Do Brands Really Need Influencer Marketing?

Here's 3 reasons why your brand needs it, and 3 reasons to avoid it

Just like any trend, influencer marketing grew in popularity when businesses and marketers discovered the scope of influence individuals could have on social media platforms like Instagram, and how that influence could be used to achieve sales. Rarely do you hear of people becoming Facebook or Twitter influencers, but with Instagram, brands can literally reach thousands of people by working with just one influencer alone. 

Of course, influencer marketing has its own price tag. 

There are various types of partnerships brands can forge with influencers; from brand "ambassadors" to product promotions, featured posts and more. Typically, however, all partnerships have one factor in common: they involve an influencer with at least 10,000 followers or more (often on Instagram) speaking positively about a brand to their audience. In exchange, the brand compensates the influencer with free products, monetarily, or under a different agreement. Overall, there is a cost brands can expect to pay when working with influencers because, simply put, this is how influencers make a living. 

If you're wondering, however, whether your brand could benefit from influencer marketing, there are a few key things to consider. Here, we break down 3 reasons why your brand needs influencer marketing, and 3 reasons why it doesn't. 

It's more successful at customer acquisition than paid ads (and more) 

Ask any marketer today, and most would postulate that influencer marketing achieves more success for brands from a customer acquisition perspective than paid ads, paid searches and more. That's likely due to the fact that audiences tend to trust influencers for their honest reviews and the content they create using sponsored products or posts. While this type of marketing can be costly, most marketers see the price tag as worthwhile when the partnerships pay off more than paid ads do. There's also the notion that influencers partner with brands that fit their niche, and typically don't just partner with any random brand willing to pay. For instance, a health and wellness blogger is unlikely to partner with a brand to promote artificial weight loss supplements. 

Influencer marketing is showing no signs of slowing down

When influencer marketing first became a "thing," most brands would shell out $50-$100 for a featured post or product promotion on an influencer's blog, Instagram, etc. Now, many brands invest in influencer marketing on a whole, meaning brands are creating entirely new budgets and marketing plans around influencers. This increase in focus on influencer marketing is growing so quickly, in fact, that some have projected marketing teams will spend approximately $2 billion on influencer marketing in 2019. You read that right: $2 billion dollars. 

The potential ROI is huge, if your partnership pays off

In the field of communications, the idea of a "trend" revolves around a change in direction or interest which corporations are inevitably impacted by; trends affect consumer interest, patterns and investment, which means companies are in turn affected by trends. The same thing can be said for influencer marketing; it is, after all, a trend, albeit one that continues to move upwards. For brands that utilize influencer marketing effectively, the potential for return-on-investment is huge, if the partnership with an influencer pays off. For example, 70% of businesses earn upwards of $2 for every dollar, while some can earn more than that. Recent data shows that influencer marketing can generate around $6 for every dollar that a company invests. In other words, your potential ROI could be pretty sweet. 

Most influencers will provide custom photography/content as part of brand collaborations, simplifying the process for brands and making partnerships more enticing

Most influencers will provide custom photography/content as part of brand collaborations, simplifying the process for brands and making partnerships more enticing

Brands can work with influencers all over the world, or within their own city/country/region, bringing their audiences closer to individuals who have a wide sphere of influence in their niche

Brands can work with influencers all over the world, or within their own city/country/region, bringing their audiences closer to individuals who have a wide sphere of influence in their niche

But influencer marketing isn't for everyone...

For starters, it's difficult to measure ROI

Unless an influencer provides you with analytics or results from their own monitoring plan from a campaign or collaboration with your brand, it can be difficult to measure the exact results from a partnership with an influencer. Most marketers find it challenging to measure the ROI for the simple reason being that, unlike paid ads, paid searches, digital ads, Google Analytics and more, influencer collabs and campaigns don't show nor provide clear, solid statistics as to how many sales were driven by that collab, how much website traffic was get the picture. Realistically, the only sure-fire way of measuring the success or ROI of an influencer collaboration is through things like engagement, or click-through rates, during the exact period that collaboration took place. 

Influencer marketing doesn't come cheap, either

Collaborations with influencers are growing increasingly more expensive by the year. Influencers with anywhere between 50,000-500,000 followers, for example, can charge upwards of $2,000 for a sponsored post, whereas influencers with millions of followers can charge over $30,000 per post. Yes, $30,000 for one post. For brands with limited influencer budgets, niche influencers may just be the way to go, but this doesn't guarantee a "cheaper" collaboration. 

There's also the issue of transparency 

Just in case you missed it, the Frye Festival gaffe of 2017 acted as a marketing parable for anyone who ever considered influencer marketing to be top dog. The Cliff's Notes version goes something like this: Celebrities and influencers the likes of Kendall Jenner were paid thousands of dollars to promote the Frye Festival, a music festival in the Bahamas marketed mostly towards the 1%. People spent hundreds of dollars on tickets, only to arrive at the festival grounds greeted by feral dogs, no food, no accommodations and, you guessed it, no celebs ;) Influencers were relentlessly mocked for having pushed an event that was ultimately disastrous (and non-existent), but what actually resulted was a decline in trust in some influencer niches. After all, who wants to buy a product pushed by an influencer who also pushed one of the worst lifestyle event debacles in recent history? Answer: very few

This lack of transparency results in an imbalance in power, whereby the public (you could call these people "stakeholders") lose trust in brands and businesses when they partner with influencers who aren't exactly honest. Brands have to be more careful than ever when it comes to the influencers they partner with. 


Influencer marketing isn't going anywhere

Big or small, brands continue to recognize the benefits of partnering with influencers, especially when those brands have a budget for it. What it really comes down to is whether your brand could benefit from collaborating with influencers, and what the projected ROI of the partnership would be.

Interested in influencer marketing for your business?

Chat us up to discover how we can help you partner with the right influencers and make influencer marketing work for your brand

Sugarpop Marketing