5 Influencer Marketing Myths Debunked by Ruxandra Gheordunescu, at Tug Life IV

Influencer marketing is set to become a $5 to $10 billion market within the next five years and if you still haven’t taken the plunge, read our take on the top five myths still holding marketers back when it comes to integrating influencers into their campaigns.

Myth #1: It’s too expensive

What affects the cost of influencer marketing? It generally boils down to these six main factors: the platform, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat are the channels marketers readily opt for; the influencer’s fan base, still the golden standard when it comes to pricing; the level of engagement, can’t be faked unlike number of followers; the cost of your product, the more expensive it is, the more the campaign will cost; collaborating directly with the influencer or commissioning them through an agency; and the campaign itself in terms of the number of posts published across platforms, the selection of the content creator and whether or not there will be any cross-posting.

So how much does it really cost? According to Buffer, these are the estimated costs of influencer marketing used across industries:

Instagram: $10 per 1,000 followers or $250 – $750 per 1,000 engagement;
YouTube: $20 per 1,000 subscribers or $50 – $100 per 1,000 video views;
Snapchat: $10 per 1,000 followers or $100 per 1,000 views.

If you have a specific Instagram influencer in mind that you’d like to work with, Marketing Hub’s micro-influencers vs celebrities tool and their Instagram Money Calculator are great to assess the cost per post and average engagement rate.

YouTubers are usually a bit pricier as they charge on average $20 per 1000 subscribers, according to HYPR. “For YouTubers with more than 50,000 subscribers, marketers can add roughly $2,000 per 100,000 followers per video, up until around 1 million subscribers, at which point a dedicated video could cost upwards of $25,000-$50,000,” according to Henry Langer, lead account manager at HYPR.

Myth #2: It’s too risky

After Google boasted in 2016 that “YouTube delivered a higher return on investment than TV in nearly 80 percent of cases,” investing media spend in YouTube seemed like an obvious choice. Then came the YouTube advertising exodus of 2017 where some of the world’s biggest brands pulled their YouTube ads because they were being seen alongside extremist content.

Are celebrities safer to collaborate with? They could become involved in scandals or not be perceived as genuine fans of the product: for instance Oprah tweeted her love of Windows Surface from an iPad, and fans picked up on it instantly. Blunders like this can have a negative effect on a brand’s reputation and bottom line. Even macro-influencers can prove risky as they can have fake followers or not be on brand, while micro-influencers might not have the tools to address complaints from followers.

However, the benefits usually outweigh the risks. According to Think with Google, the secret to successful influencer marketing is relinquishing control. And that’s exactly what Clorox brand Brita did last year when it paired NBA superstar Stephen Curry with YouTube creator and social influencer King Bach. This unlikely collaboration resulted in compelling content that resonated with Bach’s audience and a hilarious YouTube-first ad that generated over two million views and an increase of mobile search results by 2,000%.

Myth #3: It’s not for me

One of the most common misconceptions out there is that influencer marketing only works for beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands. In October 2017 however, Google tested nine additional categories, including auto, alcohol, snacks, and toys. Across all nine categories, working with influencers lead to increases in brand metrics, from familiarity to affinity to recommendations.

A compelling B2B case study comes from SAP, an ERP (enterprise resource planning) application that focuses on finance, logistics, and human resources. During their 2016 annual conference SAPPHIRE, SAP decided to widen its appeal by working with 11 influencers to create interview-based video content of the conference. The influencers successfully live-streamed to about 80,000 people who could not attend the event – when the conference itself had 20,000 attendees.

Myth #4: Only big will do

Aside from being able to reach niche audiences, micro-influencers generate almost 7x more engagement compared to macro-influencers with a large following.

Micro-influencers also tend to have better engagement rates. Markerly studied Instagram engagement and found a surprising trend. As an influencer’s number of followers increases, their number of likes and comments from followers goes down.

In their analysis, Markerly determined that:

Instagram users with fewer than 1,000 followers generated likes 8% of the time;
Users with 1,000-10,000 followers earned likes at a 4% rate;
Users with 10,000-100,000 followers achieved a 2.4% like rate;
Users with 1-10 million followers earned likes only 1.7% of the time.

Myth #5: Influencers are hard to find

There are a myriad of tools you can use to find the right influencers for your campaign, as well as manage the relationship with them, oversee campaign development and access analytics. Some of the most popular on the market are  Heepsy, Klear, BuzzSumo, Socialbakers, Onalytica, AspireIQ and HYPR. The latter is the largest influencer discovery tool that houses over ten million contacts in their database and over one billion social accounts. In other words, the Google of influencer search engines. HYPR considers itself a “talent agnostic” search engine, as it relies on data, not opinion, to determine who is an influencer.

Are you looking to integrate influencers into your marketing strategy? Bookmark works with brands to develop customized content programs that resonate with their audiences and drive engagement, turning every activation into a compelling and measurable experience. 

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Presented during Tug Life IV, a four-day conference in London on automotive, retail, artificial intelligence, marketing, sales, tech and futurism.