Traditionally, online content was made to be delivered in a commercialized way, similar to pop-up ads and YouTube pre-rolls. But the problem with content like this is that it's built with a brand's perspective in mind, not a customer's. This results in content that doesn't resonate or engage with an audience.
To successfully resonate with a target audience, content must emulate something or someone that the customer relates to. The overwhelming nature of ads explains why marketing efforts through print, email campaigns, mainstream digital and TV are becoming less effective. But a new extension into the marketing world, known as influencer marketing, is making waves.
At its core, influencer marketing leverages people with heavily-engaged audiences to communicate a brand's message. It breaks through the noise and connects to the masses, making it more likely to be seen, heard and absorbed than traditional advertising alone.
As the founder of a global influencer marketing and talent agency that has launched hundreds of campaigns for brands, I've come to understand the value behind the industry and how the space really works. Here are nine reasons why influencer marketing is exceeding traditional advertising.
1. It's Organic
Brands that allow for influencers to have more creative freedom achieve incredible results with their content. According to data from Twitter, there is a 5.2 percent increase in purchase intent when users are exposed to both brand and influencer tweets, versus a mere 2.7 percent increase when users are exposed to tweets from brands alone.
2. It's Shareable
Shareability is the driving force behind what makes social media as powerful as it is, as it takes word-of-mouth marketing to an entirely new level. For instance, it's likely someone will feel more compelled to share a video of a lifestyle YouTuber conducting a beauty tutorial than sharing a product advertised on a YouTube pre-roll. In fact, 94 percent of people skip pre-roll ads after the five-second mark.
3. It Promotes Trust
Trust is the foundation that needs to be built between a consumer and a brand, and influencers assist in bridging the two. Consumers can feel comfortable relying on influencers for recommendations on a certain brand or product just as they would with a friend.
4. It Can Tap Into Specific Audiences
Influencers can be the key to tapping into a target audience: This is because influencers aren't unique to one area; they're spread throughout the world. Each influencer audience differs significantly from one another, whether it be by location, age, gender, etc. More so, influencers tap into a variety of interests, including travel, food, art, sports, beauty, DIY, etc.
5. It Can Be Amplified by Paid Media
Paid media through social is a large part of many marketers' current spend, and its landscape is ever-changing as platforms continue to transform. Paid media can be used to amplify influencer content on brand platforms, or within the influencer's channel.
6. It's Cost-Effective
When compared to mainstream marketing, influencer marketing is more cost-effective in many ways. Traditionally, the costs associated with creating content can be extremely high, but influencers create content as part of the cost of leveraging their network. Content from creators is typically much more vibrant and engaging, thus achieving a more valuable result. Organic reach and the quality of the audience's attention delivers more value than comparable media prices, with access to the same audience.
7. It Serves More Than One Purpose
Influencer marketing is not about merely posting to a large audience. Content produced by influencers can be reused for paid media, distribution, social content and commercials, just to name a few. Influencers have the ability to be multifaceted with a brand, just as content creators, strategists, brand ambassadors and spokespeople are.
8. It Attracts a Younger Audience
Today's generations aren't engaging with advertisements on TV as previous generations once did. According to Think with Google, in 2015, 18- to 49-year-olds spent four percent less time watching TV, and 74 percent more time watching YouTube. Influencer marketing offers access to audiences that have been disengaged and grants more communication with them than ever before.
9. It Connects the Consumer to the Brand
In traditional forms of advertising, there is little that ties the consumer to the brand. Influencer marketing has the ability to dramatically increase the way consumers interact with a brand, as influencers can create a voice for that brand. Consumers may also rely on influencers to dictate their decisions and preference.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: Would you rather have a pop-up ad tell your story or a trusted voice? Influencer marketing is still overlooked and misunderstood in many ways within the media industry, but the amount of brands and agencies that are embracing influencer marketing continues to increase.
Joe Gagliese is the Co-Founder of Viral Nation. Joe is an industry thought leader on all things social.