Westminster Media Forum
Last month I attended the Westminster Media Forum (WMF) which focused on ‘Influencer Marketing’ and included a host of great speakers covering a wide range of topics. This included ways of selecting the right influencer, right through to the management of the campaign and ensuring the audience are aware what a paid collaboration looks like, and making everyone aware of the legal requirements. Advertising Standards Authority Chief Executive, Guy Parker, spoke at the event and went through some of the ground rules of influencer campaigns, and also the importance being up front is with our audience. Click here to read the latest blog from the ASA on influencer marketing
Firstly, native advertising is quickly becoming the new ‘norm’, and a recent study stated the average person interacts with their mobile phone 2,617 times A DAY! That’s around two interactions every minute*, and many consider mobile to be the new ‘watercooler’ – with colleagues now pulling up a chair to watch a funny vid, rather than chatting about what was on the TV last night.
The WMF decided to discuss influencer marketing’s impact on the public, both at present and going forward. There was a particular focus on educating consumers, as well as mentioning what companies and brands can do to ensure the public are fully aware of sponsorships. Many discussed influencer marketing getting it’s own symbol which symbolised a paid partnership, much like how TV has the logo (right) to make the viewer aware they’re about to watch a programme which has paid product placement.
Attention span dropping
When we think of attention spans getting shorter, most believe this to be a problem with the ‘youth of today’ – however, Kantar Media’s ‘AdReaction’ survey shows that attention spans have dropped across all of the age groups they surveyed (16-19, 20-34 and 35-49). This means that brands and agencies are having to think of more creative ways to engage with their audience, and influencer marketing is a big part of that.
Peer-to-peer learning and tutorials are ranked highest when it comes to audience engagement, this shouldn’t really surprise us. We see social media personalities gaining celebrity status by giving hints/tips on a whole host of topics, from the ‘quickest way to give your eyes depth’ to ‘making a super healthy lunchtime salad in under 3 minutes’. The shift from mainstream celebrities means we no longer rely on conventional methods like those TV programmes showing us where to go on holiday, now we follow an Instagram account or use hashtags to learn about our next holiday destination.
Incorrect KPIs leading to wastage
Everyone’s talking about influencer marketing and 2018 ad budgets will mirror this, with most brands predicting a large growth in the influencer section of their budget. There’s still a great deal of education to be carried out, especially as to how we measure the success of a campaign, there’s a lot more to it than the simple ‘reach and CPM’ methods we’re all used to.
Measurement was a recurring theme during the WMF, and the speakers were in agreement that influencer marketing needs to have it’s own measurement – which isn’t to say we’re getting rid of CPM or CPA, or any other measurement. What we need to do as an industry is educate our clients, and when using influencer marketing, there are many other areas in which we can judge the success of a campaign.
So, do we need more education?
We know more education is needed, but the jury’s still out on who needs it – some argue that people (especially teenagers) need to understand they’re being sold too on social media. Also, brands need to ensure their affiliated influencers are making the audience aware of their commercial interest when it comes to reviewing a product or service.
One thing is for certain, the Instagram team are trying their best to lead the way when it comes to transparency, and earlier this year launched their ‘paid partnership’ tag which appears above the image, making paid posts a lot easier to detect. This is a great move, not only for the audience, but for the brands and influencers too.
Being upfront will allow the audience to continue using Instagram in the same way they do now, whilst maintaining the influencers ability to use the service as source for revenue.