Part 2 in our 2018 Influencer Marketing & Relations Media playbook series.

The holy grail of marketing – “right place, right time, right person, right message” – exists not in a singular moment, but in which a consumer experiences the process of making a purchase decision. But rather from a brand directly, those moments are increasingly determined by social proof: that consumer’s network of experiences, recommendations, reviews from that consumers’ network of friends, like-minded strangers, and influencers.

Social proof is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others because they assume those actions are the correct behavior. Consumers, who no longer implicitly trust institutions, now turn to social cues from experts, consumers like them, and their social networks, among others, in order to expediting the decision making process and filling in the gaps of their experience.

In this next age of customer autonomy, in which consumers seek out social proof to inform, affirm, and validate purchase decisions, these are the symbols, ratings, content, and recommendations by which brands are now valued.

They’re also the competitive differentiators that matter today, because they’re motivating consumers to make purchase decisions faster than ever before – increasing intent to purchase across paid, earned, and owned media channels.

Up until now, influencer marketing programs have largely remained one-dimensional tactics for content creation. That alone presents the benefit for media professionals because of the insights to be gained from understanding that content’s performance. Across any number of platforms, media planners and buyers can understand how a spectrum of IGC performs across a number different target audiences and have access to those exact assets to amplify to the masses.

Marketers may never again have complete control over the brand narrative, but by amplifying the influence that matters at the intersection of media and influencer marketing, marketers once again are empowered to shape the perceptions and actions of target consumers. Marketers can transform their media planning and buying practices by using the same content that consumers seek out to inform their purchase decisions.

While engagement doesn’t always correlate with business outcomes, it does correlate with media efficiencies. In the same ways media buyers and planners study the initial engagement rates of any given campaign and focus budgets on the best-performing iterations, they too should have visibility into which IGC during an influencer campaign is best performing and have the opportunity to amplify those assets.

As intelligent as technologies like Facebook Ads Manager are at reactively assessing the relevance and quality of brand-generated sponsored posts, the ultimate tests are the feed algorithms themselves.

By partnering with influencers and repurposing influencer-generated content, media professionals can proactively leverage key insights and assets to optimize paid campaigns, including:

  • Eliminating the need to use stock photography
  • Understanding how target audiences use influencer-generated content to inform their purchase decisions
  • Having access to a steady stream of content that is proven to be credible and relevant to the target audience
  • Content velocity to power an always-on testing and experiment strategy

With many influencers active across three or more social platforms, a diverse influencer marketing media mix that incorporates multiple personas has the capacity to support marketers’ omnichannel ambitions and empower them to break free of closed media ecosystems. This is notable for paid media planners and buyers tasked with negotiating the most competitive bids and delivering the highest return on creative.

In Nielsen’s 2018 CMO Survey, marketers were most concerned with improving media efficiencies. In the fifth of our Influencer Marketing & Relations in 2018 playbook series, How Influencer-Generated Content Increases Paid and Owned Media Efficiencies, we share the strategy and tools needed to evolve your marketing strategy, including:

  • A framework for how paid and owned media professionals can leverage influencers and influencer-generated content (IGC) as a new blueprint to deliver greater optimization, efficencies and experiences
  • Highlighting and breaking down media planners, buyers, and channel owners’ biggest opportunities to put the potential of influencer-generated content (IGC) to work for their brands
  • The opportunity to integrate IGC and UGC across owned channels to increase positive customer experiences
  • Readiness checklist & case studies