With budgets for influencer marketing increasing year-over-year, brands and marketers are wondering what the next big type of campaign is for the industry.
This brings us to influencer events; an increasingly popular type of campaign in which influencers are invited to exclusive gatherings, getaways, or mainstream events in order to promote products and services for brands.
The primary appeal of these campaigns lies in the influencer A-listers which power them, brought together by brands looking to maximize potential reach by getting big-hitters on social media in the same room. Why this trend has picked up more recently and the different kinds of influencer marketing events you can expect to see is what we investigate below.
These are the types of influencer events that are among the more established in the industry. Makeup brands are keen to get influencers in the same posts for extra bang for their buck. They often have the means to bring together mega influencers to feature in sponsored posts.
Influencer marketing events can be extravagant. Tarte Cosmetics, for example, are well known for gifting their sponsored influencers elaborate all-expenses-paid trips to Bangkok or Hawaii, to name a couple. Naturally, these trips lend themselves well to video formats beyond Instagram, with YouTube beauty vloggers enjoying the benefits too.
Similarly, influencer events in fashion is a common occurrence, as you might expect. You’ve got the usual suspects, such as Revolve Festival at Coachella—an event organized by the online retailer which attracts some of the biggest names in the industry.
Such was the popularity of this year’s event, Revolve rented out an entire hotel, hosting 140 influencers. Chief Brand Officer Raissa Gerona refers to it as their “Super Bowl”, with co-founder Michael Mente noting it’s a bigger event for the brand than Cyber Monday. Revolve’s influencer marketing events don’t end there either, with the brand noted for flying influencers all over the world for fashion shoots.
Other brands are getting in on the act too. Outdoor clothing company Backcountry recently hosted a 4-day influencer event in Moab, Utah, for sponsored creators. From climbing to yoga, some of the biggest influencers of the outdoors and travel scenes were invited to the event, giving Backcountry a ton of exposure.
Fitness brands have been comfortable with influencer marketing as long as any fashion or cosmetic retailer. Companies like GymShark lead the way with gathering the industry’s biggest stars to act as their ambassadors.
As opposed to other industries, GymShark’s gatherings, as with other well-known fitness brands like Myprotein, often involve meet-ups or challenges, mixing influencers with the public for exposure.
This strategy is evident with other brands too, such as Lululemon and their large-scale events promoted on Instagram. Their ambassadors can typically be found heading up smaller events like hosted classes. There is certainly an emphasis across fitness brands on more interaction with the public than aforementioned beauty or fashion brands.
Gaming lends itself perfectly to influencer events. Large mainstream events, like TwitchCon, provide the perfect opportunity for brands to pair up star influencers of the gaming industry for big promotions.
It’s worth noting that many of the brands who engage with gaming events are non-gaming brands, like Hershey’s and Doritos—an indication of the mainstream appeal of gaming influencers.
In a sense opposite to fashion influencer events, fans flock to massive stadiums to watch their favorite gamers streaming at events.
Larger mainstream brands are keen to make influencers, particularly top streamers, the main attractions at expos. Expect to see this trend continuing at gaming conventions by partnering top pro gamers and brands for events like the upcoming Evo 2019 and BlizzCon 2019.
Aside from influencers who distinctly fall into categories, there are also campaigns launched by brands not necessarily seeking to target a very specific audience. These will typically involve bloggers who don’t fall so readily into one industry or another. Lifestyle influencers are a good example of this and are popular with brands for their wide appeal across a range of sought-after demographics.
There are some influencer events that don’t really fit into any of the established events that we might be used to seeing. Instagram’s Kindness Prom, for example, invited influencers to an event in Venice, California to raise awareness of cyberbullying. It also follows the company’s enhanced bullying feature, a new algorithm which aims to combat bad behavior on the platform.
There are several considerations to make before organizing an influencer marketing event. The elephant in the room is the cost. This, of course, depends on the industry and the type of event needed. Those Tarte getaways, for example, were estimated to set them back a cool $300,000. Be prepared to set aside an appropriate budget to pull off an influencer event.
You likely know the answer to this one already, but if you want to attract influencers to your event you’re going to have to pay up to get them to attend. Don’t rule out inviting smaller influencers to your event (especially if they’re local), as they often provide great ROI and are eager to get involved.
Once attendance is sorted, be prepared to foot the bill for other expenses too—hotels, flights, activities, food and drink. Be prepared to have swag bags on standby to keep them interested and engaged.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the biggest influencer events and meet-ups are led by the biggest brands. They are typically invite-only for influencers and can be very exclusive even in those spheres.
These events will likely continue to be headed by big brands; particularly the more extravagant ones, but events of all sizes are likely to increase in popularity. Expect to see this trend increase in popularity as brands look to improve their strategies and look for new avenues to expand their influencer marketing output.