influencer

When social becomes profitable: How Instagram is empowering businesses

After reaching more than 800 million monthly active users in 2017, Instagram has turned into the social media El Dorado. This has made a substantial impact on businesses that rapidly understood the power of the platform for advertising. In fact, Instagram recently estimated the business community to represent 2 Million advertisers (up from 1 million back in March).

Here are some of the key elements behind Instagram's marketing success:

1. Instagram traffic VISITS HAVE HIGHER QUALITY

Visitors from Instagram stay on a site for an average of 192 seconds – this is longer than visitors from any other channel, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. This also means that traffic from Instagram is the most engaged and represents a more attractive consumer panel (Yotpo 2017).

2. Instagram has high organic and targeted reach

The organic nature of Instagram’s audience increases the word-of-mouth effect. According to a recent Yotpo research, 83% of consumers confirmed that seeing a post about a brand on Instagram influences their decision to look the brand up.

In addition, with the current available tools, businesses are now able to leverage this instagram audience even more by targeting specific segments (by age, country or even interest).

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3. Instagram's hashtags(#) simply work

Not only do hashtags enable categorisation and content discovery, they are also the driving forces behind most of the user-generated advertising campaigns. According to Sproutsocial, "One of the best ways to kick off a UGC campaign on Instagram is with the help of a branded hashtag" in order to optimise exposure. This is also why 7 out of 10 hashtags used are branded (Simply Measured Study).

4. Instagram enables shoppable solutions

Instagram shopping is real. The platform is providing increasingly more links and solutions to connect user generated content to e-commerce websites within the application.

  • Instagram stories

By introducing the swipe up option in Instagram stories, direct product referrals are possible, creating a direct linkto an e-commerce website within the platform.

  • Shoppable third-party solutions

Companies such as Curalate are also providing solutions to turn your Instagram feed into a shoppable feed. Again here, a direct link within the platform makes instagram scrolling and buying a natural consumer path.

  • Shoppable tags

Last but not least, Instagram recently developed it's own shoppable posts, currently only available for businesses in the United States using the Big Commerce platform. The tool is simple: retailers can insert shoppable tags on their Instagram pictures featuring a product to get the Instagram user directly to the store.

This add-on is another proof that Instagram is slowly shifting towards a key selling tool for retailers, something to keep an eye on in Europe as well! 

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What's more, Instagram is estimated to rake in $4 billion in global advertising revenue by the end of 2017, an impressive growth prospect! 

A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing? How The Cirqle looks at it.

As consumers are increasingly overwhelmed by a variety of product choices, impulse buying seems to become a trend of the past. Consumers look, ask, search, compare, review, and re-think before purchasing advertised products.

The one key element however, that is often forgotten but does fundamentally impact purchase behaviour is a critical one. And that is: Trust.

Through Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) sharing and awareness, marketers can actually harness the power of opinion
— Forester Research

Word of mouth is entirely based on the fact that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising (Nielsen, 2012). The real question here is: if consumers value word-of-mouth and marketers believe it is effective, then why aren’t marketers more focused on it? One simple answer is the need for tangible measures of word of mouth marketing.

Measures for w-o-m

McKinsey’s report (2011), “A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing”, attempted to provide a new formula to measure the impact of WOM, also called “word-of-mouth equity”. Yet, this impact is measured on the basis of black or white qualitative criteria such as influential or not, relevant or irrelevant message content, close or large network etc. This leads to think that McKinsey’s new measurement tool only results in two-sided answers, far from the tangible output needed to change marketers’ decisions or budget allocations. 

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Our Approach

Our objective is to fundamentally understand how and why specific pieces of content perform better in comparison to others. In order to guide our clients towards the right consumers, through the right content and in the right setting, the interpretation of the right data is of critical important. Thus, we make sure brands understand the value of their investment through personalised and substantial feedback on campaign content and through carefully assessing and evaluation the feedback our technology delivers. 

This is why we focus on individual content analytics such as impressions, engagement points, followers and demographic data (gender, city, country, age, income data, amongst others) of each influencer and content allocated to a campaign. Coming back to McKinsey's measurement tool, this enables us to look at both volume and impact sides of a campaign. 

Restrictions

However, the actual impact of a campaign does not limit itself to the above. The Cirqle, calibrates the impact of a campaign throughout the entire campaign management process, moving away from McKinsey’s 4 impact criteria.

