Case Study: Pantene Influencers Highlight Gold Series In Instagram & YouTube Influencer Marketing Campaign

Pantene has shown some significant forays into influencer marketing in the last few years. In 2016, the brand partnered with Chiara Ferragni, one of the top fashion bloggers in the world, making her a brand ambassador and official Pantene influencer.

Late last year, Pantene marketing coordinated a campaign around the tag #BadHairDay and #GreatHairDay, encouraging Instagram and Twitter users to use Pantene products and post before and after experiences using their shampoo and conditioner.

They seized on an already popular trend of people self-deprecatingly posting images of bad hair days. It’s not the first time owner P&G has shown an aptitude for social media—last year they hosted user-controlled live obstacle course on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live for it’s Old Spice brand.

Pantene Instagram & YouTube Influencer Marketing Campaign: African American Pantene Influencers Flaunt Gold Series Collection

For this Pantene marketing campaign, it’s Gold Series Collection was front and center. The Gold Series line was first unveiled in early 2017, so this appears to be a reminder advertising push to build on awareness of the existing products.

Pantene influencers were exclusively people of color to reach their target audiences. The campaign focused on the Gold Series being developed by a team of African American scientists, a message which played a prominent role in the captions of many of the influencers’ posts.

View this post on Instagram

If you follow me since some time, you know I’ve been hiding & protecting my natural hair under protectives styles since some time now. And when I wash my hair & want to let it breath & rest a few days, I like to do a casual high puff using the #Gold Series from @pantene , a line imagined by a team of black scientists for black women’s hair. Natural, relaxed, curly, or coily, this line has been developed to embrace & refresh hair textures. It’s not my first time using the Gold Series and what my hair likes about is the intense moisture & the protective conditioning & repair agents which couldn’t help better after months of protectives styles. – – These big twists out were done the same day and dried out for 4 hours, I usually let them more when I have more time but I actually enjoy better my puff to be more between natural relaxed than super coils, cause I can play more with the texture among the days . – – When styling my hair here, I’ve used the Sulfate Free Shampoo, two favorites that I’ve been using since I discovered the line : the Leave-On Detangling Milk, the Hydrating Butter Crème & I ended with the Edge Tamer Infused with Argan Oil, a newbie which I’ll definitely use again for finitions. – – Have any of you already try some products of the Gold Series from Pantene ? Let me know in the comments below which ones are your favorite ! The collection is available at @amazon, swipe the link in my bio to check it out ! #ad #PanteneHair #SoulBehindTheScience #GoldSeries

A post shared by Oriane Adjibi (@myfashionbreak) on

Goals

  • Drive awareness of Pantene’s Gold Series Collection.
  • Utilize mid-tier and lower influencers to drive strong engagement among smaller, loyal audiences.

Approach

  • Channel:
    • Instagram: 25 African American female influencers in the beauty, hair, and lifestyle categories.
    • YouTube: 4 influencers are also mid-tier YouTube creators who also made sponsored videos for the campaign.
  • Each influencer posted at least one sponsored post.

Preview of Pantene Influencers

Themes

  • Hashtag use across the Pantene marketing campaign was relatively consistent: #PantenePartner; #GoldSeries; and #PanteneHair were commonly used. The campaign-specific tag was #SoulBehindTheScience, which was used in a total of 30 posts.
  • Most Pantene influencers opted for the tag #PantenePartner, instead of the typical #ad or #sponsored tags, which is usually recommended for influencers in order to toe the line with FTC regulations.
  • Captions varied by influencer, but virtually every one had a call-to-action that either suggested where products could be bought or asked followers to share their own experiences through comments.
  • Targeting people of color was a key part of Pantene’s marketing campaign strategy—almost all posts mentioned that the Gold Series was formulated by a team of African American scientists, leveraging an understanding of hair from African ancestry.

Results

Social Reach

  • Instagram followers targeted: 1,286,500
  • YouTube subscribers targeted: 1,313,096

Instagram Engagement

  • Likes: 56,819
  • Comments: 1,603
  • Views: 249,780
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 12.26%

YouTube Engagement

  • Views: 287,001
  • Comments: 1,069
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 4.56%

Chizi Duru Shows Fans Her Hair Routine Across Platforms

Chizi Duru is the biggest Pantene influencer in our sample. She has 122,000 Instagram followers and her YouTube videos average 25,000-100,000 views, putting her firmly in the mid-tier of influencers. Her Instagram video was a short montage of her hair routine, while her YouTube video featured a more extensive tutorial. In addition, she also posted an image on Instagram of her posing with a Gold Series product.

Chizi’s Instagram video received 4,988 likes and 228 comments for an engagement rate of 10.21%. Her YouTube video garnered 96,801 views—above average for her channel. The captions in her Instagram posts were both consistent in their brand messaging, both including the campaign tag #SoulBehindTheScience.

