By Ben Jeffries, Co-founder and CEO, Influencer
We get it, brands. In fact, we truly empathize with you. Strategies for interacting and engaging with your consumer audiences are seemingly shifting in real time and it’s hard to keep up, let alone plan ahead. There are distinct platforms and channels all competing for your energy, your resources and your dollars, such that determining what the ideal mix looks like may feel like a finish line you’ll never cross.
But here I am, about to throw another wrinkle in your plan. Because I can tell you, without a doubt, that creator content outperforms brand content.
Mic drop, I know.
It’s a big and bold statement, but we’ve seen the data and know for a fact that creator-driven content actually delivers a greater ROI—and heck, what brand-side marketer wouldn’t want to hear about ROI—than your average brand-crafted piece of content.
Yes, we recognize that there’s an amplified focus around measurement these days, due in no small part to hyperinflation and tightening budgets and everything that goes with them. CMOs are seeking to compare the success of influencer marketing campaigns with traditional TV or CTV campaigns, and influencer marketing has been harder to quantify until recently.
But with that being said, I promised you swoon-worthy data, so here it is. Creator content—or influencer content if you prefer—is better at generating awareness, with five times the completion rate, on average, when compared to brand-led content. It’s also better at driving consumer consideration, garnering as many as five times the shares and 27% more likes. And when it comes to conversion, creator content doesn’t disappoint either, delivering twice as many conversions overall.
In other words, creators should sit at the center of all brand-side marketing strategies, both now and moving forward.
Now, that’s not to say that 100% of your brand’s marketing—or maybe, any brand’s marketing—should necessarily be influencer marketing. However, I feel pretty strongly that 100% of marketing efforts should include creators in some capacity.
Why? First and foremost, creators are brand ambassadors, relatable people with aspirational qualities which inspire people to connect with them more closely—and it’s high time brands treat them as such.
Secondly—and this is a trend I’d love to see disappear—an overemphasis and overreliance on surface metrics is doing us no favors. Brands often put too great a focus on the number of likes and the number of comments, which are vanity metrics, at best. Instead, brands should be focusing on outcomes.
I’m talking about whether that piece of content drove some kind of action. Did it lead to a new follower? New click-through to your site? Did it create awareness where there previously wasn’t any? And perhaps most importantly, did it create a path-to-purchase?
Yes, it’s the same old quality vs. quantity debate, which has forever been the bane of traditional advertising and, as I see it, represents one of its biggest flaws. Fortunately, micro-influencers can help brands buck this trend.
Micro-influencers generally refer to influencers with anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 followers who are uniquely positioned to connect with niche communities in authentic, tangible ways. By collaborating with creators at scale, brands get the best of both worlds—quantity and quality—and can drive the sort of ROI their CEOs have been craving.
So, here’s my call-to-action: Shift your perspective and seek a new kind of balance. Start to view your marketing mix with a creator-first lens and get comfortable with the idea of spending more of your marketing budget on creators. Think big and broad. Consider integrating creators within web or OOH ads, and also as part of your go-to market strategies. After all, they’re connecting with the very same people you want to connect with—which means their ability to serve in an ambassadorial capacity is proven. But even then, please do your homework. Take time to look into their backgrounds, examine their sentiments, what they say and how they say it. Brand safety is no small thing, no matter the size or space of the ambassador you’re seeking to work with, or whether they’re a creator or a celebrity.
And lastly, consider the inherent power of organic relationships. We’ve heard from both sides of the aisle, and not only do brands enjoy working with creators who already love and use their brand, but creators have similarly said that some of their most successful partnerships are those with the brands they already love. It’s not the only kind of love out there, that’s for sure, but it’s certainly a great place to start for those brands who are new to the creator-verse.