Working with social media influencers has quickly gained ground as a marketing strategy. Influencer marketing is often run as pure-play brand activities, but what many marketers do not realise is that they can achieve performance goals with these influencers.
According to an ESOMAR social media report, in Asia Pacific alone, social media has appeared as a huge factor in purchase decisions, with 42 per cent of buyers relying on social media to gather information for recent products and services.
Marketing teams and CMOs can expect real engagement from their campaigns and, in the case of mobile applications, can drive installs, registrations, subscriptions, and transactions. It can be hard to decide how and when to invest in influencers, but there are several key criteria that can help any performance marketer build and launch a successful campaign.
Seeking volume and scale
The most valuable influencers have often amassed followings of millions of relevant users. The emphasis is on “relevant”, because quality always trumps quantity in the long run, and engaging the right audience that will be interested in your product is key.
Having said that, the volume of actions that can be achieved in just one campaign with social influencer partners are arguably rivalled only by the effects of chart visibility resulting from paid burst campaigns.
However, the cost of traditional paid burst can be extremely high, depending, to some degree, on the market in question.
Chart position and visibility
For the most part, incent and other forms of low-value, low-quality media are used to offset these costs. Few will credit the paid installs in these campaigns with any standalone value, with this residing exclusively in the resulting organics.
Interestingly, social influencer activity at Glispa has proven to achieve the same effect as traditional burst campaigns. Influencers are capable of driving the required scale over an adequately condensed period of time — around a live stream or similar, for example — and in most cases, you can more than halve the costs of traditional burst campaigns.
Moreover, the additional value added — in particular the brand benefits — far outweighs anything generated via chart visibility alone. Here, we are not seeing a mere uplift in site visits, page likes, etc. Rather, we see user-generated content in all its forms: vast (localised) communities, social pages, fan sites, videos, and discussion boards, all originating from the most highly relevant and valuable user bases.
Quality and user lifetime value (LTV)
Organic installs often have 2-3 times higher value than paid installs. Influencer marketing entails what the majority of users infer as pseudo-organic content from a trusted, respected, and friendly expert source: their community leader.
Looking at the data from campaigns we’ve run, influencers have historically proven capable of directly and indirectly driving installs with a higher user LTV than offered by any other platform, channel, or media type.
ROI and partner selection
In light of the above, it’s not surprising that influencer activity has high potential to generate a strong return dependent on highly informed influencer selection and the commercials agreed with these partners.
The gross majority of influencer offerings currently available are problematic from a performance perspective. There are many accessible via influencer networks, management agencies, or platform-based solutions, which are 90 percent publisher aligned.
In these cases, the initial cost of entry and payment models offered make this valuable activity impracticable if an advertiser is looking to onboard high LTV users at an acceptable acquisition cost.
CPI, CPR can/should be applied here, as meeting or reducing these KPIs is more than viable with this delivery method. There is a significant “misdirection” of the majority of solutions and those few advertiser-aligned companies offering influencer activity on a performance payment model tend to go down one of two routes.
Namely, they use very high CPIs, CPRs, and minimum spend commitments to offset the risk. In other instances there is a questionable “influencer” selection process, resulting in both low scale and low quality. Having thousands, even millions, of followers does not equate to being a social influencer, nor does this dictate influencer relevancy.
Geographies and market selection
Consider the market carefully in the first instance. If performance success depends largely on partner commercials, logic suggests that it might be easier to attain success in key tier two and tier three geographies, such as those located in CIS (commonwealth of independent states or former Soviet republics) and LATAM (Latin America).
As costs are lower, there is a lower risk for a first foray into performance influencer marketing. Similarly, influencer activity is regionalised by language-led, as opposed to market-led, and this should be factored in. An influencer in Malaysia might have a vast following not only in Malaysia, but also more broadly across Indonesia, and even Singapore, because the content is in Bahasa Melayu.
Platforms should also be considered as part of social influencer partner selection. Can an influencer operating on Twitter offer the same degree of exposure as an influencer focusing their efforts on YouTube? A YouTube channel ensures the content produced retains visibility amongst a relevant audience beyond the initial live stream and/or upload.
In contrast, a tweet, with its inherent character limitations and less than engaging text- or image-based format, offers decidedly less excitement and information, and disappears from the audience’s line of sight within short span of time.
There’s no ongoing value offered and the value of the initial exposure is questionable. Realistically, this is best employed as an amplification tool in these campaigns, but certainly should not be the platform focus.
Platforms also bring creative restrictions, and significant thought must be placed into the limitations of each one. Videos allow for more organic content that adds mileage to a campaign, compared to a photo on Instagram, which no matter how creative, has limited traction and engagement opportunities.
Leverage the insights here and/or be sure you’re working with those who have deep expertise and relevant case studies. Performance-based social influencer campaigns can be essential for any go-to-market strategy where you can see and measure results related to engagement and even transactions/revenue.
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