Nneoma Acts Out Comedy Skit For Pantene

Beauty and style influencer Nneoma is one of the larger personalities in the campaign, with an Instagram following of 100,000. A mid-tier influencer, she typically posts about fashion and cosmetics, with a little comedy mixed in too. For her post, she performed a skit with someone massaging the product into her scalp. Her caption was medium-length, featuring a CTA and the campaign tag #SoulBehindTheScience.

Her post received 4,650 likes and 185 comments for a total engagement rate of 4.84%. Micro-influencers in the campaign achieved on average a percentage point more than the mid-tier influencers, indicating relatively more success for the smaller Pantene influencers.

Harris Janae Flaunts Her Natural Style

Harris Janae is a natural hair influencer—a suitable Pantene partner for this campaign. She has a following of 65,800 on Instagram and her video similarly featured her hair routine using Pantene products. She used her caption to describe every step of her routine, to the extent that it has several characteristics of a long-form written caption.

View this post on Instagram

#pantenepartner Have you ever tried out the Gold Series Collection form @pantene? Their line is so amazing! 🙌🏾 The collection is designed by a team of black scientists to provide strength and moisture for women with relaxed, natural, or transitioning hair! While washing my hair with the Deep Hydrating Co-Wash it left my hair feeling very moisturized and soft without stripping away any natural oils. Next I used the Leave-on Detangling Milk which is very lightweight and made it easy for me to detangle my hair without it feeling so weighed down. To help with my styling I had to use the new Thermal Heat Protector which helped protect my hair from frizz and heat while conditioning my hair when applying my blow dryer. Lastly I used the Curl Defining Pudding which helped lock in moisture and define my curls without having a lot of frizz! With all of the products combined together it left my hair feeling so soft and had my curls bouncing! I’m so in love with this line y’all! This collection is now available @krogerco Click link in bio for full video • • • • #soulbehindthescience #pantenegoldseries #flexirod #flexirodset #Blackbombshells #unconditionedroots #amazingnaturalhair #hair2mesmerize #protectivestyles #cwkgirls #naturalhairblogger #naturallyshedope #naturalchics #myhaircrush #myhairtexture #blackboldandnatural #curlbox #2curls1mission #nhdaily #bighairdontcare #berrycurly #naturalcurly #naturallyshedope #4ahair #3chair #naturalhairdoescare #bignaturalhair #kinks2curls

A post shared by Natural Hair Influencer (@_harrisjanae_) on

With 57,225 views, her Instagram post had the most views of any Pantene influencer in our sample. She racked up 6,149 likes and 137 comments, meaning an impressive engagement rate of 10.98%.

Lisa Jean-Francois Reviews Gold Series For Fans In Video

Lisa Jean-Francois is a micro-influencer with 36,000 followers on Instagram. Her posts typically feature her and her family, in addition to her fashion, beauty, and lifestyle uploads. Her Instagram post is framed as a product review, as opposed to a tutorial or routine. Her caption is positive about the products, featuring a call-to-action to buy Gold Series products from Walmart.

She massed 3,556 views, 713 likes, and 59 comments for an extremely impressive engagement rate of 21.65%, the highest of any influencer involved in the campaign. This once again points to the common trend of micro-influencers being useful assets in campaigns, providing marketers with great engagement among loyal followings.

Takeaways

  • Pantene influencers were exclusively persons of color in order to reach their target demographic.
  • Pantene utilized micro- and mid-tier influencers for the campaign, with no macro- or mega-influencers.
  • Micro-influencers outperformed their mid-tier peers on average.
  • Pantene influencers also used YouTube as a platform, with Pantene likely recognizing the thriving cosmetics scene on the platform as a good opportunity for cross-platform marketing.

Case Study: Fabletics Marketing Strategy Flexes Style And Comfort With Fitness & Fashion Influencers

fabletics-marketing-strategy

In a push to secure more of the athleisure market, Kate Hudon’s brand is linking up with Fabletics ambassadors. To better understand the Fabletics influencer marketing strategy, we sampled a set of Instagram sponsored posts featured in their campaign and evaluated the effectiveness of Fabletics influencers.

Instagram Influencer Marketing Case Study: Fabletics Influencers Get Active On Instagram And IRL

Co-founded by award-winning actress, Kate Hudson, Fabletics is a women’s activewear company aimed at offering stylish, quality clothing at an affordable price. An “athleisure” company with a strong e-commerce presence and 34 North American retail locations, Fabletics has grown year-after-year, boasting an annual revenue of more than $300 million.

Having a Golden Globe winner at the helm of your brand is an incredible asset for any company, but Fabletics marketing strategy includes partnering with many influencers across various social platforms to reach their target demographic. Fashion and lifestyle blogger, Amber Feldman, of Trendy & Spendy, writes that she showcases two outfits per month as part of her Fabletics ambassador partnership. Offering an influencer application on their website, Fabletics has a finely-tuned influencer program that’s been successfully collaborating with influencers for years.

