Stop Paying For Reach And Instead Focus On The Influence In Influencer Marketing

Written by Phil Birss: Group CEO.
· 4 minute read

Got a spare $500,000 just hanging around? Yep? Great, you can now pay for the privilege of getting in front of Kim Kardashian’s 103 million followers on Instagram. That works out at a very reasonable  $0.005 per view of your sponsored post. But before you go reaching for the cheque book however, there are a few things you may wish to consider;

  • First up, do you really think Zuck is going to let you reach users on his platform for $0.005 per impression? Not a bloody chance! Instead he has ensured that those pesky engineers at Facebook have clamped down on organic reach across Instagram to ensure that despite your organic hemp infused vegan truffle butter being oh so artfully placed on a Kardashian’s derriere, the post is only likely to reach 10% of her followers (and that’s being generous). So almost instantly you have gone from $0.005 per impression to $0.05. Still sounds fairly reasonable doesn’t it? I’m afraid it gets worse…
  • How often do you scroll through your newsfeed on Instagram or Facebook and not even register most of the posts you have scrolled past? If you’re anything like the rest of us, it’s pretty often. Essentially, how many of those 10.3 million post viewers actually take the time to stop and look at the post long enough to realise your tub of organic shite is balanced on her arse? According to various bits of research, this is likely to be around 20% of the total users it is served up to, or in this case 2.06 million people resulting in a cost per view of about $0.24. Unfortunately that isn’t the end of it either…
  • So we’ve confirmed that your post is likely to actually be seen by 2.06 million people at a cost per view of about $0.24, however how many of those viewers are the right audience for your product? Here’s where you need to start considering a heap of demographic data such as age, location, gender, etc as you will have absolutely no control over whether pervy Derek next door sees Kim’s post, or if it’s a member of your products actual target audience. Even if we said half of the remaining audience were relevant (accounting for the fact Kim Kardashian’s audience is spread right across the globe), you are left reaching 1.03 million people (10% of that original audience) meaning you are essentially paying $0.48 per impression which is a good way above what you would have paid through normal Facebook ads which can be much more focussed.

So if you’re not paying for reach, then what are you paying for? Well in the case of Kim Kardashian, probably not a great deal given the size and make up of her audience, not to mention she is now insta-famous for promoting product at huge cost to brands and therefore her posts often lack authenticity. It may be the biggest trend in social media marketing right now, but this essentially boils down to an argument of reach vs. influence;

  • Reach – simply put, this is how many people you can get your brand or product in front of.
  • Influencethis is the ability to have a direct effect on the behaviour of someone, such as impacting their purchase choices.

The problem is that so often brands are much more interested in massaging their own egos, and therefore opt for reach over influence as on the surface it looks much more impressive. Whilst reach may have the ability to impact your brand’s bottom line, it is much less of a guarantee than when you focus on actual influence, and unfortunately this is where influencer marketing falls down so often.

Hopefully what you are beginning to realise now is that an influencer with 1,000 fans can have just as much impact on your business’s balance sheet as someone with 1,000,000 fans, simply because they are genuinely influential.

Take the fitness community for example; there are literally thousands of ‘influencers’ out there with follower numbers of 100k plus. This has resulted in brands clamouring to shower them with protein powders, gym gear and cash without any actual consideration for influence. Unfortunately what many brands have failed to realise is that the significant majority of followers on most of these accounts are only interested in the pornographic-esque content that barely makes it past Instagram’s strict no nudity policy, rather than the posts about products and workouts. This means a load of fat middle aged blokes with lop-sided arms are being served ads for products that they have literally no interest in.

That is not to say influencer marketing doesn’t work, just that when choosing who you partner with, it is much more important to look at their audience and engagement levels than the number of followers they have. This likely means focussing much more on micro-influencers (those with less than 10k followers), and less on the Kardashians (especially given that accounts with fewer followers tend to see 3 times the levels of engagement and are generally much more focussed around one particular subject).

If you’re worried you may not be able to navigate the minefield that is influencer marketing then why not get in touch to find out how we can help.