WILL INFLUENCER MARKETING OVERSHADOW THE CONVENTIONAL MARKETING IN PAKISTAN?
Influencers yield a ton of power. They stimulate change just by affecting the purchasing decisions of their audience. Social media influencers are the people who have gained prominence on various social media platforms, namely YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Tik Tok.
WHAT IS INFLUENCER MARKETING?
A subdivision of digital marketing, influencer marketing is the most cost-effective marketing strategy for brands, notably small-scale businesses. It usually involves the same purpose as marketing and digital marketing:
- To create brand awareness.
- To effectively reach the target audience.
- To generate more leads.
- To increase sales.
The content creators build a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular niche, for example, fashion, traveling, cooking, tech, or lifestyle. They generate an empire of dedicated followers by regularly posting about a topic on their preferred platforms. What follows after are partnerships and advertising.
With the spur of digitization and increase in the use of social media in Pakistan, the social media market has seen exponential growth in the last few years. Due to the higher user engagement, the advertisers use the data analysis tools provided by this unconventional industry to effectively gauge the performance of their products and ideas to the consumers, as well as devise practical strategies for promotion techniques and target marketing. It gave birth to influencer culture and marketing in Pakistan.
WHY HIRE INFLUENCERS?
Former chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever Keith Weed said, “At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands,” He further mentioned, “Their power comes from a deep, authentic, and direct connection with people.”
The consumer brands tap this direct and authentic connection by sponsoring the influencer. Thus, a social media content creator becomes a bridge between products or ideas and the targeted consumer.
The influencers are selling their lifestyle to the niched audience. The audience also trusts the influencer and is more likely to create a positive association with the brands.
Moreover, the content creators are more in line with the latest trends. A consumer brand that is targeting the younger generation is more likely to hire an influencer to create original content in collaboration with the brand. It does not only provide exposure for the brands but is also aligned with the SEO strategies.
BUILDING AN AUDIENCE
Influencer marketing is emerging as an effective way for brands to advertise their products. Advertisers have noticed the surge of active users on social media, especially during the pandemic, and netizens would prefer to hear about the brand from someone they trust. The content creators produce content around the product or brands that they have endorsed. For instance, clothing or makeup brand will send their products to fashion bloggers to review their brands.
The bloggers will insert themselves into the conversation about the brand or the products and will eventually impress and persuade their loyal fanbase to buy the respective product. The tech industry is also benefitting from the influencers boom in 2021, as these businesses usually sponsor well-known and tech-savvy influencers on various platforms to review their newly launched product in order to boost sales.
INFLUENCER MARKETING vs. CONVENTIONAL MARKETING: WHICH ONE IS MORE EFFECTIVE
According to the research conducted by Profit, whenever a brand launches a campaign solely with social media content creators “the return on marketing investment was three times higher than the aggregate cost of media investment on products at a discounted price and 1.1 times higher on products at full price.”
Influencer marketing introduces third-party endorsements in digital marketing strategies, which has turned out to be worthwhile for both large-scale businesses and SMEs. The content creators use their own production cost to post content on social media, which gives advertisers room to breathe in their tight budgets.
Furthermore, unlike conventional marketing, the advertisers don’t have to pay the social media platforms to run their ads. Instead, they directly pay the influencers for their ad campaigns.
The influencers also have creative freedoms as they tend to negate the restrictions imposed by the conventional media. They communicate the products and services in a more relatable way to their audiences. The AMAs, giveaways, and discounts offered by brands through the creator, generate more leads and increase brands’ overall ROI.
HOW INFLUENCERS ARE PAID?
The question arises, how do brands select an ideal influencer for their campaign, and how much are they paid. A formal employee of a PR agency based in Lahore discussed the criteria of hiring the right influencer for advertising, with Tribune news.
According to him, PR categorizes influencers into three tiers based on certain factors: “the number of their followers, the quality of their content, their post engagement and their outreach.” He further maintained that tier 1 influencers, who create good content and have huge post engagement, can make up to Rs100,000–200,000 per campaign.
Tier 2 influencers, those with good content but lesser followers, can make somewhere between Rs60,000–80,000 per campaign. Whereas, tier 3 influencers, the beginners with engaging content can earn from Rs10,000 to 25,000.
FUTURE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING IN PAKISTAN
Marketing experts believe that influencer marketing will be worth $15bn by 2022 as compared to $9.7 billion in 2020. More than half of the marketers are spending more than 20% of their budget on influencer content. With the arrival of Pakistani-based media investment companies like Bradri, Walee, and DEN, influencer marketing is anticipated to be valued from $15 million and $25 million in 2021.
Islamabad based startup Walee has a network of 50,000 influencers and micro-influencers and has registered more than 5,000 brands. In 2018, Coca-Cola teamed up with influential Pakistani digital artists for user-generated co-branding campaigns.
Influencer marketing is an alternative source of branding and digital marketing with greater engagement than regular commercials. It has become a lucrative marketing strategy for brands and content creators alike. Social media influencers have the potential to influence the consumers’ attitude towards a particular brand or product, which consequently profits the brand. With influencers becoming a primary source of innovative trends, it offers brands enormous and unique opportunities to reach their targeted audience.
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