influencer marketing

How influencer marketing accelerates the path to purchase

influencer marketing

While one in three consumers trust influencer opinions and recommendations when making purchase decisions, it’s important to note that consumers are not referring to traditional celebrity endorsements. Rather, consumers trust people who are just like them – peers they identify with who have built sizeable social followings based on authentic content and the relationship they’ve built with their audiences – and they trust these individuals over celebrities at a rate of seven to one.

As a result, more than a third of marketers (36%) will integrate influencer content with e-commerce to drive product sales this year. When combined with traditional shopper marketing tactics like free samples or elaborate in-store displays, influencer shopper marketing can deliver concrete business results across every stage of the path to purchase, from awareness and consideration to conversion and purchase.

1. Awareness

Whether looking to generate awareness for a product launch or a seasonal push, influencer marketing campaigns can activate hundreds of influencers who create thousands of pieces of original content about a product or brand. The influencers then share the content across multiple social networks, increasing awareness through authentic stories and experiences versus the limited amount of real-estate available in brand-created traditional ads or digital display ads.

2. Consideration

84% of consumers say that it’s important to hear about others’ experiences before making a purchase. By nature, influencer marketing is ripe ground for cultivating honest product reviews and other valuable content like tips, recipes, or how-to articles and tutorials. Consumers that are introduced to a product or brand through positive affirmation by a trusted source are more likely to consider purchasing the product for themselves.

Video credit to Jamie Genevieve

3. Conversion

Now that you’ve got their attention, how do you convert their likes and shares into clicks to learn more and email newsletter signups? It’s uncommon that consumers take a deeper action during the first introduction to a product or service, so brands turn to influencer marketing to inspire conversions over time. Today, more brands are investing in multi-flight, “always on” influencer marketing campaigns versus individual, one-off initiatives to nurture prospects into customers and drive deeper loyalty.

4. Purchase

Performance-based influencer marketing programs that are built to drive lower-funnel goals hold influencers accountable for creating content that inspires their audiences to take action. When structured to perform against specific shopper marketing goals, like in-store or online purchases, influencer marketing programs drive concrete business results that go far beyond short-term vanity metrics like reach.

Reaching your target consumer with a relevant message at the moment they are ready to make a purchase and inspiring them to take action is the ultimate goal for shopper marketing campaigns. From awareness and consideration to conversion and purchase, influencer marketing’s ability to drive consumers down the path to purchase through the trusted opinions of their peers is the hottest new tactic in every shopper marketer’s media mix.


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1. Marketers Fight Against Influencer Marketing Fraud

The shift from surface level, fluffy metrics like reach and awareness signals the growing importance of influencer marketing fraud prevention in 2018. Marketers are willing to invest in the security needed to guarantee the quality of influencers and their audiences in order to maintain the authenticity of influencer content and protect their brands from fraudulent activities. This often includes working with influencer marketing agencies such as Find Your Influencer, who will go the extra mile to monitor the veracity of audience size, online engagements, and click numbers.


2. Influencer Content Drives Greater Returns from Paid, Owned, and Earned Media

Influencer content is nuanced, original, and authentic. The most successful influencer marketing campaigns are the ones where the influencer content is used beyond the original scope of the campaign to improve the performance of other channels (email, website, paid social, native advertising, etc.). 51% of marketers that repurpose influencer content report that it outperforms brand-created content, and of those who have yet to test influencer content against brand created content, 59% plan to do so this year.

Expect to see more brands A/B testing influencer content against brand-created content to determine what pieces will deliver the best results. Advanced marketers will then develop a strategic blueprint using those assets to drive incremental performance from their paid, owned and earned media.  


3. Influencer Content Integrates with E-Commerce to Drive Sales

More marketers are looking at the full consumer journey and holding influencer marketing accountable for driving lower funnel metrics in addition to awareness and engagement. High-impact recommendations, like those from a friend or trusted influencer, are 50 times more likely to trigger a purchase than low-impact recommendations, like ads in a magazine.


4. Advertising/Media Takes Ownership

As targeting capabilities evolve, advertising and media teams, who traditionally have larger budgets, are taking ownership of influencer marketing and managing campaigns with the same rigor that they use with other digital advertising channels. In 2017, 38% of influencer marketing owners were on advertising/media teams, whereas only 15% identified as PR/communications, a notable decrease from 31% in 2016.

In 2018, influencer marketing will more commonly become a line item in the advertising/media budget. The extra pounds allocated to these teams allows marketers to scale the size of their influencer marketing campaigns, increasing the number of influencers they work with and putting more pounds behind the content that’s proven to perform.

