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Why Your Influencer Campaign Didn't Help

Likes Don't Get You Money

As both an influencer and digital marketer at the top digital marketing agency in Japan, I always find myself shaking my head at many influencer activations here in Japan. Simply put, when I look at the details of the execution, I just can’t come to any conclusion other than that the person in charge is unfamiliar with the platforms.

Had these marketers had more context on how the full funnel of the brand worked, they just wouldn’t structure the partnerships in the ways that they are. Sure, the collaborative piece of content might have gotten a lot of likes or views but we all know these don’t pay the bills.

The Struggle of Influencer Campaigns

At AdVertize, the principal thing that we focus on is ROI. While measurements like brand awareness and share of voice are indeed important, they are alone little more than vanity metrics. Unfortunately for the influencer marketing scene in Japan though, few account managers are doing much thinking beyond the point of first touch. Because of this, we adamantly feel that a lot of activations here are woefully inefficient at best and complete waste of budget at worst.

While one can indeed expect some sales from a partnership with the hottest content creators, it’s honestly a miracle when you think about it. I mean, if we look at the example of Instagram for a second, we know that an influencer’s followers are going to be furiously skimming through their feeds while on the train or whatnot. In addition to stopping their scrolling in mere milliseconds, a collaboration needs to also get that user off of the Gram and onto their owned channels so that a transaction can occur.

In most instances, what occurs in situations like the above is that the user likes the post of their favorite content creator and then goes back to their mindless scrolling. Though some minor brand recognition may be established with a particularly well done piece, it’s far more likely that the product offering is quickly forgotten. This sad phenomenon can be easily demonstrated by the fact that I was on Instagram the whole way to the office today and cannot remember a single piece of content I saw.

Directing Users to the Funnel From Influencer Campaigns

As discussed in Top Social Media Trends for 2021, though you can get lucky and pick up immediate sales after a one-off influencer activation, you shouldn’t plan on this being a “one-hit K.O.” Instead, it’s better if marketers leverage the few seconds of attention that a content creator’s work generates to ensure that prospects fall into their retargeting funnel. This way, you aren't reliant on a sale being generated off of the initial touch point. Instead, you are using the influencer ability to command attention to efficiently get someone into the funnel.

How does one do this you ask? Well, as anyone who has taken our masterclasses knows, you can retarget people who have engaged on social media or who have visited your site. If you keep these things in mind when planning the requirements of your influencer campaign, you can ensure that the execution somehow acts as the requisite push needed to get someone into the funnel. For example, you could work in an ask where the influencer would need to direct traffic via an Instagram Story swipe up. This would trigger all your pixels and allow for further retargeting.

Best Methods to Run An Influencer Campaign

All in all, there are but a few methods for getting people from an influencer’s following into your funnel. On Instagram, this largely comes down to either getting someone to engage with a brand or click onto a site with an embedded pixel. Likewise, on YouTube (which is a platform where you CAN link out), the name of the game is getting people to click on URLs in the video description. In either case, there are certain mechanisms and calls to action that the content creator will need to use in order for this to happen.

Alas, most brands and their agencies are unaware of how any of this really works. Because of this shortsightedness, the resulting planning often lacks these key mechanisms for getting someone off of a piece of content and onto something that will enable retargeting. For example, a brand may have their link in a YouTuber’s video description but unless they have explicitly asked the creator to add a call to action within the content itself, chances are high that most won’t even see it. You could even take this one step further by offering an incentive for the audience to encourage them to click.

The Business Partner Tag on Instagram

Before wrapping this one up, we want to end with one of our favorite trade secrets for Instagram influencer marketing. Even in 2021, few brands in Japan are aware of this but the Zuckerberg empire is currently trying to make paid partnership disclosure easier and more transparent. As part of this, they’ve launched what’s called the “Business Partner” tag which will reveal to all who see a piece of content that it is sponsored. If you’ve been browsing the Gram, chances are you’ve seen something that reads “Paid Partnership with <Brand>” before.

Now, one of the unknown secrets of this “Business Partner” tag is that there’s a toggle which allows the brand to run ads against the content creators' posts. What this means is that you can run a conversion campaign as you would in Ad Manager with the purchase optimization objective. This way, you utilize all of the wonderful social proof that influencer marketing offers while also simultaneously tapping into the power of Facebook ads. Honestly, we’re surprised that more brands aren't utilizing this powerful feature.

We're Here to Help

While AdVertize, a digital agency in Tokyo, is primarily an agency that runs ads on the Facebook and Google ad networks, we also do occasionally dabble into influencer marketing. If you’d like to work with us or even hear our novel idea on how you could improve your partnerships with content creators, give us a shout and we’ll set up a call. For more on digital marketing, check out our top digital marketing agency blogs for Japan.

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