How Social Influencers are Replacing Banner Ads
April 20, 2012
Social Media influencers. They’re just everyday people on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. But when they reach out to their large, loyal followings on behalf of a brand, they blow banner ads out of the water in terms of effectiveness.
Banner ads are pretty low performers. The average click-through rate for banner ads in the USA is 0.08% - that's 1 in 1250 displays. On the other hand, one campaign for Disney's Tangled paid social influencers (in film tickets and merchandise) to talk about the film in their own voice. From 412 paid influencers, the campaign grew and was tweeted about by 8,283 people - who passed it along to their followers. A tweet is a much better interaction than a click, but even considering that, the Tangled campaign had a return of over 2000%.
It may seem like I'm comparing apples to oranges. Social influencer endorsements are not nearly as easy to place as banner ads. And as with any endorsement, there's the possibility of your message coming across as disingenuous. Fortunately, a few new services that are changing all that.
Services like Klout Perks and TwtMob reward social media influencers for talking about brands, either in merchandise or cash. They provide and easy intermediary between influencer and advertiser, and make placing these endorsements relatively easy. In addition, these services help marketers pinpoint their target audience, by seeding endorsements to social media users who are influential about relevant topics.
My prediction is that soon, sponsoring social influencers will move beyond Twitter and Facebook to other platforms, and become easier than ever for brands to engage in. Instagrid Network was recently created to tap into the power of influencers on popular photo app Instagram. Instragrid network intends to pay users for posting photos, using hashtags, and even serving as photographers on a brand's behalf. The next frontier might be YouTube. The popular video site recently introduced "YouTube Partners," allowing influential everyday users to share in the advertising products of video posts. Some Partners are already creating brand sponsored video series, the next step will no doubt be a service that make such sponsorships accessible for brands.
I think it will still take time for these advertising alternatives to fully catch on. But with a landscape as cluttered as today's internet, brands may have to try something new like social influencers to get an edge.