Both influencer and paid social marketing are becoming a growing part of most brands’ marketing strategies. Nearly 50% of marketers are spending more on influencer marketing in 2017 than ever before and global spending on paid social ads will account for 16% of all digital ad spending this year. However, many marketers treat influencer marketing and paid social as two separate strategies with separate budgets being managed by separate teams. The time has come to shake things up and come together for greater authenticity and better results.
Although, Influencer marketing and paid social are both excellent ways to reach audiences, but experienced marketers are well aware of their limitations. Influencers are audience and subject matter experts. When it comes to creating content that resonates with audiences and builds trust there is no parallel. According to a study by Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from peers or trusted authorities and that 84% will take action based on those recommendations above all other forms of advertising. However, influencer marketing has a multitude of limitations, particularly in the realms of reach, targeting, and optimization. Once an influencer post goes live, it must battle against two incredibly strong forces; content clutter and timeline algorithms. The competition for share of attention is as ruthless as the “Hunger Games”. Because of the high volume of content being shared on social media, algorithms must decide what content gets top placement on a user’s feed. The average user is potentially exposed to 1,500 stories every time they log onto Facebook. As a result of this incredible volume, only 2.6% on average of an influencer’s audience will be exposed organically to any given post. That means a lot of hard work and good money can go to waste.
In terms of targeting and optimization, paid social is where it’s at. Facebook and Instagram have access to the most accurate and personal user data available. In 2016, Facebook released a list of the 98 data points it collects to target ads to users. In addition to the data that Facebook collects, it has partnered with Acxiom to gather even more user data about behavior that takes place off-platform. This data including over 500 million active consumers with an average of 1,500 data points per person. Social has the traffic, data, and control of which ads users see and because of this, it is one of the smartest buys advertisers can invest in. The only problem is that when it comes to paid social, many brand advertisers forget what social media is really about: people connecting with other people. Instead of using paid social to fit into the natural social conversation, most advertisers revert to the traditional days of display advertising and build social ads that look like ads. Womp. Womp.
Using a social platform to push ad-y advertising is at best a missed opportunity and at worst a massive misstep. Advertisements within social media should be authentically social. They should be recommendations from other humans, not messages from brands. 42% of millennial consumers do not trust ads and 63% of consumers trust user-generated content more than branded images. So is using influencer content amplified by paid social the answer? Our results strongly suggest so.
When comparing boosted influencer posts to branded paid social ads, we’ve seen a 3x improvement in campaign performance. Additionally, we have been able to extend the reach of influencers with audiences in the hundreds of thousands to reach much larger audiences in the tens of millions, with double the engagement rates of the organic posts. These results suggest that paid social and influencer marketing should no longer be seen as two separate entities. Rather, budgets and strategies should be brought together, combining their strengths and canceling out their weaknesses.
Want to learn more about how paid social ads can help with your influencer campaign performance? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org