This is a constant, constant, constant question. I think the Wall Street Journal just had an article about how brands are souring from influencers. Whatever, this is all a bunch of bullshit, it's not true. Let's talk about the fundamentals of advertising again, What are brands buying? They are purchasing attention. Brands that are incapable of getting attention on their own need to buy it, right?
If you think about a brand like Glossier, they do a good amount of advertising, but in the early days, they didn't have to do much advertising because they were getting so much attention on their own that they didn't have to pay to inject themselves into the conversation. You think about a big drug store brand. Nothing wrong with that brand, great products, they have to work harder to inject themselves into that conversation. To inject themselves into that conversation, they have to be where the conversation is happening, right?
With Instagram, especially, or let's just talk social. People are spending multiple hours of the day, on average, on social media. Millions, and millions, and millions of consumers spending hours of their day on social, consuming content. If that continues, there is no fucking way brands will stop working with influencers. There's no way they will stop working on social and buying ads there. They're buying attention.
You as an influencer, say if 50,000 people that follow you, and they all love you and they think you're God's gift to the earth. You are a gatekeeper to speaking to them, so you have brand here. Brand wants to talk to your 50,000 people here. What do they have to do? They got to pay a fucking toll, right? You're the bridge control sitting under the bridge, and they've got to pay the toll to get to your audience.
Now, what makes influencer marketing so great is that when they pay that toll, you turn around to your audience and tell them a story about this brand. Whereas in traditional advertising, they pay the toll on the bridge, and they pop their heads up and talk to your audience. Well, that audience doesn't give a shit what the brand has to say. They don't know the brand, they know you. Fundamentally changes advertising from interruptive. I'm enjoying a piece of content I like.
I as an ad, I'm interrupting that content and you as the consumer feel like, "This is the toll I'm paying for free content," and then the content starts again. What we have now is, "I'm enjoying this content, some of it happens to be an ad, I don't really notice it." It is just fundamentally different and fundamentally better, and anyone that argues it is not, I guarantee their jobs depend on that not being true. When a reporter writes an article about how influencers are shit, think about, "Let me just have a little thought here. How does that reporter get paid?"
Their employer sells advertisements to try and reach their audience. As money flows away from those sources into influencers, those traditional media outlets are feeling pretty pissed off about that, and it is in their best interest to try and make influencer marketing seem like a scam, like it doesn't work, it's not effective. If they can devalue what you do, maybe they can get more money to flow to them. Just like fundamentally, it's not going anywhere because it is where people are spending that time. That's the synopsis.
- Getting started on TikTok, Future of Influencer Marketing, Unboxing