Influencers on Product Placement

October 4, 2018 - 12:00pm
By: 
Gabriela Mata

We’ve all seen it: the obvious product label conveniently placed in the shot. The camera pans over it casually, but we’ve already seen the commercial. In the famous satirical product placement scene in Wayne’s World, Wayne says, “Contract or no, I will not bow to any sponsor,” while conveniently holding a box from Pizza Hut. The rest of the scene bounces from product to product as commercially as possible. That’s the thing though. We’re used to seeing it on TV and film and more recently on social media. Celebrities and influencers on social media have built a trust with their followers. They’re essentially the cool best friend that knows about everything first. Social media is just a new medium to get your product out there and use the power of suggestion to get it purchased.

As a company, you can take advantage of a partnership like this with great returns. On average, every dollar spent on an influencer will see a return on investment of $18-21. Moving forward with researching which influencer would work best for you means asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does my brand fit into theirs?
  • Do they participate in sponsored posts?
  • Is their engagement natural and authentic?
  • Is their following real?
  • What is my budget?
  • What are my expectations?    

Posting

If you’ve been on Instagram lately, chances are you’ve seen a beautifully staged photo of a person with a product placed strategically in the background. If they’ve done it correctly, the post should look similar to the rest of their feed. It should feel organic and natural, but most of the time it’s obvious that the post is sponsored—it’s heavily staged and feels unnatural to their feed. Followers often overlook this if the influencer is transparent about monetizing or if sponsored posts are rare.

That wasn’t the case with blogger, Scarlett London. In late August she posted on Instagram a picture of her bed holding a cup of tea, with breakfast in bed and Listerine conveniently placed beside her bed. While it doesn’t sound too bad, people started examining the picture a lot closer. The “pancakes” were tortillas and her cup of tea was empty, leading people to call out Instagram as “a ridiculous lie factory made to make us all feel inadequate.”

With Instagram hitting more than 1 billion monthly users, 500 million daily users and 400 million daily Stories users, this means the playing field for you, as a company, has just gotten bigger. Not to mention the launch of IGTV, while slow, is something to keep your eye out for.

Disclosing of the partnership

While traditional ads are editorial and staged, people expect influencers to be open and transparent.  But that’s not always the case. In recent years the FTC has cracked down on Influencers and their posts. With a new way to make money, the US government had no way to track this and keep record of the money being made from posts. To avoid those issues sponsored posts now had to be clearly marked as such. Using hashtags like #ad or #sponsored are the appropriate way but some influencers have tried to hide sponsored posts using #sp or #partner to avoid looking like their posts are all staged. What influencers and companies need to do is think about Instagram like a magazine. There’s great photos, nice editorials and ads, balancing them well means the account will be successful.

Cost

With the rise in social media users, it’s important to gain an understanding into what influencer marketing truly is. As a business, you want the best for your product and you understand what it means to get it out there. With the new medium in modern advertising, doing some research into how much an influencer costs you might be the way to go. On Instagram for example, the average is $10-$15 per every 100 followers depending on their engagement and even then you could probably hire an influencer for less than $250.

Moving forward with your partnership with an influencer it’s crucial to study their feed and see if it’s a natural fit for you to invest in. Whatever your company maybe promoting or choosing to advertise should be in line with the people you choose to work with. A mom blogger might not be the best fit for luxury make-up and it will feel forced, especially if the rest of her feed features her in a messy bun and leggings. Similarly, a food blogger wouldn’t post about health and wellness if their whole feed shows otherwise. There are some leeway with lifestyle bloggers, they tend to be the most broad selection of topics. While that might be appealing, still do your research and see if your brand aligns.  

If you’d like to learn more about product placement, influencer marketing or influencers, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Prior to coming aboard the Texas Creative team I started out as an influencer myself and with that it gives me the unique perspective of being on both sides of the aisle. Whether you’re ready to start your campaign or have questions on what influencers you should be looking for, we’re ready to get you started.

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