Study: Brands Need to Choose the Right Influencers to Drive Engagement

Taking a photo

As more brands turn to influencer marketing to generate engagement, a new study has found that it may not always pay off. Specifically, brands may need to focus on the quality of their posts and their target audience more often to see better ROI.

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How can the right influencers drive engagement?

A report published by Markerly looked at influencers with less than 1,000 followers and compared them to those with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. They discovered that influencers with audiences less than 1,000 had a “like” rate of 8 percent. In comparison, the group of influencers with larger audience had a “like” rate of 4 percent.

The publishers of the report claim that their findings highlight the need for brands to identify influencers who can bring them the most value. This involves finding those who are already working in their industry and targeting a similar audience.

“Brands that are interested in engagement over reach, and conversions over awareness are better suited to work with micro-influencers,” Sarah Ware, CEO and co-founder of Markerly, told Marketing Dive.

Ware went on to state that micro-influencers – those with smaller audiences – may even be better options for some brands. They tend to have more resonance with their niche audiences and excel at geo-targeting and content repurposing. However, the bottom line is that businesses need to take the time and effort to hone in on the right influencers for their specific marketing needs.

At Fullbottle, influencers are incentivized by having the option to choose which brands they want to work with for marketing purposes. This ensures that brands are only teaming up with influencers who have their target audience and industry in mind. Contact Fullbottle today to learn how you can find the right influencer to achieve your advertising goals.

How Parenting Blogger Erica Price Balances the Influencer Lifestyle [Interview]

Erica Price

Erica Price, the mom behind the Nine to Three Thirty blog, has her hands full these days. In between managing her site and booming Instagram page (@ericaprice6), she’s taking care of her nine-year-old son and writing for A Little Luxury for Me, a U.K. foodie blog. We had an opportunity to chat with Price about how she stays engaged with her Instagram followers.

Fullbottle: How has your Instagram strategy changed as the social network has evolved?

Erica Price: “I think when the network was first launched, there was more emphasis on the ‘instant’ and my pictures at the time reflected that. These days, only a small percentage of my pictures are instant and most aren’t taken on my phone. I don’t do a lot of editing, but I do like to find the best shots from those I’ve taken on my DSLR and then transfer them to my phone for uploading.”

instagram, influencer marketingFB: What are your views on influencer fraud?

EP: “I can’t see the point in paying for followers because in most cases it just looks really obvious. I have seen so many accounts with thousands of followers, but only a handful of likes per photo and almost no comments at all. Any marketer worth their wages will spot that a mile off.”

FB: How do you keep your followers interested?

EP: “Keeping my followers interested means frequent posting. I aim to post three times a day and this is usually during the evening. My Instagram account is quite varied and I try to vary the content each day. For instance, I might post one picture of my son or my cats, one landscape or architecture shot and one of some flowers or something pretty. That said I don’t want to make it formulaic, so I don’t follow that slavishly.”

FB: What goes into making the perfect, audience-engaging Instagram post?

EP: “The perfect, audience-engaging Instagram post would be something visually striking, but I think it’s best when there is something to write about the picture, too. I see Instagram as ‘microblogging’ of a sort, but tend to keep my posts quite short on words (no more than a short paragraph and ideally the length of a tweet as I tweet out my posts when I upload to Instagram). Often, I get as much response to my words as my pictures.”

FB: What advice do you have to budding Instagram influencers?

EP: “I would say get social. Don’t just put posts up and wait for people to come to you. Make sure you follow people, like and comment on their pictures, and there is a good chance that they’ll come back and follow you, or comment or like your posts.”

For more information on creating a successful influencer marketing strategy, contact Fullbottle, and don’t forget to check out Erica Price on Instagram – @ericaprice6.

The Rise of Fraud in Influencer Marketing

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Internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts, and many of them can be found on Instagram. The social network has more than 400 million active users, making it an ideal platform for influencer marketing.

Where there is audience, there is inevitably monetization. Where there is money, there are often unfortunately individuals or communities looking to game the system and make a quick buck. We’ve seen it again and again, both inside and outside of the advertising world.  It is estimated that 60% of global advertising dollars are wasted due to fraudulent activities. Instagram and other social networks are no exception to this rule. In fact, recent studies show that over 8-11% of social media accounts are fake.

