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How to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI

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Influencer marketing, like any form of marketing, should eventually drive a positive ROI. However, each marketing channel requires unique methods for measuring ROI. For example, there are forms of digital marketing (such as pay per click advertising) that are much more quantifiable than others (like advertising on tv or radio). The former is a form of direct response marketing. The latter are typically used to drive brand awareness. These are vastly different forms of marketing, yet, in my conversations with smaller brands, I often come across clients who try to measure influencer marketing ROI using direct response measuring techniques. The result is that expectations are often misaligned with reality, and they terminate their influencer marketing campaigns prematurely.

 

Internally, we think of Influencer marketing (as with any form of marketing), as one piece of a larger marketing mix. Influencer marketing ROI isn't usually realized in the form of direct/trackable sales like Pay Per Click or other forms of direct response marketing. To understand why, just put yourself in the shoes of a YouTube viewer. Have you ever watched a YouTube video and immediately purchased the product when you didn't have the intention beforehand?

I know I haven't. Its not an impossible scenario. But its also not representative of normal user behavior. So we have to think about measuring ROI in other ways, including some ways which aren't as easily quantifiable. For example, in addition to some level of direct traffic/sales, ROI is realized in the form of brand awareness, better SEO, and social proof. I'll touch on each of these in more detail below.

Brand Awareness
Awareness is typically the very top of the marketing funnel. The more consumers are aware of a product, the greater the demand for that product. Consumers have to know about a product before they can buy it. While most people who watch YouTube videos are not viewing with purchase intent, YouTube, like television, presents an opportunity to drive top-of-the-funnel awareness that a product exists.

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If trackable sales from your latest YouTube review do not come in immediately, don't fret. The likely path to purchase is something like this. A potential consumer watches a review, remembers the product and what problem it could solves for them, and purchases it sometime in the future when she actually has a need for it. Awareness isn't easily measurable without extensive (and expensive) consumer surveys. Yet, we know from our own experience that this is often how determine which brands/products to consider when we have the need.

SEO
Unlike brand awareness, people often DO use search engines with purchase intent. To illustrate this, I'll use an imaginary consumer named Carol.

Carol is 26 years old, and has recently developed an acne problem.  She decides she's going to solve it once and for all, and turns to Google to find out which acne cream people are recommending. She enters "acne cream reviews" and hits enter. Nested in the usual Google search results, are YouTube reviews about a variety of acne creams. She watches two videos where a multitude of creams are reviewed, and decides on the Acme brand because it was the only one recommended in BOTH of the videos she watched.

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YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. The more people on YouTube buzzing about a product in their videos, the greater the likelihood of consumers discovering reviews of that product when searching Google, YouTube, or any other search engine. The more people who see a positive review about that product, the more people will purchase it, all things considering.

Social Proof
Social proof is a psychological concept in which people use the behavior of others as a proxy for what they should do themselves.

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In the context of consuming products, potential consumers will visit a brand's website, read/watch reviews, and check out the company's social media pages to validate their decision to try a brand. They say to themselves, "If others like it, it must be good." The opposite is also true. If someone sees a video review, but they click to the site and its not up to par, or there's no content on the blog, or the brand's social media accounts are inactive, it occurs to consumers the same way an empty restaurant would. In this case, they say to themselves, "This place is empty. The food must be terrible." And they leave. This, of course, would be negative social proof.

The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that influencer marketing is extremely powerful because it amplifies word of mouth recommendations of products. But its not as easy to derive quantifiable data from influencer marketing as it is with direct response channels. My hope is that you now have a better idea of how consumers behave, and how to leverage influencer marketing to capitalize on this behavior.

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How to Pick the Right Brand Ambassador

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With the rise in popularity of social media, influencers and third party content, brands are clamoring to figure out a marketing strategy that intuitively incorporates these new marketing formats in order to obtain a competitive edge.  One of the most popular ways brands are aligning with influencers is through brand ambassadorships.