It’s no longer a question of whether or not influencer marketing works as it’s been proven to drive concrete business results time and time again. So what can we expect to see from influencer marketing in 2018? Not only will brands invest more in the tactic to combat fraud and ensure its authenticity, but they will also use influencer marketing to test various methods to identify which strategies are the most effective at driving results. Once they’ve developed a strategic blueprint, we’ll see the advanced brands scale their campaigns to drive lower-funnel metrics and greater returns from paid, owned, and earned media.


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42% of Baby Boomers picking holiday destinations based on social media


Four out of ten baby boomers admit that social media content posted about a holiday destination or accommodation influences their booking decision.

The use of social media during the holiday-researching process is now being extended to older generations, with 42% finding it hard to ignore the level of insight certain platforms, such as Instagram, can give to bookers. 

Despite being a generation that's been associated with playing catch-up when it comes to the use of social media platforms, 37% of those aged 55-64 said they use social media as a way of researching holiday destinations. If they find social media images that show a holiday destination or accommodation that isn't up to their standards, then this will put them off booking. 

Traditionally, travel review sites have always played a prominent role in the holiday-reviewing and researching process. When baby boomers were asked whether social media content could be trusted over a review site, over a third said they're now starting to use a mix of both when researching a holiday destination. 

The study by QHotels, managed by RBH of more than 2,000 UK adults found that while social media content does impact the booking process for baby boomers, 'Instagrammability' is not a factor, whereas millennials prioritise how 'Instagrammable' a destination looks before they book. 

When it comes to sharing holiday snaps, over half of Brits (55%) share them while they're still on their trip. For those that wait until they get home said the biggest reason (41%) for this was down to security and not wanting to advertise being away on holiday. Nearly half of baby boomers (48%) would be concerned about the safety of their home while on holiday, which is more than double the proportion of millennials.

John Stuart, Chief Operating Officer at RBH, commented: "We're not surprised to see that using social media to do some extra digging on a hotel or destination is on the rise. What is interesting is how much baby boomers are valuing this content when it comes to making a final decision, and for some, this could be a deal breaker.

"This research gives insight into the changing holiday booking habits of baby boomers, and how the whole researching process is evolving from using travel review sites or just going back to the same place as they always have done. They seemed to have acknowledged the value of using social media in the reviewing process, which has been a trend that has naturally been driven by younger generations. 

"Travel review sites have been a great addition to the travel sector, but social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer another layer of awareness into what a certain destination or accommodation is like. Hotels can no longer hide behind a professional photo lens as authentic, consumer-generated content is becoming more important for bookers looking to get a truer perspective on their potential holiday destination. And this is becoming apparent across all generations."

Why Influencer Marketing Will Dominate Media In 2018

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This article was originally published in The International Business Times

Keyword stuffing, link building, QR codes, and automated cross-channel posting — all were once promising marketing tactics and strategies that have since been characterized by some as marketing fads. At one point, marketers wondered if influencer marketing was going to suffer the same fate. Many claimed that blogs were dying and changing social media algorithms continued to diminish the organic reach of influencers.

However, influencer marketing has done the exact opposite: The channel is only growing stronger as the industry matures and evolves. And as with any tactic that drives concrete business results, marketers are responding by increasing their investment in the channel.


Eighty-three percent of global consumers report that online advertising interrupts their online experience and the time spent watching traditional TV is dropping for every adult age group. As a result, marketers must find new ways to reach consumers with relevant messages in ways that establish trust and drive measurable results. Micro-influencer marketing has gained traction in recent years because it provides brands with the ability to reach their target audience through the voices of those they trust most: their peers.

Today, 86 per cent of marketers are using influencer marketing, 92 percent of whom find it to be effective. Nearly a third of marketers run more than five programmes per year per brand; and according to a new report, The State of Influencer Marketing 2018, marketers are calling for more. Thirty-nine percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2018 to accommodate for more frequent and larger-scale influencer marketing programs. The continued widespread adoption of influencer marketing indicates it is becoming an integral part of the marketing mix and is not a passing fad.


As the industry matures, we are starting to see marketers use influencer marketing to drive lower-funnel actions like signups, downloads and purchases. For example, Mezzetta, a popular CPG brand specializing in pickled vegetables, spreads and sauces, launched a three-part influencer marketing campaign to raise brand awareness and grow its email database as part of a broader initiative to increase its U.S. market share. By employing an “always-on” micro-influencer marketing strategy, the brand was able to grow its email marketing database from zero to over 70,000 qualified consumers.