The potential for fraud has grown as marketers move more budget into social, where some users are even seeking inorganic ways to grow their follower base and activity. These days, some influencers are tempted through scams that allow them to purchase  “fake” users and engagements.   “Unfortunately, a lot of businesses and content providers on social media are looking for a quick fix when it comes to building a follower base,” says Gina Lee, an Instagram influencer with more than 67K followers. “And it’s even more unfortunate, that many of them go as far as paying for fake followers. While it might be an easy game to play, in the end, it not only hurts the purchaser, but it hurts the entire social community.”

influencer marketing, influencer advertising, instagram marketing

Many influencers treat their profiles as business assets.

Building a Reputable Business

Influencers constantly speak of the pressure to go above and beyond in terms of establishing a large audience. Creating the perception of influence indicates that an individual or brand has the ability to market to thousands of people.  However, in order for influencer marketing to be effective for brands, the influencers behind the promotion need to remain genuine. Thankfully, the majority of influencers treat their accounts as their professional business and brand.  They are driven by creating quality, engaging content for their audience and growing a reputable business for marketer partnerships.

“For me, I prefer to build and belong to my various social communities through a much more organic process,” Lee continued. “That means being consistent and engaging with those I am connected to on social media. I value the engagement and the connections I make more than the number of followers listed in my profile.”

Fullbottle encourages influencers like Gina to continue to grow their business.  We rely on a number of tools to help mitigate the risk of fraud for brands and promote a community that values ethical business practices. For example, we use sophisticated tracking methods to monitor and analyze activity in real time and provide alert notifications when suspicious activity is detected.  If fraudulent activity is detected we have a zero tolerance policy.  We also rely on our community of influencers to report any signs of fraudulent activity.  This approach of community monitoring has proven to be very effective in reporting and detecting fraud. Additional product features are also in the works to help maintain a clean and honest marketplace.

“We believe that by building a community that cares about ethical business practices and takes fraud seriously, everyone involved wins,” said Natalie Enright, Co-founder of Fullbottle. “The brands win by cutting out waste, and influencers win as brands continue to move more and more dollars into influencer marketing when they see fraud is not tolerated.”

If you are an Influencer who is building a reputable business and would like to work with great brands like Almay, Toys”R”Us, Chobani, you may want to contact Fullbottle to join our marketplace. If you have any additional questions on fraud detection policies and monitoring or would like to anonymously report any suspicious accounts, please contact the Fullbottle fraud team. We appreciate your support!

Report: Programmatic Advertising is on the Rise among Brands and Influencers

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As marketers look to scale many of their advertising efforts, it’s no surprise that there has been a huge boom in programmatic advertising. Now, a new report from the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester has found that programmatic advertising adoption doubled between 2014 and 2016.

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Programmatic advertising is on the rise.

In 2014, just 35 percent of businesses said that they had made programmatic buys within the past year. This percentage leaped to 79 percent in 2016. Furthermore, 31 percent said that they have expanded their in-house capabilities to manage programmatic ad buying.

But why does programmatic advertising work?

Programmatic advertising revolves around the idea of automating the digital advertising process through technology, rather than manual processes. In turn, this boosts the efficiency of marketing teams and brands.

Programmatic and Influencer Marketing

There is no doubt that influencer marketing is on the rise. According to recent studies, businesses are making a larger than ever return on influencer marketing dollars spent, generating $6.50 in revenue for every $1 spent. With those kinds of returns, it is no surprise that 59% of marketers plan to increase influencer marketing budgets for 2016.

Influencer marketing can be an arduous and inefficient process for marketers looking to scale their efforts. In many cases, deals are negotiated directly with influencers, resulting in excessive time and money spent negotiating contracts, approving creatives, and managing inconsistencies in price and performance. Brands that are approaching the space in this way, need to rethink their process. Automating influencer efforts with a programmatic platform, like Fullbottle, allows advertisers to simplify the workflow and easily scale their efforts.

For more insight into how you can streamline your influencer marketing efforts to achieve scale, accountability and efficiency, contact Fullbottle today.

