Katy Perry holds the #1 position for the most followers on Twitter. Why should we care? Because that means she is an influencer, aside from her obvious celebrity status. Being a social media influencer has become a lucrative job for anyone who has a large social network, or rather, a high number of followers, impressions, likes, or shares. Getting paid to post is rumored to be a coveted career for Gen Z’s.
Are we in the era of Influencer Marketing?
At a recent American Marketing Association event, panelists discussed paid search vs. influencer marketing. There was an interesting case study about how Facebook users engaged in an average of 30 hours of one-on-one conversations with a chatbot, a specific promotion for the movie Unfriended. A chatbot playing the lead movie character “frightened” users during IM chats. A clear example of how Millennial’s and Gen Z’s are actively engaging in online experiences, probably instead of clicking on a paid ad.
Paid search includes PPC (pay-per-click) ads, such as Google AdWords or Google Display Network. You bid on ad placement and pay for each click, based on a going rate. Google search and display ads on partner websites are typical advertising strategies for marketers trying to drive traffic to a website and elicit a consumer purchase. It does work, that’s why it’s included in marketing budgets. Although, click-through-rates have been decreasing.
Ad blocking is projected to grow 34%
Now there is another threat, ad blockers. Although not a new phenomenon, projected growth rates are increasing, catching the attention of marketers and advertisers alike. Ad blocking is projected to grow 34% this year for U.S. web users. Historically, ad blockers have been most popular with desktop and laptop users. Now smartphone ad blockers are projected to increase by at least 11%.
At the Cannes Lion international film festival, the Cannes ad blocking panel made the push for better creative. Begging the question, do users hate ads or do they hate bad ads? Are the “bad” ads ruining paid search for everyone? Perhaps there are people who just dislike all ads. Much like app fatigue, people are experiencing ad fatigue (regardless of how “targeted” the ad is). Just because you make an ad for a specific target audience and serve it up based on interests or demographics, doesn’t mean the user wants to see it.
Are we in the era of influencer marketing? Yes. People on social media who have a high number of followers and engagement are getting paid to post for brands and products. Yet, there is a struggle going in with setting standards. What is the real value of an influencer? Does it justify their cost? What happens if they don’t show up or post? How can a company determine which influencer is the right fit for their brand? There is a solution.
Should Influencer Marketing be automated?
Marketers can find social media influencers using ReadyPulse, TapInfluence or any other automated influencer marketing platform. Companies like JustFab and NatureBox have used ReadyPulse to grow brand awareness, brand affinity, and sales. Like paid search ads, influencer marketing works and there is a fee for it. Both are used to drive sales, but influencer marketing is about a deeper change in consumer behavior. Long-term change comes through feelings and beliefs. This can be achieved by linking your brand to positive, memorable experiences.
On the other hand, automating the influencer marketing process with a tech platform is feared to be jeopardizing authenticity. Audience targeting could be executed poorly or brand mentions could feel awkward and forced. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Major social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are watching these influencer tech intermediaries closely, concerned that a bad experience could result in a marketer abandoning their platform altogether.”
Like it or not, social media influencers are getting paid to promote. Marketers are responsible for generating multi-platform content for promotions and conversations. Why not lean on influencers to chirp about a product or demonstrate their own brand loyalty?
Advertising can focus heavily on enticing consumers to buy through contests, coupons, or sales promotions. These are short-term behavioral actions. To change attitudes long-term, marketers should work with beliefs (cognitive) and feelings (evaluative). This is where to build brand loyalty and brand affinity.
photo credit: harpersbazaar.com