 

With so many influencers showcasing large followings and a steady stream of content, it can be confusing as to which influencer would best represent your brand. Here are four simple tips on how to pick the right influencer for your brand:

 

  1. Profile - A good brand ambassador is an influencer with a decent following who has been creating content for at least a few years. A decent following ranges from 5,000 to over a 1 million subscribers. The key thing you're seeking is an influencer with experience. You want to be sure this person is consistently posting content and that there are no large gaps of time between the posts. Influencers with good sized followings treat their platforms with a sense of professionalism which ensures they will treat your brand ambassadorship with the same respect and attention.
  2. Personality - When seeking a good brand ambassador, you will want to seek someone who fits the identity of your brand. For example, if your brand manufactures healthy skin care products, your best brand ambassadors will be women and men who are health conscious, have great skin and who speak about healthy alternatives when it comes to beauty, food and wellness. The key is to seek those who are already in alignment with your brand vision.
  3. Credibility - A good brand ambassador has the trust and validation of his/her audience because of the consistent and trustworthy content he/she has churned out over the years. Take the time to sift through some videos or blog posts and see how they handle product reviews and hauls. Are they honest about the products or do they blindly endorse any and everything they receive. A good influencer will not sell themselves to the highest bidder - they will only promote and highlight products they believe in, use and stand by. Their credibility translates into brand awareness, loyalty and recognition for the products they endorse on their channels.
  4. Professionalism - In order to foster a healthy and successful relationship with an influencer, it's highly important that he/she is professional. Being that this individual will be an extension of your brand to the public, its best to pick an influencer who converses with his/her followers in a professional manner. In addition, the influencer should be open to feedback from you in regards to campaigns and content so that both parties are happy with the arrangement. You can gather a lot about an influencer just by seeing how they conduct themselves via their social media channels. Do an audit of their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms.

Signing up with a great brand ambassador can be the difference your company has been seeking. From increased consumer exposure to increased revenue, there are a myriad of benefits that come from working with an experienced influencer.

 

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10 Ways to Boost Your YouTube Subscribers Today

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In the world of influencer marketing, it's all about followers. Every day, you're seeking ways to increase your subscribers or followers so that you can garner attention from top brands and begin to make some revenue from your channels and/or platforms.

Well, here at Content Blvd, we're all about helping you create the platform of your dreams with compelling content that engages your audience and helps identify you as a thought leader and content creator.

Here are the top 10 ways to increase your YouTube followers today!

 

  1. Write out your scripts.

Preparation is the key to success. Before sitting down to film a video about your latest shopping haul or a product review, you will want to jot down a script. You may be wondering why you need a script? It will keep you organized, on task and help you describe the product and/or brand with more clarity and accuracy which equals better content and higher audience satisfaction.  

 

  1. Create evergreen content.

Evergreen content is the content that you will become known for. It's the foundation of your channel. For instance, if you're a technology influencer, your evergreen content may consist of gadget hauls, app reviews and trend reports. This is what your audience comes to you for. It's your bread and butter and surefire way to increase followers.

 

  1. Consistently post on a weekly basis.

The more often you post, the more followers you will acquire. Audiences love to see consistent posting as they feel confident you will deliver high quality content on a weekly basis. Many influencers have become one of the top sources of information for consumers when shopping.

 

  1. Personalize your video thumbnails.

Make sure your thumbnails are customized so that audiences can clearly see what the video is about before even clicking on it. You will find that your click through rate increases significantly when you start using customized thumbnails.

 

  1. Produce a channel trailer.

Giving your channel a trailer is a highly creative and effective way to showcase your channel to new followers. Make it short, to the point and a good representation of you, your content and your channel. Just like at the movies when a trailer wets your appetite, a good trailer will have followers hitting the subscribe button.

 

  1. Incorporate compelling call to action buttons.

There's nothing more compelling than including a sign up now or subscribe today button in your videos. Many potential followers will be quick to sign up when given the chance.

 

  1. Keep videos under 5 minutes.

Audiences have short attention spans so you will want to make sure your content is concise, well-thought out and under five minutes. The longer the videos, the more apt the audience will be to move on. The most highly converted videos were under five minutes according to Comscore.

