Influencer Marketing Can Be More Authentic Than Traditional Ad Buying

When it comes to social and digital advertising, there are many ways to reach a new audience.

You can pay an influencer to promote your product or service, you can pay the social media platforms themselves to promote your product to a targeted audience of your choice, you can focus on organic content creation to tell your brand's story, sponsor podcasts, PR and so much more today.

Today, we wanted to take a look at influencer marketing in comparison to paid advertising and break down why the former is more authentic.

Our CEO, Swish Goswami also believes that paid advertising on social media is the next Dot Com Bubble and that it is bound to burst. He believes it will burst and people will move away from paid ads due to a combination of ad fraud, ad blockers, lack of control over ad placement and messy attribution.

An Ad is Disruptive

Nobody wants to see ads. If you gave every user the ability to easily turn paid ads off - most, if not all of them would. When you log on to Instagram, you’re not doing it to see ads. You’re doing it to see the content of the people you’ve followed. The photos of friends, family and your favorite personalities.

Ads disrupt that experience. It will naturally get in the way of the content you want to see and ruin your experience. Ads are not content you’ve consented to seeing and you’re seeing a lot of them.

To test it, I logged on to Instagram to see what the volume of ads are in the feed and in stories. Every fourth post in the feed is an ad. After every three posts from my friends and family I'm getting served a sponsored post. It is the same frequency for Instagram Stories with the only caveat being that it won’t disrupt a single user's story. If someone has posted 8 stories, you won’t get an ad until you’ve finished all of them.

That’s a lot of ads and you have asked to see 0% of them.

People Have Opted In to Get Content from Influencers

Influencers on the other hand, are a different story. When people see content from an influencer they have made the conscious choice to follow them and receive that content. This changes a consumer's relationship with advertising completely.

The ad isn’t coming from a faceless organization, it’s coming from a familiar face they’re used to seeing in their feed on a regular basis.

If Done Right, Influencer Advertisements Feel More Organic

Just because you’re doing influencer marketing doesn’t instantly mean the ad will feel more authentic. There are two important variables to determining whether a campaign will be authentic and effective.

1. Are you partnering with an aligned influencer? If you sell basketball jerseys, you aren’t going to want to partner with someone who has an audience of hockey fans. Make sure you’re partnering with creators whose audience will be genuinely interested in your brand and product/service.

2. Are you giving influencers creative freedom? An issue in the influencer marketing industry right now is brands hold on to too much of the creative control for influencer posts. While it’s understandable why brands would do this, this actually hurts the effectiveness of a campaign. There’s nobody that understands an influencers audience and the content that resonates with them better than the influencer themselves. The more freedom you give an influencer, the better they can make an ad that feels organic to their audience.

Authenticity is Key

At the end of the day, people don’t like to be sold to. The more authentic you can make your advertising the better.

When you consider the fact that people opt in to receive content from influencers and that the creators can create organic content designed specifically for their audience - it doesn’t get more authentic than influencer marketing.