One of the first things clients ask us when they launch a campaign through The Cirqle platform is how can we help them identify and recruit the best and most affluent influencers for their brand. Of course, this may seem easy from the outset, but the perils of the market have proven otherwise all too often. At best, brands can now only hope to steer opinions that consumers have about them - and to do so, they turn to an ever expanding marketing stack of technology services and media companies. At a time when many are blocking traditional banner ads or skipping TV commercials (Netflix), influencers become the pinnacle of leading conversations with the world.
In South Korea, over 2 trillion South Korean won (KRW, or $2.4 billion USD) was spent on advertising on mobile platforms last year, surpassing that of advertising on cable TV - 1.8 trillion KRW - for the first time. While Instagram influencers in the US charge up to $100,000 USD for a sponsored post, industry insiders say brands in South Korea pay from 100,000 KRW to more than 2 million KRW for a single social media post, depending on the loyalty of the person’s followers.
Beauty and fashion brands are at the forefront of using social media influencers who have millions of followers. We sat down with Jude Kim, who runs Global Business Development at The SMC in Seoul, Korea and serves clients like Google and eBay, and asked him for his vision regarding the Asian (kol/influencer) market.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Summer Cruising with Pia Muehlenbeck x Lekker Bikes
Pia is one of Australia’s most recognised social influencers. With over 900,000 followers and an engagement of over 9,200,000 likes, her travels and adventures documented by the multi-award winning Creative Director Kane, are followed by their fans globally through social media channels.