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Search uplift analysis of influencer marketing

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Through a study of paid-for influencer posts on Instagram, we found that there is a +30% uplift in brand searches on Google immediately after an influence posts about a brand.

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Search uplift analysis of influencer marketing

  1. 1. INFLUENCER EFFECTIVNESS: Search uplift analysis of influencer marketing by Michael Thomson… Total Search Labs (TSL)
  2. 2. Introduction Influencer marketing has long struggled with measurement. With no easy way to connect influencer posts with marketing objectives, advertisers have focused on:  engagement (likes, comments and reach)  cultural (trust, likeability, relationships) More purposeful objectives like awareness and revenue are side-lined, only to be “inferred” as part of a larger media mix. Finding: Influencers drive +30% search uplift Through a study of paid-for influencer posts on Instagram, we found that there is a +30% uplift in brand searches on Google immediately after an influence posts about a brand. This research demonstrates that influencer marketing can feature as a performance media channel, driving people to search and action on a brands website. Methodology Using a sample of n:50 paid-for influencer posts from UK & US, we studied the change in search demand immediately (one week) after an influencer posted on Instagram. Matching the brand featured in the influencers post with search data from Google Trends, we analysed the search data for changes (growths & decline) in demand vs. what search demand we expected based on the last six months. Analysis: How does Instagram engagement affect search uplift? Challenging the common notion (or “hypothesis”) that the amount of engagement (likes, comments & shares) are indicative of influencer marketing’s success, we questioned: if influencers are ‘influential’, does that influence result in more people looking for their website in search? We found the following:  No correlation between search uplift and likes o The number of likes an influencers post received didn’t result in more people searching for the brand  Brands with little search demand grew the most o Lower starting point highlighted the benefit greater Figure 1 Example of a paid-for Instagram post
  3. 3. No correlation between search uplift and likes It made sense to assume that because my post received more engagement, it performed better. Narrowing down performance to people searching for the brand after having seen the post is a natural user story, not the only possibility of course. Segmenting the posts by the type of advertiser, we were able to plot the analysis to understand the relationship. Firstly, some categories had negative growth in search demand which we assume is due to more aggressive seasonality vs. others. Also ignoring ‘integrated’ marketing, the correlation between ‘likes’ and ‘search uplift’ is 0.22 (of 1.0). ‘Fashion & beauty’ categories both feel synonymous with influencers. Notably, they were categories that received the most likes (fashion by some distance), but this did not necessarily materialise into greater search uplift (people Googling the brand). Health Fashion Beauty Accessories Money Electronics Groceries Entertainment Gaming Travel Media y = 171751x + 278377 R² = 0.0501 - 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 -40% -20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% NumberofofLikes Growth in Search Uplift (Expected vs. Occured) Comparison of Likes vs. Search Uplift
  4. 4. Brands with little search demand grew the most There were a handful of brands that were new to the author. Segmenting the search growth by high, medium, low and negative it was interesting to note that there was a trend that the small the brand (defined: number of Google searches), the greater the growth in search uplift. Again, the correlation between brand searches and search uplift was poor; -0.1. Isolating small brands, we estimate that their smaller interest prior makes the effects look significantly greater: Category Advertisers Search Uplift # of Searches Accessories Abbott Lyon 144% 36,200 Aviation Fly Prvt 887% 70 Beauty Baylis & Harding 207% 2,400 Fashion Matchesfashion 148% 60,500 Revolve 594% 33,100 Gaming FIFA19 95% 900,000 Health Flat Tummy Co 405% 1,000 ‘Fly Prvt’ was advertised by Kendal Jenner, one of the most popular influencers. This trend wasn’t mutually exclusive; other small brands were featured in ads but seen much less (and even negative) search demand. However, it does feel “right” to suggest that the effects of influencers will be more obvious the less other advertising a brand is investing in. Health Fashion Beauty Accessories Money Electronics Groceries Entertainment Gaming Travel Media y = -83458x + 282222 R² = 0.0103 - 200,000 400,000 600,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 -40% -20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 120% NumberofSearches Growth in Search Uplift (Expected vs. Occured) Comparison of Searches vs. Search Uplift
  5. 5. Conclusion Based on this short-study, advertisers who are investing in influencer marketing should consider the following points:  Influencers equal performance o Search uplift is an effective way to measure influence marketing  Enables brands to measure ‘action’, better enabling influencer marketing to justify its spend  Not all posts are made equal o Search uplift isn’t ubiquitous across all advertisers  Advertisers need to optimise whom they work with, creating a ‘test and learn’ plan, similar to this research  Big doesn’t mean better o There’s no correlation between mega-influencers and search uplift, although +30% is a rough average  Context, the bond between advertiser and influencer, is a more effective tie than reach alone Recommendations Based on this analysis, we think there are two key takeaways:  Question everything Measuring earned media in particular is challenging, but when you do invest in influence marketing, question its impact. Will it drive people to act? How does it make people think differently? By asking tough questions about performance and its effectiveness, advertisers are forced to think harder about the benefits and subsequent measurement plans. This mind-set is more common in advertisers with a traditional media background, where this challenge has existed for centuries. Digital brings more accountability, but lack of accountability doesn’t mean marketing isn’t effective.  Context is key Bigger will always feel better, but don’t chase just mega-influencers. While they may provide more reach for awareness, there’s no apparent link between their reach and people acting as a result.  How Brands Grow Influencer marketing doesn’t appear to following the same principles set out by Byron Sharp: we have a suspicion that influencer marketing is preaching to the converted (existing customers), hence the higher levels of engagement. Advertisers tend to invest more marketing energy in attracting new customers.
  6. 6. Digitas Digitas is The Connected Marketing Agency, relentlessly committed to help brands better connect with people through truth, connection and wonder. Our team is deliberately diverse - with experts in data, strategy, creative, media and technology working seamlessly across capabilities and continents to make better connections and achieve ambitious outcomes through ideas that excite, provoke and inspire. We are endlessly curious and fully transparent, always examining real human behavior to create authentic connections—between brands and consumers, clients and partners, and ideas and outcomes. Digitas operates in over 25 countries across six continents and is part of Publicis Media, one of four solution hubs within Publicis Groupe, which is present in over 100 countries and employs nearly 80,000 professionals. To connect with us or learn more, visit www.digitas.com

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