In conversation with brand marketing experts on the ever-developing content and influencer landscape, we dissect how brands and agencies can communicate their objectives through the amalgamation of the right set of media investments, across the influencer and content, spaces.
With influencer marketing gaining more trust, brands have started increasing their media investments on it. Experts at SM Live 2023 discussed the evolving landscape of content marketing with influencers getting more prominence, the metrics that can be followed for media investments, and more.
- Anvesha Poswalia, Head of Digital & E-Commerce at HUL
- Parth Desai, Head of Digital Marketing at Pidilite
- Sujay Ray, Head of Digital Marketing at L’Oréal
- Sahil Shah, President – Digital Experience, DENTSU CREATIVE
- Netravathi Balaram Associate Vice President – Media Planning, Interactive Avenues
The evolving landscape of influencer marketing
Sahil Shah from DENTSU CREATIVE believes that content is playing a bigger role than anything else in the marketing landscape. He mentions that the way media is approached can be planned but what content the brand goes forward with, matters more.
The widespread use of social media has prompted many to become influencers themselves. However, one of the interesting developments in influencer marketing has been observed in blue-collared professionals.
Pidilite’s Parth Desai said, “When it comes to influencer marketing, we have noticed that blue-collared professionals get millions of views for teaching people about assembling furniture and putting cement. They aren’t working with an agency, they are looking at it as a business development platform to get more work.”
These niche influencers have also witnessed organic traction, which is a huge selling point for brands With this, the definition of influencers is evolving and brands across categories can also collaborate with them to reach out to a wide audience.
Agreeing with Desai, Anvesha Poswalia from HUL said, “A few years ago, influencers were distributed more in terms of the premium set of audience, today, even rural areas have adapted to this in their own personalized way.”
When it comes to investing in content creation, Interactive Avenues’ Netravathi Balaram is of the opinion that audiences crave customized content, and today, brands are chasing that.
She also believes, “Merely creating content won’t work, creating an IP that is able to build on it, resonate and sustain for a longer period of time will help build loyalty.”
To build long-term relationships with the audience, brands need to figure out what metrics to invest in.
On this, L’Oréal’s Sujay Ray says that data as a metric, plays a key role in the evaluation process.
“When it comes to the top 5% of the audience, identifying the audience and collecting that data becomes absolute. It’s important that the audience feels at ease to share the data and brands need to take care of this,” he continues.
Metrics should also be unique to what the brand is seeking out for a particular campaign, as per Dentsu’s Sahil Shah. He said that in the end, the ultimate goal for every brand campaign, whether it applies influencer marketing or not, is the return on sales (ROS).
“There is no one size fits all and that's where all the brand's efforts need to be aligned with,” he adds.
Another metric to invest in would be Effectiveness. At HUL, content metrics are used as a filter to see whether a communication method is reaching the audience, generating engagement and doing its job or not, said Anvesha Poswalia.
Sharing his observations on pricing regulations when it comes to influencer marketing, Parth Desai said, “I've found the cost of an influencer to be much higher than the reach provided in some cases. Pricing of the cost of an influencer-integrated campaign should also be a metric to facilitate standardization.”
For running campaigns in the long run, brands can take the Media mix modelling (MMM) approach and plan their strategies, said L’Oréal’s Sujay Ray and continued, however, a campaign running on a quarterly basis will best be approached by testing and learning the results.
With the emergence of AI and deep fake, the panellists observed that in the next five to ten years, content will be controlled more by technology and less by humans and influencers will become more prominent.
The session 'Building Blocks for Content, Influencers & Media Investments in 2023' was moderated by Hitesh Rajwani, CEO, of Social Samosa Network at the 7th edition of #SMLive, Social Samosa’s marquee virtual conference, organised on World Social Media Day.