Influencers have become a massively important part of the marketing mix and the surge shows no sign of slowing, especially in the beauty industry where they’re a core part of many brands strategies.
Not only do an astonishing 98% of the industry believe influencer marketing is effective, but for every £1 spent in 2017, brands saw an average ROI of £8.81.
This incredible figure goes to show just how important it is to build successful relationships between brands and influencers.
What’s more interesting, is how brands are using a predominantly data-led approach in order to achieve such successful results in this sector. Looking at everything from follower attributes, demographics, hobbies and discussion topics – we’ll touch more upon this later.
Here we delve into some of the key discussion points teased in the report and during the talk.
Trust, credibility and authenticity
Digital influencers are now perceived to deliver higher levels of trust and credibility, and their impact on brand campaigns is being felt by our own clients. Take B&O Play’s ongoing, organic partnership with model Ricki Hall, which has been managed with astounding success and has done wonders for raising brand awareness among the creative demographic of east London.
In contrast, the report states 73% of Generation Z consumers demand more transparency from influencers and brands when it comes to how they communicate. This suggests that not all influencers are credible and consumers want to see a clear distinction between the two.
Ultimately, this demand resulted in Instagram changing its advertising rules (any paid-for posts must be clearly identified by influencers in the post or blog) which poses a question: how credible are influencers working with brands under paid-for partnerships?
Should we trust influencers who one day talk up an all-natural, ethical beauty brand, but the next day recommend a product tested on animals? This doesn’t exactly scream ‘authenticity’.
During the Q&A, Fumni commented that the number of campaigns between brands and influencers that don’t resonate with her far outweighs the ones that do.
To the consumer, it’s easy to differentiate between campaigns showing a genuine passion for a product in a credible and authentic light, and the ones with big-budgets behind them.
Don’t get blinded by the numbers
Estee Lauder fell into the trap of believing big social media numbers equals products flying of the shelves.
This comes back to the report’s findings about the importance of authenticity and research. Estee Lauder failed to consider the attributes of its target influencer or their followers and ultimately, both were a mismatch for the brand and it fell into a trap.
This is now why, according to Celebrity Intelligence, 67% of brands believe a data-led approach is most effective when working with influencers and metrics such as social media analytics, audience and engagement insights have proven the most useful.
These metrics help to shape who is the right influencer to work with a brand by looking at core values, personal interests and passions – not just how many followers they have.
The rise of indie brands
The growing influence of social media has given a voice to up-and-coming indie brands with a strong ethos and a cool factor cutting through the noise to carve out their own success.
For example, EOS and Glossier – unheard of a few years ago – have used passionate individuals and its online communities to raise awareness and establish themselves. Without the impact of social media influencers, the big beauty giants would simply dominate.
What about traditional media?
The beauty industry loves to communicate with its customers through digital. However, there is a danger of underestimating the value of traditional media and journalists.
On the other hand, influencer marketing budgets are set to increase by 70% in the next year as traditional media titles take another hit and continue to tackle what’s described as an increasingly competitive market.
We believe digital alone is not enough and it’s important to achieve the right mix of traditional, digital and influencer marketing.
Boldly, one audience member pointed out it seems astounding a blogger with three years’ experience is considered more of an authority when recommending products compared to a make-up artist with 20 years’ experience, or a journalist who has written
Many people will agree but influencers are influencers because within their communities, people have an affinity with their lifestyle and want to engage with it – in the exact same way people would pick-up a specific magazine.
So, what now?
Beauty is clearly an industry which has a natural affinity with influencer marketing. An early adopter of new ways to communicate with brands, it’s one that benefits from an influencer’s ability to bring a product to life.
The customer’s path isn’t a straightforward one anymore and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to navigate, especially as influencers recognise the authority and power they have over brands.
This report definitely proves how important influencers are within the marketing mix but, at the same time, how detrimental it can be.
If brands are going to introduce influencers into their marketing strategy, both careful research and an authentic relationship – even within a paid-for partnership – is essential to success.