Report: 60% of Ad Budgets are Going to Brand Activation, Influencer Marketing

Video

As brands turn to methods, such as influencer advertising, to achieve their marketing goals, statistics now show that they are also dedicating more of their budgets to these initiatives. A report titled, “U.S. Brand Activation Marketing Forecast 2016,” from the Association of National Advertisers has found that brands spend 60 percent of their advertising budgets on brand activation.

Brand activation is defined by the ANA as using tactics, such as influencer marketing and promotional content, to reach marketing objectives. The brand activation market is expected to top $595 billion in 2016. By 2020, this amount is expected to reach $740 billion.

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Influencer marketing can help brands break through the noise.

Researchers estimate that media buyers now have more than 200 media outlet options to choose from when it comes to shopping. Technology and data are both impacting the media buying process in large ways, according to the report.

Because of the sheer number of media outlets, brands have an extensive amount of opportunity to reach out to their target audiences. However, the competition is stiff, and it can be difficult to break through the noise with the overwhelming number of companies vying for consumer attention.

Similarly, ad blocking has given more control to consumers on the Web, allowing them to select what they see while using the Internet. Ad blocking rose from 21 million users in 2010 to 144 million in 2014, according to Business Insider.

Today, the most successful brands are taking a savvier approach to marketing with influencer advertising. Working with trusted influencers who have established audiences is helping brands ensure that their messages are reaching their target market. Additionally, influencer marketing is helping more companies build their credibility in a crowded market.

Luckily, companies like Fullbottle are prepared to take on the volume of brands who are looking to team up with reputable influencers to achieve their marketing objectives. Similarly, Fullbottle works with influencers to help them find companies they’re passionate about promoting from a business perspective. Contact Fullbottle today for more information!

How Ad Blockers and Crowdcultures Shape Today’s Brand Advertisers

Ad Culture

Ad blockers have become a modern-day convenience for Web surfers, but a nightmare for marketing professionals who want to make sure their advertisements are seen. In 2015, ad blocking cost publishers nearly $22 billion. Furthermore, there are more than 198 active ad blocker users around the world.

This doesn’t mean that advertisers need to panic – it simply means that there needs to be a change in direction.

Social media

Crowdcultures now reign supreme in advertising.

The Rise of Social Media
The eruption of social media has forged a connection between communities of all types, ranging from fringe groups to artistic circles. Crowdcultures, as they’re being called, now encompass a wide range of ideologies and practices. The Harvard Business Review defines a crowdculture as a digital crowd that serves as an effective, prolific innovator of culture; a result of several sub-cultures often coming together online.

Typically, you can find them on social networks, such as Instagram. This has opened the doors for new marketing opportunities. Coca-Cola, for example, announced a new marketing strategy in 2011 that shifted from “creative excellence” to “content excellence,” promising the “world’s most compelling content” from here on out.

Coca-Cola, being an early-adopter, recognized the value of content branding ahead of many marketers. With the arrival of ad blockers, how can brands make an impact when audiences now have the ability to choose what they see?

The Call for Targeted Advertising
Today, ad blockers are creating an uphill battle, but it’s one that can be won through influencer marketing. Brands that churn out advertisements without considering their audiences are wasting money. Furthermore, they are making themselves vulnerable to ad blockers, which are specifically designed to eliminate spam and clutter on the Internet.

The key to any successful marketing campaign in the era of the ad blocker is creating advertisements that people want to see. Rather than trying to be trendy, brands can benefit from targeting these crowdcultures and what they specifically want to see on the Web. Weaving in storytelling – telling a branded story that resonates with a crowdculture – can also make a marketing strategy stronger.

Finally, working with influencers who already have a strong, engaged audience on a social network can give any advertising initiative a boost. Contact Fullbottle today to learn how you can create an influencer marketing campaign that grabs the attention of your target audience.

FOMO: Is Your Influencer Marketing Strategy On Par with Competitors?

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One of the most effective ways to get the word out about your brand, products, and services is to use influencer marketing. Teaming up with an influencer in your industry can put you in a position to reach out to a wider audience. However, your competitors might have been using influencer advertising for quite some time – how do you measure up? Here are four influencer marketing tactics you can start using today to ensure you aren’t missing out.