Fabletics Influencer Marketing Campaign Encourages Followers To #KickButtLookCute

The front page of Fabletics.com features the hashtag #MyFabletics, where fans and members are encouraged to upload and share their styled-out photos. #MyFabletics has been used across Instagram 53,013 times, while the less brand-specific #KickButtLookCute has been tagged 4,491 on the platform.

Fabletics influencers using these hashtags often feature themselves wearing the brand’s latest styles, while detailing aspects of the gear inside of the caption. Many Fabletics influencers offer workout and/or lifestyle tips, with some using the space to open up about their own hopes and struggles.

Goals

  • Raise awareness around the Fabletics brand, clothing offerings, and consumer options.
  • Communicate Fabletics’ brand values.
  • Promote engagement by inspiring fans to join the Fabletics movement.

Approach

  • Channel: Instagram
  • Influencers: Sample of 12 female influencers in fitness, fashion, and lifestyle categories.
    • Three were nano-influencers, while nine were micro-influencers.
    • Most of the sampled Fabletics ambassadors also had their own blog.
    • Influencers represented a diverse range of women with different backgrounds, ethnicities, body types, and personal styles.

Preview Of Influencers

Themes

  • All Fabletics influencers are active on Instagram. Their sponsored posts featured high quality images that emphasized the influencer wearing a Fabletics outfit.
  • Captions tended to be long, with many Fabletics influencers offering personalized messages that included inspirational tones and encouraging words.
  • Hashtags featured in the sampled posts included #MyFabletics, #KickButtLookCute, and #MoveInFabletics.
  • The influencers didn’t include promo codes in their posts, but some referred followers to shopping links within their bios.
  • Fabletics influencers denoted the sponsored nature of their post with the hashtag #ad.
  • Each Fabletics influencer posted approximately one sponsored ad per month, with some influencers posting more frequently.
  • Fabletics used their official Instagram account (1.1 million followers) to engage with their influencers in the comments section of the posts.

Results

Combined Results (56 posts)

  • Social Reach
    • Instagram followers targeted: 177,212
  • Engagement
    • Likes: 59,981
    • Comments: 3,426
    • Engagement rate: 9.41%

Sarah Vadnais Takes Fabletics For A MotoX Spin

Fashion influencer, Sarah Vadnais, brings her personal style to 3,812 followers through her finely-curated Instagram feed. Vadnais’s May 23rd post stood out from many other Fabletics promotions, showcasing the nano-influencer on a motocross bike in a blooming wild-flower field.

The one with the fewest followers of the sampled Fabletics influencers, Vadnais was able to procure the campaign’s highest engagement. Generating 1,791 likes and 24 comments with her MotoX post, Vadnais achieved an impressive engagement rate of 47.61%.

Frances Flores Shows Off Bold Fabletics Solids Against A Weathered City Backdrop

Frances Flores, better known as Shaped by Frances on Instagram, posts creative and dynamic yoga photos for her 20,000 followers. Noting that she’s a Fabletic ambassador in her bio, Flores is most often pictured in athletic wear throughout her feed.

With a commanding and graceful stance, Flores shows off her Fabletics gear while looking into the camera. Captioning the image in both English and Spanish, Flores encourages her fans to “step up your game” and “evolve.”

Flores garnered 3,471 likes—the highest among sampled posts—with her May 15th photo. Her post also attracted 14 comments, resulting in an engagement rate of 17.43%.

Madison Fichtl Praises Morning Yoga As A Remedy For Jet Lag

Lifestyle blogger, Madison Fichtl, offers fans a wide range of content through both her Instagram feed and blog. Showcasing stylish clothing and “must have” items, as well as giving lifestyle, travel, and shopping tips, Fichtl’s posts are eclectic, enchanting, and engaging.

In her July 17th post, Fichtl is pictured in Fabletics gear walking with dog, Charlie, as she shares tips for beating jet lag and extols the virtues of her Fabletics leggings.

With 25,300 followers, Fichtl was the most-followed influencer of those samples in the Fabletics influencer marketing campaign. Garnering 1,808 likes and 58 comments, Fichtl achieved an engagement rate of 7.38% with her July 17th post.

Takeaways

  • The Fabletics influencer marketing campaign boasted a high overall engagement rate of 9.41%.
  • Complimenting the influencers’ tastes and lifestyles in areas such as fashion, travel, and fitness, Fabletics influencer posts feel organic and authentic.
  • Long-form, personalized captions that speak candidly to an influencer’s audience can help drive higher engagement.
  • Instead of focusing on one-off partnerships, Fabletics influencer marketing seems intent on investing in long-term relationships with their ambassadors.

Case Study: Snapchat Real Friends Campaign Leverages Instagram Influencer Marketing To Boost User Growth

snapchat-real-friends-campaign

The Snapchat Real Friends campaign has taken to the spotlight, exposing part of Snapchat’s plan to win back social media users and refocus users’ interests on “real” life. Below, we explore Snapchat’s global campaign and the immediate results of its influencer marketing efforts.