 

  1. Invest in a good intro and outro.

Just like a great trailer, you will want to create a personalized intro and outro that lives at the beginning and end of your videos. This intro and outro are branding bookends that help identify your channel and lend a more professional feel to your content.

 

  1. Edit. Edit. Edit.

Great editing is the key to great content. Cut out any unnecessary footage or content that doesn't push your overall content forward. Be sure to include some interesting angles and cuts so that your videos are entertaining and  informative.

 

  1. Meta tags are your BFF.

Audiences seek out videos and content via keywords searches in major search engines like Google’s. Search engines rely upon the words you use to describe your videos, as well as the video’s titles and meta tags. Be sure to be as descriptive as possible to ensure the search engines have what they need to serve up your videos when they match a user’s search criteria.

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Influencer Marketing Examples: Will Independent Restaurants Start Hiring Local Influencers?

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You'll find many influencer marketing examples that work on a national and corporate scale, though what about local businesses? For local restaurants, especially, the chance to become successful through influencers is one we haven't yet seen hit full stride. But through one local story in London, England, you can see the possibilities in how local influencers could change the way restaurants in small communities market themselves.

In the above example, it's a London pizza restaurant called Pizza Pilgrims. Located in the Soho district of London, their goal was to bring authentic Italian pizza by visiting real locations in Italy.

 

When they documented their entire trip on YouTube, it brought an early bevy of fans into their marketing fray. It was the perfect way to set up the path toward hiring influencers to get word out about their restaurant.

Their influencer tactics, however, worked on a more local basis through a relatively simple process.

 

Hiring Bloggers for Hyper-Local Influencing

Pizza Pilgrims used its own YouTube Channel to attract people who were within the geographic region where the restaurant is. The next goal was to hire influencer bloggers who lived within just a mile from the restaurant.

 

This was a smart technique since it gave a chance for those in the district to market to others in the same area.

Blogging, though, can become an overly generalized concept. The restaurant's owners gave more of a purpose to blogging so it wasn't just asking them to give reviews.

 

At the heart of this was getting local people involved in projects and campaigns. As a result, it made those influencers feel valued while they wrote about Pizza Pilgrims. It ultimately brought a new twist to the influencer marketing idea that could easily get used here in the United States.

The question is, would it work here, and what other steps could lead to good influencer outcomes?

 

Local Marketing in the United States

Google has taken local marketing to a new level by giving businesses better tools to get themselves found easier online. Review sites like Yelp also bring a localized "make or break" path for many local businesses. Yet, the blogging concept from Pizza Pilgrims above is one you could see become bigger here in the states.

 

While Instagram and social media still matters in the influencer mix, blogs are still very influential when they have loyal audiences. The key is to work closely with influencers and give them the proper keywords to use so their blogs get found easier online.

 

Of course, the goal for all influencers is to go after those who already have successful blogs. In that regard, it's sometimes just as effective to link up with other local businesses to create an authentic partnership.

 

Partnering for More Localized Influence

When you partner with other another local restaurant that's perhaps related to what you do, it can bring symbiotic influencer marketing for better results. You can also do double duty in hiring influencers to save you time finding them on your own.

 

Regardless, you can act as influencers to each other for mutual success. As a hyper-local marketing campaign, it can work much like bloggers who curate content. When you share content from another business, they're more apt to share your content on their channels.

 

With all this in mind, it's worth remembering influencers don't have to strictly be notable people. Seeking a high volume of customers in a small geographic area can mean finding successful bloggers who wouldn't mind teaming up with fellow local bloggers to create a more powerful influencer force.

 

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How an Authentic Social Media Strategy Can Strengthen Brand Positioning

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In the seven-step brand-positioning process, step one on the list involves determining how your brand is currently positioning itself in the marketplace. And if a social media element isn’t part of that strategy, context will be lost in the mind of today’s ever-connected, techno-savvy consumer. In fact, implementing a solid social-media strategy is crucial to leveraging step number seven on the list: testing the efficacy of your brand-positioning statement. So if your brand’s statement of purpose falls flat on social media, it’s safe to say it won’t gain a foothold anywhere.