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Are you paying for views or actual engagement?

1. Make Sure Your Money is Well-Spent
Time is money, and you can’t afford to waste your budget on an influencer advertising strategy that isn’t paying off. That being said, it may be worth reaching out to a company that offers a pay-per-engagement model. This means that you aren’t just paying to publish ads that may or may not be clicked – you’re only paying for posts that your audiences sees and engages with online.

2. Connect with Invested Influencers
The influencers you work with should be incentivized to help your brand, whether it’s through general interest or passion for your particular industry. In the event that you bring in influencers who aren’t invested in your company, you may not get the amount of exposure or brand recognition that you desire. Influencers may fall off the map in terms of promoting your company over time.

3. Keep Your Influencer Marketing Strategy Targeted
Ideally, your brand should value impact over reach. This means you’re constantly working to create engaging, click-worthy posts, rather than posts that may be overlooked by wide audiences. Trust your influencers when you choose to work with them – they understand what types of posts resonate with their audiences. In turn, they can guide you as you generate engagement-worthy content of your own.

4. Don’t Forget to Strengthen Influencer Relationships
Influencers want to feel appreciated, and doing so can provide them with even more incentive to promote your brand. However, it’s critical to strengthen relationships with influencers to better understand the direction of your marketing campaign as well. Maintaining strong communication with your influencers can ensure that you’re keeping tabs on their audiences, as well as how they are engaging with your promoted content.

To make sure you aren’t missing out on all of the influencer marketing trends your competitors are taking advantage of, contact Fullbottle today. You’ll receive everything you need to launch an influencer advertising campaign that blows away the competition. Additionally, you’ll be able to take advantage of a pay-per-engagement model that ensures your marketing budget is going to good use.

Mindshare Before Marketshare: 2 Reasons Influencer Marketing Offsets the Rising Costs of Attention

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The average tenure for CMOs has doubled to 48 months in the last ten years. It’s no surprise considering that cost of consumer attention has risen seven-to-nine fold during the same period of time. However, implementing influencer marketing can help CMOs develop a Blue Ocean Strategy with a Lean Advertising Methodology at it’s core.

As the Microsoft Corp study pointed out, “No longer can we (consumers) boast 12 seconds of coherent thought (less than a goldfish).”

We live in a world where turning to our smartphones for tasks is a natural condition – to text a friend, to check Instagram, to find a car, to check a price (consumer funnel is dead).

But CMOs can use this dynamic to their advantage and offset the rising costs to achieve eight seconds of our attention.

CREATE A BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY

For starters, they must shift the paradigm and make marketing a vital operating function within their organization. As CMO Beth Comstok demonstrated at GE, marketing must become a source of innovation whose efforts are as creative and valuable as the products coming out of R&D.

Sadly, most brands (and their CMOs) are stuck in a Red Ocean strategy, racing to beat the competition by building a defensible position within the existing industry order. Few brands like GE have embraced the “blue ocean” opportunity of acquiring non-customers on emerging networks like Instagram. I’m still amazed by the number of executives who don’t have an Instagram account.

CMOs must focus on value innovation, which is the alignment of innovation with utility, price, and cost positions. Influencer marketing helps brands execute this strategy by pursuing a new segment of consumers using media costs (compared to TV, print, and digital display) simultaneously.

LEAN ADVERTISING METHODOLOGY

I often recommend brands of all sizes follow the template that GE or Coke executes with amazing success. But these examples are consistently met with rebuttals, such as, “But we’re not Coke,” and “We don’t have their war chest of resources.” You don’t need their war chest to execute a similar influencer marketing strategy.

For example, a brand can implement the Lean Advertising Methodology using Instagram advertising by influencers to outsource content creation and media distribution. It’s the only media option that allows brands to collapse the cost of content creation and media distribution while scaling and simultaneously market testing their message with potential consumers. Thales S. Teixiera provided an excellent overview of this approach in the Harvard Business Review.

