The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the influencer marketing industry, with brands and agencies scrutinising advertising budgets more closely than ever. This new landscape has helped to accelerate an already growing trend of multi-platform influencer marketing campaigns, hastened by the emergence of new channels such as TikTok.
Why multi-platform influencer marketing campaigns are successful
Our latest whitepaper research of 2,000 UK, US and German consumers, marketers and influencers reveals the different roles and perceptions of each of the platforms, and how they attract different users and elicit a variety of responses.
Each social platform offers a distinct experience: YouTube with its longer-form content allows for in-depth product reviews and how-to videos with high production values, where long-term brand partnerships can naturally fit and evolve; Instagram’s visual aesthetic, e-commerce integrations and user-interface leads to digestible, artistic and engaging stylised content; while TikTok encourages a
more entertaining approach with its snappy, homegrown and trend-led content.
A combination of these factors and consumers’ familiarity with the platforms have shaped how influential they are over purchasing decisions. Our data shows that in the last six months, over a quarter of consumers (27%) have been persuaded to purchase a product or service by influencers on YouTube, followed by 24% of consumers on Instagram and 15% on TikTok.
However, despite seemingly leading to fewer conversions, Instagram and TikTok each offer unique marketing solutions for brands. For example, TikTok’s early adoption phase means it has huge potential particularly among younger demographics: 40% of 16-24-year-olds in Germany and 30% of 16-24-year-olds in the UK have been influenced to purchase a product or service as a result of influencers across the platform. Meanwhile in the US, 35-44-year-olds are the most likely age group to be persuaded by TikTok influencers to make a purchase (37%), suggesting the platform can deliver ROI for brands beyond its core younger user demographic.
And, although 25-34-year-olds are less likely to be persuaded by TikTok influencers to purchase compared with other channels, the platform does appear to offer important brand engagement and consideration opportunities for those marketing to this age group: more 25-34-year-olds globally (14%) said TikTok influencers had led them to engage further with brand content than on YouTube (10%) and Instagram (5%).
Comedian, writer and influencer, @chiwithac said: “TikTok is lazily associated with ‘young people’ but realistically it’s a whole new world for content creators and an entire audience pool for brands to reach. Once there’s a shift in attitude it will prosper just like every other
Clearly, there are different marketing opportunities available for brands across the different channels and knowing how and when best to allocate budgets to each is the key to a more cost-effective and successful campaign. By only allocating budget to one channel, brands risk putting all their eggs in one basket and could miss out on important opportunities to grow brand awareness and drive engagement and conversions among new and different audiences. Using a more targeted approach, brands can reach the consumers that matter most to them on the channels they’re most engaged with.
How to make multi-platform campaigns a success
Our research uncovered how perceptions vary between the three key influencer marketing channels and across different demographics.
Across UK, US and German markets, consumers perceive TikTok as more escapist, entertaining, and creative than Instagram, with 36% of 16-24-year-old consumers crowning the platform king of creativity. In contrast, Instagram is considered more aspirational, informative, and user-friendly than TikTok.
However, YouTube ranked highest by consumers across all these characteristics. On average 40% of consumer respondents across the UK, US and Germany believe YouTube is the most creative social channel ahead of TikTok and Instagram, and over half of respondents (55%) believe it to be the most informative.
Actress, presenter and influencer, @amberdoigthorne, said: “I know that some of my channels have a higher [or] lower age demographic, and so I can alter my content accordingly. Additionally, different types of content perform better on different channels – it’s all about understanding your audience.”
Brands should recognise these differences in consumer perceptions and play to each channel’s strengths to unleash their true potential. This process starts by first establishing a brand’s core values and the characteristics of the products or services being promoted. Next, identify the key campaign objectives and core target audience, which will help to dictate the platforms and content formats that would be most effective.
TAKUMI supported Häagen-Dazs through this process for its new #HaagIndoors initiative in partnership with Secret Cinema. With a brief to engage audiences in weekly in-home #SecretSofa screenings and encourage sign-ups to the film club, Häagen-Dazs used nano, micro and macro influencers, to promote the brand and events across an 8-week period. The highly visual nature of the campaign suited Instagram and TikTok, with consumers even acting as brand advocates by creating their own content organically. This helped to promote positive brand engagements and create a community during a difficult period of the national lockdown.
Unlocking the potential
Multi-platform campaigns are an important recent evolution in the maturing influencer marketing industry, and embracing diverse activity across a number of channels will only further improve cost-efficiency and performance. If brands can successfully harness the capabilities of each and adapt their strategies accordingly, there are rich rewards to be had.
Our research shows that, if used correctly, each channel can hold even greater power than other more traditional brand endorsement tools: 37% of 16-44 year olds trust a YouTube influencer more than a high-profile figure or celebrity, and almost a quarter (23%) of the same age group trust the recommendations of a TikTok influencer over a friend.
But this enormous potential can only be unlocked if brands can navigate an increasingly complex influencer marketing landscape with so many channels, influencers and content types to choose from. Consulting influencers and seeking support from agencies in the industry can help to apply a more targeted approach that opens the door to the new and exciting opportunities multi-market campaigns offer.
- Mary Keane-Dawson is group CEO at TAKUMI, a global influencer marketing agency that has worked with brands including Clarins, Kellogg’s, Visa, Pernod Ricard and Mercedes.