With that in mind, here’s some reasoning, as well as a few concrete examples, that prove how utilizing social media the right way can position your brand ahead of the pack.

 

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The earned media factor
Increasingly, earned media is overshadowing owned media and paid promotion as the more effective of this marketing-strategy trifecta. That’s because a new generation of consumers exists that places a premium on authenticity above all else. They trust people over brands, they look to peers for product recommendations, and they eschew celebrity endorsements. Brands who create a successful earned-media campaign in this endeavor will not only enjoy more conversions, they will effectively turn customers into brand advocates who spread positive word of mouth across their various social-media profiles. That’s brand positioning at its most artful.

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The influencers
Now that marketers are realizing the value inherent in generating positive word-of-mouth authentically, the question then becomes how best to accomplish this? Any earned-media campaign should utilize influencers. These are social-media personalities, regular folks, who can be enlisted to review a product or service on their medium of choice. But influencers come in two categories: those who charge for their reviews and those who request only product samples. And while it’s not an automatic deal-breaker to pay an influencer, doing so eliminates all earned-media credibility. Therefore, facilitating trust in the minds of consumers via various social-media platforms is the best way to achieve authenticity and earned-media.

 

The rise of Instagram
As a photo-sharing site, Instagram is tailor-made for any visually appealing product—especially those manufactured by beauty and fashion companies. Take this jaw-dropping statistic for example: of the 13 million social-media interactions that took place during the fall 2016 New York Fashion Week, 97% occurred on Instagram. This trend wasn’t lost on beauty powerhouse Chanel, who invited top Instagram influencers to their production facility in the South of France for a retreat that just happened to feature the company’s upcoming No. 5 L’Eau fragrance. And mass Instagramming ensued.

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Another point: there are newer businesses out there who aren’t merely saying that social-media is an important factor, but that Instagram itself is their most important touch point. Brands who can leverage the visual potential of their product and marry it with a successful Instagram strategy have the potential to draw millions of eyeballs to a single campaign.

 

The YouTube case studies: GoPro and Activision
GoPro could have been like many other consumer electronics manufacturers and relied on traditional “push” advertising to get the message out. But they had loftier goals, and achieving them meant harnessing the power of social media—YouTube to be precise. By creating a channel and allowing users to upload their own videos, they effectively turned their audience into branded content producers. This allowed them to rise above their status as a simple electronics product and become social-media powerhouse. The result is that GoPro is now synonymous with travel and adventure sports. Every indication is that it will be a while before a competing product supplants them in this realm.

This undated product image released by GoPro shows the GoPro digital camera mounted on a ski helmet, a hot item on ski slopes and other settings. Brian Stacey, director of new product development for Tauck, the cruise and tour company, likes the camera because it attaches “to pretty much anything _ your helmet, arm, leg, canoe” and can shoot images while you’re moving. (AP Photo/GoPro)

This undated product image released by GoPro shows the GoPro digital camera mounted on a ski helmet, a hot item on ski slopes and other settings. Brian Stacey, director of new product development for Tauck, the cruise and tour company, likes the camera because it attaches “to pretty much anything _ your helmet, arm, leg, canoe” and can shoot images while you’re moving. (AP Photo/GoPro)

But YouTube isn’t just for brands whose wheelhouse is the great outdoors. There is a major gaming market too. Activision is a video-game company probably most famous for its “Call of Duty” series, which is one of the most successful franchises in the history of console gaming. Not one to rest on their laurels, Activision took the then-risky move of focusing the brunt of their marketing on YouTube influencers. The strategy paid off, and their influencer videos were viewed almost 10 billion times, which is more than 20 times the views they received on the game’s own website. The result is that Activision positioned their brand front and center in the minds of gamers everywhere. And by utilizing honest reviews from respected YouTube personalities, the company achieved their monumental success the best way possible: authentically.