Coke’s Wendy Clark detailed aspects of Coke’s strategy – content, scale, spread in real-time, with or without us. Core to Coke’s strategy is a readily accepted approach called the “70-20-10 rule.” Seventy percent of a brand’s marketing investment focuses on programs that have proven successful. Twenty percent of a brand’s investment targets emerging trends, such as emojis and mobile messaging. The remaining 10 percent gambles on “untested” programs with minimal traction.

INSTAGRAM ADVERTISING: SCALE CONTENT CREATION AND MEDIA DISTRIBUTION
Here’s the rub; many CMOs still consider influencer marketing in the 20 percent bucket (emerging trend), or worse. But this is not the case for brands in the middle-to-lower end of the market.

These brands must adopt lean methods to compete with the Fortune 100 brands. For example, @MarkandEstel recently shared with us that Instagram advertising was quickly becoming the most valuable medium available to them. Why? They are able to remove the cost of marketing agencies or standard media costs e.g. TV :30 inventory and substitute it with an army of influencers that produce content and promote their brand.

All of this is done with a team of two – not the Coke empire.

To learn how you can expand upon your influencer marketing strategy, contact Fullbottle today for more information!

Instagram Expands Video Length to 60 Seconds for More Storytelling

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In February, Instagram began allowing advertisers to roll out 60 second-long videos to users. Now, the social networking platform is making this length available to all of its users, ranging from Instagram influencers to amateur photographers.

Instagram made the announcement on its blog on March 29. The goal is to give users more “flexibility” to tell their stories, and Instagram says it’s one of many changes arriving this year.

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Now, videos can be up to 60 seconds long.

In addition, iOS users will now have the ability to create videos out of multiple clips from their camera roll. This was an option in the past, but had been phased out.

“We’re excited about the incredible community of video creators who already call Instagram home,” Instagram stated.

Today, more than 25 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Instagram, and for good reason. The platform has 75 million daily users, meaning there’s a wide audience to be reached on Instagram. Brands continue to turn to Instagram to drive publicity through hashtags, exhibit company culture, and market new products.

Influencers use both photos and videos to engage their followers and grow their audiences. However, the ideal content type may depend on the audience of the brand. In short, the success of a video of any length is more dependent on the story being told.

That being said, it’s critical for brands and influencers to test various video lengths as Instagram rolls out its changes. While 60 seconds is an ample amount of time to tell a story, it may not be necessary to use the full minute — content reigns supreme over length. Ideally, brands and Instagram influencers should strive to generate content that engages their specific audience, rather than the general public.

To learn how you can begin working with influencers to improve your marketing strategy, contact Fullbottle for more information!

4 Signs that You Need to Tap into the Benefits of Influencer Marketing

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Whether you promote a big brand or a small business, influencer marketing can benefit you in many ways. That being said, not everyone is familiar with the advantages associated with this type of marketing. Here are four signs that influencer advertising could be perfect for your brand or business.

…You Want to Reduce the Length of Your Sales Cycle.
If you’re bringing in prospects but the majority of them fail to convert, your sales cycle might be lengthy and ineffective. Working with influencers can ensure that you’re bringing in prospects mid-funnel (or lower) who are more likely to convert. In turn, you’ll shorten your sales cycle.

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Working with influencers gives you a wider audience.

…You Want to Authenticate Your Brand.
Ever want to be in a thought leadership position in your industry? Teaming up with well-known influencers can improve your reputation and help you exhibit the knowledge you have of the business world.

…You Want to Increase Awareness.
The biggest benefit of influencer marketing is having the opportunity to raise brand awareness. Because influencers have large audiences, you can increase your business’ notoriety through these individuals and their social networks. Think of influencers as ambassadors who are spreading the good word about your brand.

…You Want a More Focused Marketing Plan.
Instead of beginning marketing initiatives in multiple areas, honing in your efforts on influencer marketing can help you save time and money. Because you’ll be working with influencers who already have an established audience, you can ensure that you’re reaching out to as many prospects as possible. Just be mindful of your target audience prior to choosing an influencer for your marketing efforts. Ideally, you want to work with influencers who are established in your specific industry.

Research has shown that 81 percent of marketers who have executed an influencer marketing campaign believe that they’ve been effective. For more information on how you can launch an own influencer marketing strategy, contact Fullbottle today!