Following my last industry deep-dive, I wanted to take a look at conversion-driven campaigns. Conversion campaigns can bring about a great return on investment (ROI) and take your influencer marketing strategy to the next level.
Many brands and marketers still find it hard to measure the effect of influencer marketing throughout the full customer journey. But by building a strong conversion campaign in which you track everything from awareness to buying intention to final purchase, you can show not only eyeballs but measure direct ROI and money converted back into sales.
And this is just the start. With the launch of Instagram checkout, the golden age of influencer marketing and its conversion ROI is yet to come. Read on to find out how you can build a strong conversion campaign in the current space.
1. Build brand awareness first.
Most brands begin their influencer marketing strategies with a focus on brand awareness and then progress to conversion campaigns. But we’ve also had brands approach us wanting to include influencers in their marketing mix to drive conversion before establishing strong brand awareness.
Building brand awareness is essential if you want to progress to a successful conversion-driven campaign. After all, no one is going to buy from your brand if they don’t know you exist. One way to build brand awareness is to have a strong multi-tiered influencer strategy in which you carefully select an ideal influencer to tell your story, get your brand name out there, create content and get an initial buzz going.
2. Make sure influencers have a good quality score.
No matter what your objective is, all campaigns need high-quality influencers, but this is especially important for conversion-driven campaigns. Conversion-driven campaigns are all about results and, therefore, are underpinned by data and measurement from the start. So, selecting the right influencer is key, as is optimizing throughout, A/B testing and using historic results from previous campaigns to know which influencers convert better than others.
Every influencer has a different relationship with their followers; there is no right or wrong as long as the relationship is an authentic one. But it is up to us to define the right one for the right campaign.
At IMA, for instance, we have an internal benchmark we use to help us navigate this so we can classify influencers into top-performing categories. The benchmarks are made up of various data points, such as engagement rates, actual impressions of a post and earned media value of an influencer, that we’ve collected over the past 10 years.
Each influencer’s engagement rates and follower demographics should be checked beforehand to make sure they have enough “influence” to take part in your campaign.
3. Take your audience into consideration.
Taking audience segmentation into consideration is also a must if you’re planning on a worldwide campaign. For example, in our analyses, we’ve noticed differences between South American and European Instagram users.
South American users respond more positively to explanatory videos, with influencers talking to their audiences in a selfie-style video. This format ensures that followers feel as though the influencer is a friend who is sharing a must-have opportunity with them.
European audiences, on the other hand, tend to respond better to visual content that catches followers’ attention through the aesthetically pleasing elements of the post, using aspirational content.
Brands should also consider influencers and their audiences for conversion-driven campaigns, as influencer content needs to align with their audience’s needs and wants. If an influencer is pushing a product that doesn’t match their aesthetic and looks disingenuous, then the campaign will not be as successful and could lead to negative brand sentiment.
4. Create a strong call to action.
It’s not surprising that it’s becoming more difficult to grab audiences’ attention. Today’s hyper-saturated market is brimming with calls to action, eye-catching ads and sponsored content on every corner.
It might seem obvious, but a clear call to action is crucial if you’re looking for conversion rates in your campaign. In our experience, a pronounced call to action — on Instagram Stories with a GIF and a swipe-up option, for instance — can leave users curious enough to take that next step. I also recommend that content has written calls to action (or subtitles for video content), as many users will be reading what’s on screen rather than listening.
5. Consider a promotion or discount.
It’s probably not news that audiences are more incentivized to respond to content if you’re offering a discount code or promotion. In one of our rolling campaigns for a travel client, we secured conversion rates of 3% to 5.8% using swipe-up links offering discount codes. These tend to do well because they’re easy to use and take little effort.
In another one-time activation for a financial services client, we saw an immense conversion rate of 12.7%. This was driven by the authentic connection we created between the service and the influencers we choose. We were able to time it with the release of the content to coincide with the influencers’ life events, showing the service off perfectly. While a recent study by Grapevine found that the average rate of conversion through influencers is 2.5%, it’s clear that influencers have much more potential if you play your cards right.
These brands secured exceptional rates because of the combination of solid brand awareness and creative influencer content. This, coupled with the perfect match between influencer and brand, means for strong conversion rates.