Shopping Links Blog

Why One-Off Influencer Campaigns Are Hurting Your ROI

August 18, 2017
Brand, Agency

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With 86% of brands now using bloggers to connect with customers, Influencer Marketing is long out of its infancy. Some estimates put the industry at $1 billion, with signs of doubling over the next two years. But despite this growth, many marketers are still failing to see their full ROI.

The pace of “using influencers” has outgrown the pace of strategy, with many brands still approaching influencer collaborations with traditional advertising mindsets. Although they inherently understand that Influencer Marketing works because of the trust that bloggers have developed with their followers, they’re stopping short at building trust with influencers and commissioning content the way they might place a digital ad. Here are three reasons why this short-term approach is also short-sighted and why it could have a negative impact on your brand:

1. One-off campaigns feel like advertising, the very distraction marketers use Influencer Marketing to avoid. Done well, sponsored content should feel as authentic as an influencer’s personal content, and authenticity is difficult to emulate when a brand appears just once in a feed, particularly if the post is product-focused. The most successful influencers collaborate with brands that align with their own aesthetics and values, so their followers trust their recommendations, sponsored or not. Taking a long-term, relationship-focused approach allows you to create a sense of familiarity and consistency over time, strengthening the sense that the influencer actually uses and embraces your brand. When you invest in establishing a relationship with an influencer, valuing their product feedback and input as much as you do their influence, this authenticity will not just be a perception -- and your return will reflect the extra investment of time.    

2. Long-term influencer relationships lead to better overall content quality. A blogger can speak more confidently about your brand when they understand your history and values. MARKS & SPENCER is one brand that invests a great deal in communicating its values to influencers with great success. Between influencer events, personalized communication and other efforts to get to know the bloggers they engage, M&S has helped bloggers better convey the brand and message. The featured image above and below by Veronica Popoiacu of Bittersweet Colours is a great example of how this investment pays off:

This multi-post series garnered an average of 1,100 likes per image, compared to an overall average of 700 likes per image across Veronica’s Instagram. Part of the reason Veronica’s content for M&S sparked this kind of engagement is her deep understanding of the brand’s aesthetic and how it fits into her own style. The results achieved would be difficult to replicate without a strong relationship and understanding of the brand.

3. Stand-alone campaigns give incomplete data. Influencer marketing can provide invaluable data about everything from consumer demographics to interest in various products, but a single campaign often doesn’t provide enough data to enable insightful decision making. A long-term collaboration gives you a reliable body of data from which to assess a number of factors, including changes in trends and interest in different styles over time, engagement by demographic type, and the overall effectiveness of the influencer. A stand-alone campaign gives  you limited insights based on the time the post was published. Tools like our Collaborations Results page allow you to compare engagement for the campaign by influencer, assess your revenues from affiliate links, and review your overall reach, but your ability to identify trends and assess engagement over time greatly improves when you can look at a large body of data.     

The bottom line is that influencer marketing is about relationships, so the more authentic yours are with the influencers who represent your brand, the more their content will resonate with not only their followers but also your target audience. Ultimately, you want a blogger’s audience to recognize your brand as part of her daily life and one she embraces with or without a sponsored post. When you skip developing a relationship and focus on single campaigns, you miss out on some of influencer marketing’s biggest returns.