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Communicate Online | Regional Edition | Advertising, marketing, public relations and media in the Arab world and beyond

Communicate Online | Regional Edition | Advertising, marketing, public relations and media in the Arab world and beyond

Influencer marketing: the battle between BIG numbers and REAL influence

Opinion

Influencer marketing: the battle between BIG numbers and REAL influence

By Tanaz Dizadji, Founder & CEO of insydo & Brand Ripplr

There’s no denying that when done right, influencer marketing is the most effective way to reach relevant audiences and build brand loyalty, which is why it will continue to spiral into a multi-billion dollar industry over the next five years. However, issues and concerns have continued to permeate the industry in recent months, stirring up some fiery debates in the region.

With technology fuelling developments at a much faster pace than we can implement laws and regulations, the growth of the UAE’s influencer industry gave rise to multiple problems that preceded – and demanded – the newly enforced UAE legislation. From issues surrounding inflated pricing and ‘diva’ requests to concerns about fake followers and lack of accountability, the new e-media regulations will now shake-up and reshape the advertising landscape.

Bringing order to the chaos ­

The National Media Council (NMC) sought to resolve and regulate the social media marketplace with the recent introduction of its tiered influencer legislation.

Three clear tiers were established for those who want to continue earning money from branded collaborations, while at the same time protecting both consumers and brands (and, rightly so). The legislation rolled out as follows:

  1. Influencers can buy an Individual Licence (AED 15,000 + Trade licence)
  2. Influencers can buy a Partnership Licence (AED 15,000 + Trade licence)
  3. Influencers can get registered under an official NMC-approved influencer agency.

By allowing influencers the opportunity to register under NMC-approved agencies, influencers can now continue to work on brand collaborations without footing the cost of an individual license, so long as they are registered exclusively with one agency. This is a move that will not only assist with market regulation but will also allow for creative partnerships between brands and influencers to flourish.

To go big, you really need to go micro!

While the first point of thought might be to question the need for a third-party in a brand-influencer relationship, the evolution of influencer agencies and platforms stems from the social shift that’s happening on a global level. Rather than using one or two macro influencers, brands are investing in micro influencers, with the assistance of platforms that can assist with the logistics, insights and performance of running such campaigns effectively.

On top of that, a group of micro-influencers are statistically proven to achieve the same (if not better) results as a macro-influencer for a lot less money. While their following may be smaller in size, they have highly-engaged and trusted audiences who follow them as a result of shared interests, whether that be fitness, beauty, travel etc. On top of that, the engagement rate of a micro influencer is significantly higher than that of a macro, so when you group them together, you can tap into multiple audiences and measure a far greater impact overall.

It’s evident that brands are now waking up to the over-commercialization of macro influencers; they are tapping into the behavioral trends of their consumers who are statistically proven to be much more likely to follow the recommendation made by a micro influencer. Overall, it’s about targeting your key consumers and ensuring you reach them through the right people.

Working with micro influencers is not only a move that triggers better ROI, but it is also a safer option for brands since these micro influencers do not have the celebrity status that can cause a global outcry.

Peeling away the social masks

As anyone with a vested interest in influencer marketing knows, finding genuine ‘influencers’ is also a real issue in the industry; you have to distinguish between big numbers and real influence. We’re all aware of fake accounts, fake followers and fake engagement; all of which exists in today’s social sphere. However, platforms, like Brand Ripplr, are implementing tech solutions that allow for a vigorous vetting process. This means being able to detect the real from the fake and deliver insights on influencer audiences, alongside data-centric campaign results.

There are thousands claiming the ‘influencer status’, but brands need to understand the data behind the social media masks in order to determine whether or not these ‘influencers’ have real influence – audience size, engagement, audience demographics all need to be analyzed. 

Using technology to solve industry needs

When trying to bring an influencer marketing campaign to life, the same industry frustrations exist – whether you’re an individual, an SME or a big brand. The proven benefits of influencer marketing has seen the digital advertising spend shifting to accommodate influencer campaigns; however, the reality is that it is a difficult, time-consuming and very manual process. For such reasons, influencer platforms are stepping in to offer solutions.

The future of influencer marketing

Brands need to co-exist in the same space as their consumers. Unless the likes of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat disappear, influencer marketing won’t be going anywhere. Brands will need to work with ad-tech platforms and connect with aligned content creators for compelling campaigns that can reach relevant audiences via social media channels.

The introduction of the UAE’s e-media regulations is a sure sign that all parties – influencers, brands, agencies and consumers – need to understand, more than ever before, the importance of transparency and step up to global advertising standards. Influencer marketing is here to stay, so it’s time for us all to become more socially savvy, budget conscious and data driven.

Author’s note:

Brand Ripplr is following in the NMC’s footsteps when it comes to advocating not only the transparency of paid collaborations but also the transparency of its influencer terms. Brand Ripplr will not shut the door on brand opportunities for its influencers and neither will it charge additional costs to brands. The reasons behind this are simple: we want our influencers to have the ability to create content with a variety of brands. They also need the flexibility to work with the right brand and, likewise, brands need the flexibility to tap into the right talent.

Brand Ripplr has always been on a mission to connect brands with regional talent; first and foremost, the platform’s mission is to ensure that creative content ripples across social platforms and does so transparently, while meeting all e-media regulations.

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