This process moves from the deliberate recruitment and selection of influencers towards the audience the influencer is actually targeting; to the campaign content and channel selection (beyond the continuous communication b/w brand- and influencer). All these factors are taken into account in in the final impact assessment of a campaign. 

Concluding

Despite of these efforts to employ different impact measurements, capturing the campaign's relation to actual customer conversion remains the ultimate goal. A goal which we'll continue to relentlessly pursue and will hope to present our findings for in the next weeks to come. 

We're announcing a partnership in the next week which we'll hopefully lay the groundworks for helping us to achieve this mission.

Does influencer marketing have an impact on actual sales?

Does influencer marketing have an impact on actual sales?

The current state of the market has proven several determining factors of influencer marketing. However, the impact on actual sales, one of the most important metrics for almost all retailers (predominantly, in the fashion space), remains an untouched and blurry topic.

The Art of Investing in Influencer Marketing

As the founder of The Cirqle, a startup that enables brands, communities and businesses to launch influencer marketing campaigns, I’ve watched the days of exclusive press releases/events disappear. The Internet has changed the inception process. In 2017/2018 companies seed products through influencers, leak "exclusives" to reporters, bloggers, and consumers, live-stream launch events globally and reward brand advocates with pre-access. The velocity of the news cycle and the uprise of social media makes launching a new product far easier in some ways—and more difficult in others.

Influencer Marketing, why?

Marketers love influencer marketing because it takes the brand out of the equation. Instead of filtering the message through a brand’s lens, the influencer makes the product or service his own. We've seen three challenges that will push more brands, agencies and institutions towards the influencer marketing realm:

1. The Rise of Ad Blockers

In the US, more than 32% (Europe > 20%) of all internet users have an Ad Blocker installed. Making online advertising increasingly more inefficient. At the same time, 92% of consumers trust user-generated content and word-of-mouth more than advertising and 74% rely on social network to help guide a purchase (eMarketer).

2. There's a push towards influencer marketing, but it's a time-consuming and expensive ordeal.

  • Finding the right influencers for your target audience on the right platform;
  • Managing contacts with influencers and negotiating contracts cross-state/country;
  • Accurately measuring the effectiveness of the content;
  • Managing workflow around influencer marketing solutions;

3. Fragmented landscape

Brands have to contact numerous different types of agencies, tech companies and services to run simple, straightforward campaigns. There’s no efficient full suite solution for running influencer marketing campaigns across different countries.

Influencer marketing, why?

The broader digital advertising industry represents a $14 billion revenue opportunity and is expected to see double-digit growth over the next five year (Forbes). With 84% of brands planning to launch an influencer marketing campaign in the next 12 months, the interest in influencer marketing continues to grow as brands seek the most effective way to target their core audience.

If social influencers didn’t add value to an organization, 84 percent of marketers would look elsewhere for their campaigns.

Introducing: The Cirqle Mobile App

Mobile app

We're extremely proud to be announcing that today we're launching a private-beta for our mobile app (iOS and Android). Our app will help brands find global influencers faster (and vice-versa) and with greater speed/accuracy at a fraction of the cost. 

Beyond that, we're introducing a brand new feature called Geo-campaigns, enabling brands to target influencers within a certain proximity to i) invite them to enter their store (for a free goodie) ii) host an event or iii) firestart an army of influencers to promote a specific service.

The possibilities are endless and we're open up to receive ideas you may have by e-mailing them directly to [email protected] You can now officially subscribe to our Beta-program by clicking the button below.

As you know, The Cirqle offers a cutting edge platform to identify the social influencers who will resonate with your audience and deliver the most meaningful engagements. 

The Cirqle

Our invite-only network is comprised of over 9,000 leading social influencer accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Facebook, who are required to be in the top 15% of engagement on each platform to join.

