Influencers: Are they worth your marketing spend?

In this episode, the discussion is centred around influencers and are they worth your marketing spend? We take a look at the average spend across different platforms and how that could affect marketing efforts.

TikTok is undeniably the app of the moment, but marketers still prefer Instagram for influencer campaigns. TikTok is actually in 4th place (!!!) which speaks volumes of its more risky proposition. On TikTok, irreverence and authenticity rules… Strike the wrong tone, and you’re in the bin. Either way, creator marketing is getting pricey.

The median CPM for creators on YouTube in 2021 was $54.68. In the first half of 2022, it’s $66.48. If you’re not already building your own in-house team of student creators, now would be a good time to get the ball rolling.

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Nathan Monk
Hello and welcome to Most Clicked. This week we are asking the question “influencers, are they worth your marketing spend?” Thank you to all of our subscribers. And if you are interested in today’s chat, please consider dropping us a like, for now, Kyle, influencers. So we’re asking this question of are they worth your marketing spend? But I imagine that there was a most clicked story from your newsletter behind that. Would you mind filling us in on that?

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I mean, this one’s more to look at the current influencer economy, if you like, the creator of the economy and I cover it quite frequently nowadays, actually because it’s a place where quite a bit of marketing spend is going and this story, in particular, reveals which channels are the most popular for influencer marketing spend, and surprisingly, TikTok is not at the top, which you would think it would be given that that’s where the user attention is going at the moment. I think TikTok right now has three times the engagement of Instagram. So you would think that the marketing money for creators would follow but that’s not the case. So Instagram remains the top destination for influencer spend, followed by YouTube, and then TikTok. And beneath that is Facebook and Meta creators and stuff like that, which really don’t get a look in. But looking at that it is really interesting and maybe those stats follows suit with other reports that I’ve read but in terms of how much creators are paid, ie how much revenue they generate from various deals and the ways they monetize their content. Tik Tok is actually terrible. They’re not paying their best creators, even a fraction of the amount that YouTube pays theirs. If you’re a top 10 creator on TikTok, you don’t even scrape into the top 10 highest-paid creators on YouTube. So you know this influencer career and these creators’ careers, they’ll definitely not be created equal depending on the platform that you’re on. But to talk about whether this is worth spend, there are a few different angles that we could take with this. I know that you know, Nath you’ve got our perspective, you wanted to have a little quick but talk about before we went into that, didn’t you and you to Matt, so maybe we can bounce off each other on this one.

Nathan Monk
It’s interesting, you talk about that TikTok thing. I’m a heavy TikTok user, as we’ve established previously, but I actually wondered whether TikTok underpaying their creators is a gap for brands to step into. I mean, like there’s, there’s a, there’s, I think, I think a famous influencer like this guy called Francis Bourgeois or something like that is the train spotter, who straps a 360 camera to his head, basically a national treasure at this point. And he’s getting deals like big deals like Gucci, Adidas, like huge, huge deals, and like, okay, TikTok might not be paying him very well. But I imagine Gucci is paying all right for him.

Matt Lees
I’m sure I saw him at the Super Bowl or something. I’m sure that he was paid to go to the Super Bowl or something like that. Some big sporting event.

Nathan Monk
No way. But yeah he’s killing it. I wonder as well. I’m like, I am not on Instagram. But I wonder whether it’s like a generational spending thing because I was gonna make the dastardly quip of huh Facebook creators, don’t you mean boomers? And like, I think that Facebook is probably at the older end of boomers or at least that’s how it seems. And it feels like Instagram is that elder millennial crowd?

Kyle Campbell
I think you’re right there.

