The popularity of influencer marketing

Whereas the market size of influencer marketing consisted of “only” $1.7 billion in 2016, by 2021 it had already increased to $13.8 billion. This year, the market size is expected to increase 19% to $16.4 billion. Running influencer marketing campaigns is booming. With that, social platforms like Instagram (79%) and TikTok (46%) are the most popular with marketers. You may be familiar with the “TikTok made me buy it” trend; products sold out everywhere because of viral promotions by TikTok influencers. In third place comes YouTube. 56% of marketers say YouTube videos are the most important type of content for their influencer marketing strategy (Hype Auditor, 2022).

However, an influencer campaign on TikTok differs from one on YouTube. And part of the reason is because of the type of content. Whereas on TikTok the average video length is 15 to 34 seconds, on YouTube it is 11.7 minutes. Prolonged video consumption is often a conscious choice on this platform. The likelihood of someone watching your video for four minutes is not uncommon and doable. Thus, YouTube is the platform to connect with followers for a longer period of time to achieve quality attention. Watching short form video like TikTok or YouTube Shorts reinforces watching longer videos. Research from Google states that 59% of Gen Z watch longer versions of videos, which they discover on short video apps (Thinkwithgoogle, 2022). So TikTok is perfect for generating hype. On YouTube, you steadily build a long-term campaign.

All in all, the popularity of influencer marketing stands tall. Still, there is room for improvement in the way brands, influencers and agencies work together. And these flaws go beyond the somewhat muddled way of communicating about paid collaborations.

Traditional influencer marketing and its missed opportunities

A traditional influencer marketing campaign begins with an influencer agency selecting the right influencers. As a brand, you expect this selection to be based on the creator’s popularity with your target audience, their credibility and match with your brand values. In practice, this can be different. As a brand, can you be sure that influencer selection is not skewed by a bias from the agency’s own sales portfolio? What if the influencer in question has not yet obtained enough deals in the past period? Chances are that this influencer will then be put forward. Consequently, the argument for the recommended choice does not go much beyond average reach and gut-feel.

The next step? Both influencer and agency come up with a proposal for a possible campaign creation, the brand chooses and the campaign is put to work. The influencer promotes the product in a special video or post or is a guest on the brand’s channel. A report follows based on standard metrics such as views, engagements and watch time.
Looking critically at this traditional approach reveals a number of missed opportunities.
  1. Results can’t be guaranteed
  2. Influencer selection is biased by a ‘sales target’ or gut-feel
  3. Campaign creation is often based on an idea instead of data research into the needs of the target group
  4. The campaign mainly leans on organic reach
  5. The impact on brand KPIs, such as preference and consideration, are often not being measured

So how do you turn these missed opportunities into utilised ones?

Influencer marketing based on data

The answer is: data! Data helps you let go of the creator perspective and create a campaign in which your consumer is the focus. Before you can choose an influencer, it is crucial to map the affinity of your target group and their viewing behaviour through in-depth audience research. Besides data on your consumer itself, research can also be done on the market in which this consumer is active. What are the current content trends? How are competitors performing and what are missed opportunities?

Next, your target group can be matched with the right influencer. This involves using data to look for popular and affordable influencers that fit both the brand and the target audience. It is a form of influencer selection that goes beyond standard metrics such as average reach or number of views. These include looking at channel performance, search volume, engagement rates and fan base behaviour. The next step is to create a campaign that fits your brand goals. Here it is important to look at the strength of a specific platform. As a YouTube-first agency (not: YouTube-only), we have a broad platform focus. We create content for the platform where your target audience is active, in a way that interests your target audience.

Here, short-form platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts or Instagram are ideal for generating hype or driving conversion. Long-form content on YouTube, on the other hand, is perfect for establishing connection and qualitative attention. In addition to audience research, influencer selection and strategic campaign creation, data also pervades the distribution process. Whereas traditional influencer campaigns often have the “set and forget” mentality, organic, data-driven influencer campaigns can be enriched with a paid strategy. With data about consumer behaviour in the Google Ecosystem, you can create a rock-solid targeting. This way, you optimise your reach. Want to learn more about YouTube advertising? Download our free white paper ‘YouTube for Advertisers’ here.

Finally, the impact of your influencer campaign can be made transparent through data. Team5pm Labs researches the effects of a campaign on brand KPIs, such as brand awareness, brand preference, purchase intention and ambassadorship.

By mapping the needs and interests of your audience, you create a campaign that people really want to watch. Through different platforms you can tell a story and convey your brand message. This way you generate real impact within your target group.

Want to know more about data-driven influencer marketing?

By basing your influencer campaign on insights about your target group, you’ll create certainty. Results can be guaranteed and reports go beyond standard metrics such as views. Durable results on brand KPIs such as preference or purchase intention are doable and measurable through research. The result? A consumer-first campaign based on your target group’s needs and relevant trends.

Want to know more? Have a look at our data-driven influencer marketing service ‘Influencer Intelligence’.