The influence of social media has revolutionized the way we connect, communicate, and find new products. Influencers have become an essential part of our lives, and brands that leverage the power of influencer marketing can drive sustainable growth, but navigating the world of creator commerce can be complicated – from picking the right influencer to partner with to figuring out tracking and payments – it can be hard to know where to begin.
We’ve done the work by compiling consumer and market data, insights, and tips to help you navigate the influencer audience and outperform your goals. To gain insights into consumers who shop on social media, we conducted a survey on their opinions about influencers. The following consumer insights are taken from 1,500 respondents between the ages 18 and 50 across the US and Canada.
Influencer and affiliate marketing: getting started
Incorporating influencer marketing into your existing affiliate strategy can be a gateway to finding new audiences and customers through social media. Each influencer type and social media has its pros and cons, but determining what works best for your influencer program comes down to what action you want your audience to take.
Brands have an abundance of opportunities to test which influencer strategies could provide the biggest return. There are many different influencer strategies you can employ to maximize your partnership. Here are just a few examples of the different types you can test out:
- Influencers: one-off campaigns where an influencer gets paid an upfront fee or gifted a product in exchange for a post, or series of posts.
- Ambassadors: this always-on program allows influencers to get a consistent flow of income through an affiliate link.
- User-Generated Content: it’s exactly as it sounds! Brands can capitalize on their loyal customer base by reposting or resharing their customer-created content.
The key to success: the influencer audience
Our survey results show that consumers tend to follow the pack when deciding where to get their inspiration. These shoppers have an “always-on” mentality and look to their social media platforms to get inspiration for their next purchase, in fact, 82% check their feeds at least once a day and 63% check multiple times a day.
There are a multitude of different content types that the influencer audience responds to, but static pictures, short-form video, and long-form recorded video still reign supreme in the eyes of consumers.
63% of consumers are most likely to share pictures, followed by 53% sharing short-form videos, and 44% sharing long-form recorded videos.
Social media consumers are eager to share posts from influencers and are inspired by new products they find in their feeds. Of the consumers surveyed, 80% of them say they discover a new product or brand monthly from an influencer they follow. Adding an influencer that authentically matches your product or service into your affiliate strategy can be the key to attracting your target audience and creating loyal customers.
The power of creator commerce
Influencers come in many shapes and sizes, as well as audience size, audience type, partnership type, and more. Combining the power of influencer and affiliate marketing can unlock never-before-seen opportunities for your brand. Through our research, we discovered that the influencer audience is highly active. Whether paid or not, creators are influencing how, where, and why this audience shops.
- 77% of consumers are inspired to purchase something recommended to them by an influencer.
- 58% of them have gone out of their way to click a link shared by an influencer, whether or affiliate or not.
When working with influencers, there is a wide variety of both paid, and unpaid, ways to work with them! Here are a few of the most popular commission models that our Rakuten Advertising clients use every day:
- Paid partnerships: This method involves an up-front fee to promote your product or service.
- Affiliate links: Partnership 101! Affiliate links give creators a small portion of revenue each time their link is clicked, allowing you to track their influence.
- Hybrid models: A combo of the two and a win-win for all! Influencers get a base fee for their work and an affiliate link to bring in consistent income, brands get consistent sponsored content that increases brand awareness.
Check out our full influencer marketing insights guide to learn more about payments and commissions!
Combining the power of content creators and affiliate marketing.
Now that we’ve discussed the basics of creator marketing and the always-on influencer audience, let’s dive into the power that comes from combining influencer and affiliate marketing.
It’s been well-established that the influencer audience is highly susceptible to the sway of their favorite creators. Understanding the psychology behind their interest can help affiliate marketers decide which influencer will resonate best with their brand voice and values.
- 25% of consumers follow influencers because of the recommendations they provide, whether that be a new home product they can’t live without or a tried-and-true favorite boot for winter.
- 20% follow influencers because of their authenticity, they like to see honest reviews and feedback on brands and products.
- 14% follow influencers to discover new brands and/or products they might not have known about.
Affiliate links are one of the most effective and reliable tools that an affiliate marketer can leverage when wanting to enter the influencer marketing space. There are many benefits to incorporating affiliate links into your marketing strategy, but here are a few:
- Tracking is a breeze: affiliate links in marketing campaigns allow for easy tracking of ROI for a specific influencer.
- Cost-effectiveness: compared to more traditional methods, affiliate marketing is a cost-effective, low-maintenance entry into influencer marketing.
- Cultivating trust: treating your influencers well and providing them with a consistent stream of income with affiliate links builds trust and authenticity. This relationship will shine through in their content, leading to a positive brand reputation amongst creators and their audiences alike.