From CPM you can calculate the Earned Media Value (EMV) of the influencer campaign – this effectively compares the value of the reach you achieved through the campaign vs how much it would cost to buy these impressions through a social channel. You can then measure EMV using engagement and CPE instead of reach.
Track sales: Use specific tracking technology, like UTM links, tracking pixels and/or referral codes that are set up as goals in your google analytics to track sales coming from their source. This way you can attribute your total revenue from an influencer/campaign and calculate the campaign’s ROI.
Using the right influencers in the right way, and then tracking results, is well worth the effort as it will ultimately lead to significantly higher profits.
Influencer Marketing Glossary
This refers to the total number of followers / subscribers across all social media channels the influencer is active across
This refers to the partnership between the influencer and the brand / agency
The number of people who will potentially see a post. In influencer marketing this primarily refers to the total number of followers.
Engagements are classed as likes, comments, shares and forwards of posts
This is calculated as numbers of posts / number of engagements
Cost per 1000 impressions. In digital display this number refers to the number of impressions i.e. number of times the advert was served on the screen. However in influencer marketing this is calculated by number of followers on that particular channel / 1000.
Cost per engagement