Influencer marketing is not only great for branding campaigns but also specifically helps in boosting revenue. Find out how it works and how you can measure its success.
Brand. Brand. Brand. Is influencer marketing really just about branding effects? Or can social media personalities on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube also help to increase sales? A little spoiler: Yes, they can! Very well, in fact. But what is important when choosing the right influencer? Which campaigns are best for driving sales? And how can you actually measure their performance? Joel Schumacher is our expert for effective influencer marketing at ABOUT YOU as Channel Lead Influencer Hauls and explains what you have to pay attention to when setting up influencer campaigns, why a commission-based model is not a good idea, and what differences need to be considered in international campaigns.
Finding the Best Influencers for your Marketing Campaign
The first step in planning an influencer campaign is to find the best influencers for your brand. ABOUT YOU already maintains a database of more than 20,000 influencer contacts and, of course, uses them. However, there are also agencies working as influencer agents, and research tools, such as Reachhero, Upfluence, or Traackr, which you can search and filter according to certain criteria. At ABOUT YOU, we also keep searching directly on all social media channels ourselves for interesting, new, and promising influencers – for all kinds of topics.
Doing your own research often brings good results if you know a little about the social media platform in question. Therefore, it makes sense to take a look at Instagram, for example, to see who might fit your profile in terms of topic and style. The number of followers and interactions also plays a role. Do you already have your eye on certain influencers or have you even run campaigns with some of them? Then take a look at who they interact with on Instagram. Many influencers network with similar content creators. And they can be interesting candidates for collaboration as well. "Not every big influencer is relevant to your brand," explains influencer expert Joel. "Anyone can buy thousands of followers very easily within minutes. That's why we don't just look at the sheer follower number. We look at interaction overall. Comments. Live streams. Stories. For example, we request screenshots with the number of story views. If you like, you can additionally use special stat tools, such as Nindo, which YouTuber Rezo founded with his team. You have to try out what works best for you. Eventually, this will create an overall picture of how many potential buyers there really are. The image of the influencer is also extremely important. It should fit the brand and be scandal-free. And of course, the influencer must also produce good content. After all, it should inspire followers and ideally encourage them to buy." Overall, it is good practice to create an influencer mix of large, medium, and small influencers. Usually, that' s most effective. Even though large influencers may have an immense reach, smaller ones are often closer to their followers and have more engagement.
Increase your Revenue with Influencer Hauls and Discount Codes
Once you have found the right influencers, it's a matter of determining the cooperation details. "Based on our experience, promotions focusing on products, such as hauls, have a very positive impact on sales," Joel explains. "There are different variations in doing this. For the classic haul, influencers can choose products from our assortment themselves. The products can for example reflect the personal style of an influencer or be part of a new collection. Afterward, influencers present their sponsored purchase on their channel. This format is particularly authentic and effective because followers can re-shop the products directly. This is a great opportunity not only for Shop the Look. It also works great in other fields like living or lifestyle. If you see in a story or a live stream how cozy the pillow is, how practical the new fitness tracker really is, you get a better understanding of the product and why it's worth buying."
Anyone who can subsequently offer an additional incentive, such as a discount code, ensures maximum attention and directly encourages people to buy. Therefore, there are often collaborations in which influencers provide their followers with individual discount codes. Of course, the discount level plays a role as well. The larger it is, the higher the sales usually are.
How to Measure the Impact of your Influencer Marketing
As with all marketing activities, companies should of course measure how strongly an influencer cooperation has impacted sales. Usually, online marketing tracking is done using so-called UTM parameters within links. These individual parameters are automatically attached to the end of a link. They provide information on how a user reached the online shop.
Unfortunately, influencer marketing comes with a few challenges, as Joel says: "Influencers may make the mistake of using a link without UTM parameters. As a result, the traffic can't be attributed to them. In addition, some channels, such as Instagram, use an in-app browser. This means that users cannot access their normal browser using a link. This irritates users, because users do not necessarily want to enter their data within the app. They cancel the purchase and return later in a regular browser. In-app browser and browser switching, however, cause tracking losses because influencer attribution is in both cases no longer possible."
This is where discount codes come back into play. They can be individualized for each influencer, so that you can track exactly how successful the promotion was. But remember: not every purchase made with a discount code can always be traced back 100 percent to the influencer. The customer may have already become aware of the products elsewhere. Therefore, you should always work with a differentiated attribution model that also takes other touchpoints into account.
Why Commission Models Rarely Work in Influencer Marketing
If the main goal is to increase revenue, it seems plausible to simply give influencers a percentage share. Commissions are often a valid way to increase sales motivation. However, it's a different story with influencers, as Joel knows. "We always work with fixed sums in our collaborations. There are simply too many contributing factors that affect sales. And this creates a certain volatility, which is quite normal. Maybe it's vacation season. Or a major event is taking place. Time of day. Day of the week. Weather. Anything can affect an influencer's performance. So performance should always be evaluated over a longer period of time.
International Strategy with Local Influencers
If you sell products internationally, you should be extra careful when selecting your influencers. Local influencers are often successful with a different type of content. Therefore, you should know exactly which standards apply in which markets. Otherwise, it is easy to label a country or an influencer as ineffective – even though there may simply be different preferences and habits affecting the performance.
Although KPIs reflecting campaign success are the same internationally, the underlying strategy is not. Companies are sometimes at different stages in different countries. While in the main market, e.g. DACH region, the aim might be to increase profitability, companies in new markets must first acquire new customers and usually have a higher marketing invest.
"The aim of influencer cooperations should always be to establish long-term relations. Therefore, it is important to look at the performance of an influencer over a longer period of time. However, if you sign long contracts too quickly, perhaps even an annual contract, you're most likely to run into serious problems. Reputable influencers usually do not insist on it anyway and are bookable per campaign."Joel Schumacher, ABOUT YOU Channel Lead Influencer Hauls