Influencer marketing has also proven that it can successfully drive product sales. Gerber, which turned to micro-influencer marketing to launch its new Lil’ Beanies snack product, was able to drive a 5 percent national sales lift. When asked what made the programme so successful, Gerber’s brand manager said, “If you Googled Gerber, or just Lil’ Beanies, you would see [influencer] sites come up organically that featured beautiful photography of children eating the product or the mum looking for it [in store].”


Influencer marketing is not going away. As the industry evolves, the channel is adapting to keep pace. While 2017 saw the rise of the micro-influencer, the survey found that 52 percent of marketers plan to leverage multiple types of influencers (celebrities, top-tier, mid-tier and micro-influencers) as part of an integrated strategy in 2018. Determining the ROI of influencer marketing remains the top challenge going into 2018, calling for marketers to take a serious look at their measurement methodologies and hold their influencer marketing programmes to the same measurement standards as their other media investments.

The key to realising influencer marketing ROI is to leverage the content beyond the initial campaign to improve the performance of other programmes. The survey found that 81 percent of marketers are using influencer content in other channels, with 51 percent reporting that it outperforms brand-created content. Of those that haven’t tested influencer content against brand created content yet, 59 percent plan to do so. In 2018, you will start to see marketers use influencer marketing to develop a strategic blueprint that will enable them to drive greater returns from their paid, owned and earned media.


How To Overcome The Top Four Influencer Marketing Challenges Of 2018

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This article was originally published in Forbes

Influencer marketing shows no signs of slowing down in 2018. A recent survey by my company of 181 marketers and their agencies found that nearly 40% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing spend in 2018. On the other hand, only 5% plan to reduce their influencer marketing budget.

As the industry matures, marketers are using the channel to drive real business value — from building awareness as part of a product launch to driving sales of a new or existing product. However, as with any emerging channel that proves successful, there are challenges.

From proving ROI to time management, here is how to overcome the top four influencer marketing challenges of 2018.

1. ROI Of Influencer Marketing

Seventy-Six percent of marketers cite that determining the ROI of their influencer marketing programme is a top challenge in 2018.

One of the keys to generating ROI from your influencer marketing programme is to leverage content beyond your original campaign. This will not only help improve the performance of other programmes but will also impact your marketing mix as a whole. Of those surveyed, 81% of marketers said they use influencer-related content to improve other channels. More than half (51%) reported that this type of content performs better than brand-created content. In the next year, we will see more marketers use influencer marketing to create a strategic blueprint that will help drive more ROI from all types of media — earned, paid and owned.

2. Changing Social Algorithms

Amidst Facebook’s new requirement that influencers tag all sponsored content on Facebook and Instagram via its branded content tool, marketers are concerned that changing social algorithms will make organic influencer content less visible. Forty-Two percent of survey respondents cite this as the next biggest challenge of 2018.

Brands using this tool will have a transparent view of how their influencer marketing programmes perform organically, including actual reach, impression and engagement metrics. This is good news for marketers, although it will likely make influencer marketing more expensive. Savvy marketers will use their organic programmes as a content testing lab, where the initial media investment helps determine the best performing pieces of content. Marketers can then use paid media to scale that content for maximum reach.

3. Lack Of Bandwidth Dedicated To Programme Management

Nearly a third of marketers (31%) run more than five influencer marketing programmes per year per brand, which can be extremely time-consuming. In fact, 50% of marketers estimate spending more than 25 hours managing each programme and 25% spend more than 50 hours managing each programme. As a result, 35% of marketers are looking to decrease the amount of time that it takes to manage influencer marketing programmes in 2018. To accomplish this, marketers should seek partnerships to handle the time-consuming aspects of programme execution — from influencer identification and compensation negotiation to reporting and payments.

4. Fake Followers And False Engagements

Marketers must be hypervigilant in monitoring for influencer marketing fraud, like fake followers and bot-driven engagements, which have increased alongside the channel’s growing popularity. To combat fraud, marketers are looking at real results like conversions, downloads and product sales. The bottom line is that bots never make a purchase. When selecting influencers to work with, steer clear of influencers whose followers to engagement ratios are significantly disproportionate. Additionally, examine the quality of their engagements. Comments that are full of vague praise or excessive hashtags are likely purchased.

Influencer marketing has proven its staying power. In 2018, the channel will start to make a cross-channel impact as marketers realize the ability to drive real business results with influencer content. Savvy marketers will adopt strategies that enable them to remain nimble and adapt to changing social algorithms and other market shifts, tying everything back to metrics that weed out the potential for fraud.