THE GREAT INFLUENCER FRAUD: 4 MARKETING FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

THE GREAT INFLUENCER FRAUD: 4 MARKETING FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

I've heard at least 6 times this week that 2017 is going to be the year of the influencer.

I mean sure, it's true to some extent, but the sources these stories are coming from are so painfully misguided; I've decided to set the record straight so you don't waste your hard earned dollars on ham-fisted attempts at influencer outreach.

The following results are taken from painstaking research made into some of the biggest ‘influencers’ in Australia, and there’s some things you should know:

1.    Bikini models don’t sell bikinis

I'd love to tell you who this was taken from, but I feel like one day I'll need to appeal to old men who like beautiful girls, so I'll stay silent. I can say however, that the follower base is around 550k.

1 WOMAN TO EVERY 10,000 MEN

YET 90% OF COMMENTS ARE FROM WOMEN
 

This is from one of Australia’s most popular beach babes, purporting clean eating and healthy bodies while promoting meal plans and products from her own range (as well as sharing inspirational stories from her followers).

The problem with her following, as well as many other girls in this category, is a very small number of her followers are actually women, but unfortunately it is that small minority who is also the most vocal, which gives brands the impression of a relevant audience.

“Oh my god babe you’re so hot, I want that bikini!” repeated 50 times seems like excellent reach, but when you break down the 5000+ likes, 4,899 of them are from big sweaty men, liking the photo for a very different reason.

If this sounds like you, don't be another up-and-coming brand directed at girls who thinks these women are your best bet. If you want to truly appeal to this segment, you are much better off going for lower level influencers like Charlotte Piho. A random sample taken from her followers show's she has exactly the type of audience you would expect.

(These results were taken from an Australian swimwear campaign in 2016)

2.    Flat-lay experts don’t sell…anything.

We love ourselves a flat-lay.

After all, they’re so damn pretty.

A quick dip into the conversion results of the flat-lay creators I’ve personally used in the past will tell you one thing; accounts based around creating aesthetically pleasing imagery are great at creating content to submit for later use in a wider advertising campaign; but relying on them to have any kind of real-life influence is an exercise in futility.

The following was taken from a campaign using one of Australia's most famous flat-lay bloggers:

1.8M CLICKS TO WEBSITE

YET ONLY 11 OF THESE CONVERTED
 

Turns out; nobody cares if Mary-Jane the flat-lay girl tells them to buy a box of the new Shapes, they just want more flat-lays. Thus is the nature of insta-relevancy.

On top of this, over 40% of the market was based in Hong Kong, which makes a good portion of those clicks completely irrelevant.

Reach is cool and all, but would you pay 10k to erect a billboard of an Australian product in the heart of a Chinese city, with no context whatsoever? Hiring non-brand aligned Influencers will do this to your product, except the billboard doesn't come down after a month, that piece of content could live forever as a reminder of your inability to target your campaigns properly.

To be fair, it's hard to get people to convert from Instagram, and 1.8 million clicks is definitely huge reach. But when it comes to results, 11 conversions out of 1.8 million clicks from a great deal of people who aren't even in the country could win an award for the most abysmal advertising results in the history of advertising.

(These results were taken from an FMCG product launch in 2015)

3.    Fitness influencers are one of your best bets

In terms of getting people to click on links, follow instructions or just generally being receptive to promotional messages, accounts with a fitness or bodybuilding focus have a 28.2% better bio link click-through rate than all other segments (especially v.s individually focused beauty accounts, with an abysmal 3.4%)

Don't be disheartened if you don't sell fitness products, fitness related accounts tend to promote a multitude of products and services.

(These results were taken from multiple industry facing campaigns over 2015/2016)

4.    In this brave new influencer world, micro always beats macro

Since the Instagram algorithm change, some of the old school influencers have really started to feel the pinch.

Where before they could get away with posting any old piece of junk to their 150-200k followers, with 90% of them seeing the content. Now they would be lucky to reach 10-15k.

4-5% OF THE AUDIENCE WILL SEE CONTENT
FROM A LARGE SCALE INFLUENCER (100k FOLLOWERS OR MORE)

60-70% OF THE AUDIENCE WILL SEE CONTENT
FROM A MICRO-INFLUENCER (20k FOLLOWERS OR LESS)

This means that up-and-coming influencers who are putting more effort into their content should experience far more success than their more 'followed' counterparts. This is why you see influencers with 20-odd thousand followers getting more likes and engagement than those with 100k+.

(These results were amalgamated from sproutsocial, social bakers and Iconosquare, where I have personally tracked several influencers over the past 18 months)

The fact is; a campaign with 5 smaller influencers with followings of 20k each will absolutely smash a campaign using one influencer with 100k followers, so, if you’re still using large scale influencers without truly thinking about what effect they're having on your brand or product, you should probably take a long hard look at your social media strategy (and maybe the agency that told you to use them).

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