 

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So how will your brand position itself at the forefront of social-media influence? Will you go all in on YouTube and Instagram? Will you find your niche in newer platforms like SnapChat, the way
Burberry did to great success? Or maybe you’ll innovate beyond the rest and create a heretofore unheard of social strategy that boldly goes where no brand has gone before. The sky’s the limit.

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Influencer marketing examples: What makes for a successful campaign?

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Influencer marketing is a buzzword that is used to refer to a type of marketing that uses the power of social media to harness and attract new and returning customers. Many previously unknown people -- and brands -- have found themselves enjoying a surge of popularity -- and, in turn, sales -- as a result of influencer marketing. But not every type of influencer marketing is successful for brands -- so what makes for a good influencer marketing campaign? In this blog post, we're going to discuss some of the most successful influencer marketing campaigns, and what made them so successful.

 

Birchbox and Instagram: A Successful Partnership with Beauty Bloggers

Birchbox is a NYC-based subscription box company that sends their subscribers about four or five samples of beauty products -- usually makeup and perfume -- each month. The company was started in 2010 by two graduates of Harvard Business School, and currently has over a million monthly subscribers.

But, of course, it wasn't always this way. In order for Birchbox to be the successful company that it is today, it had to engage in influencer marketing, and they did this in a few ways. First, the company engages in "Instagram takeovers," which is where popular beauty bloggers take control of the Birchbox Instagram, with the idea that the blogger's Instagram followers will subsequently follow Birchbox's Instagram (more followers, as any marketer will tell you, translates to more opportunities for more customers). Second, in October 2014, they partnered with the popular app Soldsie to create the first-ever Instagram shop, which gave the company the opportunity to turn all commenters into instant buyers with an appropriate hashtag.

The example of Birchbox's success illustrates how important it is for companies to immediately find their niche, and subsequently partner with influencers that are able to push the company's brand to the dedicated audience.

 

Boxed Water and Instagram: Banding Together for A Common Cause

One of the best ways to get people behind your brand is to band together for a cause. The cause, of course, has to be in line with your brand as well, but if you can find something to get behind, and you can find people to get behind them, they'll rally together, not only to get behind your cause, but to show loyalty to your brand.

Let's take the example of the Boxed Water company: they have partnered with several Instagram influencers to spread the word about their product, but also to spread the word about their preferred charity, The Retree Project. Thanks to their partnership with these several influencers, more than 2000 photos with the hashtag #TheRetreeProject emerged.

This is yet another example of how partnering with the best influencers can lead to your brand's continued exposure. If you partner with an appropriate charity, in fact, many influencers will post about your product either for free, or for a reduced fee, or for a tax-exempt receipt.

Madewell and Instagram: Encourage User Partnership

Finally, but certainly no less importantly, one of the most important things to remember about influencers is that they got to where they are today because they encourage user participation. If you use your influencers as partners, rather than as paid participants in your program, you'll be able to encourage other users to do the same with your partnership.

Take, for example, the case of Madewell, who used Instagram to "regram" (that is, repost with a link back to the influencer's Instagram) some pictures that showed appropriate influencers wearing their goods.

This is just a few of the many examples of brands who have used the power of influencer marketing for the great success of their brands. For more information about us and our services, contact us today to see what we can do for you.

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5 Influencer Marketing Statistics You Can’t Afford to Ignore

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These days, media channels inundate consumers with more paid advertisements than ever before. Not surprisingly, the impact of this is that people trust paid advertising less and less. Anyone with a computer knows that advertisements are literally everywhere on the web -- and consumers are more resistant and critical than ever when it comes to paid marketing.

 

Likewise, social media and online communities are growing larger and more active every day. Word-of-mouth and earned marketing are incredibly powerful because consumers trust that the promoters have nothing to gain from product sales. Influencer marketing harnesses this power through systematically partnering with influential groups and individuals to review, discuss, and promote brands and products.

 

While influencer marketing can be paid -- similar to a sponsorship -- it's most effective when the influencer is unpaid, speaking freely and candidly, and without bias. This aspect is exactly what makes influencer marketing trustable to consumers.

