The world has moved past influencer marketing just being a phase or a box to tick in a marketing plan. Many brands now have influencer and ambassador engagement as a cornerstone of their marketing, with increased spend and emphasis being placed on these tastemakers to disrupt brand communications and deliver strong business results. Brands have experienced a big shift in channel engagement, throughout COVID-19 in particular, and our research shows that the average Instagram engagement with the top 300 influencers in Australia has been 43 times higher than the top 300 Australian brands’.
However, with increased spend and attention, comes criticism and scrutiny on how authentic and effective this tactic is. Australia recently made a huge leap forward in this regard with the establishment of the first industry code of practice for the influencer marketing category. AIMCo (Australian Influencer Marketing Council) was formed by a collective group of leading marketers within the category, to deliver increased accountability and transparency to a growing sector - and we are onoured to be part of it.
The code of practice has been established to arm the industry with an agreed framework for influencer engagement which, in turn, will bring more transparency to influencer marketing. The code defines:
- Influencer Selection - Scouring the internet for your perfect unicorn of an influencer can be tough work when you consider there are over 500,000 Instagram influencers with an audience over 15k. Knowing how to vet influencers and where this responsibility sits, is important to get right. Influencers all have different audiences so it is important to understand the passion points that your target audience aligns with and how that translates to creators, going beyond demographics and audience size. Our Samsung's #ToTheMakers campaign is a great example of this as we identified photographers, illustrators, athletes and fashionistas who aligned with the brand’s audience key passion points, and built a highly engaged community that delivered strong business results.
- Disclosure - The days of influencers sneaking paid partnerships into their organic content are long gone. With the power of influencer marketing being the authenticity behind it, adding a note of disclosure onto this isn't a huge jump. The code defines what constitutes proper disclosure and when this is required. Not wanting to bring attention to the branded partnership? Doesn't sound like you authentically like that product, hey... We are firm believers in positively harnessing the creativity of influencers to make each partnership personalised for them, take our Millie Bobby Brown's x Samsung partnership as an example of how creativity can build an authentic partnership by loudly and proudly supporting the brand while making iso cookies on TikTok. Because why not.
- Content Rights - A great build on any influencer marketing campaign is utilizing the partnership/content throughout your broader comms. Whether this is integrated into your ATL marketing or even adding media spend behind content (aka whitelisting), it's important to outline the intended usage when negotiating with talent as no one wants the shock of seeing their face on a billboard unexpectedly!
- Metrics & Reporting - Ever since influencer marketing became established, reporting has been a pain point due to a lack of transparency, mixed naming conventions and data discrepancies. Whilst the code can't solve all of these issues (yet!), a framework for how this is disclosed has been defined. Bringing cohesiveness to the terms and data points used across the industry is the first step to ensuring we are all on the same page.
Back in May, during the peak of the pandemic, we developed a research piece by interviewing key Australian influencers to discover what brands can learn from them in order to stay relevant. A key theme? Transparency. Influencers put their audience first and if the brand partnership fits, their audience will engage with it and marketers will benefit from it - otherwise, expect some serious backlash.
As a proud member of AIMCo, we will be working closely with the organisation as we continue to advocate for the effectiveness and transparency of influencer marketing. Keep you all posted! To view the full code, visit the AMAA website. And if you’d like to chat about how influencer marketing can help your brand, just drop us a line.