Even though influencer marketing is now widely accepted as an effective, and even an essential, marketing channel, problems with organic reach continue to plague brands and influencers alike. Back in 2016, Instagram changed its algorithm and the content was no longer available in reverse chronological order but instead was shown in an order based on how users interacted with accounts they followed. Most recently, Facebook announced their new News Feed update – “FacebookZero”. This update is meant to minimize the number of posts one sees on their News Feed from Facebook pages. These decisions are mostly driven by the social platform’s interest in ensuring the time spent on their platforms is well spent, and that means showing the most compelling and engaging content available. In fact, according to Mediakix, 49% of marketers surveyed said that keeping up with algorithm changes that limit content visibility is one of the key challenges they face.
There are also ongoing questions and challenges regarding how to accurately track and quantify influencer marketing ROI. Metrics that reside with the influencer can be difficult to access in scalable, efficient ways. When posts are promoted by the brand it’s far easier to track results, particularly those deeper funnel metrics like conversion rate, for example. To add to that, according to a recent survey by Relatable.com, 56% of the marketers struggle with justifying the spends on Influencer Marketing because their internal & external stakeholders do not understand influencer marketing metrics.
The benefits of using paid media behind influencer posts
- Wider reach and better visibility: The most obvious benefit is the ability to achieve a wider reach and better visibility. As algorithm changes continue to diminish the organic reach of branded content, paying for visibility by promoting posts is essential to being seen by target audiences. Better visibility is the first step to achieving higher rates of engagement and converting passive audiences into loyal brand advocates.
- Increasing campaign effectiveness: By allocating advertising dollars to promoting influencer posts makes the budget already allocated to influencer marketing work even harder for your brand. Depending on the influencer or influencers your brand has chosen to work with, you may be paying tens of thousands of dollars for a post or a series of posts. Investing a little bit on top of that, in the form of paid promotion, means getting the most out of your original investment by ensuring influencer content achieves the widest reach possible.
- Measure Influencer Marketing ROI: Amplification of influencer content allows monitoring and tracking of influencer activities come in the hands of the brand. It helps in being able to justify your spends and see its effectiveness. Bonus- everyone understands the benchmark for success.
How to promote Influencer Content
Facebook offers a branded content tool, which allows brands to amplify influencer content that they’re tagged in with paid spend. The same has not previously been the case on Instagram, though as detailed below, that’s set to change in the future.
Brands can also try an approach that’s often called whitelisting. This is where influencers will give brand partners access to their accounts in order to modify and promote content directly from their account. Though this approach offers brands a lot of control in terms of how content is promoted and to whom, there are obvious drawbacks in terms of limited scalability and difficulties gaining alignment and access from influencers themselves.
Fortunately, a new solution is on the horizon, at least when it comes to the biggest platform in the influencer game: Instagram. According to AdAge, in March of this year, Instagram announced that they are developing a feature called Branded Content Ads, which will allow brands to promote influencer posts in the same way they would promote any other ad or their own content. When this feature will be available is not immediately apparent, but it’s clear that Instagram is actively seeking ways to better enable brands to maximize the impact of influencer partnerships. After all, better solutions for brands will mean more advertising dollar spent on the platform, so it should come as no surprise that Instagram stands to benefit from this change as well.
Most marketers who invest in influencer marketing believe it to be an effective channel for generating authentic content that drives engagement. However, challenges to achieving widespread organic reach persist. Investing in the paid promotion of influencer posts is the best way to maximize influencer marketing spend and increase visibility and engagement.