Top brands are investing more in influencer marketing...and it’s paying off.
19 May 2020 · 2 min read
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Top brands and companies are investing more of their budgets in influencer marketing, and for good reason. The fact that physical advertising has been all but eliminated puts a bright spotlight on what most marketers already knew: digital marketing, and especially influencer marketing, is the most effective way to reach a target audience.
It’s important to note that brands were increasingly spending more of their advertising budgets on digital initiatives before shutdowns began, but the pandemic certainly accelerated the process. In fact, before thesurge in digital content consumption, influencer marketing had an11X higher ROIthan traditional advertising. That number is likely to grow and stabilize at an even higher rate, even after stay-at-home orders are lifted.
Looking at the data and the efficacy of influencer marketing, it's abundantly clear that certain digital marketing trends are here to stay. Not just because of immediate necessity, but because they’re effective.
In the most recent episode of our Tagger Insights series, growth marketing expert Simon Yi dove into what's working best for his clients right now, and perhaps more importantly, why certain strategies are succeeding more than others.
“More people are spending time online than ever before. Everyone’s home and watching a screen...there’s a lot of people that can be reached,” says Yi. And not only can you reach more viewers at the moment, but you can do so for a much lower cost. “Specifically when it comes to social media advertising what we’ve noticed is that the cost to reach people is actually going down...it’s cheaper to reach more people.”
The extreme and abrupt shift to a stay-and-work-from-home culture has put brands’ advertising initiatives under a microscope, and many have found they’re behind the curve when it comes to their digital strategies. With no physical job or school commute, and very little - if any - exposure to the outside world, the only place where companies can reach consumers is through digital channels.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because Influencer Marketing isn’t only effective in terms of sales. Brands now have a unique opportunity to employ social listening to hone in on the authentic conversations that matter most to their target demographic and pivot their messaging accordingly.
In fact, digital marketing allows for a much more accurate and dialed-in approach to delivering value. Brands now have a wide variety of data points at their disposal that they’d never be able to see if they spent that same amount on, say, a physical billboard. With this scientific approach to data gathering, brands can cultivate a much deeper understanding of their audiences’ desires, behaviors, and affinities.
The ability to get granular and specific is the crux of why influencer marketing is so much more successful than traditional advertising. It comes down to one thing: relevance.
When done right, influencer marketing allows brands and companies to cultivate genuine connections with their communities by presenting them with content that is relevant to their needs and wants.
“A lot of the work we do for clients is direct response related. But what people fail to realize is that transaction doesn’t happen without trust,” Yi continues. “What influencer marketing has really done for the industry, now more than ever, is give a microphone of authenticity to brands through the influencer’s platforms. Now is the time to build trust.”
See our full interview with Simon Yi below for more insights on digital ad spend trends, and how influencer marketing is helping businesses continue and grow.
Want an 11x better ROI for your marketing budget? Influencer marketing has an 11x higher ROI than traditional advertising. Click here to request a FREE demo and we’ll show you exactly how Tagger can help get you started launching your first campaign, or improving the campaigns you already have.
Gratitude, balance, mental health, meditation, therapy… it may surprise you to learn that **one of the most engaged-with categories on social media is 'Mindfulness.’**
At its best, social media shines a light on issues and resources that help viewers live a better off-line life. In this fast-paced digital era, accounts that address the mental and emotional journies of their followers are seeing a hugely positive response, not just online but in real life as well. Many mindfulness and meditation experts are turning towards social media to reach bigger audiences, ultimately partnering with health brands and ‘becoming’ influencers.
In a world where many seek solace from "mindless scrolling,” mindfulness influencers are garnering incredibly loyal audiences of highly-engaged followers. **These mindfulness-based creators have achieved lucrative book deals, sold-out events, popular membership programs, and of course, successful brand partnerships.**
Using Tagger's unique affinity tool coupled with our powerful mentions tracker, we discovered these mindfulness creators seeing incredibly high engagement and explosive growth.
1. [Lalah Delia](https://www.instagram.com/lalahdelia/) (@lalahdelia) - Featuring a growth spurt of over 70% since July 2021, Delia’s platform has more than doubled the engagement of Instagram’s benchmark. Delia’s mental health and spirituality resources are substantial as a spiritual writer, wellness educator, certified spiritual practitioner, and author. Delia’s features sponsored mentions from Girlboss, Athleta, and Cadillac.
