As we’ve entered a brand-new decade of influencer marketing, things are changing. And rather swiftly at that. With 63% of marketers intending to increase their influencer marketing budget within the next 12 months and an 85% increase in influencer branding campaigns in Southeast Asia alone since the COVID-19 pandemic, there is more evidence to showcase just how impactful the strategy is.
Because of this, brands are beginning to question exactly where they should be spending their money and how they’re going to measure its success.
The question on everybody’s lips is whether to opt for return on investment (ROI) or brand awareness?
“It’s safe to say that influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere, and now that it is so readily available to most brands and businesses, there are a number of ways to measure the success and the outcome of each campaign,” said Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at Influencer Matchmaker
“It’s no longer as simple as how many likes a photo gets. It’s much more strategic than that now. And although different, both ROI and brand awareness are equal in terms of their benefits to a business.”
And although influencer marketing is fast becoming one of the most popular marketing strategies around the world, it can be difficult to measure solid return on investment.
One of the challenges that many brands face, is clarifying their objective. It’s tricky to narrow it down to just one, as understandably, brands have a number of things that they’d like to achieve from an influencer marketing campaign.
“This is where brands tend to trip up, by focusing on more than one primary objective,” said Neate. “It’s difficult to track results and success if the goal isn’t crystal clear, to begin with.”
A brand’s budget, along with sourcing the right influencer could also prove to be a challenge, which is often when they would enlist the help of an influencer marketing agency.
Whether it’s creating awareness of your brand, consideration, conversion, or production, your goal and objective should align with both your campaign and influencer marketing strategy, matching your brand KPIs.
With influencer marketing, return on investment isn’t solely based on revenue. At least not anymore.
If brands choose to focus on awareness, then they should know that this is a rather difficult goal to measure. However, that isn’t to say it isn’t worth it. In fact, creating awareness for a brand could be the most valuable goal of all.
Word of mouth is still the most trusted source of marketing, so putting your brand out there, in a way that is easily recognizable is a sure-fire way of achieving just that.
Focusing on other metrics such as conversions, sales, and actions are much easier to measure, demonstrating obvious levels of success, or lack of.
“Thanks to website analytics and social media insight tools, it is now easier than ever to keep track of online statistics, making it quick and effective to measure ROI in the case of metrics,” said Neate.
Many brands have focused predominantly on influencer marketing, including Heat. A brand created to fill a gap in the luxury fashion market, Heat teamed up with packaging provider Delta Global to create innovative mystery boxes for consumers. By collaborating with well-known influencers, Heat has increased and encouraged sales of their new product and service.
With China being one of the world’s leading hubs for luxury fashion, designer brands have leveraged the country’s reputation to build strong followings through influencer partnerships. Gucci is perhaps the best example of this.
With products frequently featured on the feeds of the region’s famous faces, achieving some of the highest figures in brand engagement, and mentions, the designer took things a step further with a campaign on WeChat, the country’s biggest social media platform.
Similarly, the Japanese skincare brand, Shisheido, used influencer marketing to retarget its products to a younger consumer group. To do this, they enlisted the help of influential individuals, including actress Jamie Chung, YouTuber Alissa Ashley, and lifestyle personality Chinae Alexander. And you only need to look at the global popularity of its products today to see how successful this approach was.
“Although they may not have seen an increase in sales straight away, the brand was placed at the forefront of their target audiences and a huge buzz was created around their products,” said Neate.
Influencer Matchmaker recently worked with Disney+ on a campaign to celebrate the launch of Frozen 2.
Amelia Neate and her team of experts partnered the brand with well-known parenting influencers, whose children were already fans of the first film, including Jacqueline Jossa. In doing so, the influencer marketing agency placed the campaign at the very forefront of its target audience.
There really is no simple answer to this question, no matter how often it is asked.
Creating awareness of a brand is a lengthy and on-going process, and often, the results of this are working quietly in the background until further down the line. But making potential consumers aware of your brand is an invaluable process, although more difficult to measure and determine immediate success, or failure.
Neate defines both ROI and awareness as an equal footing with both tactics proving beneficial to brands.
“ROI based on conversions and actions is a much more concrete process. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the better route to follow. It all comes down to a brand’s personal objective and what it is aiming to achieve.”
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