As Michael Bublé emerges bleary eyed from his 11-month slumber, just in time to release his annual seasonal album before going back into hibernation, we now have the war of the Christmas adverts to keep us entertained. It’s official: there are just five more weeks to go.
From the second we remove our Halloween masks, the biggest brands and retailers are ready and waiting to release their Christmas TV advert, the result of nine months of research, planning and creative genius. Christmas ad spend is at an all time high, and the resulting campaigns can be the highlight or lowlight of a brand’s year: a great one can attract a whole new roster of loyal customers but a dud could see consumers wooed by another competitor.
Yet the advertising and media industries have evolved – a great TV ad is now just one element of a successful campaign. Increasingly, particularly among millennial and Generation Z audiences, influencer marketing is having a huge impact on the brands consumers trust and where they spend their money.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing involves brands working with content creators who usually specialise in one key area, such as fitness, gaming or cooking, and have built a large and highly engaged following. From travel bloggers who take you to the four corners of the earth via SnapChat, to beauty experts on YouTube who can help you make an informed opinion about which products to buy, social media influencers are the new celebrity.
According to the YouTube Generation Study, 60% of YouTube subscribers say they would follow advice on what to buy from their favourite YouTube creator over a traditional celebrity. An increasing number of brands have capitalised on this trend and have started to work with social media influencers to increase their reach and build credibility and trust among consumers.
Why are influencers seen to be more trustworthy than celebrities?
Because influencers are their brand and how they make money is based on the number of followers they have and engagement rates. Even the most prolific influencers can see engagement rates, and ultimately revenue, fall if their followers feel that the content is no longer authentic. While consumers don’t mind their favourite influencers creating sponsored content, recent research from Bloglovin found that 61% of women said they wouldn’t engage with an influencer’s sponsored content if it doesn’t feel genuine.
However, a well-executed influencer marketing campaign can blow a brand’s ROI out of the water. A good example is when Adidas launched their own influencer-driven social media campaign. While they worked with high-profile celebrities such as Selena Gomez, it also collaborated with some of the top influencers on Instagram, such as Iga Wysocka. The campaign helped to boost Adidas’ sales by over 20%, receive over 12,000 entries into its competition and the hashtag generated over 71,000 mentions.
Influencing consumers at Christmas yet to come
Influencer marketing is a billion dollar industry, but TV adverts still reign supreme during the festive season. Indeed, the Advertising Association in the UK believes brands will be spending a record £6bn on Christmas advertising this year. However, while TV ads provide a great springboard for a Christmas campaign, influencer marketing can definitely still play a role by offering recommendations to consumers and helping smaller brands increase cut through.
Whether you’re a travel agency working with influencers to shine a light on some of the best Christmas markets to visit or a food retailer collaborating with food bloggers to create Christmas dinners for everyone from coeliacs to vegans – influencer marketing presents brands with endless opportunities. By developing a unified and coherent strategy that unites the brand with a tailored message and story, companies can now start building resonating campaigns that not only increase reach but also help to secure customer loyalty throughout the festive period and beyond.
By Zoe Mumba, Senior Account Executive.