As brands evaluate how best to utilize social influencer marketing in the new year, we take a quick look at what other big brands have recently done and have slated for their forthcoming campaigns. The close of 2015 saw the rise of two big trends amongst many others: 1) how marketers of all industry verticals are advertising on popular YouTuber channels (e.g. the latest installment of Hunger Games marketing with top YouTuber Kandee Johnson, for more dedicated examples see our post here), and 2) how mainstream, traditional entertainment is vying for a piece of social online traffic by featuring prominent digital influencers in mainstream media (for examples, see here).
Although one-off collaborations will continue to proliferate in 2016, many brands are opting to create longer-term campaigns centered around select content creators who best espouse each brand’s messaging and most importantly drive performance (profitable engagement and measurable conversions vs. sheer vanity metrics — for more detail, see our post “Why Social Media Engagement Matters For Sponsored Content”). If there is any remaining ambiguity heading into 2016 on whether or not social media influencers are a formidable force when it comes to consumer/audience appeal, “star power,” and their sheer ability to drive sales, these 2015 trending articles from Variety and Forbes will give marketers an accurate assessment of the influencer marketing industry.
Influencer marketing has grown at an unprecedented, exponential rate (see Google trends data here) for brands and marketers due to its ability to provide viable solutions for both branding and direct-response objectives when executed properly. To get an inside glimpse of what the future of social influencer marketing holds for both brands and social media influencers, look no further than these next level brand collaborations:
Turkish Airlines first made waves (and won YouTube’s award of the decade) with their video starring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi. To follow up with this feat, Turkish Airlines next opted to send ten top YouTubers (including Casey Neistat and Steve Booker) to Turkey in order to drive awareness and engagement through each influencer’s travel vlog chronicles.
Now, Turkish Airlines is slated to produce branded content featuring top social influencers in their original film, Non-Transferable. Not only does this branded content endeavor with creators provide relevancy to each influencer’s audience, but as a branding initiative, Turkish airlines understands the importance of creating content that is intrinsically shareable.
In 2015, Marriott created multitudes of standout influencer marketing campaigns starring top YouTubers. In addition to a viral video hosted by popular YouTubers, a digital ad campaign featuring YouTuber Grace Helbig (WSJ), Marriott just launched their web series for their Moxy Hotels featuring short skits with YouTubers, Taryn Southern, Flula, and Mamrie Hart amongst others.
Similar to Turkish Airlines’ social influencer marketing strategy, Marriott understands the importance of branded content with top digital creators for brand visibility. With their large, multiplatform audiences, brands collaborating with popular influencers are able to hyper-target specific audience demographics and buying personas with the added boost of amplified social.
Castrol’s social influencer marketing campaign with top tech YouTuber Austin Evans represents both the trend of longer-term, in-depth collaborations (see the first of Castrol’s collaboration here) and how brands are advertising on the most popular YouTuber channels. The sponsored video features a behind-the-scenes look at how a Castrol-powered 500HP Ford Mustang drifts while the driver sees only a simulation through his virtual reality helmet. Evans, who sits shotgun, expertly narrates and provides the consumer affinity persona and messaging to over 1 million subscribers.