Teri’s Take: TikTok’s New Shopping Feature & the Death of Influencer Marketing?
It’s the end of the month, and that means we’re back with a recap of the last four weeks of social media and influencer marketing news. Read on to learn about TikTok’s new in-app shopping feature, why “likes” are no longer the influencer marketing success metric to track, and why Instagram saves hold so much more power.
TikTok just launched a new e-commerce feature called Hashtag Challenge Plus, which allows users to shop for products without leaving the app. Users participate in the sponsored challenges to show off their favorite products from a brand, or take part in a viral trend. In addition to creating and viewing videos featuring the brand’s sponsored hashtag, a separate tab features an in-app experience where products from the campaign can be purchased within TikTok itself.
In recent months, Tiktok has stepped up as an incredible way for brands to interact with a young, engaged audience. After taking notes from Instagram’s shoppable post feature, it has become the newest social media platform to encourage consumers to shop, allowing brands to generate and track direct sales.
Kroger, the first to try TikTok’s new in-app shopping feature, worked with four TikTokers who showed off their dorm room makeovers with the hashtag #TransformUrDorm. Kroger knows that back-to-school season is a time filled with excitement and nerves. And in order to compete with retailers like Amazon or Target, they had to inject authenticity and a sense of community into their campaign.
Kroger leveraged school-aged influencers to speak to their peers who are also headed to college on a platform that they resonate with. The hashtag encouraged others to create their own TikToks showing off their dorms, only amplifying the campaign’s reach. While we don’t know sales figures from the campaign, we do know that the hashtag has seen 477 million views from the influencers as well as their followers, who have created their own content.
We’ve all heard that Instagram is testing the removal of likes. Now, success metrics for Instagram feed posts are moving away from public likes in favor of the private “saves” metric instead. Saves are also a key signal for how the Instagram algorithm works, as the more saves you get on a post, the more Instagram will show it to people in the algorithm. Saves enable users to create a personalized library of posts they like, and shows brands and creators that this content is of value, letting users come back to this content at a later date.
Removing visible likes on Instagram correlates to the industry’s shift in focus away from the superficiality of influencer marketing and instead towards authenticity in the content that we create and engage with.
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, explained: “We don’t want Instagram to feel like a competition. We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people they care about.”
Instagram likes only tell brands a portion of the story. When someone double taps on an IG post, it could be because they like the person or because the picture is visually pleasing – not necessarily because they like your brand. On the other hand, when a user takes the step to save an image, it says a lot more.
If you look to influencers for recipes or fashion advice for example, I’m sure you have a stockpile of saved images on your Instagram ready for the next time you throw a dinner party or have an excuse to dress up. 55% of people make a purchase after seeing something on social media. But four times as many people will make a purchase eventually rather than immediately. By tracking saves, you’re able to measure purchase intent.
In order to get ahead of the changes on Instagram, when creating your collaboration terms, start advising influencers to encourage their audience to save a post for later — especially if you’re selling a higher ticket item with a longer sales funnel.
The influencer economy is far from fizzling out, despite the endless talk of fraud and scandals in the industry. Following Instagram’s hidden likes test, many agencies and brands expect to see a declining influencer economy. However, likes are not the only arbiter of success. Did a consumer “like” the influencer or the brand? There is no way to tell.
Now, brands need to rethink their influencer partnerships and compensation models, re-evaluating the true metrics that drive the business and optimizing toward them. Metrics such as purchase intent, brand awareness, and brand affinity should be deployed so that influencer marketing can be compared properly to other marketing channels.
It seems like with every change in the social media landscape, someone claims the death of influencer marketing is near. While influencer marketing is nowhere near its deathbed — in fact most brands continue to increase their budget — the strategies that lead to a successful program are constantly evolving.
If you want to keep up, you’ve got to adapt with the industry.
At AspireIQ, we’ve always believed that follower count and engagement were not the end all be all when it comes to influencer marketing success and ROI. Here are just a few more accurate success metrics to track:
- Content value: If you are repurposing influencer content in your marketing channels, chances are you’re saving thousands of dollars on content creation. This in itself is one of the most valuable aspects of influencer marketing
- Brand affinity: Affinity is the connection between a brand and consumers. Software, such as AspireIQ, can automatically measure this for you. But if you’re doing it manually, you can measure it by running surveys or by auditing organic mentions, comments and user generated content online to determine what people are saying about your brand
- Sales attribution: The majority of the time, people don’t make purchases right away. Instead, they see a product on social media and keep it top of mind for later. In order to track sales attribution, rather than direct sales, perform post-checkout surveys to determine how people learn about your brand. Or, look for increases in sales for at least 3 weeks after your influencer campaign has launched
- Purchase intent: Clicks to your website or shopping page signify an intent to purchase. Features like Instagram swipe ups make it easier to track how people are coming to your website. But also use Google Trends to see if searches for your brand increase during your campaign
- Instagram “saves”: As stated above, users “save” posts they like in order to come back to it at a later date. That’s why “saves” are a great way to measure purchase intent