June 20, 2024

What is Influencer Marketing and How Does it Work

4 min read
influencer marketing

We explain why brands collaborate with influencers and how to build the right advertising strategy.

Influencers are celebrities, bloggers and video bloggers with a loyal audience. Brands use their profiles to promote their products and services by coming up with thematic content for native advertising. Promotion with the help of bloggers helps to more accurately hit the interests of the audience.

Who are influencers 

Influencers are popular people with popular social media accounts: actors, experts, politicians, athletes. The number of their subscribers can reach millions, but there are those who work confidently with their small loyal audience. 

Influencers talk about their own experience of using goods and services, forming a certain attitude towards any product among the audience. The content is coordinated in advance and integrated with the format of interaction with the audience familiar to the blogger: post, video, photo, stories. Some large brands choose influencers for regular cooperation – they become brand ambassadors. 

Marketers and PR people are actively choosing influencers to promote: for example, according to the California influencer marketing agency Mediakix and Business Insider, American brands’ investment in influencer advertising could reach $15 billion by 2020. By comparison, in 2018, brands spent $8 billion to partner with them.  

The main social networks for working with bloggers in Russia are Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Brands and influencers create different advertising formats: 

  • native advertising (direct use of the product); 
  • product reviews;
  • advertising insert, challenge or raffle (giveaway).

Influencers can also negatively influence brands: for example, in 2018, model Kylie Jenner posted a Twitter post in which she was interested in “is anyone else using Snapchat or is it just her who stopped.” The post brought the social network down 6.1 percent of its market value, amounting to $1.3 billion.

What’s new in the influencer marketing market 

Travel bans and lockdowns have forced bloggers to refocus on home-grown content: cooking, comfort, food, and self-care. The founder of the fashion house Jacquemus launched the #jacquemusathome Instagram challenge , inviting brand customers to pass the time by compiling still lifes from products, the Gucci brand created viral TikTok videos in which people turned into home furniture. Bloggers also create digital goods: courses, personalized emoji, masks for Instagram.

Brands are also more active on TikTok, where the number of users has grown during the quarantine. For this platform, creatives select bright short videos that can quickly get into the recommendations of users. Thus, the American cosmetic brand The Ordinary achieved a 426% increase in sales of Peeling Solution after one of their videos , in which a representative of the brand answers questions about the product with words from the track of rapper E-40, went viral.  

Due to the pandemic, many clothing brands have moved the fashion show online, limiting the number of guests. So, at the invitation of Prada, Charlie D’Amelho , a 16-year-old TikTok star , who has more than 76 million subscribers, went to Milan Fashion Week at the invitation of Prada. During the show, she managed to shoot 4 clips with the #prada hashtag, which in total collected 199 million views. And the popular singer Billy Eilish, who is followed on Instagram by 69 million subscribers, has become a Burberry ambassador. 

A variety of brands enter TikTok: in Russia, Sberbank , Kitchen on the District , Pyaterochka and Megafon and other large companies have accounts. Ideal adaptation to the social network format is a challenge that helps to bring the video to the top or increase brand awareness. Users shoot similar videos as part of the challenge and participate in sweepstakes. When launching a hashtag challenge, a brand can redeem a banner or hashtag on the app home page.

How influencers interact with advertisers  

Brands can negotiate directly with bloggers or contact a media agency that will select a platform for a product or service. The number of blogger subscribers, their activity and loyalty affect the cost of advertising and the success of the campaign. Decide what problem influencer marketing needs to solve to promote your product. For example, sometimes large corporations send products for review, as Intel does , and bloggers make a sponsor’s note, thereby increasing brand loyalty among a certain audience. Or the blogger simply tags the sponsor in the photo, as lifestyle brands such as restaurants or bars often do. 

Microbloggers have a small but highly engaged audience. Usually publications from such influencers are cheaper than from more famous ones. Subscribers of microbloggers analyze the content more closely, and the blogger himself is more involved in communicating with them. The low budget of publications allows you to work with several bloggers at the same time, which expands the reach of the audience. High audience trust helps to promote the product more actively and track customer reactions.  

Large bloggers and celebrities have a lower level of audience trust in publications with advertising, but the reach of such publications is much wider. Collaboration with them can give rise to mass brand recognition. Stars and bloggers with millions of followers mostly cooperate with large companies, and stars choose exclusive contracts and become brand ambassadors.

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