Practically every digital marketer uses Facebook and Instagram ads to achieve both sales and awareness. Influencer marketing has been rapidly gaining traction among the same marketers over the last few years. Where many digital marketers miss out though is the combination of paid social ads and influencer marketing. Consider paid ads as a method to amplify the messaging and the targeting of your influencer marketing campaigns. Unless you have influencers working on a steady content creation schedule through a bulk deal, retainer, or affiliate model, chances are the bulk of your results will come within 24 hours for a story and 48 hours for a post. By juicing up those campaigns with a budget that can scale across social media platforms brands can easily amplify their results, just like we talked about in our case study. Let’s examine some tips on how digital marketers can replicate our strategies and get better results by combining paid social and influencer marketing!
The three main reasons you should combine paid ads with influencer marketing:
There are many reasons why a digital marketer would want to layer on paid ads on top of influencer marketing, but three stick out among the crowd: the inherent scalability of Facebook as an advertising platform, authentic interaction, and increasing conversions.
For true scalability, a digital marketer would either need to use several influencers or have a massive budget allowing them to use mega-influencers, or even celebrities. Combining influencer marketing with paid ads allows them to scale their influencer efforts to any audience size, budget permitting, allowing for way more scalability than influencer marketing on its own. In addition to sheer scale and volume, Facebook ads allow for retargeting campaigns, perhaps the most powerful tool in a digital marketer’s arsenal.
It’s no secret that influencer generated content far outperforms traditional pieces of content derived from photoshoots in staged settings. The authenticity that comes with influencer content becomes evident when looking at clickthrough rates and conversion rates – online customers can resonate more with influencer content either because it’s evident the influencer isn’t part of a staged shoot or because they can actually relate to that influencer and see themselves using the product being promoted. We recommend taking the content from your influencers with the highest clickthrough rates and promoting them through paid ads, taking that authentic content to a wider funnel, allowing for more conversions. Using a tool like Smartfluence will allow you to see samples of an influencer’s content, particularly their most popular sponsored posts, giving you an idea in advance of what type of content will perform best with a particular influencer.
Where the combination of influencer marketing and paid ads really shines is on the conversion end. In addition to increasing funnel size and retargeting as discussed above, the ability to track attribution of sales in the manner Facebook provides is invaluable. Digital marketers can quickly figure out which influencers content performs best not only in terms of clickthrough rates, but in terms of sales and ROI as well.
Whitelisted ads with influencer content:
Influencer whitelisting is when brands run ads directly through an influencer’s profile on Instagram, rather than just using their content alongside their existing campaigns and funnels. The benefits are numerous: you can leverage the influencer’s profile, image, handle, and appear as though the influencer is running the post organically, thus audiences on Instagram are more likely to stop and click. On top of that, you can generate lookalike audiences based on the influencer’s audience too, allowing you to further scale beyond your influencer’s existing followers to a highly targeted segment that is likely to convert. Not only do you get to post through their accounts, you also have their post data at your fingertips, allowing a savvy digital marketer to identify what’s working and what isn’t, allowing you to quickly adapt and make changes as needed.
The new and improved shoppable ads:
While Instagram introduced its shop feature years ago, it really refined the process in 2020, allowing brands to better leverage Instagram itself for sales on the platform. Brands can use shoppable tags, product stickers, and the ability to actually purchase through Instagram Shop. Digital marketers can run Collection Ads to leverage this ecosystem to its fullest.
The best way to take advantage is to use influencer content, where influencers are using the product in question, along with some means of social proof like a review in the caption. With a clear call-to-action and seamless purchasing process within the app itself, we’re certain the future of shopping on Instagram can blossom through influencer marketing.