The recent news of Instagram doing away with the infamous ‘like’ has sent shockwaves through the influencer marketing industry. Regardless of where you stand on the matter, change is coming, and both brands and influencers need to prepare for a new world order. It’s not the end all be all, but ‘likes’ have undoubtedly been a key metric used to help identify influencers and measure the success of their brand campaigns. In a market set to hit $15 billion by 2020, it’s safe to say brands will actively be looking for ways to navigate the new world order – particularly on Instagram – a platform that is most used by brands and influencers.
We will explore a few tactics forward-thinking brands are embracing as the industry evolves and how these impact the way partnership agreements are drawn up. We are seeing an increased pressure on marketers and influencers alike to show a sufficient return on their engagements. In turn, this has resulted in marketers needing to consider new ingredients in their influencer marketing contracts that extend them beyond the traditional ways of engaging.
So, when you are working on your next influencer partnership, here are three key ingredients you should consider for a successful engagement.
Whitelisting for influencer advertising permissions
Whitelisting, commonly used to gain advertising access to Facebook and Instagram, is the practice of giving a brand’s ad accounts permissions to run ads through influencer identities. With the proper permissions, brands are able to build audiences from the influencer’s followers, optimise content, deploy media through the influencer’s channels, and measure conversions via a Facebook pixel. Whitelisting unlocks the ability to optimise content for things like editing copy on the influencer’s post, turning a carousel into a slideshow, testing various taglines and CTAs, and much more. In short, whitelisting provides better transparency of data between brand and influencer and more cleanly connects efforts back to attribution.
If you think influencers are against providing advertising access, think again. Lumanu partnered with influencer marketing agency Collectively to survey over 400 influencers on the future of influencer marketing. Boosting and whitelisting was a big topic of discussion according to the survey. It found that 76% of influencers had been asked to amplify content as part of a collaboration. That said, the process of granting advertising access via a Facebook business manager is complicated and requires an influencer to understand the inner workings of Facebook business manager. The manual process requires an influencer has a business manager setup (which is not always a given) and knows how to grant access.
Whitelisting addresses the shortcomings of influencer marketing and provides brands with a more cost-effective, compliant, and scalable way to reach a wider audience. If you think about it, whitelisting may change your entire approach to influencer marketing. For instance, you may choose to work with more micro-influencers and worry less about their low follower count because you’ll be extending reach through paid social efforts.
There’s something to be said about being the brand that helps promote their relationship with influencers to audiences who would not be reached organically. This is why it’s important to incorporate whitelisting into the initial creator contract negotiations with influencers. Creator contracts should clearly outline the exact terms of the agreement and include details for whitelisting access and content usage. It’s crucial that you define what level of whitelisting access the influencer is going to give you and whether you’re paying an additional fee. In other words, both parties should have a clear understanding of the limitations and extent of whitelisting permission.
While influencers have been shown to have tremendous sway with consumers, traditional influencer marketing is limited by scale, targeting, and measurability. Beyond whitelisting, marketers are starting to explore alternative ways to extract more value out of their relationships with influencers. Co-distribution rights have been a popular trend as brands are hungry for ways to develop authentic content across platforms. With co-distribution, the brand gets usage rights to the influencer likeness and content, while the influencer receives exposure through channels they may not have previously had access to – like OOH, broadcast, brand events, or retail displays.
Co-distribution rights allow brands to use influencer content across channels for an agreed-upon period of time. It’s always important to list the channels and time periods clearly in the creator contract so that both parties are aware of terms and usage rights. Depending on the level of influencer, when these multi-channel deployments are done right, they should be mutually beneficial to both parties.
Creative strategy and co-creation
Influencer content should, first and foremost, always be authentic to that individual. That’s why you did the research and selected a particular influencer (or influencers). With that said, brands are continually looking for new ways to explore how they can evolve their influencer relationships and get them more involved in the brand’s creative process. Co-creation between brand and influencer is something that’s becoming increasingly popular. These activities include using them to help develop unique advertisements for media efforts, co-producing a short series to promote a message or cause, all the way to new product development. The use cases seem to be endless as marketers continue to find creative new ways to devise and engage with influencers.
Looking at influencers through the lens of co-creation will inform how you structure a deal with an influencer. It goes beyond using them for their audience and content and positions them more as partners who can help develop a product or campaign that will be uniquely identifiable to not only them but also the brand partnership.