Snapchat Global Campaign Showcases #RealFriends With Instagram Influencers

It’s no secret that the flagship product of Snap Inc., Snapchat, has been having a tough time over the last few years. With Instagram’s Stories swallowing up much of the market share, top influencers have migrated in large numbers to Snapchat’s more lucrative rival.

Snapchat has, however, somewhat steadied the ship in 2019. Overall growth has been underwhelming but consistent, maintaining a solid user base of 200 million. It’s also still wildly popular among younger audiences and gaining traction among those over 25-years-old, too.

snapchat-real-friends-campaign-

Snap has historically been fairly reluctant to conduct large marketing campaigns. Last year the company launched its first TV ad campaign, which took direct aim at Instagram in a bid to mark itself out and revitalize Snapchat in the short-form video social media scene.

This is a key strategy for Snap for 2019 after hiring two new executives in late 2018 and its first Chief Marketing Officer in April 2019 to improve its fortune in its battle with Facebook. The appointments have so far proved very successful for Snap.

Instagram Influencer Marketing Case Study: How Snapchat #RealFriends Campaign Snubs Instagram To Regenerate User Growth

Snapcaht’s global campaign, #RealFriends, seeks to take advantage of Instagram’s increasingly negative perception by users—principally, that the platform landscape is dominated by aesthetic-focused, photoshopped, posed, or otherwise inauthentic content.

This campaign push is an attempt to position Snapchat as the go-to platform for sharing real moments, and not “trying to look pretty or perfect”—as their campaign press release notes in a clear jab at Instagram.

snapchat-real-friends-campaign

This plays into Snapchat’s hands as the pre-eminent “feel good” app. Respondents indicate that 95% of users feel happy while using the app, more than any other social media platform.

Snap is known for having no presence on Instagram, but cleverly used the platform for their influencer marketing push. They partnered with “quote influencers” for the campaign in a hashtag takeover that began on July 29, the day before International Friendship Day.

Goals

  • Drive awareness of Snapchat as the “happy” app for users in contrast to Instagram
  • Promote engagement among followers of quote influencers and emphasize Snapchat’s “real friends” push
  • Establish a brand voice which resonates with users on other platforms as Snap tests new marketing strategies

Approach

  • Channel – Instagram
  • Influencers – Motivational and inspirational quote accounts
    • Sample of 75 influencers
    • 35 mid-tier, 27 micro, 8 nano, 3 mega, 2 macro

Preview of Influencers

Themes

  • The hashtags used were consistent among all posts, with #RealFriends and #FriendshipQuotes featured exclusively
  • Influencers uploaded one post each, a simple solid yellow square with a quotation and the Snapchat logo in the bottom-left
  • The aesthetic remained constant, though there were a wide variety of quotations
  • The post captions all used the same template, simply saying “Brought to you by Snapchat.”

Results (75 posts)

Social Reach

  • Instagram followers targeted: 13,837,430

Engagement

  • Likes: 121,864
  • Comments: 1,900
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 1.25%

Poems Porn

Poems Porn is the largest account that was involved in the campaign. With 2.6 million followers, it is well within the realms of mega-influencer territory. The post features a quotation from Jim Morrison with the caption: “Brought to you by Snapchat. #RealFriends #FriendshipQuotes.” This caption format is followed by all the influencers in this case study.

The post received 23,174 likes and 239 comments for an engagement rate of 0.90%—slightly below the overall average for the campaign.

Positivity Embraced

Positivity Embraced is a micro-influencer boasting 24,000 followers. The account posts quotes almost exclusively on yellow backgrounds, meaning Snapchat’s campaign format fits nicely with the influencer’s established aesthetic style.

The post featured the campaign caption and tags with a quotation from musician Joan Jett, “You don’t lose when you lose fake friends.” The post achieved 1,021 likes and 10 comments for an engagement rate of 4.31%, the highest performer of any post in the campaign.

So She Slays

So She Slays is a mid-tier influencer with 327,000 followers. This account differs from others in that it regularly features personalities who share their stories on their affiliate website. Their post for the campaign notably also featured the same Joan Jett quotation that Positivity Embraced used, suggesting that influencers were given a choice of what to use.

In contrast to Positivity Embraced, the Snapchat promotional upload stands out strikingly on their feed—bright yellow on a mostly white, pink, and pale orange page. With 6,808 likes and 120 comments, the engagement rate was 2.17%, among the more impressive of performers.

Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening is another mid-tier influencer, with 180,000 followers. The majority of content on the account deals with positive affirmation. The sponsored post for Snapchat displays a quotation from Gandhi, with the consistent caption and tags that feature across the campaign.

With 208 likes and 2 comments, this post was the worst performer of the entire campaign, earning an engagement rate of 0.12%. By the standards of typical engagement rates found with this tier of influencers, it’s a low rate and well below the average of the campaign.

