*Deep sigh*

I keep receiving emails on a daily basis from agencies promising to connect me to their pools of influencers to help my brands reach new consumers. And as an avid Instagram user, I see pools of influencers hawking products to everyone and no one in particular. And as a brand marketer, I continue to see business strategy at the highest levels of organizations saying “and of course Influencers are going to play a bigger part in our strategy moving forward.”

“Of course?”

Really? 

If you’re a brand marketer and are looking to waste your money, please let me send you my bank details and make a wire transfer to me instead. I’ll put that all of that money towards ridiculous parties and gaudy designer clothes, and I’ll make sure to snap a few photos along the way.

Are you shocked by that statement?

Show me one influencer that is not using your money to do that. Just one. Influencers use brand money to ride a fleeting wave of popularity which fuels their lifestyle that everyone supposedly aspires to. Then they charge you ridiculous amounts of money to put your products into that lifestyle.

There’s just one big problem: people don’t care about influencers. Influencers do not influence. Celebrities influence. Your friends influence you. The media you read can influence you. A pretty face who holds up a product from time to time does not. They are just a pretty face that you follow because it’s nice to see pretty faces and bodies in your Instagram feed when you’re taking a shit.

Oh they have millions of followers? Does that actually translate into success for brands? 

The short answer is no. I have never seen an influencer campaign that achieved anywhere near the same results as a traditional media campaign – in terms of reach or clickthrough or conversion. Not. A. Single. Campaign. 

And when you use influencers you are often giving away the control of the image of your brand. Oh, that influencer who hawked your clean beauty product just got arrested for drug possession? “Yeah, could you take that post down? Oh you’re in jail and don’t have access to your account?” How inconvenient. Guess our foundation powder will now be synonymous with methamphetamine!

And when influencers post the formats that they use have less functionality than a sponsored post on social media that can be:

  • Tailored to each country and translated into each target audience
  • Have CTA buttons that are clear and drive to e-store/conversion
  • Can be A/B tested and optimized

So by using influencers you take unnecessary risks in order to have less performant campaigns with less functionality?

When will the insanity stop??

There are only a few weeks until a new decade, and so let’s make the 2020s a decade of responsible brand spending, and one way to do that is to repeat after me:

I will not pay an influencer to post about my product unless that influencer can show me KPIs that are equivalent to or better than what I can get with a media campaign. 

Alternative opinions are welcome, just please back them up with some sort of data. 

 

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