Teri’s Take: Adidas’ Success with New Instagram Feature and More Proof that Influencer Marketing Works

Fri May 31 2019
Terilyn Walker

We’re back with our take on this month’s top influencer marketing and social media news. Keep reading for Instagram’s latest shopping feature, learn how Adidas is driving sales on Instagram, and find more stats that prove influencer marketing works.

The Article: Instagram Will Now Let Creators and Influencers Sell Items Directly

The Summary

Recently, at Facebook’s F8 conference, the company revealed that creators on Instagram will now be able to tag items to sell them directly to people viewing their posts and Stories. This feature is available for brands that are a part of the new checkout beta. For now, creators will not make a commission on these sales. Instead, the feature is designed to help decrease the number of repeat questions that creators get about what they’re wearing or using and where to buy the products. Creators will also receive insights with shopping posts, which may help influencers leverage better deals with brands on a long-term basis.

Our Take

Over the past few years, Instagram has made it much easier for consumers to shop and for brands to track direct sales from the channel. This new addition to Instagram’s suite of shopping tools unlocks yet another way that brands can leverage content creators’ influence over their audience’s purchasing decisions. However, because influencers are not earning a commission on these sales, my prediction is that many will not use the feature without paid promotion. Why? Because when an influencer doesn’t link what they’re wearing in a post, their comments will be filled with dozens of people asking what it is. While repeated questions might be annoying, more comments mean more engagement for the influencer, which then leads to greater exposure (thanks, algorithm!).

So, if your brand wants to try out this feature when it is fully launched, include shoppable tags into your collaboration guidelines. Also, keep in mind, direct sales should never be the only data point you measure when calculating an influencer’s ROI as people may complete a purchase off of Instagram or at a later time.

The Article: ‘It’s Having a Positive Impact’: Instagram is Driving Adidas’ Online Sales

The Summary

To be a part of the test group for Instagram’s new checkout feature, Adidas pays the company a fee to sell their products directly on the app. But according to Adidas’ CEO Kasper Rorsted, it’s a price that has been worth paying so far. In the first three months of 2019, online sales jumped 40% year over year, which Rorsted has attributed largely to Instagram. Selling directly on the Instagram app encourages people to shop more, making them less likely to abandon products since they don’t have to leave one app for a separate site. Rorsted added that the new feature has allowed the brand to dramatically increase its mobile conversions, an area it was previously struggling with.

Our Take

For many direct-to-consumer brands, Instagram is the biggest referral channel. With the new Instagram checkout feature, brands should expect to see even more mobile sales. However, as exciting as this feature is, some brands are concerned that directing consumers to a third party site to make a purchase robs them from the behavioral data they would otherwise get from the consumers who completed their buyers’ journey from discovery to purchase on their own site.

Adidas is among one of the 20 brands currently testing out this feature, and it seems like the returns outweigh any of the data loss. In fact, Ouai, another Instagram Checkout beta tester, is using what sales data they do get from Instagram in addition to engagements to determine what type of content influences purchases the most. Jen Atkin, the founder of Ouai, has found increased sales on Instagram from influencer content. Atkin explains that “So many customers find us on Instagram and refer back to our profile to learn about our products. Without having to change our approach to organic content, which relies heavily on user-generated content and inspirational imagery, it’s now seamless for our followers to buy something they love at the moment of inspiration.”

The Article: Infographic: Nearly Half of Americans Make Purchases Based on Influencer Recommendations

The Summary

As if you needed any more proof that influencer marketing works, new research from Toluna shows that while a skeptical 30.4% of American consumers don’t trust influencer recommendations, nearly half (49.2%) follow influencers on social media, 44% state they do so for product recommendations, and 49.3% have bought something based on a recommendation from an influencer. This article includes an infographic with other notable statistics from the study.

Our Take

In the first couple years of our company, we spent most of our efforts explaining to brands what influencer marketing was and why they needed to do it. Fast forward five years later, and it would be odd if a direct-to-consumer brand wasn’t doing influencer marketing in some capacity. We’ve worked with brands across the board from health and wellness to health insurance. Of course, fashion, beauty, fitness, and food are obvious contenders for successful influencer marketing. However, we’re interested to see what other industries will begin to adopt this marketing strategy as its effectiveness continues to rise. Perhaps there will be a big push by B2B companies or other less expected business types and industries?