The Evolving Role of the Influencer

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Article takeaways:

  • Some flexible ways of including shoppable links in posts
  • What a nano-influencer is and why you should care
  • Information on Amazon’s Attribution product and its influence on measurement

It’s been some year for Instagram. In April, it rolled out the ability for users to buy directly from tagged products in posts without leaving the app. Last month, they also announced they are testing hiding likes and making follower counts less prominent. This may or may not be a permanent transition for the platform, but either way, brands should ensure they are not relying on engagement rates as their metric for success for Influencer campaigns. A recent eMarketer post makes it clear that this could be an opportunity for brand marketers to push measurement further and look to more meaningful metrics for success.

Tracking Beyond Engagement

With influencer marketing maturing, there are more ways to track than ever. Leveraging stronger calls-to-action is key when your objective is ultimately sales. While many influencers have guidelines of their own to ensure they aren’t turning off their follower base, there are many ways to incorporate shoppable links to fit their content:

  • Overlays: Utilize new creative formats that now include CTAs and enable users to add-to-cart from posts.  Some partners also allow advertisers to build audiences that can unlock sequential messaging or retargeting tactics.
  • Short-term promotions: Pair ‘swipe up’ with a promotion to create more in the moment demand since story content only lasts for 24 hours.
  • Influencer promo codes: Incorporate promo codes to help build the relationship for the Influencer by offering a special ‘deal’, provide an incentive to consumers and track code redemption.
  • Direct link to website or 3rdparty site (ex. Amazon): Use a direct link to track actions and be transparent to the follower with a clear CTA; this also enables the ability to include Amazon attribution tagging. 

The Rise of Nano-Influencers

As a brand, it’s best to start with smaller follower bases that allow for tracking to test and learn before scaling efforts, and it’s important to do some level of ‘oppo’ research on the influencers you choose to avoid joining a clutter of other advertisers. A larger base of followers doesn’t necessarily mean stronger performance, and without tracking it’s impossible to prove success.

“Nano-influencer” activations (accounts with follower counts between 1,000 and 10,000) create a win/win partnership opportunity. Advertisers amplify their posts, and nanos receive incremental reach and new followers as a result.  Nano-influencers have the highest engagement rate, and they are also generally more flexible about how they will post and incorporate calls to action. As an added benefit, including nano-influencers in your campaign helps your brand stand out; audiences see their recommendations as more authentic than those from large influencers whose feeds are overpopulated with sponsored content.

The Amazon Influence

In Amazon’s latest announcement for their Attribution product, they rolled out updates that enable further tracking for social channels.  From a technical standpoint, they have enabled the capability of tracking sales from in-app click outs to site and are rolling out a server-to-server integration with Snapchat.  While an advertiser cannot necessarily optimize to sales in real-time, the tracking of measurement across different Influencer posts provides the proper data to optimize in the long term and evaluate the true value of influencer efforts.

For advertisers, this adds the ability to track sales and measure success whether they are driving to their own website or to Amazon.  This is an exciting next step in the Influencer Marketing space, and advertisers should make sure they are taking advantage of all measurement levers to test and learn with their advertising partners.

When it comes to influencer marketing and custom activations, there is a natural urge to label these marketing efforts as awareness and only measure engagement metrics on the front-end. While this may have been standard a few years ago, there have been many advancements in measurement in the influencer space.  With Instagram’s recent changes to what metrics will be publicly visible, it’s more important now than ever for brands to develop their measurement framework.

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