 

If you're someone interested in optimizing your marketing to reach and convert the most people at the least cost, influencer marketing is a growing channel you can't afford to ignore. Check out these 5 influencer marketing stats that will show you why influencer marketing is on the rise and projected to stay there.

 

  1. Increase consumer trust. Consumer trust and confidence in paid advertising has declined by over 20% since 2007 (Nielsen). Conversely, consumer confidence in word-of-mouth advertising is growing -- 92% of consumers trust recommendations from peers or trusted authorities. Likewise, 72% of people rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions (SimplyMeasured). These are staggering statistics, and they suggest a huge change in the way we think about marketing. Starting communities and conversations is now a more powerful tool for building brand trust and recognition than almost anything else.

 

  1. Stop wasting money and boost your ROI in marketing dollars. Influencer marketing averages a better ROI than any other online marketing channel. Businesses make an average of $6.50 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing -- and the top 13% of businesses make $20 or more for ever dollar spent (Tomoson). This is a higher ROI than paid search, affiliate marketing, and SEO optimization for organic search. Marketers rated influencer marketing as the most cost-effective marketing channel (along with e-mail marketing).

 

  1. Join the majority of who invest in what works. Businesses rated influencer marketing as their fastest growing online conversion channel, ranking higher than email marketing and search engines. (Tomoson) 59% of marketing departments are expanding their influencer marketing budgets this year (Tomoson).

 

  1. Convert better customers. Customers acquired through influencer marketing tend to be more loyal with a higher lifetime value. Customers converted this way are more likely to be active on social media, youtube, and product reviews. This means they're also more likely to promote your product via their own word-of-mouth channels, adding to their life-time value. Customers acquired through word-of-mouth have a 37% higher retention rate. (Deloitte) Because it's cheaper to retain customers than convert new ones, this strategy pays on multiple levels.

 

  1. Drive brand lift. Earned media drives 4 times the brand lift as paid media (Bazaar Voice). This means that people who interact with the earned media are way more likely to be impressed than they would be if they heard the same information through a paid channel -- and way more likely to buy from you or promote your brand. Again, this is about trust. Consumers know that someone who doesn't directly stand to profit from converting them is probably more worthy of trust.

Want to learn more about developing or beginning your influencer marketing campaign? Interested in best practices for identifying influencers, developing influencer relationships, and implementing new strategies in the most effective way? 

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What Ad Blockers Tell Us About the Value of Influencer Marketing

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Programs and plugins that block ads on desktop and mobile web browsers have been around for a few years. But they hadn't led to worries or even panic among marketers until last year, when Apple announced that it would include ad-blocking capabilities for its Safari browser in the release of iOS 9. Just like that, a formerly niche tool went mainstream.

 

The months since have seen a rapid rise of ad blocking apps, which now dominate Apple and Android download charts. As millions of consumers are blocking ads, marketers have begun to panic: how are they supposed to spread the word about their brand if they're being shut out? The answer is deceptively simple: influencer marketing. Here are 3 conclusions we can draw from the rise of ad blocking.

 

1) Consumers are Tired of Ads

Above all, the rapid rise of ad blocking capability stems from one major underlying current: consumers are simply getting tired of ads. No less than 45 million U.S. internet users now regular use ad blocking software for a more organic content experience, and that number is expected to continue rising.

 

By the millions, American consumers have decided that getting exposed to more than 360 individual advertisements is simply too much. When they search on Google or log into Facebook, they want to get relevant results and hear from friends rather than being bombarded by promotional messages. And given the ubiquity of digital advertisements, who could blame them?

 

2) Revenue Will Be Lost

For marketers relying on digital ads to spread their message, the consequences of this development are undoubtedly troubling. As much as half of your target audience may simply be unreachable via digital ads, staying in the dark about your brand as a result.

 

According to one projection, advertisers will lose an astonishing $41 billion in 2016 advertising revenue as a result of ad blocking. Unsurprisingly, marketers relying on digital ads for brand exposure and revenue generation are panicking. Some went so far as to calling it the "Ad-Blocking Apocalypse."

