Dubai: Think there are way too many social media influencers out there? And you are unsure whether they do actually have the influence they claim or their follower numbers suggest? Then as a brand owner, it’s time to think micro.
“Micro-influencers” are now trending in the Gulf’s digital advertising or brand endorsement landscape, and they come in without some of the baggage associated with their “macro” counterparts.
For one — and for brand marketers and ad agencies, this is the key — the micro-influencers do come with the numbers and results that can be measured. And numbers that matter.
“Micro-influencers tend to have a niche interest and an audience size also needs to exist in order to give you parameters of influence,” said Tanaz Dizadji, CEO ofBrand Ripplr, an online platform that specialises in micro-influencer driven marketing. “However, it’s incredibly important to look beyond the numbers.”
Last year was a breakout year in the way marketers roped in social media influencers to support their campaigns.
In fact, whole campaigns were built around them, and setting off a surge in the rates prominent influencers could command. A cool $10,000 (Dh36,700) for a few snaps or minutes extolling a brand? They could have it … and the good ones much more.
But then a backlash was starting to crop up. According to market sources, brands who had used influencers were finding that the returns they were expecting were not coming through. They were coming up against the “fake” syndrome.
“Fake followers, fake engagement, imitation accounts — they all exist,” said Dizadji. “It is quite ridiculous to see what is happening with some “influencer” profiles.
“We’ve all seen it [fake follower claims] happening. Transparency is the buzzword right now — it is also one of the biggest concerns that brands have when investing in influencer marketing.
“Society is becoming attuned to what is real and what is not. I think anyone who has a vested interest in influencer marketing has seen issues like this arise on social media.”
But in a region where the young spend their lives switching in and out of digital mode, influencers will have a role in spreading the word. And a few under performing campaigns involving them is not going to bring it to a halt.
“The concept of influencer marketing isn’t new; it directly links back to the days when marketing was purely done by word of mouth,” said Dizadji. “The change that exists is that the social media giants have enabled us to tap into the voices via digital means and start listening again.
“To that extent, the main influence is those trusted voices … and it is the micro-influencers who can now make the most of this voice. There is typically a shared interest among the audience of a micro-influencer. Therefore, genuine conversations and real trust can be seen.
“The industry is shifting from macro-influencers to micro for this reason.”
This is also the point where entities like Brand Ripplr play their part.
“We can measure basic metrics such as cost-per-engagement and the cost-per-view, which allows for comparisons between influencers, no matter what their audience size,” said Dizadji.
“However, a qualitative review has to exist; it’s important to look at an influencer’s ability to create social conversation and spark engagement through the comments, etc. While you can also go down the route of measuring the success of individual discount codes, links to bios and insta-story click throughs, social platforms — such as Instagram and Facebook — are designed to keep you in the ecosystem. So it is not a fair assessment to judge on “clicks” alone.
“You have to consider awareness, talkability and the impact that creative content can have on a potential consumer.
“To some extent, tracking is limited right now, but it’s an exciting time. The social media giants are tapping into influencer marketing and data is becoming more and more accessible.
“Influencer marketing is no longer about big followings and big money; it’s about small followings and big data.”
Too much of a good thing can never last
The big-name social media influencers seemed to have it all — the legions of followers, brand tie-ins, and the glory of being in constant limelight. But for those brands who had been signing them up, their results were a mixed bag.
“Brands need to dig into profiles and audience data — location, gender, age, engagement, etc, to decipher the effectiveness of an influencer,” said Tanaz Dizadji of Brand Ripplr. “Brands are waking up to the over-commercialisation of macro-influencers and tapping into the behavioural trends of their consumers.
“These consumers are statistically proven to be much more like to follow the recommendation made by a micro. On top of that, they have highly-engaged and trusted audiences. In essence, a group of micro-influencers can achieve the same — or better — results as a macro-influencer — for a lot less money.”