Influencer marketing harnesses the influence of a certain individual on the brand’s audience to meet business goals. This type of marketing creates new opportunities for a brand to reach and engage its target audiences more directly, using well-known figures to tap into the very people they want to connect with.

The practice has come under scrutiny as a result of brands paying over the odds for plugs of their products. However, with the help of the performance model – where an action leads to payment – influencer marketing makes a great deal of sense.

Who is an influencer?

While definitions range and far and wide, generally you can summarise influencers as individuals who earn and engage audiences by producing content on a specific topic. 

Influencers can be, for instance, fashion bloggers educating their audiences via editorial, fitness advisors showcasing their body-building tips on Instagram, or beauty vloggers reviewing products on YouTube.

A good influencer takes the mantle of being a credible source of information that consumers already follow and trust. They can affect their audiences’ behaviours and buying decisions, and therefore help brands promote their messages. 

How does influencer marketing work?

According to Econsultancy, more than half of consumers (61%) read and trust reviews online when making a purchase. 

Recognising that consumers tend to trust recommendations from people they know, even if only online, brands can leverage the power of influencers in their marketing campaigns. Influencers, who have already created a bond with their audiences, can connect brands with consumers by utilising their audiences, but also the networks of the people who follow them. 

With an engaged audience on their side, influencers can drive traffic, increase social media exposure and even sell products by recommending them to their audiences or featuring them in their content. The advantage for brands is that even if consumers don’t buy the product promoted by the influencer, they are exposed to it, which might have not happened in other circumstances. 

In such a situation, the importance of the influencer is still remarkable as they become “sales facilitators”.

In return for their efforts, influencers can receive monetary rewards or free products.

How is influencer marketing measured?

The measurement system depends on the goals outlined prior to the campaign. Brands can look at numerous aspects to measure the impact of influencers, such as traffic generated, the number of social followers and brand mentions gained, or whether there have been new subscriptions to their newsletter or blog. 

Their targets might be unofficial if the brand is focused on affecting consumers’ decisions rather than the ‘final-click’ rates. Conversely, influencer marketing can be measured on conversions, using trackable links, voucher codes and correlation, measuring the time of posting against increases in, for instance, sales or installs.

Read more from our Basics series.