How productions create greater ROI for influencer campaigns

IMA Influencer Marketing Agency Production Event

An insider’s perspective

by Anna Toemp

By Anna Toemp, Senior Account Manager

It's been a wild ride over the past ten years. We've seen more and more businesses shift towards influencer marketing, because they’ve been able to see the proof for themselves--in the results.

At IMA our part is challenging the status quo--ensuring we can partner with our clients to make influencer marketing campaigns that are even stronger, earn more content, and continue to increase engagement.

We know how easy it can be to stick to the safe route. Posts and a straight forward collaboration mean results that are easy to forecast. But like I said, this is where we like to challenge how things are 'normally done'.

With a bit of trust from our clients, we've taken educated risks, which is just the kind of thinking we share with Sir Martin Sorrell, our new parent company, MediaMonks (S4 Capital), Executive Chairman. This is in the form of utilising productions as part of a complete influencer brand strategy, moving the needle beyond just impressions, engagements, views or clicks. Here’s how.

Earned Content

Time and time again, this is one of the strongest drivers for earned content in influencer campaigns. Feedback from influencers is always that they enjoy being involved with the brand in a more integrated way--whether that’s going on a trip for a once-in-a-lifetime launch event or just going behind-the-scenes.

We worked with Under Armour on #FindYourOnePercent to launch a new product, Rush, and invited influencers to not one but two events--FIBO in Cologne and a bespoke training session in London to test the new product. This meant that influencers created 2934% more content than expected.

Pro tip: we always look to amplify earned content during productions by creating beautiful and often one-off spaces and experience, helping to increased content-creation by influencer attendees. Like Zilingo's #ZilingoEscape campaign. By customising everything we could get our hands-on, down to the influencers’ bathrobes (if you don’t believe it see for yourself here ), it created our most impactful campaign of 2018.

Increased Engagement

Alongside all the extra content created, influencers’ audiences become more engaged too. Able to get a glimpse of their favourite influencer, who is creating more organic-feeling content, which understandably resonates more with audiences.

Beverage brand, Malibu, have been working with influencers to amplify their brand message #BecauseSummer through an influencer-only event, Malibu Games for the past two years. This year, 31 influencers from all around the world came together to participate in a bespoke, actioned-packed series of events in the Domenican Republic.

We sourced that celebrity-sized influencers (with audience sizes well into the millions) that saw engagement rates of over 13%, where it’s typical to have between 3-6% with followings of this size.

Increased Brand Loyalty

As a side effect of earned content and increased engagement, it’s recognised industry-wide that campaigns with productions increase brand loyalty from influencers as well as their audiences. One such example is influencer powerhouse, Revolve.

The fashion brand has a community of well over 2,500, including many of the most influential global social media celebrities, like Chiara Ferragni, Negin Mirsalehi and Aimee Song (the latter of which they’ve recently launched a namesake clothing line with, the launch was a production in Lisbon, Portugal, with influencers).

Their collective of influencers remains loyal to the brand, so you see the same roster of influencers continuing to post outside their paid for partnership (over 75%) as most do not indicate that they're sponsored posts. The founders have also disclosed that they’ve managed to engage and keep this loyal millennial audience by moving away from traditional advertising to influencer marketing.

Campaign Longevity

Lastly, we think it’s important to highlight the longevity of influencer campaigns that have productions. Often the most scrutinised part, as brands are, understandably, constantly seeking the most value for campaigns so it can seem frivolous to invest a production.

We’d like to counter this because, with effective planning, we’ve been able to create content for an entire season from one production. From beautiful product photography for e-commerce or behind the scenes videos for a brand’s social channels, so the value of a production far outweighs the cost.

And don’t forget all the influencer content that can be leveraged by your brand. For example, this summer we took influencers to stunning vacation destinations enjoy the new Cook’s Club hotels, of course all of the influencers went above and beyond, creating masses of content from the partnership that can be used by the brand well after the campaign.

We even saw examples of influencers creating Stories Highlights and bespoke YouTube videos all about the trip, many completely outside of the partnership. And these types of content have longevity beyond the production too--Highlights stick around longer than the 24 hour period of Stories on Instagram; and YouTube has SEO benefits and stick around longer compared to traditional Instagram posts which ‘go down the feed’ after time.

It’s easy to see why we’re advocates for productions as part of a healthy influencer marketing mix and, as a by-product, hopefully we’ve challenged your perceptions too. You know where to find us if you’ve been influenced.