 

3) Alternative Outreach is Needed

In reality, though, the rise of ad blockers is no need to panic. User are undoubtedly tired of ads, which is why they're starting to take action and control of their digital content exposure. But the one thing they're not doing is cutting their digital time as a result. In fact, the average consumer continues to spend more time online every single year.

 

Digital media consumption is not decreasing; the way in which we consume digital media is. Consumers don't want to hear promotional messages from brands, preferring authentic messages from their peers instead. For marketers, this insight offers an invaluable opportunity.

 

Enter influencer marketing. What if, rather than spending your time and resources trying to reach an audience that does not want to hear from you, you would spend it on engaging the influencers to whom your audience does want to listen? Naturally, your efforts will be much more successful.

 

Influencer marketing does not just offer theoretical benefits in an ad blocking age. Businesses who engage in this philosophy experience significant ROI. One study suggested an ROI that is 11 times as high as traditional banner ads, while another showed peer-focused marketing to generate $6.50 for every dollar spent.

 

In short, influencer marketing offers an ideal opportunity for marketers to circumvent ad blocking technology and get their message straight to their target audience. It's a marketing method specifically designed for an age in which consumers are able to decide who they want to listen to, seeking authenticity rather than promotions. So if you're worried that ad blocking may negatively influence your marketing strategy, consider influencer marketing as a more authentic, organic and beneficial alternative.

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Why Brands are Spending Piles of Money on Influencer Marketing

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A recent study found through a survey that 65% of brands have plans to raise their influencer marketing budget in 2016. They also found that influencer marketing is receiving greater investments than display advertising and affiliate marketing. Influencer marketing is becoming more important for businesses for the following reasons:

 

  1. Consumers Use Their Phones to Search for Product Reviews

Many consumers check product reviews online before buying a product. Even if they're in the physical store, they can use their mobile phones to read product reviews. According to Stacy DeBroff, the CEO and founder of Influence Central, one of their studies found that 70% of consumers sometimes check reviews on their phones while shopping. Even when they are ready to make a purchase, they want the best deal, so they check their smartphones for potential better deals before buying.

 

  1. Reading Product Reviews is Part of the Research Process

Customers read reviews as part of the research process before committing to a purchase. They think that it helps them make the right decision. Your brand will naturally have an advantage if a well-respected individual in your niche recommends your product through a review. Many people who come across the review will recognize the influencer as an expert in that niche and will therefore be more likely to trust his opinions.

 

  1. Not Only Millennials Care About Reading Online Reviews

The importance of online reviews extends to older generations as well, not just millennials read reviews before buying a product. In a study conducted by Influence Central and Vibrant Nation, they discovered that 95% of female consumers over the age of 45 searched for online product reviews and first-person recommendations before buying a product. 77% of the women surveyed follow brands on Facebook, and 74% admitted that they're more likely to purchase a product after reading a positive first-person review.

 

  1. Influencer Marketing Expands Their Reach

Another reason brands are investing in influencer marketing is it expands their reach. Influencers have large followings of people whom care about what they say. By connecting with an influencer in your field, you have access to his readerbase. Some of their readers will follow you because you have similar interests and are connected to the influencer they already trust. It will be easier for you to earn their trust as well.

 

  1. Boost Business Credibility

Influencer marketing is an easy way to boost your business's credibility. Once you've built a relationship with an influencer and he shares your products with his followers, your credibility increases rapidly. It will, however, take time and effort to initially connect with the influencer. Remember that no one will talk about your business just because you send an email asking. Think about how many emails influencers must receive every day from people wanting their products promoted by them.

 

  1. Increase Brand Awareness

You could have the best product, but if no one knows your business exists, you're not going to make many sales. Increasing brand awareness is important, especially for startups and small businesses that wish to grow. Influencer marketing is an efficient way to increase brand awareness because influencers already have large audiences that trust them.