2. [Devi Brown](https://www.instagram.com/devibrown/?hl=en) (@devibrown) - Devi Brown is a master well-being educator, host of podcast Dropping Gems, and the founder of Karma Bliss. Among all of this, Brown has also partnered with Old Navy, Clorox, and BMW on her Instagram.
3. [Sharon Salzberg](https://www.instagram.com/sharonsalzberg/) (@sharonsalzberg) - With 11 books, a podcast, and a multitude of guest appearances on other podcasts, it’s a wonder Salzberg also has time to devote to teaching others meditation through free webinars. Salzburg has had an 8% increase in her following over the last 90 days, and her work is featured on social media by mega-influencers and celebrities.
4. [Latham Thomas](https://www.instagram.com/glowmaven/) (@glowmaven) - Featured on Oprah’s Super Soul 100 list, Thomas encourages embracing optimal wellness and spiritual growth as a pathway to empowerment. Also the owner of Mama Glow and author of “Own Your Glow,” Thomas’ has nearly 90 sponsored posts on her platform, which has also had a high influx of followers since June 2021.
5. [Katie Abey](https://www.instagram.com/katieabey/?hl=en) (@katieabey) - Katie Abey is an artist who encourages open mental health discourse through her drawings. Abey’s art has grown her platform to nearly 60k with a steady positive growth rate. Through her artwork, Abey has partnered with Happy Socks, Etsy, and The Happy Project.
6. [Davidji](https://www.instagram.com/davidjimeditation/) (@davidjimeditation) - Stress-management expert, author, and meditation teacher, Davidji has a steadily increasing Instagram and Youtube following. His Youtube featuring lengthy guided meditations alongside emotional intelligence and happiness tips, Davidji has grown to a following of over 25k on the platform.
7. [Susan Piver](https://www.instagram.com/susan.piver/) (@susan.piver) - Susan Piver is a Buddhist meditation teacher and founder of the Open Heart Project, a fully online mindfulness meditation center. Piver is also a 9-time NYT bestseller and regularly offers meditation workshops on her platform. With regular features on mindfulness podcasts and collaborations with other creators in her space, Piver has steadily built her community of over 11k.
8. [Lauren Ash](https://www.instagram.com/hellolaurenash/) (@hellolaurenash) - Wellness visionary, Ash is the founder of [@blackgirlinom](https://www.instagram.com/blackgirlinom/), the host of Black Girl in Om podcast, and a teacher of yoga, meditation, and Spirit-led living. Ash has over 50 sponsored mentions on her Instagram from American Express, COS fashion, and a variety of other brands.
9. [Gabrielle Bernstein](https://www.instagram.com/gabbybernstein/) (@gabbybernstein) - #1New York Times bestselling author of eight books, Bernstein’s expertise in spirituality and meditation has led to other outlets, including online classes and even an app. Bernstein has sponsored partnerships with LuluLemon, Healthline, and multiple other brands on her Instagram, her profile recently growing to an audience of over 1M.
10. [Amanda Gilbert Meditation](https://www.instagram.com/amandagilbertmeditation/) (@amandagilbertmeditation) - Meditation teacher and an actual Professor of Mindfulness, Amanda Gilbert’s offerings of home meditation and book resources for her followers have helped her account grow to 8k. Gilbert’s micro-influencer presence has increased by over 5% in the last 90 days, and she has collaborated with Evenflow meditation app, FitOn, and other health companies.
11. [Ambi Kavanagh](https://www.instagram.com/alchemyambi/) (@alchemyambi) - Author and podcast host Kavanagh is the founder of two companies specializing in sound baths and sound bath candles. Kavanagh’s knowledge of alchemy has been featured in Vogue, Well + Good, and The Hollywood Reporter. Between these features and sponsored partnerships with Feeding America, Spiritual Gangster, and Equinox, Kavanagh’s platform has a steady engagement at and above the Instagram benchmark, depending on the content type.
12. [Vishen Lakhiani](https://www.instagram.com/vishen/) (@vishen) - Founder of [@mindvalley](https://www.instagram.com/Mindvalley/), Lakhiani is an entrepreneur, activist, and author devoted to raising human consciousness. He’s partnered with a variety of brands, including Mind Valley, for social media collaboration.