They currently reach over 5 billion followers. Additional strengths of our platform are:

  • Rapid campaign turnaround time 
  • Campaigns at a fraction of the cost of traditional PR
  • Powerful analytics to justify your next Influencer campaign
  • Cut workflow management by 5x
  • Increase campaign throughput by 8x

 

 

Adriana Gastelum x Qlippie

She does it again. Adriana Gastelum vividly describes in both English and Spanish what Qlippie, one of the latest booming startups from Europe, brings to the table as GoPro competitor. Priced affordable, Adriana illustrates how useful Qlippie is for her daily life being an influencer:

Thanks to three rainy weeks, I’ve spent several coffee afternoons thinking about what we used to do before Internet went into our life. The idea of boredom was pretty different back then, you might dedicate your entire day to read a book, call a friend by phone (when calls were super expensive, too) or record your favorite songs in a cassette while praying for the radio announcer to not speak in the middle of your song. When I finally achieved it and filled a whole tape with my favorite songs, I would write some cheesy name with liquid paper on it and shared it to the boy I liked. And that was how we shared our feelings digitally.
Back to the present, I think there should be a word to define “faster than an instant” to describe how quickly the information goes by today. With that, not only our fingers have trained to write in small screens with even more ridiculously smaller keyboards (deep down I knew my typing classes in middle high school were obsolete), but now we are more and more open to share our daily life, whether you own a blog and share with your readers, or your most loyal followers are your mom, family and friends.
In collaboration with Qlippie Live, I share with you one of the things I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed to do before the Internet changed my life: a quick but pleasant visit to an art gallery. In this occasion, and visiting it for the third time this month, the Philippe Halsman exhibition at CaixaForum Barcelona. An exhibition that, besides showing a great talent in photography, predicted the importance and influence that technology would have on art.

FactorytwoFour x Shift

Generally, folks choose between three popular options when buying a used car. The most common would be to head over to your local used car dealership where there is a chance you might get screwed over on financing or end up with a lemon. Then there’s Craigslist, as you know I have been very familiar with. This option can be sketchy if you’re clueless.

You might meet up with someone untrustworthy that “forgets” to tell you the issues about the car. You might also get a chance to test drive and purchase a potentially stolen vehicle. Worst of all, there is a high-risk chance of buying a lemon, which actually happened to me in my latest Will It Flip project.

You’ll have to wait for that story.

Lastly, there is Carmax. This is a popular one. The place has warranties, no-haggle pricing, and pretty good customer service. But all three of those options have one big inconvenience: You’re going to spend a good chunk of your day to see the car.

What if I told you there is a much better and easier way? Shift is a new used car buying service that is unlike any other I’ve experienced. I will break down for you. I was told that I could test-drive any used car I desired on their site. Of course to me this meant either finding the most expensive car, one with the most horsepower, or both.

Now what’s game-changing about booking a drive through Shift.com is that you can actually choose the meeting location of your test drive. That means you can summon the car you’re interested in to your house, your job, your ex’s place, or anywhere you want.

Aside from the obvious choice of choosing the Hellcat, I figured it would make sense to have the car delivered to an inconvenient location; some random beach in Malibu close to Neptune’s Net.

Within minutes of completing the booking form, I received a call from a real life person from Shift.com verifying and confirming my drive. This is also the part where they would ask to verify your credit score. This is to make sure you can actually afford the car you booked and you’re not just some kid like myself who wants to take some fancy car out for a drive. Following this call, I received an email confirming the date, time, location, and the phone number of the delivery guy or as they call it, “car enthusiast”, who will be delivering the car to you, my guy’s name was Colston.

Upon first browsing their current stock, I narrowed my choices down between a 911 Carrera S or a Hellcat Challenger, I went with the latter since I’ve actually never driven a muscle car before and also because, c’mon man, Hellcat.

Oliver Sweeney x Mnswr.com

Oliver Sweeney x Mnswr.com

British shoe brand Oliver Sweeney has garnered a fascinating following since its launch in 1989 and is all about taking the traditional and give it a contemporary twist. Widely known for their crafting award-winning footwear, Sweeney has blossomed into a renowned British brand that produces everything from hip-flasks and socks to sweaters and men’s fragrances. Powered by Mnswr.com through Cirqle. 

Andy Suryandi x TW Steel

For three years now, TW Steel has been the proud Timing Partner of the Yamaha MotoGP team. Home of living legend Valentino Rossi and world champion Jorge Lorenzo, these are the fastest men in the world. To celebrate the team’s dominating 2015 season, they decided to create a brand new range of watches for them: the Yamaha Factory Racing Grandeur Sport collection.

