I AM the Future: Changing the Game of Influencer Marketing
In the world of digital advertising, influencer marketing is gaining ground quicker than any other digital segment in the history of advertising. Influencers consistently put out more content that every movie studio, news, and local TV station combined, signaling the public’s attraction to a more organic form of information sharing. Behind every bit of content posted, an influencer is born and shaped.
Although the allure of this new movement is powerful, no one has properly aggregated the necessary data or process to make ‘influencer marketing’ a scalable and profitable venture. The accessibility and ease of information provided through our 4 & 5g phones allows content to move faster than we can think. Yet, the process by which brands connect and work with influencers is glacial and stagnant, comparable to the management of 1920s celebrities. For example, Douglas Fairbanks was a celebrity powerhouse of the 20s, and when he posed smoking a Lucky Strike cigarette, he hoped his fans would light up too. When he did so, no one knew if his followers smoked, if they were old enough to smoke, or if they had ever purchased a tobacco product in their lives. But alas, there he stood, a non-smoker, puffing on a Lucky Strike in hopes of brand success.
Fast forward 100 years. Would you think we would know more information about the audiences of the world’s most influential figures? With all of our technological advancements, you would believe we would know, say, if any of Beyoncé’s social media followers had purchased women’s fashion clothing before she endorsed H&M. You would think we could divide up her followers as to only market to women, or only to women who can make purchases, or even women interested in the fashion industry. Right?
Not exactly. As with Mr. Fairbanks, she was placed in front of all her followers in H&M clothing, with no concrete research as to her audience. The brand could only hope for the best.
Therein lies the problem with our highly sophisticated, 2020 digital world of Influencer marketing.
Many websites and AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools claim to be capable of dissecting the audience of a given influencer. Unfortunately, these only succeed at providing theoretical information. No one, including the influencer themselves, knows exactly who is following who. Furthermore, even if the almighty Facebook were to open its doors and display the exact demographic and numerical data behind Beyoncé’s followership, you still could not market to a specific audience of women who purchase fashion merchandise.
So, what is the solution? The solution is the ability to segment an influencer’s followers into groups. Not just to segment them into engagements or insights from posts, but groups of people with qualitative behaviors that indicate potential customer action and validation. If one could do this, they could substantially reduce wasted marketing dollars on non-customers while increasing conversions and sales. For example, H&M ads would only appear on the social media feeds of Beyonce’s female, charge-card-carrying, fashion-merchandise-purchasing followers.
This is only possible through IAM (Influencer Audience Marketing). The process gives little credence to the influencer, yet it places direct focus on the followers. The influencer’s audience is segmented into groups by certain behaviors – an interest in a certain topic, previous purchase history, the ability to purchase. Then, these groups are divided into content-related categories and are delivered to brands aiming to market at that niche or behavior. As the campaigns run, each audience is rated by the conversions that occur, and are labeled by their brand category. Each audience displays empirical data based on the purchasing or converting actions of each group and audience.
Continuing with the example of Beyoncé, if H&M were to wish to use her as a brand influencer, they would now be able to select which specific followers have demonstrated converting behaviors in the H&M categories they want to market towards. This would eliminate a large portion of her male followers, and other individuals who do not purchase or convert, ultimately reducing H&M’s cash output and increasing their ad performance.
Clearly, this is an amazing innovation in influencer-based marketing, but what is the impact for the influencer?
IAM technology shines brightest for the influencer. As in the 1920’s, influencers are asked to promote anything and everything the brands require. This unfortunately dilutes the value of the influencer, and puts undue liability on them and the brands they partner with. With Posse’s IAM technology, the influencer is not required to endorse or pitch anything. Every brand campaign that runs against an influencer’s followers feeds data back to the them, providing a clearer picture of what their followers’ likes and dislikes. This data allows the influencer to better tailor their content so that their following becomes more valuable to brands, and their follower size will increase.