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Why Influencers Have Become Critical to Brand Success

With the continued emergence of social platforms, and the proliferation of mobile technology, today’s consumers are engaging with brands in new ways and across an unprecedented number of channels. As a result, marketing teams have access to more data about their desired audiences than ever before, going beyond purchase behavior and demographics to include unique lifestyle choices, passions, and preferences. Armed with these insights, marketers can more acutely target consumers with relevant messaging. Of course, success in this new ecosystem is not so simple, leading many brands to turn to influencer communities to help drive their marketing strategies into the future.

Technology, including the rise of ad-blocking, has transferred power to consumers, and left many marketers scrambling to find ways to break through the noise and regain trust from their audiences. In 2016, the number of devices worldwide using an ad-blocker grew by 30%, and while growth rates are set to stabilize at least in the US, adoption of the technology on mobile devices should continue to spike. According to Altimeter Group analyst Omar Akhtar, “Millennials are annoyed [by ads] and older users are creeped out by the specificity.”

Some have deemed this the beginning of the end for advertising. At Olapic, we don’t buy it, rather, we see it as a forceful call to action from consumers, who are asking brands to do a better job of communicating with them and relating to their needs. In short, brands need a new approach.

As mentioned, one critical component of this approach that has gained traction is the use of influencers to help seed visual content and reach new audiences. In a survey conducted in the summer of 2015, 84% of marketers planned to execute at least one campaign involving an influencer in the following twelve months. Since that time, “influencer marketing” has proven to be more than a buzzword. In fact, research from eMarketer recently found that 48% of polled marketers planned on increasing budget allocations to influencer marketing this year.

Influencers have done considerable work on their own to build loyal followings, and as a result have inherently high engagement on content that they create. As such, they offer brands a number of benefits, including:

  • Brand-friendly lifestyles, strong work ethic to prove their value
  • Desire to have their content cross-promoted across all channels, including email, paid social, etc.
  • Ability to supplement user-generated content to support brand initiatives, seasonality, and new product launches

Perhaps the most compelling benefit for brands working with influencers is that they are able to generate the high-quality, specified content needed to address many audiences at scale. At the same time, influencer content allows brands to retain the authenticity of user-generated content, and to produce at a scale that is more efficient than with traditional brand-owned creative. Still, there are challenges with implementing an influencer program that can often make it difficult for brands to realize immediate success, namely:

  • Identifying influencers that will resonate with audiences
  • Managing the logistics of influencer relationships and ensuring they are aligned with the brand’s ethos
  • Analyzing performance of influencer content and optimizing for ongoing success

According to Econsultancy, 84% of influencer research is carried out manually. In order to scale an effective strategy, brands are in need of a tool that will help them execute campaigns, build relationships, and understand the impact of their efforts. This is where we believe we can help marketers do more.

Olapic has built a reputation as an innovator in visual content solutions, first with our earned content platform, followed by our short-form video offering, Content in Motion. Now, we’ve recognized an opportunity to expand our services to apply our technological and analytic capabilities to the influencer space, helping brands to achieve a complete visual content strategy. To do so, we recently launched the Creator Platform, a solution that powers private networks of creators and influencers for brands. The Creator Platform can draw on powerful machine-learning profiling, using thousands of stats and interests to help identify appropriate influencers to produce high-performing user-generated content. The platform provides end-to-end service, automating the process of influencer content creation; building a network, briefing & paying creators, managing content & rights, and reporting & optimization.

All content produced through the Creator Platform comes with full perpetual rights and can be activated across marketing channels such as email, e-commerce, social, social advertising and even offline initiatives. “Through the Creator Platform and the Olapic Suite of products we are now providing brands a powerful toolset that manages the creation, collection, curation, activation, and analysis of visual content so marketers can build more genuine and meaningful brand experiences,” said Jose de Cabo, co-founder, Olapic.

If you already have an influencer strategy in place, it’s time to evaluate and ensure it is both delivering on your current needs and set up to scale down the line. If you don’t already have a strategy, now is the time to consider one. With younger consumers putting more trust in their peers and social influencers, brands must adapt in order to succeed now and into the future.

Learn more about the Creator Platform here.

header photo credit: @greeenmachine

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