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Visual Content Myth 5: Influencer Content Directly Leads to Sales

Truth: Influencer marketing is best for top-of-funnel brand awareness, but influencer content can still be used to drive conversions

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At this point, Influencer Marketing is ubiquitous. It’s an integral part of most B2C marketing strategies because it promotes brand messaging without coming directly from the brand. 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as friends and family, meaning that a well-positioned influencer post can have a positive impact on sales. Even so, relying on influencer marketing to directly drive sales is a rocky road. For one, tightening FTC regulations are requiring influencers to incorporate elements into their posts that help users discern whether it’s a paid partnership or not. Because this immediately flags the post as an ad in the mind of the consumer, they’re less likely to engage with the post. Second, managing influencer relationships and performance is a full time job. Add in things like unique shopping links for each influencer and you’re looking at a clunky and time-consuming process. Finally, customer journeys are complicated. It’s difficult to attribute a sale to a specific influencer post unless a user immediately converts to a buyer directly from the post. This means proving ROI for the campaign will be a challenge.  

There’s still a common misconception that implementing an influencer marketing strategy is like flipping a magic switch for more sales. While this isn’t the case, there is still immense value in partnering with influencers, so long as the goals and intentions are appropriately positioned. Be sure to set realistic and trackable goals for each influencer campaign. Influencers are best for top-of-funnel brand awareness, so good metrics to analyze are reach and impressions. Engagement will tell you how relevant your product is to a given influencer’s audience. If high engagement is your goal, try working with more micro influencers than a handful of big names. Micro influencers typically have more engaged audiences than macro influencers, as they actively communicate and engage with their followers. 

The best way to use influencer partnerships to drive sales is by repurposing their content in paid ads. Influencers are talented content creators, many of them make a living off brand partnerships. The content they’re able to create is more authentic, stylish, and trustworthy when compared to in-house or studio content. Because of this, ads based on UGC receive 5x more clicks and a 25% increase in ad performance. Combining content generation and influencer marketing into one will improve team bandwidth and keep budgets relatively low, improving the overall ROI of your influencer marketing program. By introducing UGC into their paid digital ads, mobile accessory brand Tenikle increased their return on ad spend by 313% and decreased their cost-per-acquisition by 65%. 

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“After launching new ads with purely Cohley creative [UGC], our ads are getting 3.3x ROAS — the best they’ve done in a VERY long time, close to ever. It’s insane because these are prospecting ads, and getting conversions from a prospecting campaign is not the norm. Finally making money on the ads themselves — so glad we decided to work with Cohley!”

HANS, FOUNDER & CEO @ TENIKLE

Similarly, Rhone multiplied their ROAS by 3-4x by incorporating UGC into their ad strategy. 

“I’m talking about an increase of between three and four times ROAS versus our internal content.”

ADAM BRIDEGAN, CMO @ RHONE 

In addition to digital ads, you should repurpose this content on owned social media feeds, marketing emails, and ecommerce websites. 


Want to get the most out of influencer content? Here are some tips for repurposing influencer content: 

Gain the proper usage rights. 

The first step in repurposing influencer content is to ensure you’re legally allowed to. Be up front with them about your intentions before the partnership begins. Let them know you’ll be repurposing this content and exactly where it will be used. Contracts are common in influencer partnerships, so be sure the contract includes language that indicates how the content will be used.  Some influencers are more concerned with how their content is being used than others, and may require additional compensation if their content is to be used on channels other than their own. However, some influencers are happy to hear that their content will reach a wider audience. 

Test influencer content against a control 

While influencer content performs better on average than in-house content, it’s still important to prove that this is true for your organization. Run A/B tests to determine whether influencer content performs better than photos from your professional shoots. This will tell you if using influencers for ad content is worth your while. 

Over communicate your goals 

Most influencers want to make brands happy because it results in more projects down the road. The problem is that influencers don’t always know what the brand is looking for and what their goals are. It’s best to over communicate with your influencers. Tell them important product details, the value proposition, how the content will be used, and necessary formatting details. Clear guidelines will result in content that can be repurposed easily across channels. That being said, don’t provide instructions that inhibit their creativity. Allow your influencers to put their own creative spin on the content.