Takeaways

  • Snapchat is keen to raise awareness of the brand as a feel-good platform in a period when leading social media giants are receiving a lot of flack.
  • Marketing on Instagram could be the first step of more prominent campaigns that the company has shied away from in the past—it’s no coincidence this is after hiring its first CMO in April.
  • Snap Inc. is looking to build upon a recent upturn in success and differentiate itself from Instagram Stories as much as possible.
  • They want to build on the app’s popularity with younger audiences and consolidate gains among the Millennial and Gen Z demographics.

Case Study: Away Influencer Marketing Campaign Takes Flight With Inspiring Travelog Content

away-influencer-marketing

Instagram Influencer Marketing Case Study: Influencers #TravelAway With Affordable Luggage Brand, Away

Travel brand, Away, has been hugely successful at disrupting the luggage industry with its direct-to-consumer suitcases and travel goods. After a recent Series D investment round, the New York-based baggage enterprise was valued at an estimated at $1.4 billion.

Away has taken several novel approaches to enlivening a stale and steady marketplace. One of these has been its use of influencer marketing, which has given the brand a strong following on social media. A finalist for the Shorty Awards Best Overall Instagram Presence two years in a row, Away’s Instagram account is now approaching half a million followers

Away Influencer Marketing Packs Its Bags With Travel-Savvy Instagrammers

Partnership with celebrities like Dwyane Wade, as well as prominent travel and lifestyle influencers, have signaled that Away isn’t a typical luggage brand. The #TravelAway hashtag that accompanies much of Away’s Instagram content even appears within the company’s product packaging.

Away’s influencer collaborations have also inspired a stream of user-generated content, adding to more than 58,000 Instagram posts tagged with #TravelAway.

Goals

  • Raise awareness around the Away brand and its line of luggage and travel accessories.
  • Encourage engagement and user-generated content through Away influencer marketing posts.

Approach

  • Channel – Instagram
  • Influencers – Away influencer marketing worked with travel, lifestyle, and fashion personalities from around the world. Of the 13 influencers sampled, two were male and 11 were female. Seven were mid-tier influencers, while five were micro-influencers, and one was a macro-influencer.

Preview Of Influencers

Themes

  • Backdrops for the sampled posts ranged from outdoor destinations, to hotel rooms, to transportation spots and beyond.
  • Away’s products took center stage in some of the posts, while others incorporated the luggage in a more subtle way.
  • Twelve of the Away influencer marketing posts were single-photo, while one was a multi-image post that included a video.
  • All but one influencer tagged @away in their posts, and the majority denoted sponsorship via hashtags #ad and/or #sponsored, with a few using the more vague term “gifted.”
  • #TravelAway was the dominant campaign hashtag, while a small number of influencers used #awaytravel and one influencer used #travelwithaway.

Results

Combined Results [13 sampled posts]

Social Reach

  • Instagram followers targeted: 1,691,100

Engagement

  • Likes: 58,089
  • Comments: 1,090
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 5.22%

Phil Cohen Lays Out His Stylish Travel Wardrobe

Art director and style aficionado, Phil Cohen, is a 2017 Shorty Awards fashion nominee with 747,000 followers on Instagram. One of two male influencers in the campaign, Cohen was the only macro-influencer and the most-followed Instagram personality of those sampled.

In his trademark aesthetic, Cohen’s #TravelAway post featured Away’s The Weekender bag among a neatly-organized layout of clothing. Describing some of the bag’s hidden features in the caption, Cohen referred followers to his Stories and the link in his bio for more details.

Cohen’s post received 11,354 likes and 98 comments, generating an engagement rate of 1.53%. The image simultaneously yielded the most likes and lowest engagement rate among the sampled posts.

Hegia de Boer Brings Her Followers On A Journey

The Netherlands-based, Hegia de Boer is a mid-tier influencer who broadcasts to 96,700 followers on Instagram. With a background in architecture, Hegia offers classical design and fashion content throughout her meticulously-curated feed.

Hegia also highlighted The Weekender duffle in her #TravelAway post, featuring two images and one video. The sequenced portrait showcased the bag in different settings and situations, making the content play like a mini-travelog.

With an impressive 10,585 likes, Hegia’s post received the most comments in the campaign at 261, and had the highest engagement rate at 11.22%.

Fatima Abdallah Highlights Travel Ease and Versatility

New York-based Fatima Abdallah is a mid-tier fashion and lifestyle influencer who offers more than just trendsetting images to her 111,000 Instagram followers. A social advocate, Fatima encourages fans to “embrace what makes you different” in her bio, while also including a fundraising link to aid Syrian refugees.

Fatima’s #TravelAway post also featured Away’s The Weekender bag. Pictured at a train station with an on-the-go vibe, Fatima’s post is an organic-feeling alternative to some of the other more polished and stylized photos from the campaign. In her caption, Fatima also departs from highlighting the duffle’s material features in favor of recommending the bag for various kinds of journeys and travel.

