The days of Michael Jordan wearing your underwear are over. Why? Because social influencers now beat out traditional endorsement campaigns in terms of reach, user quality and cost. On mobile alone, YouTube now reaches more US adults 18 – 34 than any cable network and 64% of purchasers consult YouTube before making a major purchase.
At Meed, we have worked with influencers to grow our FreeMyApps audience (part of the Meed Rewards platform) to over 1.6 million Monthly Active Users (MAU). In fact, our largest source of paid user acquisition is influencer campaigns because they provide a lower Cost Per User (CPU) than any other paid source.
As successful as these campaigns can be, it’s important to ensure you’re finding the best influencers for your product and audience.
Knowing where to start can be intimidating. Below are 5 steps to start building your influencer marketing plan:
1. Determine your goals and KPIs
As with all UA activity, choosing goals and a budget from the start is critical to running a successful campaign.
You should have a good handle on the KPIs you need to hit your goals, but keep in mind that tracking these KPIs with influencers can be different than traditional paid sources. Impressions or views are fairly straightforward to track straight from the social network (or using tools like SocialBlade, but tracking registrations or revenue can be trickier depending on the influencer’s platform.
Your tracking link may work well in a Tweet or a blog post, but in order to track these KPIs on a podcast or on Snapchat it’s better to have users type in a discount code (more to come on choosing the right platform).
2. Prepare to be flexible on your pricing model
Depending on an influencer’s size and experience, cost can vary widely. Unfortunately for app marketers, most charge flat fees, but some are willing to negotiate CPI deals.
We’ve found it’s best to be flexible. A hybrid model can work well: a reduced flat fee (so they know they’re not wasting their time) plus a reduced CPI or CPU. This keeps influencers engaged in the promotion as they can continue to earn by doing additional mentions, etc.
Building a relationship such as this with influencers can be extremely valuable, as they grow in popularity and continue to work with you over your competitors.
While performance based agreements are certainly less risky, be careful when working with uncapped campaign budgets. You don’t want to blow your month’s acquisition budget when one of your influencers gets a new puppy or goes viral flipping water bottles.
3. Choose the right platform
Every social channel has different creative formats and platform limitations. Most influencers have their greatest following on a single platform, so consider how your product is best presented when choosing a channel.
If your product requires a lot of explanation, Snapchat and Instagram probably aren’t the right platforms. If your app’s main differentiator is a beautiful UI, you’ll likely want to stick to visual channels and avoid Podcasts and Twitter.
Also consider the way the platform works. Instagram didn’t allow links in posts until recently, so tracking proved difficult. At FreeMyApps we require users to enroll via mobile Safari. The iOS apps for Twitter and Facebook open links in an in-app browser, breaking enrollment, so we focused on YouTube influencers (YouTube app links bump out to the native browser).
4. Find influencers who are in front of your audience when they’re ready to convert
It’s important to consider the context of the interests and hobbies that make up your quality users’ personas. When looking for influencers, focus on topics that a user will seek out when they’re in a mindset likely to convert.
Let’s say your users tend to watch beauty videos. A potential user will watch a ‘how to’ video (such as a makeup tutorial) while they are doing their own makeup, getting ready to go out. They are not in a position to click on a link and install your app.
In contrast, a ‘haul’ video (where an influencer goes through a recent shopping trip) will likely convert much better. Users are watching in a much different context – probably during their downtime – and are free to check out your app.
Be specific. There are millions of influencers covering topics in unique ways. Be sure to get in front of your audience in the proper context.
5. Make your use-case specific and personal to the influencer
50% of 18-34 year olds say they’ll interrupt what they’re doing to watch the latest YouTube video from a channel they follow. This diligence and focus shows the extent to which followers relate to and trust influencers. Work with influencers who can personally benefit from your product’s use case. Their audience will see it as a way to meet their own needs as well.
Image Source: ThinkWithGoogle
A single mom who runs a lifestyle channel can show off a meal delivery app she uses in order to continue eating healthily when she doesn’t have time to cook. Her subscribers will see this as a way to meet their needs as well.
At FreeMyApps, we saw success with mobile gaming channels. Users were looking to upgrade their gameplay to the level of the YouTubers they followed, so our influencers positioned our app as a way to earn free in-app purchases.
It can be intimidating to start seeking out influencers to promote your app, but by following these tips before you start your search, you’ll be better prepared to find influencers that align with your audience and lead to a successful campaign.
About Dave Woodham
Dave heads User Acquisition for Meed’s consumer apps. He’s built relationships with dozens of eSport and lifestyle influencers in order to grow an engaged user base of 1.6 million across gaming and rewards apps. He has held various marketing and operations roles in the tech industry at companies like VMware, iRobot, and LogMeIn. He hopes to someday retire in Scotland and open a coffee & brunch spot – without being too cliche. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.