13. [Erika Polsinelli](https://www.instagram.com/inkale.exkale/?hl=en) (@inkale.exkale) - Erika Polsinelli’s brand and community Evolve has helped her followers explore mindfulness and meditation through Kundalini breathwork. Partnerships with Lululemon, the GFB, and Cure Hydration have all been featured on her Instagram. With a steady engagement rate of 2.4%, Polsinelli’s collaborations drive high ROI.
14. [Gala Darling](https://www.instagram.com/galadarling/) (@galadarling) - Focused on EFT Tapping and Manifestation, Gala Darling’s work has been featured in Vogue, Forbes, Oprah, and NYT, among other publications. Darling’s platform has a steady growth rate thanks to her podcast, books, and various classes on manifestation and meditation. Found on almost all platforms, Gala’s Youtube specifically sees anywhere from 1.3k-3k on her videos.
15. [Alexandra Elle](https://www.instagram.com/alex_elle/) (@alex_elle) - Author of “After The Rain,” among other books, Elle is a wellness consultant focused on building self-care practices through literature and language. Elle offers self-care writing and meditation courses focused on mindfulness through writing. Her Instagram features over 30 sponsored posts from various brands, including Bank of America, Larabar, and Google.
16. [Marzi Wilson](https://www.instagram.com/introvertdoodles/?hl=en) (@introvertdoodles) - Marzi Wilson is the artist and author behind the Instagram account “Introvert Doodles,” where her visual representations of mental health and mindfulness have made their way in published books. Wilson has an engagement rate of 3% and has partnered with BetterHelp, Mental Health America, Healthline, and FabFitFun.
**If you’d like to see how Tagger’s platform quickly and efficiently finds the perfect influencers for every need and category, we’re happy to show you how we do it!** [**schedule a live demo**](http://www.taggermedia.com/request-demo)**.**
Using Tagger’s Signals Creator Listening Engine, we measured how some of April's trending topics, news events, and more from the past month have been shaped by Gen-Z’ers and what that looks like on social media.
Gen-Z Roundup: April 2022
**Using Tagger’s** [**Signals Creator Listening Engine**](https://www.taggermedia.com/product/signals/)**, we measured how some of April's trending topics, news events, and more from the past month have been shaped by Gen-Z’ers and what that looks like on social media.**
### **Epic raises $144M to support Ukraine, signaling change for the gaming industry?**
As the video games industry exponentially grows in consumers and engagement—becoming one of the top entertainment mediums—the real (non-virtual) world seems to be a growing factor in decision making. Earlier this month, Fortnite developer, Epic Games, teamed up with Xbox (Microsoft) to raise funds supporting Ukrainian war relief. [Epic announced](https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/news/support-humanitarian-relief-for-ukraine) that all the money made from March 20th to April 3rd would be donated to and split amongst a handful of humanitarian organizations.
With the additional help of Fortnite releasing a new season, they ultimately [made $144M](https://deadline.com/2022/04/fortnite-players-million-ukraine-relief-fundraising-1234994082/)—with $36M reported on the first day. Though many game companies may have donated a fraction of their revenues to charity, we’re finally entering a space where a multibillion-dollar company is willing to refrain from profiting for two weeks. The video game industry is becoming more transparent, likely in response to increased pressure on big companies to do their part in communities locally and worldwide.
### **Harry Styles breaks Spotify record & headlines Coachella**
Harry Styles has been having a trailblazing April! Earlier this month, another [tremendous feat](https://www.complex.com/music/harry-styles-most-streamed-song-one-day-spotify-as-it-was) was achieved in the contemporary music industry when [Harry Styles broke the US Spotify record for the most-streamed song in a single day](https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/harry-styles-as-it-was-spotify-record-1235053955/). With the help of his lead single, “As it Was”, off of his forthcoming album, _Harry’s House,_ Styles was able to dethrone Olivia Rodrigo and “driver's license.” Sitting at 8.6M streams in 24 hours, Styles now holds the most-streamed single-day record for 2022 and all-time. The song was paired with a [top trending music video](https://www.complex.com/music/harry-styles-as-it-was-video-stream), which is currently at 63M views and counting. _To top it all off, he was arguably the most notable headlining act these past two weekends at Coachella._
Though headliners included the likes of Billie Eilish, The Weekend, and Swedish House Mafia, Styles held his own and provided two showstopping sets. The first weekend included a guest appearance by legendary country singer-songwriter Shania Twain, in a truly “didn’t see that coming” moment. Their joint performance of ‘Man I Feel Like a Woman’ went viral all over social media and led to engagement boosts for Styles and an influx of mentions for Twain.