With 3,161 likes and 41 comments, Fatima’s post garnered an engagement rate of 2.88%.

Bayley Junes And Oly Take to the Road

Bayley June Stevenson—Bayley Junes on Instagram—is a lifestyle photographer and videographer based in the Pacific Northwest. With 17,100 fans to her Instagram, Bayley June was had the least number of followers among sampled influencers.

For her #TravelAway post, Bayley June snapped a photo of a traveling companion next to an Away duffle bag in the back of her Volkswagen Westfalia. Mentioning how much she enjoyed road-tripping with others (and her Vanagon “Oly”), Bayley Junes ended her caption by crediting The Weekender with helping her to stay organized.

While Bayley Junes was the least-followed Instagrammer for Away’s influencer marketing campaign, the lifestyle influencer received 1,228 likes and 27 comments, which produced a higher-than-average engagement rate of 7.34%.

Takeaways

  • Away influencer marketing has found a way to turn product photos into captivating content.
  • Campaigns with a strong theme can utilize a wide range of influencers without seeming unfocused or wayward.
  • The size of an influencer isn’t necessarily indicative of the number of likes or comments a post will receive.
  • Posts that tell a story have the potential to create higher engagement.

Case Study: Hulu Influencers “Sell Out” In Blunt Influencer Marketing Stunt

hulu influencers

Instagram Influencer Marketing Case Study: Hulu Influencers Turned Professional Sellouts

Cable is on the way out—the declining consumption of television media has been a familiar topic for several years at this point. Streaming services have been relentlessly picking up the slack in their endeavors to get a foothold in what is now a booming market, with Netflix leading the way, of course.

Who else wants to muscle their way into the scene? Answer: pretty much every media conglomerate with a checkbook. Disney, Apple, Facebook, and DC Entertainment are all in deep with launching or expanding services this year; while WarnerMedia, Walmart, and NBC all have projects in the pipeline to compete in what will no doubt become a saturated market before long.

No surprise then that Hulu, the world’s third-largest service, is looking to put their case to consumers and gain as much ground as possible this year in a bid to catch up with Netflix and Amazon—the two big players in the market.

hulu influencers hulu has live sports

With an increase of 8 million subscribers in 2018, Hulu has been outpacing Netflix’s growth in the US and the gains are impressive. This year, they want to solidify those gains and double down on their marketing push for live TV streaming.

Hulu Influencer Marketing Campaign Calls It Like It Is

With 399,000 followers, Hulu’s Instagram following is somewhat dwarfed by Netflix (15 million), making the involvement of a wide range of influencers—some with mid-tier followings all the way up to mega-influencers with more than 1  million followers—a sensible choice for a campaign from a large network.

Their campaign centers around the hashtag #HuluSellouts, a self-aware tag designed to be upfront with audiences about endorsements—with a strong element of humor, of course. This is just the latest effort for Hulu, which last year launched a similarly ambitious advertising campaign, rolling out ads that matched the themes of select original programming, beginning with sci-fi series The First.

Beginning the campaign with NBA stars Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Hulu sought to primarily push their live TV service, particularly live sports—hence the athletes involved.

hulu influencers

The current ‘sell-outs’ campaign was created by Big Family Table with plans for it to run for the duration of 2019, with various sports stars involved making many #paid appearances. The US women’s national soccer team created buzz in anticipation for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Goals

  • Drive awareness of Hulu’s live sports offerings
  • Spread word among sports audiences that may not consider streaming services as an option
  • Promote positive brand engagement by using an atypical, humorous, and eye-catching campaign

Approach

  • Channel: Instagram
  • Influencers: NBA and Women’s National Soccer Team athletes
    • 11 soccer stars from the women’s 2019 World Cup team, 8 men’s NBA basketball players for a total of
    • 19 influencers
    • 9 mid-tier, 6 macro-tier, and 4 mega-influencers

Preview Of Influencers

Basketball:

Soccer:

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Time to add another ? to the collection. USA! USA! USA! ?? #FIFAWWC

A post shared by Hulu (@hulu) on

Themes

  • Hashtag use among influencers was consistent: #HuluHasLiveSports; #TeamHuluSellouts; #HuluSellouts; #ad; #HuluHasLiveSportsChallenge; #obviously—all featured prominently in the campaign
  • Almost every woman soccer player in the campaign uploaded four pieces of content—captions across posts followed the same or very similar templates
  • For the men’s posts, each uploaded video featured them at a mock Hulu press conference, having money thrown at them each time they said ‘Hulu has live sports’
  • The basketball players typically uploaded fewer posts, with the most being Lillard with three

Results

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I get paid to finish at the rim? #huluhaslivesports #Off$ea$on Workouts #HuluSellouts #ad

A post shared by De’Aaron Fox (@swipathefox) on

Social Reach

  • Instagram followers targeted: 17,118,200

Engagement

  • Likes: 1,406,595
  • Comments: 10,480
  • Views: 5,118,339
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 5.71%

