A recent report from Influencer Marketing Hub found that nine in ten of the 5,000 marketers they surveyed believe that influencer campaigns are successful, and the publication estimates that the global market for creator-driven advertising will reach US$13.8 billion by the end of the year. The same dataset suggests that influencer marketing delivers a substantial earned media ROI value of x 5.78.
In my experience, maximising ROI from influencer marketing rests on three key pillars: consistency, authenticity, and optimisation. Of these pillars, the one most often overlooked is consistency. So, in order to strengthen their overall approach – and use all three pillars – here’s what businesses can do to ensure that they are getting the most from their influencer marketing spend.
In influencer marketing, consistency refers to two considerations: how often the creator posts and choosing the right influencers as part of a long-term strategy. While one-off posts can certainly be effective, marketers looking to maximise their ROI should invest in a strategy that involves multiple posts over a long period.
Influencers are most effective as part of an “always-on” content strategy that positions the creator as a true ambassador. This strategy involves numerous posts over time, demonstrating trust between the creators and the brand and creating a deep association of one with the other. Repeat posts also provide the creator with the chance to fine-tune their approach, based on what resonates with their audience.
The second consideration is which creators a brand chooses to collaborate with. Working with the same influencer over time is essential to building consistency, so it’s important to choose a reliable, trustworthy person. No brand wants to work with an influencer that pays for followers or posts inappropriate material.
The work of choosing influencers that match the brand’s focus, ideals and aesthetic was once the most time-consuming part of influencer marketing, requiring hours of investigating feeds. Now modern platforms can apply careful vetting and advanced algorithms to surface potential influencers to brands.
While the trust between creators and their carefully built audiences is powerful – and one of the main advantages over more traditional forms of advertising – it is also fragile. Maintaining an authentic image is essential to influencer marketing success.
When users suggest that a post feels “fake”, they aren’t talking about the fact that money has changed hands in exchange for an advertisement. This is a well-understood part of social media, and few people object to it. Instead, they mean that there is a mismatch between the creator, the product, and the message. Authenticity, therefore, rests upon selecting an influencer-brand pairing that is plausible and genuine.
Individuals with a smaller audience often have more time to interact with their audience. They adjust their approach according to their feedback and interactions. This creates a more significant connection, and when the influencer recommends something, their audience takes it more seriously. In turn, the marketer has maximised their engagement-per-pound.
Influencers are constantly optimising their content to ensure that it connects with their followers. This process of iterating on their personal brand with every post, stream and comment ensures that sponsored posts are as impactful as possible – another reason why influencer marketing is so valuable.
Working with an influencer over time also yields data that the marketer can use for optimisation. With a bit of work and A/B testing, it’s easy to learn from past mistakes and maximise ROI on future campaigns. For example, at Vamp, we worked with fashion business Russell and Bromley across two campaigns, one for the spring-summer season and another for the autumn-winter season.
By using the same influencers and applying the lessons from the first campaign, we were able to optimise it and deliver an increased return on advertising spend (ROAS). The spring-summer campaign delivered a 7x ROAS, while the later autumn-winter campaign achieved 11.8x ROAS – and almost doubled the average purchase value.
Consistency may seem obvious, but for many, it could be the missing puzzle piece to maximise influencer marketing ROI.