CHICAGO: Over half of major brands that use influencer marketing also leverage paid-for ads to maximise the impact of these partnerships, according to a study by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

Bob Liodice, president/CEO of the ANA, discussed this subject during a keynote session at the industry body’s 2018 Brand Activation Conference.

And he cited the results of an ANA study – conducted in November 2017 among 158 client-side marketers – that offered up data on their influencer-marketing strategies.

“More than 50% of the marketers that we surveyed also exercised paid media to amplify their influencer campaigns,” said Liodice. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Influencers anchor $600-billion brand-activation practice.)

Those traditional advertising dollars, the ANA chief added, indicate that influencer marketing has “the ability to provide great synergy and integration with the balance of their marketing elements.”

Elsewhere, the ANA’s research demonstrated how widespread influencer marketing now is. “National advertisers are so enamoured with influencer marketing that a full 75% of their companies currently employ the discipline,” said Liodice.

Moreover, of those respondents that are not making use of influencer marketing at present, fully 27% plan to do so in the next 12 months.

Facebook (86%) and Instagram (84%) were the across-the-board leading social-media channels for influencer marketing, with Instagram ranking as the “most important” platform (36%), followed by Facebook (20%).

Quantity is one thing, but Liodice emphasized the quality of these partnerships, too. “Most importantly,” he observed, “brand fit is critical. You’re either authentic to your brand or you’re not.

“It’s fundamental that the influencers a marketer finds have some sort of degree of interconnection with their brand – particularly among millennials.

“That’s the audience that very much will run from your brand if, in fact, your influencers are not appropriately aligned with your brand product.”

When it comes to measurement, the issue of compensation complicates the task of determining the return on influencer investment.

In the ANA study, some 54% of the respondents who said they had brought influencers into their marketing mix were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied’ with their performance.

On the downside, however, 49% reported a “neutral” reaction to such initiatives, largely citing that the programs were still too new to deliver any long-term performance results.

Sourced from WARC