Josh Okogie Makes It Rain

Minnesota Timberwolves player Josh Okogie is our first influencer to examine. One of the smaller examples, with a mid-tier following of 69K, the 20-year-old is featured at a faux conference. After signing a ‘contract’ money is thrown at him every time he says ‘Hulu has live sports’ in a humorous stunt.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hulu’s paying me every time I say “Hulu has Live Sports.” #hulusellouts #neversellout #exceptforhulu #huluhaslivesports #hulupaidme #sponseredpost #ad

A post shared by Josh Okogie (@callme_nonstop) on

Okogie’s post had the highest engagement on a post in the campaign with 19.69%. His metrics were similar to fellow player Khris Middleton, who starred in an identical video for his part and has 100K more followers. With 68,610 views, 13,351 likes, 253 comments, Okogie’s engagement rate was the highest of the campaign so far.

Emily Sonnett Shows Off Ball Juggling Skills

National women’s soccer team player Emily Sonnett engaged in a four-post campaign. Her highest-performing upload featured her juggling a soccer ball (with coffee in-hand) in the street while saying the campaign phrase.

Her caption embraced the humorous campaign message, declaring that she’s selling out and endorsing a Hulu charity donation scheme by mimicking her performance and posting their own videos. With 80,078 views, 11,312 likes, and 71 comments, Sonnett achieved her highest engagement rate of 13.54% with this upload. It’s also worth noting that Sonnett can boast the highest everyday engagement (12%, via SocialBlade) on Instagram out of all her teammates.

Joel Embiid Signs The Dotted Line On Sponsorship Contract

Embiid boasts the second-largest following of any of the influencers. He posted an image of himself with a prop Hulu sponsorship contract, with his name signed as ‘Joel “Hulu has live sports” Embiid’. His post features all the expected campaign hashtags and remains consistent with brand captioning found across most of the posts.

With humor the main component once again, Embiid uploaded two posts, the better performing of which the highest amount of likes and comments of anyone in the campaign so far. This is especially impressive considering he has 2.3M fewer followers than Lillard. With 220,577 likes and comments, he garnered an engagement rate of 6.36%, an impressive watermark for any mega-influencer.

Tobin Heath Has A Suitcase Full Of Cash

Next up is Sonnett’s club and national teammate Tobin Heath, who featured for Hulu in a quick ad of her opening a suitcase full of cash in her hotel room, along with a slightly more personalized caption saying she bleeds ‘red, white, blue, and GREEN.’

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

As of today, I bleed red, white, blue, and GREEN. Because Hulu is paying me to ? #HuluHasLiveSports #TeamHuluSellouts #HuluSellouts #ad #obviously

A post shared by tobin powell heath (@tobinheath) on

Heath has a substantial following of over half a million on Instagram, and all four of her sponsored posts performed well, with only one falling below 5% engagement. With 262,494 views, 44,903 likes, and 481 comments, she snapped up and engagement high of 8.83%.

Damian Lillard Gets Inked (Not Really)

Damian Lillard, the influencer for the campaign with the largest Instagram following of nearly 6M, starred in a notably high-production upload of the standard of a TV commercial. It featured him going to a tattoo parlor to have ‘Hulu has live sports’ inked on his arm, with a funny caption that said as much.

For his part in the campaign, Lillard posted three uploads to Instagram, all staying on-message with the campaign—all of them performing relatively poorly. This video, despite the obvious production quality, only achieved an engagement rate of 0.39%. His best-performing post, an image of him holding a Hulu sponsorship contract, got 75,859 likes and 812 comments for an engagement rate of 1.32%.

Takeaways

  • The soccer players had a higher average engagement rate with a 5.87% average across 43 posts
  • The basketball players had a slightly lower average of 5.18% (13 posts)
  • Smaller influencers, in general, once again showed that they can provide better engagement rates than their larger peers; though with fewer likes, comments, and views overall
  • Using mega-influencers can be hit-or-miss, depending on the campaign and the influencer, demonstrated by Embiid’s successful posts and Lillard’s low performance

Case Study: PlayStation Influencers Plug Into Virtual Reality Headset

playstation-influencers

Instagram & YouTube Influencer Marketing Case Study: PlayStation Marketing Teams Up With Tech & Gaming Influencers

For the most part, influencer marketing and gaming go hand-in-hand. Leading gaming influencers—whether they’re Twitch streamers, YouTubers, or stars at the top of professional esports—are becoming centerpieces of influence in a booming market. Gaming influencers are trusted by their fans to a strong degree, making them perfect candidates for brand endorsements.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed, least of all by brands and marketers looking to tap into that all-important Millennial demographic. You don’t need to look far to find influencers and creators of all disciplines being employed to promote various brands, from mobile games to chocolate to underwear.

playstation-influencer-bmxyo

PlayStation generally has its finger on the pulse when it comes to marketing and is no stranger to influencer marketing. With 18 million followers on its main Instagram and 38,000 followers on its regional Canadian account, it makes perfect sense to leverage the following and garner some positive engagement for the brand.

