What Exactly is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing rose to prominence during 2017 as brands started to recognize influencers’ ability to campaign in a more authentic way thanks to their enhanced understanding of their audiences. The market exploded, audience numbers went through the roof, as did the number of influencers themselves.
While business was booming, fast-forward twelve months and it’s become evident that not all influencers are created equal, that volume of subscribers doesn’t automatically equate to mass engagement and that brand campaigns cannot be expected to succeed purely on the basis of a tacit endorsement from a vaguely relevant YouTuber.
That’s why in 2018 we’re already seeing brands and influencer marketing platforms segmenting influencers into tiers, the smart ones focusing on resonance as well as reach, on engagement as well as entertainment, on the willingness to listen as well as the appetite to broadcast. The top tier influencers need to differentiate and sell themselves based on the true understanding they have of their audience.
But How to Demonstrate This?
Well, a new breed of influencer is emerging, one that gathers data and insight from the broadest possible range of sources rather than relying on the limited, often expensive metrics offered by walled-garden social platforms. These data influencers aren’t simply asking their passion point audiences whether they liked a particular piece of content – they’re diving deep into how their audiences think and feel about the subjects they’re covering, what they want to see more or less of and why, the brands and associations that will best resonate with them and the ones that harbour very specific, considered audience responses.
At the same time they can operate at greater scale and speed than traditional market research methods and provide superior conversational research when compared to noisy and inaccurate social listening platforms.
In this way, these data influencers have great potential not just to jump to the head of the pack when it comes to the influencer market, but to become a new funnel of real-time data and market research for their partner brands. Done right, this is an equitable partnership: data influencers using their insight to continue growing their channels by understanding what their audiences think and feel – and the sort of content they’re looking for – while at the same time giving the brands a level of market research and feedback at scale that would normally cost a fortune.
How do Influencers Benefit from Using Qutee?
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the gaming arena. Take influencer Phy, for example, who has a rapidly growing social audience of circa 600,000, and is now using our own discussion platform to garner audience feedback on League of Legends that improves both his content as well as the game itself. Phy claims greater knowledge of LoL than any other blogger and uses this audience-curated data to help inform subsequent game updates and developments. Via our comment filters, Phy can see the game from many different player perspectives with just a click.
Phy isn’t alone – CapgunTom, homelespenguin, Oakelfish, Huzzy, Lionheartx10 and Alex The Rambler are all extracting valuable gamer insights via our platform, helping not only provide valuable direction for future iterations of games such as Warhammer: Total War and League of Legends, but also creating an alert system in the event that developers have made a misstep.
Nowhere was this more apparent than with FIFA 18, whereby influencers CapgunTom, homelespenguin and Oakelfish spotted key issues with defending/goal keepers and in game purchases within 48 hours of the game launch, simply by hosting an intelligent data discussion with the FIFA players via our platform. These in-game problems ultimately went a long way to explain why overall sales did not meet market expectations.
As the influencer space continues to mature, our gaming influencers recognize that staying ahead of the curve – i.e. retaining ‘influence’ – means listening harder to everyone and shining a light on the most powerful insights received to stimulate deeper and more democratic debate. For brands, a successful collaboration could mean the ability to tap into the unique connection between influencer and audience, not just to deliver more successful marketing campaigns, but to generate genuine people-powered, consensus-driven conversational feedback.