Which delivers better ROI for your brand: influencer content or brand content? This blog thinks you should try both.
Influencers aren’t going anywhere, and neither is influencer marketing. In fact, according to an article in Influencer Marketing Hub, brands are expected to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2022 to account for the fact that 60% of marketers saw better performance and engagement from influencer posts over branded posts. So, what does that mean for brands? (Okay, and their agencies?) Is it worth reallocating budgets to account for more influencer content and less branded? Not necessarily.
Every brand has unique goals, audiences, and consumers. A lifestyle brand marketed primarily towards Gen-Z may have a completely different strategy than a food brand that’s targeting millennials with families. And that’s not to say that influencers won’t move the needle for both—but we certainly can’t assume that if influencer content works for one, it’ll be just as successful for the other.
Influencers are powerful because they’re people just like us, as opposed to a brand trying to sell us something. In some cases, they feel more authentic and approachable. But content that comes from a brand itself has its advantages, too: message control, on-brand tonality, a polished aesthetic, optimizations based on consumer insights and past-performing content, and perhaps most importantly, credibility.
Take this scenario, for example. Say you’re marketing a diaper rash cream and have enlisted some influencers to create social media content promoting your cream. These influencer parents may speak to the cream’s consistency, efficacy, and their preference for your brand over the competition—but this is subjective and unique to that specific parent and baby. What about the parents of newborns with sensitive skin or allergies, or who simply don’t trust the word of other parents and want to hear what they’re putting on their child straight from the source? This is where brand content reigns supreme.
While influencers can certainly talk about a brand and even help embody one through their content, influencers can never fully illustrate a brand’s personality. Every brand has a unique identity that shines through in their owned content—an exclusive thumbprint that influencers can’t duplicate. Remember that “There is Only One You” motivational poster that hung in your middle school guidance counselor’s office? It’s like that. Besides, people like to have relationships directly with brands by commenting on their posts, advocating for them on social media and, oftentimes, finding comfort in a brand’s consistent personality. So, while influencers can help a brand by talking about them, the brand needs to represent itself right alongside them.
Plus, there are some brands out there who have already established enough clout that they’re considered influencers, themselves. Red Bull, for example, has a very active YouTube presence with over 10.3 million subscribers to their main channel. In their case, influencers may not accomplish much more than they can on their own.
So, is influencer content more powerful than brand content? We’d argue that it isn’t.
At the end of the day, it’s always a risk putting all of your eggs in one basket. The stakes are higher when you put your trust into complete strangers to effectively communicate the benefits of your brand, so we recommend a hybrid of influencer and branded content to help create social balance and feed diversification. Try using influencers as a way to create supplemental content that supports your branded content’s messaging and overarching goals. This allows consumers to get a taste of various perspectives, while also getting the reinforcement they need directly from your brand.
We know that brand strategy and influencer marketing aren’t always cut and dry. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for every brand, but there are data points and consumer insights that can help you determine what your brand’s content mix should look like.
At Revolution Digital, we specialize in consumer insights and brand strategy to determine what makes the most sense for each client’s needs and goals. If you’re interested in learning more about us, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.