According to The Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry grew to $16.4 billion in 2022 (Source: The State of Influencer Marketing 2022). Influencer marketing strategy is at the top of marketers’ thoughts. However, it’s not all rosy at the top.
Despite its successes, influencer marketing – as we know and experience it today – does have its drawbacks.
The Unfulfilled Promise of Influencers
It is undeniably true that influencer marketing has been a mini-revolution, redefining product discovery in the social media age. But has influencer marketing done enough to establish itself as a full-funnel solution?
Startups have been at the forefront of developing influencer marketing campaigns that make good use of influencers to drive product discovery. For established brands and retailers that already spend a lot across various platforms and channels, influencer marketing needs to deliver a bigger overall impact that transcends mere discovery.
One of the most significant drawbacks facing the influencer marketing industry is calculating ROI. Most metrics used for tracking influencer campaigns do a good job at reflecting reach and engagement, but do not offer much insight into conversions and short- or long-term impact on sales.
Video commerce is the game-changer that takes the reach and engagement that influencer marketing offers and converts them into what matters the most: sales.
Scaling the Walled Gardens
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that brands and influencers are both at the mercy of social media platforms. These walled gardens dictate not only the direction that livestreams on their platforms may take but offer little in terms of data; customer data collected rarely, if ever, gets passed on to brands.
To harness the power of influencer marketing, brands must move influencers away from the walled gardens to the brands’ own digital properties. After all, most online purchases happen on the open web; social media platforms account for only 4.4% of all eCommerce transactions in the US.
- On a brand’s own website, influencers can do what they do best without having consumers distracted by anything else – something which is inescapable on social platforms.
- Video is already the preferred format for Gen Z for researching and influencing purchase decisions; shoppable videos and live shopping let brands make the most of what their influencer partners can offer.
Firework partnered with Heinz for their first-ever Halloween pop-up, which saw the event’s influencer hosts generate over 16 million impressions across platforms, with a 14X engagement rate compared to Facebook and 18X compared to Instagram.
This was possible because even though the livestream was anchored on Heinz’s website, Firework helped Heinz connect with its target audience with a media distribution & simulcast strategy.
Don’t Just Influence. Sell!
The truth is, if your brand is leveraging influencer marketing for product discovery only, then it is missing out big time.
One of the key strengths of influencer marketing is that it helps builds a human connection between brands and consumers. And it does so in a way not really possible through other avenues. To have your influencer marketing strategy halt at product discovery alone does a massive disservice to your brand.
Instead, use video commerce to flatten the customer funnel. A livestream shopping event with the right influencers on hosting duties does wonders for eliminating the consideration time between intent and purchase.
American Girl partnered with Firework for their 2022 Girl of the Year livestream, hosted by figure skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski and featuring Olympic figure skater Alyssa Liu.
The American Girl livestream registered 250K+ views (live and replays) with a 11% CTR that defied expectations and represented the high purchase intent that American Girl witnessed during the livestream.
Consumers are also far more likely to interact with livestream events when hosted by their favorite influencers. This gives brands a treasure trove of real-time data that can be used to not only build a better audience profile but also shape future marketing efforts.
Doubling Down on Live Commerce
Live commerce is thriving in the US. According to Activate and eMarketer, live commerce sales in the US alone hit $17 billion in 2022, and will rise to $55 billion by 2026.
As more brands leverage video commerce, it can be increasingly difficult for your brand to stand out from the crowd. However, a smart influencer marketing strategy that leverages live shopping can do just that.
Instead of treating video commerce and influencer marketing as parallel strategies, marketers need to incorporate influencers within their video commerce efforts. This is especially true for livestream shopping – influencers will do well on shoppable videos, but it’s live shopping events where their impact will truly be felt to the max.
Partnering With the Right Live Shopping Platform
The ideal live shopping partner will excel equally at the live streaming and the shopping aspect. Firework has helped numerous brands, retailers, and publishers set up and integrate video commerce into their respective properties.
What Firework Offers
- Livestream simulcast across platforms while keeping the brand’s website as the core focus
- All the behind-the-scenes, technical heavy lifting, allowing brands and influencers to focus on the creative bits
- Success Partners who leverage their expertise and know-how to provide brands with goal-oriented strategies
- In-Video Checkout solution that lets customers build their cart or make purchases during the livestream, without leaving the media player
- Creation Cloud – powered by AI editing – for creating the perfect short, vertical videos at scale
The Wrap Up
2023 is very much going to be the year of creator-led commerce. And livestream shopping will play a critical role in how brands shape their influencer marketing strategy.