Influencer marketing has seen phenomenal growth over the last few years and a key factor in its success hinges around trust. As publishers and now, broadcasters, influencers represent the closest approximation that the advertising industry has to an audience’s friendship group. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t personally know them) over brands. And 74% of consumers use social media to inform purchase decisions.
The good news for a brand’s marketing budget is that it tends to be the mid-tier power users with followings between 1,000 and 100,000 that enjoy greater engagement rates for content than the top tier “celebrity” influencers. This is primarily due to the fact that their audience is drawn to them through a shared interest and continue to engage with them because of that.
Of the most influential people amongst teen audiences, 8/10 are YouTube artists - pushing traditional celebrities down the list. While association with a big name may still carry cachet, the difference in impact with audiences appears to be grabbing attention versus creating action and engagement. More than half of brands believe they get better customers from influencer marketing because relationship starts with trust.
In parallel with the growth of influencer marketing in the last couple of years has been an increase in the importance of video in content marketing. A quarter of consumers claim to “lose interest” in a brand that does not use video content and four times as many consumers prefer to watch a video about a brand than read about it.
Video, of course, is perfect territory for social media which is an image-heavy platform rather than text based. This is reflected in usage habits with 80% of Instagram video users watching with the sound ON. If a picture can say a thousand words, then imagine the impact of multiple moving pictures (which is what video is, essentially) in conveying an epic story or brand message.
So how do you blend social and video to best effect? Brands have long been aware that video content sells and as a consequence have invested heavily in building up their own channels. Or at least attempted to. However, for most, it’s been a closed eco-system via an own channel or platform - gathering followers and fans to a branded page or YouTube channel. However, this closed ecosystem is inherently self-limiting as you either end up preaching to the converted or communicating to the same people all the time. The potential of influencer marketing is in its ability to help brands reach new audiences who are likely to have an affinity with them.
To properly harness influencers, marketers need to trust that their brand is “elastic” and can hold its ground even allowing for different interpretations that an influencer or ambassador will give it. Brands that are able to let go of the reins in this way are ripe for an opportunity in digital and in particular video seeding.
In a pilot campaign, we saw that the same brand video when seeded via influencers, outperformed the brand’s own channels by up to 238x. While the concept of influencers as publishers is well established, is it now time to also consider them as broadcasters?
If you compare video seeding through influencers to traditional TV buying, it makes total makes sense that a 10 sec spot during the X Factor ad break would have greater reach than on Brand X’s official Brand X channel. But, in the same analogy, TV buying is a blunt force - you may buy mass eyeballs but only a small proportion will be potential buyers.
Influencer video seeding is arguably the best of both - allowing brands to define a particular audience through a set of particular, genuine interests and reach them through a trusted ambassador.
By Barbara Soltysinksa, CEO and founder of indaHash.com
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