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To reach diverse audiences, trust the influencer

Influencers can help brands reach diverse audiences, but only if marketers are willing to trust them.

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

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@Enyioma /

A panel of leaders from various parts of Google and YouTube’s ad businesses spoke at IAB NewFronts today, offering tips on how brands can better leverage influencer partnerships to reach diverse audiences.

Calling YouTube “the OG of the creator community,” IAB’s Sheryl Goldstein led the virtual discussion and talked about the importance of collaboration when it comes to working with influencers.

They are such an important channel for reaching consumers in digital marketing. Ipsos recently reported that 57% of consumers say their purchasing behavior is influenced by the creators they follow, noted Johanna Lara, head of sales strategy and programs at YouTube BrandConnect.

Influencer marketing requires trust

Many brands get tripped up because they want to retain control of the creative produced in an influencer campaign, Lara added, playing a video message from Raven Elyse, a YouTube influencer with 1.8 million subscribers, who emphasized that point in her advice to marketers.

“Let the creator be the creator and be creative and have as much freedom as you can give them with the creative concepts behind it,” Elyse said. “I’ve spent a lot of time learning what works best on my channel, what my viewers want to see what they’re interested in how to grab their attention. … In order for me to do those things I have to have creative freedom in the ways in which I’m doing my content.”

Re-evaluate your KPIs

Influencers can also be a source of valuable insight into the ways that diverse audiences want to hear from brands, noted Paula Castro, multicultural creative business partner at Google.

“A lot of the times what we think works, and what works for a general market audience might not necessarily work for a multicultural audience,” she said, adding that marketers should even expect to have different key performance indicators (KPIs) for their multicultural marketing campaigns.

She offered the example of makeup brand Bobbi Brown, which analyzed 12,000 beauty creators and how they talked about their beauty routines. They found that the creators referred to foundation by its color, not shape, whereas Bobbi Brown had been using the word “shape” in its marketing campaign.

That insight helped the brand change how they were speaking about makeup to better match the ways their audience thinks about it.

Make long-term investments

To that end, the panel’s main advice to marketers was to treat influencer partnerships as deep relationships rather than one-off collaborations.

“I think brands should stop chasing every individual trend,” said Earnest Pettie, trends insights lead at YouTube, “and pursue deep and abiding engagement with creators. Then they’ll always be ahead of all the trends.”

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