Last year, the team won the Triple Crown: the championship for the best rider, best team and best manufacturer. This level of excellence suits TW Steel and we hope it matches your style as well. The successful partnership between the Dutch watch brand and the elite racing team is all about the shared passion for speed, design and performance.

The Grandeur Sport model is created from scratch. This Yamaha Factory Racing collection comes in two sizes – 42mm and 46mm – and two colors – black and blue. Each model sports an aluminum bezel, a state–of–the–art movement and a genuine rubber strap. Made from carbon fibre, the dial features elevated chrono rings and the M1 logo on the dial to communicate the true champion spirit.

This post is written by Andy Suryandi

Mae & Many x Marie Stella Maris

Occasionally, we come across the most beautiful posts that our influencers create and share with their loyal followers. And occassionally, we feel we should share those posts on our own blog. Especially when it involves one of the coolest water- and cosmetics brands that's currently taking the global stage: Marie Stella Maris

Mae and many created the beautiful post below and included amazing images of the in-house cafe, water bottles and cosmetics line. Next to that, the story Mae and Many managed to create around the brand helped alleviate the perception of Marie Stella Maris right in the middle of their target audience. 

More and more, we're drawn to brands that have a story to tell. Brands that, while doing something good for the world, make us feel good too. Amsterdam-based lifestyle brand Marie-Stella-Maris does just that. I was first introduced to the brand a few years ago when they transformed a corner store on the Keizersgracht into a stunning boutique, complete with impressive window displays and striking campaign photography; the branded dark blue and white labels adorning their perfumes, soaps and bottled water read, "Care for water." This sophisticated simplicity has always intrigued me, and I finally had the opportunity to meet with Josha Jansen (Marketing & Communications at Marie-Stella-Maris) to talk about the brand's simple idea: that everyone should have access to clean drinking water.

Scotch & Soda x Six Feet from the Edge

Scotch & Soda was looking for those creative and curious enough to spin their own tale on a mini voyage of discovery (related to both garments and stores). Influencers the brand selected were able to recreate this ‘finder’ sensation in their social and blog posts.

Describing the big picture, and then hinting at the special details that you stumble on, upon closer look.
The luxury brand invited influencers to base their stories off a visit to the Scotch & Soda store in Amsterdam’s Negen Straatjes (Huidenstraat 3-5) or the flagship store on Amsterdam’s Heiligeweg 34/36.

The beautiful results from Six Feet from the Edge are below:

This post was written in collaboration with Scotch & Soda, but of course all opinions were from Six Feet from the Edge.

Reaching over 150 million consumers

Today’s biggest challenge for brands is reaching their target audience. Several studies underline that traditional marketing does not do the trick anymore. Brands are able to create brand awareness through TV-commercials or traditional ads in on- and offline magazines, but its effect is similar to putting a billboard on the highway: it is hard to (track and measure) the impact those campaigns have on your audience.
 
The biggest challenge with traditional marketing practices is that it regarded as intrusive by its audience. Next to that, the rise of ad-blockers dismantles the reach of traditional online advertising. Native marketing can be an answer to some of these challenges. If done right, these ads do not intrude with the consumer experience and are not prone to ad-blockers.
 
The best known forms of native marketing are advertorial and sponsored content. Both are forms of advertising where brands create content. We believe (and it is supported by several studies from McKinsey, Tomoson and more) that the strongest form of native marketing is branded content e.g. content not created by the brand but created by the owner of the platform. Because the owners of the platform have the best knowledge and skill-set to engage their audience, the audience the brand wishes to target.
 
Having a third party tell your story does not only create new and fresh stories that drive sales. This technique also provides brands with visual storytelling imagery they could not possibly create themselves. Below are some examples of strong visual content. All within the vision of the respective brand but all with a unique approach to the brand's key values and aesthetic.

Beyond these examples, we're extremely excited to announce our network now reaches over 150 million consumers across 27 countries. If you're interested in running campaigns through our platform, do not hesitate to leave your e-mail address in the comments section below. We'll promise to reach out to you soon.

Mikuta x Wolford

Natalia Georgala x Overt NYC

A Clothes Horse x Good Earth

Preppyfashionist x Renard

Fake-Leather x Nestpick

Jair Zino x Under Armour

Onepiece x Mikuta

We live and breathe influencer marketing every day, so much so that we often forget that not everyone knows what it is. Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire / hire / pay influencers to get out the word for you.

