When it comes to influencers vs ads, it isn’t necessarily a choice between one or the other. Influencer marketing is a type of digital advertising, and it’s a type of promotion that resonates with social media users. Digital ads are the banners at the top and sides of a web page.
Influencer marketing has been around for a while, and it’s known for being effective. A shift is happening in the marketing world, with influencer marketing emerging as a strong form of digital advertising. More and more often, brands are seeking out influencers to share stories on different social media platforms.
One reason the popularity of influencer marketing keeps increasing is the higher engagement rates it typically delivers. Social media users develop a sense of kinship with influencers, and that makes it more likely social media users will share and leave comments.
The Shift From Digital Ads to Influencer Marketing
Marketers are shifting their advertising budgets away from digital ads and into influencer campaigns. According to HubSpot, the main reason for the shift is that influencer marketing works. It combines a high level of social proof with word-of-mouth marketing from people who are trusted by followers.
In addition to offering high conversion rates, influencer marketing also reaches new audiences and helps companies increase brand awareness. To summarize the reasons to use influencers for marketing, you gain:
- Social proof paired with word-of-mouth marketing
- High conversion rates
- Outreach to new audiences
- Increased brand awareness
Social Media Users and Banner Blindness
Influencer marketing comes down to building relationships with followers. Social media users typically view influencers as people they respect, so users choose to bring influencers into their inner circles by following them. Social media users follow influencers because they share interests, create interesting content or have admirable lifestyles that they want to emulate.
When it comes to ads, if social media users notice them at all, they’re less likely to click if the company is unfamiliar. Additionally, a phenomenon referred to as banner blindness develops, because they can come across as unwanted noise. It’s common for users to focus on the text in the center of a web page.
How Each Type of Marketing Affects Authenticity
You already know it’s important for your brand’s message to come across as authentic. Otherwise, the message just adds to the noise that social media users and website visitors tend to tune out when online. So, what type of marketing is most likely to deliver the kind of authenticity you need?
Consider combining social media marketing with digital ads or sponsored content to increase the authenticity of your marketing message.
Influencers tend to be excellent at delivering the type of authentic content users want to see. Digital ads can also add to authenticity and help solidify a brand’s reputation by repeatedly putting a company’s message in front of viewers. But keep in mind that over 615 million devices worldwide have ad blockers installed as of 2019, according to SmallBizGenius.
Almost Instant Brand Awareness
With factors like ad blockers and banner blindness reducing the potential effectiveness of digital ads, influencers can become more important to a brand’s outreach efforts. Because people choose to follow influencers they relate to and admire, an influencer can offer almost instant brand awareness.
Compare that kind of instant awareness and desire to buy a product to the marketing rule of seven that applies to traditional digital ads. The marketing rule of seven indicates that a buyer has to be exposed to a marketing message at least seven times before making a purchase decision.
This concept works almost in reverse when a popular influencer shares the message about your product. Potential customers are more emotionally invested and are farther into the sales funnel after seeing influencers talk about your offerings. That fact makes it more likely they’ll click on your ads before hearing your marketing message seven times.
Advertising on Social Media Platforms
The appeal of advertising on social media platforms is undeniable. Social media is great for putting your branded messages in front of a large number of potential customers. Plus, both influencers and digital ads can be used when advertising on social media platforms.
Whether you choose to market your product or service using advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other popular social media platform, combining advertising types can be effective. For example, you might choose an influencer to post a video using your product and talking about what’s great about it. Then, if you follow up with banner ads, it puts your product right in front of people who just learned how great it is. All the person has to do is click to get more details about buying because the influencer created a desire to make the purchase.
Influencers and Native Advertising
Influencers create a great kind of native advertising opportunity for companies. Native advertising matches the form and style of other media content on a platform. This could include a Twitter post by an influencer that mentions a product or a YouTube video showing how to use it.
This type of promoted post shows up naturally in a social media user’s news feed because it’s offered up by influencers they follow. The sponsored content a skilled influencer shares doesn’t look like an ad. It looks like someone who is enthusiastic about a product sharing some information about it.
That leads to the importance of transparency in sponsored posts, and transparency is important for both companies and influencers. The fact that a post is sponsored needs to be disclosed for legal reasons and to maintain trust with followers. Followers can end up feeling deceived if influencers don’t divulge when a post is sponsored, and that can come off as invasive and dishonest.
Potentially offending followers on social media isn’t the only reason to practice transparency. The FTC also requires that influencers let followers know when a post is actually a sponsored endorsement. So, it’s also important for business owners to ensure influencers divulge when they’re being compensated for shared social media content.