As advertisers struggle once again to increase engagement with their online and digital campaigns, a solution is needed, which may involve a new approach to social and earned media.
Heavy social users are gravitating towards niche nets and have become selective about what they post and share. Brands are also placing greater importance on the content they create, making sure it's entertaining, timely, useful, and easy to share - but still that's not enough to drive up engagement.
The key lies in how digital natives, especially millennials, increasingly seek out product information from online experts with common interests. Online bloggers/vloggers, commentators, product reviewers, social media gurus and even bona fide celebrities have gained online clout and have increasing reach and authority on the internet.
They're the new influencers.
For many, these influencers have become celebrity product endorsers, speaking directly to an audience through the various channels they've come to trust for information, often playing a pivotal role in their purchase decisions.
We've seen proof that harnessing digital influencers can propel campaigns to far exceed expectations.
We recently ran a digital campaign for Warner Bros.' Injustice: Gods Among Us, a fighting game based on the DC Comics universe. We mixed digital influencers with comic book experts and celebrities to promote a virtual tournament dubbed "Injustice Battle Arena," where the game's superheroes and villains squared off in face-to-face battles, and fans voted on the outcomes. The campaign garnered nearly 19 million views over ten weeks and more than 850 percent ROI in earned media value.
For another campaign we ran for a large interactive entertainment company, we supported the launch of four of their products with an online video and social media program built around four YouTube stars. Each 'YouTuber' delivered a live cast show featuring one of the products, with promotions targeting their subscriber base and social networks. Engagement was through the roof and two of the games set launch sales records for the company.
As a result of these and other campaigns, we've charged up a new weapon aimed at the new influencers - the Influencers Outreach Network, or [ion]. It's the product of three years of experience running these types of programs, but it's more than a wrapper on proven methodology. It's a proprietary platform designed to first connect brands with the right influencers, then accurately measure results.
With [ion] we're seeing the evolution of native advertising. The program uses pull media versus traditional push marketing and resonates strongly with consumers. Like programmatic media, it has proven itself to be highly efficient and effective.
There are currently more than 7,000 affiliate influencers who are part of the [ion] program - and this number is growing daily. These are YouTubers, bloggers, industry professionals, theatrical, television and other social media influencers. Their reach is staggering, with audiences in the hundreds of millions and engagement metrics measured in billions.
To support our growing network, we've expanded our technology platform to include content curation, sharing, gamification and analytics - resulting in an online media exchange for our premium inventory of influencers to amplify results.
We know how fast targets move when it comes to digital and social media. Influencer outreach isn't a silver bullet but it's a powerful way to engage consumers. It's a system that sets the community up to not only generate significant awareness but to engage and grow through its own volition.
Click here to learn more about the new influencers and our [ion] program.