Celebrity influencers not always the best fit
The term 'influencers' crept into the lexicon of digital marketers a few years ago when they realised they could use people with large followings - normally celebrities, bloggers, or sports stars - on social media to promote their brand or product.
However, new research shows traditional 'influencers' may not always provide the best return for companies, and ordinary people with smaller, more concentrated followings could prove more useful to companies looking to take advantage of this digital marketing tool.
The study, "The Power of Brand Influencers", conducted by World Wide Worx in partnership with Continuon, looked at the social audiences of 50 South African brands on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The research was done over three months by the two companies. They combed through over 100 million data points from 5.25 million unique engagers and 355 000 unique influencers.
Continuon is a Cape Town-based company which builds algorithms to analyse social networks, and connects the most suited influencer with brands.
One of the main insights from the research showed influencers can be ordinary people with small followings. It shows that while a post by a celebrity influencer may garner a lot of engagement by fans and followers, it might not equate to actual influence.
The problem is that brands measure the reach of both these types of influencers the same.
Bradley Elliott, founder of Continuon, says this is the fundamental flaw in influencer marketing: celebrities and micro-influencers are qualitatively assessed, but then quantitatively measured by their reach.