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Our world is social, and so is the web. Internet users create online, their very own social ecosystem the very same way they would have done it offline. In this environment, users get in touch with numerous interlocutors such as media, brands, and other Internet users. This creates a very co dependent triptych (Users, Advertisers, Influencers). I’d like to draw your attention to in this article regarding influencer marketing.

Users

Internet users purchase products on the Internet on a daily basis. More and more every year, as it happens. They detail the reasons of their purchases online, via social media, blogs, forums, review websites, etc. Internet users get to produce, and consume product centred content on a regular basis. This content will be shared, liked, commented, tweeted, pinned, etc. and sometimes even go viral. Social Chorus & MSL group assess 500 billions of these actions were undertaken in 2011. Not bad at all.

Not bad at all, especially when you consider that Internet users do not only communicate about this content: they also act on it. 92% of consumers take this information into account for purchasing decisions. This is more than any other marketing channel you can think of. 92%.

Advertisers

As far as advertisers are concerned, it’s a godsend. The monetary value generated by the content and the interactions cannot be compared with traditional marketing channels. Still, all these social impressions are not exactly equal in quality and volume. These are not equal; advertisers will tend to favor some social interactions over others, in order to maximize their marketing efforts (who can blame them?).

From traditional marketing, advertisers have inherited that volume wins over quality. This is why we come across billboards, with no targeting whatsoever in city centres: high volume, poor quality. Well in our digital era, some marketers tend to do the same with display advertising, valuing CPM over performance.

In this context, some marketers praise “professional” advertisers, with 50k to millions of monthly visitors. Known by everyone and capable of high volumes of impressions, these appear to be quite a seductive alternative for advertisers.

Still, this is not the best way to reach a wider, more qualified audience. Ever heard of the power middle?

The Power Middle

The power middle stands for influencer of “average” influence. Please note the use of quotation marks here. They are everywhere (Blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and many others) and they have between 2,500 and 25,000 recurring monthly visitors. Their audience is highly targeted and highly engaged.

So, how is that better than a well-known media with millions of visitors? That is precisely because the power middle’s audience is highly engaged. MSL Group & Social chorus reveal in their study that a power middle engagement can be up to 16 times superior to a bigger influencer.

That makes a lot of sense: huge media sites tend to be multi-category, whereas ‘power middle’ media tend to be targeting one niche. On that very niche, they become experts with a real authority, and the ‘go to’ website in this very topic. Mathematically, the audience is limited to the users having a pronounced interest in this topic.

This “limited” target audience will be, comparatively, a lot more likely to comment, share, like, retweet, pin, and create a conversation around the content offered by that media. These ‘actions’ are worth a lot more than simple page views. This determines the actual viral potential of the content.

That way, during an Influence campaign, you should think twice before investing a significant budget into a mass media. Instead, spend that budget on the handful of key ‘power middle’ influencers of your industry. These will generate hundreds of thousands of social interactions, relayed to millions of potential consumers.

Here is an example

You, fellow marketer, are used to walking in the consumer’s shoes. You want to purchase a camera. Considering it is a significant investment, you decide to research the topic. Fair enough. Once you found out everything there is to know about the technical specifications, other things will be worth checking out: brands, trustworthiness of the equipment, purchasing experience, etc.

You are more likely to commit to the brands whose advertising message engaged you the most. Obviously, your engagement will differ, whether the message is (1) a banner ad, (2) a facebook ad or (3) a tweet from a well-established Photography authority you very much admire.

So what’s the morale of this fable?

As an advertiser, it is no longer sufficient to craft and broadcast a great advertising message. You must relay it through the right channels, including the people that matter most in a given industry and have the possibility to maximize the outcome of the campaign.

In this case, try to favor quality over quantity, even though that’s what you have been doing all along your career. As far as Influencer Marketing is concerned, possibly more than anything else, prefer quality to volume.

A six word conclusion? Size does not matter, engagement does.

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