By Joris Cretien, partner growth director, Awin US
What are influencers and creators doing for your brand sales and profit? These trusted partners are known for driving top-of-funnel outcomes and are proven highly effective at increasing brand consideration, but unless an exclusive code is given it’s hard to measure direct impact. Subsequently, this makes it challenging to understand how valuable your investment in influencer partnerships is.
According to eMarketer, 73% of brands will operate influencer programs in 2022, with total US influencer spend surpassing $4 billion. The costs for working with creators are also growing as demand rises, and these partners increasingly share details about what they earn from brands with each other.
All this to say, your business understandably needs to see significant ROI from influencer marketing to justify the investment. And affiliate marketing is the perfect medium to do so. Leading affiliate and partner marketing platform Awin has spent 20+ years helping brands big and small leverage the creator economy to drive measurable sales and revenue for their business at an ROI of $16:1. Below we’ve outlined our top five reasons to blend your own influencer and affiliate marketing activity.
1. Builds internal collaboration
Metrics and accountability are key to any partnership, and affiliate marketing offers your team access to the insights needed. By integrating creator efforts with partner marketing you can measure direct sales to increase influencer-driven purchases. Furthermore, you can optimize partner diversification, get quantitative insights on individual performance and marry sales metrics with the valuable top-and middle-of-funnel data for a holistic approach.
This cross-functional teamwork helps your organization remove department siloes and be jointly accountable when working towards goals. Plus, many of the best campaign ideas come from collaborations across historically disconnected teams like social, PR, and affiliate.
2. Aligns on goals
Oftentimes, influencers feel in the dark on a brand’s objectives and campaign goals. That’s never a good situation as in the absence of goals — creators make assumptions about what you want. While it may be more upfront work on your end, taking the time to communicate your objectives thoroughly is crucial, and also creators can tailor their efforts to produce the results you want.
That said, this is only half the battle. It’s vital to share the results you’re after but equally critical to align on how results will be measured and, therefore, compensated. The default compensation model for influencers is a flat-fee payment upfront in exchange for vanity metrics that, as noted, may only scratch the surface of what you’re after. By merging your affiliate and influencer marketing activity, you can accurately measure a creator’s impact to sales and pay for tangible results. And with the individual-level sales tracking affiliate marketing affords, you can accurately assess ROI for each influencer and focus on those most productive.
Performance-based compensation models benefit influencers, too, providing an immediate feedback loop. The brand partnerships and products resonating with their audiences will be evident from the sales they are helping to drive and offers a clear sign they’re providing real value to their followers.
3. Creates frictionless partnerships
Most affiliate platforms work with influencers. But, beyond compensation models, their user interfaces and wider metrics are often alien to these partners. When you force influencers to join an affiliate program with these tools, it can create unnecessary friction.
Finding the right creators and staying in close contact can make or break results. To make it easier for influencers to work with brands and measure direct sales, select affiliate platforms like Awin have integrated with third-party influencer management solutions to eliminate friction and allow creators to focus on engaging their audiences.
For example, Awin’s partnerships with leading influencer management platforms Mavrck, CreatorIQ, and Socialix easily enable retailers of all sizes and varying budgets to discover new creators and manage relationships while obtaining precise channel sales tracking. Partnerships like these allow you to demonstrate successful outcomes at all stages of the consumer journey.
4. Supports the long term
Influencer marketing used to focus on short-term tactics. We have since learned that you get better results from cultivating long-term relationships with performers. Find the voices that understand your brand and take the time to build enduring partnerships.
Creating these long-term relationships gives your creators greater income stability and can make them ongoing revenue sources for your business. Your brand’s continued presence will also impress their followers and build ongoing social proof.
5. Expands your customer base
While the most prominent creators with over a million followers may seem to be the most appealing because they can cast a wider net, this larger reach doesn’t always equate to sales impact. As a result, these large influencers are sometimes reluctant to work on a performance model. This is where niche, nano-and micro-influencers — those with a smaller, highly-engaged audience of up to 50,000 followers — are your secret weapon.
These creators know they can make more via affiliate partnerships with a brand because they attract more engaged audiences with a higher propensity to transact.
The time is now
With the rising cost of influencer engagements and the need for direct sales accountability, companies must find ways to not only drive more revenue but prove the value of investment. As you can see, affiliate marketing offers the solution.
In blending your influencer and affiliate efforts, you get the top-of-funnel impacts to drive awareness alongside proven tactics that drive transactions. Merging these two outcomes is a win-win for both parties. Brands and influencers collaborating via affiliate partnerships illustrate a new way of working together that benefits everyone.
This post was created by Awin with Insider Studios.