PlayStation Marketing Goes Small To Hit Big With Gaming Community

With buzz surrounding the announcement that Sony is currently working on a new gaming console to succeed the PS4, maintaining goodwill within the gaming influencer community will be a major objective in the run-up to any potential launch.

PlayStation VR, the company’s flagship virtual reality headset, remains high on the agenda as the company’s most important periphery. This campaign, aimed exclusively at a Canadian audience, leveraged smaller-tiered influencers—often employed by brands because of their propensity to drive higher relative engagement rates—to head up their push.

Goals

playstation-influencers-justin-tse

  • Increase awareness of the PlayStation VR headset
  • Drive engagement with its regional Canadian account
  • Use tech influencers to bridge the gap between tech audiences and gamers

Approach

  • Channels: Instagram and Youtube
  • Influencers: Canadian tech and gaming influencers, including mid-tier, micro-, and nano-influencers.

Preview Of Influencers

Themes

In keeping with longtime campaign messages that PlayStation has employed for several years, the themes of this effort reflect an emphasis on gamers and positive gaming experiences with their products:

playstation-influencers-canoopsy

  • With the exception of one, all the influencers uploaded two posts for the campaign.
  • All but one of the posts were images, with one short, looped video being the exception.
  • Influencers used the hashtags #PlayStationVR, #ITriedPSVR, and #PSVR, while also tagging @PlayStationCA.
  • Each marked their posts as #sponsored or #ad or used Instagram’s paid partnership tag.
  • Captions ranged from short blurbs showing off the headset to longer captions featuring brief VR game reviews.

Results

Combined Results: 9 posts total

Social Reach

  • Instagram followers targeted: 200,894
  • YouTube subscribers targeted: 941,882

Instagram Engagement

  • Likes: 12,728
  • Comments: 230
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 3.64%

YouTube Engagement

  • Views: 28,322
  • Likes: 1,324
  • Comments: 368
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 3.19%

Karl Conrad Shows Off Snazzy System

Karl Conrad, a YouTuber boasting half a million subscribers on the platform, is known for his vlogs demonstrating all kinds of tech—from phones to TVs to laptops. In his highest-performing Instagram post, Conrad shows fans a custom orange PS4 with a VR headset in full view.

playstation-influencers-karl-conrad

In the caption, he praises the large catalog of games available to him and asks his 72,000 followers what their favorite VR game is. He incorporates all the associated PlayStation tags, in addition to an #ad tag at the beginning. He garnered 3,490 likes and 117 comments for an impressive engagement rate of 5%.

Tyler Stalman Imagines Childlike Wonder

Tyler Stalman, a professional photographer approaching 200,000 followers on YouTube, is a tech vlogger who places an emphasis on reviewing camera gear in addition to hosting his own podcast.

playstation-influencers-tyler-stalman

In his post, Stalman wonders what his 12-year-old self would have thought of the VR headset in a positive reflection of the tech. He again uses the hashtags consistent with campaign along with a #sponsored tag. Stalman got 2,536 likes and 19 comments from his 53,200 Instagram followers for an engagement rate of 4.8%.

The Girly Geek Straps On VR For Fans

The Girly Geek, also known as Erin, is a writer and blogger is a nano-influencer with an Instagram following of just under 10,000. She frequently posts about games and gaming culture for her fans.

playstation-influencers-the-girly-geek

Her post features her trying out the VR with a copy of Skyrim in-hand. Her caption, like the others, is personalized, with her talking about enjoying the experience she’s had playing the game in VR. She is consistent with the campaign hashtags and singles out @PlayStationCA with a ‘thank-you.’ With 354 likes and 17 comments, she accrued an engagement rate of 3.8%.

Conrad Shows Subscribers Custom Setup In YouTube Vlog

Two of the influencers took the campaigns to their YouTube channels (the other being Justin Tse), with Karl Conrad giving his fans a vlog about his custom PlayStation and his VR setup.

He again touted the extensive library and mentioned the sponsorship with PlayStation, linking to the official VR site page. With 500,000 subscribers, his view count for the video of 9,725 is relatively low. It’s worth noting, however, that the total likes and comments on the video was 890, meaning an engagement rate among viewers of the video of 9.2%. In terms of average video views though, he performed well under his normal range of 50,000 views per video.

Takeaways

  • PlayStation marketing primarily employed tech and gaming influencers for the campaign to garner interest in their flagship piece of gaming tech.
  • PlayStation influencers were all mid-tier or lower, suggesting an attempt by PlayStation to drive solid engagement at a smaller scale than larger influencer marketing campaigns.
  • Tech influencers often have strong authority among fans for their knowledge of peripheries, making them the ideal cheerleaders for PlayStation’s VR set campaign.
  • Cross-channel promotion on Instagram and YouTube proved to be valuable in showcasing the PlayStation VR to a wider and more varied audience.