Influencer marketing is a multifaceted strategy that has helped hundreds of brands across categories connect with their consumers in a familiar way. The industry is filled with interesting perspectives from marketers who are using the strategy in unique ways. 

Some of the hottest assets in the online fashion Internet industry at the moment are a collection of trendy individuals who are valued for their ability to peddle merchandise in their social-media posts. And jup, she's at it again, Jacqueline Gidlof from one of the most popular blogs Mikuta.nu produced this amazing stream of content for our client Onepiece. And it's pure gold.

Check it out yourself and make sure to reach out to us if you're interestered in running campaign(s) through Cirqle. 

Jair Zino x Under Armour

Under Armour’s full-court press has propelled the athletic-wear brand past Adidas in the U.S. and put Nike squarely in its sights on the world stage. 

Under Armour has not only been a frontrunner of the so-called athleisure trend but has also succeeded building a passionate online community around itself through its investments in technology and integrated fitness apps. Its strong brand messaging through campaigns like “I will what I want” has also touched a chord.

In a collaboration with Jair Zino the brand invited 10 influencers to 'Go Dark' and not post anything on social. Instead of posting to social media, the athletics brand invited influencers to work out in UA gear. The below features the work by talented male blogger Jair Zino in an amazing feature on the Under Armour brand. 

Humphrey & Grace x Made.com

Humphrey and Grace sharing their vision on our client Made.com:

"Choosing furniture is one of my favourite parts. So when I was invited to the Made showroom last week I jumped at the chance. I have actually purchased smaller items from their online store before and was interested to see how the showroom would feel given that the company aims to offer quality furniture at affordable prices by cutting out the middle man – i.e. the high street presence with it’s enormous overheads. In the UK there are only three showrooms, one in Liverpool, one in West Yorkshire and the one I visited in Soho, London.

The showroom itself is spacious and the staff friendly without being overbearing. You can wander in peace or ask for assistance, and if you do need help then they know their products well. Yes I asked a few random questions to test their knowledge. Yes they knew the answers… Full marks lovely folk of Made.

Everything in the showroom is designed to make your furniture shopping as straightforward as possible. Most obviously you can actually see the furniture for yourself, check the quality, get a feel for the brand. Try before you buy I guess?! I happen to think it’s pretty lovely furniture with something to suit all tastes and styles."

Adriana Gastelum x Wolford

One of our favourite influencers of this moment is Adriana Gastelum from fashion, travel and lifestyle blog fake-leather.com. Het style is effortless, sophisticated and has that feel and ooze to it that you can only crave for.

In one of our recent collaborations with luxury brand Wolford, she created this post. The text in the bottom belongs to her blogpost. Please have a look and leave a comment if you'd like to share your opinion with us.  

I have this curse that happens every time I decide to stay at home in my pajamas, without make-up and maybe without brushing my hair, reading a long book by the window (or maybe watching some make-up tutorials on Youtube so I can pretend I will try them later), when someone comes knocking at the door. Great timing, huh? I’m probably not alone on this.

‘Cause not everyday is made to step out to the world looking like a million bucks, sometimes you only need a zen mode for your mind and body. Lightweight make-up, blue jeans and a comfortable Wolford quality t-shirt are the perfect balance for that I woke up like this look. And then, if you need to go out for whatever reason, you can simply take a jacket, a bag and step out looking, maybe not like a million bucks, but moderately chic.

Mes Voyages a Paris x UGG Australia

When UGG Australia came up to us to setup a collaboration with influencers across Europe we immediately felt the excitement.

UGG Australia has been at the foundation of the European womens- and footwear market for years. The brand has established itself as being a go-to for the modern woman: iconic, classic, comfortable and uncomplicated. 

Mes Voyages a Paris was one of the over 20+ influencers that have worked with the brand in the #myCLASSICstyle campaign that we helped launch across Europe. And the results, which are absolute stunning, are highlighted below. 

Meanswearstyle x Shinola

There are many ways to collaborate and build relationships with great influencers that don't involve a big budget - and Cirqle can help you find the right way to go about it.

Our subscription client Shinola came to us with the task of finding influencers for their Detroit assembled 47 MM Chronowell watch. The goal? Drive traffic to their brand's online media and store. So, we connected Shinola with just the right influencer: www.menswearstyle.com