How to look beyond your branding with influencer marketing
Product Content Strategist
Posted Nov 14, 2017
Great branding is great. But getting someone else to vouch for your product? That’s magic; even more so if they’re a trusted and well-liked influencer in their community.
Ask JetBlue: in June of 2017, their own social media posts averaged 2,363 engagements each. The outside influencers JetBlue brought in to create their own posts (on their own channels) averaged over 100 times that - 241,226 engagements per post. This type of marketing is known as influencer marketing, and it works - to say the least.
Today we’re taking a look at how mobile companies do influencer marketing: Why invest in influencers? Where can you find suitable influencers for your brand? Which platforms and KPIs (key performance indicators) make the most sense? How can you ensure brand safety while working with influencers? Lastly, how can you reliably track, attribute and measure the success of influencer campaigns?
What's the definition of influencer marketing?
Here’s what we mean by influencer marketing: a form of word-of-mouth marketing for the digital age, focusing on influential people (and their social media platforms) who are able to drive awareness and action-- meaning that people don’t just learn about your product, but they take action by downloading your app or making a purchase.
This type of marketing relies on the people who have influence over potential customers. By influence, we mean a combination of resonance, relevance and reach. The most popular platforms for influencers are Instagram and Facebook, followed by Twitter and Youtube. Some of the most effective tactics include ambassadorships, product reviews, brand mentions, event coverage, and sponsored content.
Influencers can be a part of a PR campaign, but their work falls outside of the brand itself; above all, they’re independent people who don’t see their social media accounts as advertising platforms. They converse with their audience through posts and engagements that are relatable, individualized and trustworthy. Their posts come across as organic because they are-- where a PR campaign is transparently about selling a product, influencers create the kind of content they know their audience wants to engage in. Too much PR meddling can come across to their audience as inauthentic and not just disinteresting, but off-putting.
Who is investing in influencer marketing and why?
According to eMarketer, one of the most widely-cited sources of business and technology-related data on the web, “influencer marketing revenues worldwide on Instagram alone will total more than $570 million in 2016.” In a poll conducted by marketing solutions provider Linqia, nearly half of all marketers polled said they planned to increase their budgets for influencer marketing campaigns the following year.
Why should you care about influencer marketing? It’s not just that influencers are particularly good at connecting with their communities, though that’s part of it. Influencer marketing wins you organic users. Organic users are people who find your app without the help of a paid ad, and they’re the gold standard of users. These are real people who make real purchases, spend real time in your app, and have face-to-face conversations with their family and friends about your products and services. In many cases, installs from organic users are worth far more than a user acquired through a paid channel, often logging more sessions (and longer-lasting sessions) in your app, generating more revenue events, churning less, and displaying a higher lifetime value (LTV) than their paid counterparts.
Influencers offer mobile marketers a way to deliver authentic, native content shared by real users without having to worry about ad blockers. Influencers also offer a way for marketers to gain access to hard-to-reach audiences, both demographically and geographically. In an emerging market where you’re coming in as an outsider, building trust with your local area is paramount. You can run your ads anywhere you like, but people on the ground won’t necessarily believe in you - and they need to in order for you to succeed. That’s where influencers come in. Take this example from Paul Malicki, the CEO and CMO of Flapper, a private jet service headquartered in Brazil:
You need to really localize your product. You need to gain some local support, and you need to put a face next to your brand for people to start believing in you. We found the biggest names in Brazil and contacted them. ‘Why don’t you take a flight in our private jet?’, we asked. From one influencer’s post, we received 200k likes, with 1.2MM reach. That’s a 16 percent engagement rate. That's a lot. After that, our Instagram followership grew by leaps and bounds.
These engagements can have compounding effects. Paul was inspired by the success of the Instagram posts to reach out to influencers on LinkedIn. One such influencer wrote a story that included Flapper, and the next morning it was featured on four of the top categories on LinkedIn (where a single category can have up to 800,000 followers). The following day, because of this article, Flapper were featured in the biggest media channel in Brazil. None of this would have happened without talking to the right influencers at the outset.
How to find influencers to work with
Prices for partnerships with influencers are rising and the landscape is crowded. According to a study cited by the New York Times in August of 2016, influencers with 3 million to 7 million followers were able to charge an average of $187,500 for a YouTube post or $75,000 for a post on Instagram or Snapchat.
But not every company needs to engage a mega celebrity in order to create an effective campaign. In fact, if the influencer is a poor fit, it may do more harm than good. Ask yourself: is an A-list movie star a good fit for your B2B software? Can this person cause action, not just awareness, among their followers? Does their audience choose to engage with them?
Mid-level influencers with anywhere from a few thousand up to 25 or 50 thousand unique monthly visitors come with a lower price tag, as well as followers who are more deeply invested in their niche, and have an engagement rate 16 times the average engagement rates of paid media and owned alternatives. A mid-level influencer is most likely to be successful when they share content on topics that your target audience is interested in.
To find the right influencers, you can contact an agency that specializes in influencer marketing or find your top followers on your own, using a platform like Audience or GroupHigh. In Flapper’s case, they got in touch with some of their biggest followers directly, people who were well-respected locally in the communities Flapper wanted to break into, with eight or nine million followers apiece.
When researching to find your ideal influencer, you can comb through hashtags that may be relevant to your app, search individual blog posts to find relevant content, and set Google alerts for keywords pertaining to your brand to identify people who are actively covering the topics most closely related to your app. One way to find particularly successful bloggers is to take a look at the nominees and winners of blogging awards in your industry . For example, the Amara Interior Blog Awards celebrates the best of interior and design blogging; a quick browse of this year’s nominees would be an excellent way to get an introduction to a range of bloggers appropriate for a variety of ecommerce apps.
How to track your influencer marketing
One challenge of influencer marketing is how to track the effects of an influencer campaign. According to eMarketer, 80% of mobile marketers would like to see methods for measuring ROI improved.
Many marketers bring influencers on with no plan for attribution or tracking; when this is the case, there’s no meaningful post-campaign analysis of what worked and where to iterate. It’s also impossible in this case to follow the cohort of users who arrive in your app via influencer. What’s their retention rate? Did they stay longer or spend more money in your app than users who came via your paid campaigns. You’ll never know.
Some mobile marketers compensate influencers financially. Others offer shout-outs, product discounts, giveaways or commissions. The most common pricing plan is the ‘single-shot’ campaign, where marketers compensate their influencer up front and are left ‘wishing’ for results. This leaves the marketer with no real way to tie compensation to overall performance.
It doesn’t have to work like that. Custom deep links and deferred deep links can be embedded in a Facebook post, or in a Youtube description, or in the biography section on Instagram. Deep links produce a seamless user journey that reduces churn and increases the likelihood of an app installation. Not only do they improve the user experience; deep linking campaigns can also be fully tracked, with all engagements attributed to the proper source. This makes it possible to set up a CPI (cost per install) or CPA (cost per action) that rewards the influencer based on their actual performance - and move beyond vanity metrics. Treating influencer marketing campaigns like any other paid media assures that you create a pricing model based on your KPIs, and that you can trace your ROI (return on on investment) and make more informed decisions about whether to continue your working relationship with your influencers.
To find out more about how to track your influencer marketing campaigns, contact your Adjust account manager.