Nathan Monk
I think it’s like that. That’s what they use. So that’s what we think. Oh, well, I should put spend on that.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, potentially. Yeah. I mean, the audience’s on each platform are quite different. And I like that point you’ve made about Instagram, being a slightly older millennial audience, but I think people forget that. And they still treat it like a general recruitment channel, but actually, the age on Instagram is, it’s going up. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means the sort of campaigns that you’ve run on there, you know, the ultimate result has to be attached to a different objective, isn’t it? Is it a good place for undergraduate recruitment? It probably still is but not as it would have been, say five years ago. You know, TikTok is probably where it is now. On the influencer angle as well, I mean, in terms of what’s worth it. One perspective to think about is when we talk about influences, we tend to think of the like the big, you know, big visual kind of people essentially like lots of followers, lots of traction, maybe not a niche, but a broad appeal and followed because of the kind of lifestyle content they create. But you can have that sort of campaign or you can go down the creator route and work with say 20 smaller creators with a much more engaged audience and scale it that way. So you don’t need to go all in on one you can sort of offset the risk and the spend across a wider pool. And there are a few campaigns that have done that recently one in I think Biden’s midterms in the states. He looks at swing states and some smaller creators in those states with a decent following and ploughed money into those areas. Rather than going with like a few key influences that might have a broad appeal, we look to ones that can actually swing the tides for him. So there are some pretty high-profile people working with creators in that regard. And I think for uni’s that’s where the future lies really, especially when you’re growing like your own in-house creators, or you’re working with students who have those crazy followings. And I think we spoke about this before, haven’t we about Chichester and how their content producer works with only a small team of students. But between the three of them, the students have like half a million followers and get crazy reach on those posts, you don’t see that content because it’s posted on their channels, and not in Chichester’s. But, you know, Chichester still essentially gets the love. And that’s why for a university with like 5000 students to have 25,000 followers on Tiktok, because it is very intelligent and how it plays that content game. So there are lots going on in the space. But you know, to answer that question from my perspective, I do think it’s worth it. But I think the most return is when you work with lots of smaller creators and do it that way.

Matt Lees
Yeah, that seems to make sense to me. Do you see a time when TikTok is back at the top of the list there and kind of takes back over from Instagram? Or is the landscape changing?

Kyle Campbell
I think it’s I think it will I mean, I like all apps, they go through that. The maturity, don’t they and right now TikTok’s fairly new. I mean, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, they’ve got ad tech that’s been going for like years, right? Like 10 years, perhaps maybe more. And TikTok’s this fairly new entrant and doesn’t have that sort of technology. And as a platform, it’s largely mimicking, in terms of the ad technology it uses very similar to Facebook does, and until they’ve kind of designed their own platform that reflects the sort of audience that they have and the creators that they have, I don’t think they’re going to crack that nut. They’ve started to make movements towards it with things like branded missions, and, you know, scaling user-generated content and put an ad spend behind that. That’s really interesting. That’s a nice, unique direction for the app to go in. But I think it will, as it matures, it’s trying to get into like, connected TV and original productions, and it’s treating yourself like a proper media company. So it is starting to have those similar conversations to what YouTube has, for instance, I’ve I think it will be there. But it’s going to take it a couple of years to get up to the levels of spend that you see on like YouTube and Instagram in that regard.

Nathan Monk
I think this is so am I right in saying Kyle that what you’re saying here is that it is all about understanding your audience and understanding the channels that they use and being targeted. You know, it might be that I don’t know, let’s say that if your Falmouth for example, has great computer games courses, so it would make sense to me to go and look at influences on Twitch, for example, but there’s no way that you’d go and find a Twitch streamer for accounting. Or who knows maybe there’s a leaked accountancy firm on but you know, at the same time there’s going to be applicable stuff on YouTube as there is on Instagram as there is on TikTok. So it’s perhaps not about being so blinkered with your view.

Kyle Campbell
Yeah, I think you’re right. And, you know, if you’re, like your example there, if you’re doing video games and things like that, it makes sense to search out a social platform that reflects that, isn’t it and Twitch in that case would be a great idea. So yeah, understand what your audience wants and choose the platform on which you connect with them. Then you made the point about millennials being older on Instagram so yeah, again, what campaign are you running in that space?

Nathan Monk
Absolutely. Well, how about that, that feels like a pretty cohesive takeaway. No apologies are required this week. Excellent stuff. Well, thanks both again for your time. Thank you once again to all of our wonderful subscribers. If you’ve enjoyed today’s chat, please consider dropping us on like and for now. See you next week.

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Elliott Barnicle

Lead Designer