 

Conclusion

Businesses are spending more money on influencer marketing this year because of how important influencers have become in the buying process for customers. Many people look to influencers for advice on what to buy and product recommendations. They trust the influencers that they have come to like. To speed up the process of earning trust from customers, clever businesses reach out to these social media stars. The benefits of an influencer posting about your business are worth the initial investment needed to build a relationship with that person.

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Why Influencer Marketing Succeeds at Driving Traffic

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Everyone wants in. 59% of marketers are throwing money at it, even more plan on throwing money at it, and 60% of all fashion brands are already utilizing it. So what is this new tactic that an overwhelmingly large segment of businesses are fixated on? It’s influencer marketing, and its success turns on the ability of social-media personalities to reach a target audience. Its appeal can be summed up in one attractive acronym: ROI. The facts on the ground say that brands that invest in an influencer-marketing strategy see an average $6.85 return on investment for every dollar spent. And as long as social media remains the dominant form of modern communication, the potential for grand returns will always be there.

 

But what makes it possible? Where, exactly, does influencer marketing derive its power, and what drives its success? The answers to these and many more questions are outlined below.

 

It’s authentic

 

First and foremost, influencer marketing works because it’s authentic. According to other statistics, modern teens trust YouTube personalities more than celebrities. This is part of a larger generational trend that sees a great majority of people (92%) trusting word-of-mouth advertising over traditional “push” marketing. It’s this pushiness that has turned off a modern consumer base with its own voice. They no longer want to be “talked at” by brands—they want to have a conversation with peers in the form of product reviews, social-media shares, and “likes.”

 

And that’s what the typical person sees when they follow an influencer on social media—a peer, a regular person who, like them, wants practical info and an honest recommendation. Businesses who adhere to an earned-media influencer strategy can leverage this authenticity to greater returns.

 

Its social

 

To buttress the introductory statement that social-media is today’s dominant form of communication, you only have to look at the numbers. Over two billion people from around the world are active social-media users. Facebook alone has 1.44 billion visitors, and YouTube runs a close second with a billion. And with nearly two billion of the global populous accessing social-media from their mobile devices, influencers have a direct conduit to a target audience any time of day or night via two major touch points. As far as reach is concerned, print advertising and commercials simply can’t compete.

 

It delivers the information an audience is already looking for

 

This notion has been wrapped up in a new marketing term called “Me2B” consumerism. The gist is that today the customer reaches out to the business—or in this case the influencer on their social-media channel. It’s why traditional advertising has little use in today’s world. Sure, display ads have managed to keep up (and will likely be a part of any brand’s strategy for the foreseeable future), but the statistics aren’t encouraging. Click-through rates across all platforms are an anemic 0.06%. Ad blocking grew by 41% over 2015, and that number will only continue to rise. The problem is that it’s a B2C tactic in a Me2B world. Influencer marketing is the strategy of today.

 

It blurs the line between advertising and content

 

Another reason influencer marketing drives traffic is because oftentimes folks don’t even know they’re looking at sponsored or branded content. Even with disclosure hashtags, such as #ad and #sponsored, it’s still possible to craft an influencer campaign that creates an authentic viewing experience. And businesses don’t need to focus merely on individuals. A successful example of this is when Friskies partnered with digital publisher Buzzfeed to create their “Deer Kitten,” campaign. Many found the video entertaining, but, more than that, most folks didn’t even know they were viewing what is essentially a commercial until halfway through. It proves that successful brand positioning can be a product of stealth.

 

It turns individuals into brand ambassadors

 

Even before the digital revolution, positive word-of-mouth was the ideal endgame for marketers. Indeed, according to McKinsey, word-of-mouth is responsible for twice the sales of paid advertising. And those folks who listen to recommendations by their favorite online influencers not only convert to customers, but if the product quality is as advertised they then carry the torch and tell their peers. This effectively exceeds positive word mouth, and turns the customer into a loyal brand advocate.

 

It’s time for businesses to stop doing all the heavy lifting themselves. By partnering with an influencer it’s possible to reach an individual target directly, eliminating the need for market segmentation and other superfluous noise. And if brands can deliver on their promises, they have the potential to convert millions of viewers in a single campaign.

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