The second weekend included another surprise guest, none other than the all-empowering pop icon Lizzo. They joined to sing Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ and an ode to One Direction nostalgia, ‘What Makes You Beautiful.’ For an influencer-centric festival like Coachella, it’s only fitting that social metrics shoot up in the wake of a phenomenal performance, hence why Lizzo’s sum of engagements rose by 7M on the day after her performance.
### **News for Netflix**
For Netflix, one of the premier video subscription services and production companies, this past quarter wasn’t too kind, as they [reported their first subscriber loss since 2011](https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/netflix-reports-subscriber-loss-first-time-in-decade-exploring-ad-supported-plan). With primary blame being placed on the pandemic and mass password sharing, the streaming service’s customer base dropped by 200,000 subscribers. They stated, "In addition to our 222 million paying households, we estimate that Netflix is being shared with over 100 million additional households”. None of this comes as a surprise in the wake of the company [raising its monthly prices](https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/netflix-raising-monthly-subscription-prices).
On top of the competition and an already high global household presence, Netflix’s usually high revenue growth has started to slow down. After the quarterly numbers were released, the company’s shares saw a considerable decrease by about 35%—[the most significant single-day stock drop in Netflix history, creating a $54 billion loss in market cap](https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/netflix-reportedly-loses-54-billion-in-market-cap-marking-biggest-single-day-stock-drop-in-company-history)—, resulting in a price per share compared to the price at the beginning of 2018. Co-CEO Reed Hastings expressed that the company is exploring a cheaper ad-supported subscription plan in an attempt to alleviate the monetary losses and resurge the subscriber gains. He highlighted, then countered his previous stance, which favored subscriber simplicity and against the complexity of advertising.
Hastings stated, "as much as I’m a fan of that, I’m a bigger fan of consumer choice…That’s something we’re looking at now and figuring out over the next year or two, but think of us as quite open to offering even lower prices with advertising as a consumer choice.” With Netflix now being only one of the many streaming services accessible, there’s a plethora of professional and personal insights and opinions regarding this [new ad-supported option](https://finance.yahoo.com/news/heres-why-netflixs-ad-supported-tier-could-be-massive-force-a-lot-of-change-131425638.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAALNFBojFYf_uCUtKBvVMAs32QmahEu2jSUD3Ul-y7uBCiDds2UNXY83ci9gBaXhxJS4B5kcqTema8wteoj01GKiSANCScOB74mucynIM3avklUOKlNO2DvzCVfstRg-MQT5B_iyoIn98uHTBb-3NsutxxkIK3xXPv0tEvKzQuDpF). Despite their subscriber loss, the fuss over this situation has grown the service’s following on all social media platforms.
### **The Return of Kendrick Lamar**
Rapper [Kendrick Lamar’s next album will be released on May 13th](https://www.complex.com/music/kendrick-lamar-is-back-world-has-changed/). Entitled _Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers_, this announcement caused a considerable stir in the hip hop enthusiast world, primarily because his last album was released in April 2017—roughly 1,850 days ago, as Twitter will tell you. Complex’s Andre Gee wrote that “Kendrick fans stand next to only _Grand Theft Auto_ die-hards when it comes to prolonged thirst for a new product, as there’s been immense speculation about what he’ll do next.”
Though the wait has been grueling, more people are curious[ about what this album will be](https://www.complex.com/music/kendrick-lamar-new-album-mr-morale-big-steppers-things-to-know/) and how it’ll be perceived in this day and age. The global climate, national political state and especially social media were not the same in 2017 as they are now, so wonder is in the atmosphere regarding what’s going to happen next. Lamar has also been announced on multiple bills this summer, including Rolling Loud Miami and Milano Summer Festival, so we can be thankful that his return will be in full force. As one of the most influential artists without a solid social media presence, it’ll be exciting to see what he does this time around when coupled with the right platform.
### **Algospeak- what is it?**
TikTok is known for providing algorithmically aligned videos to your feed. With increased social media usage, the app is doubling down on inappropriate content and misinformation moderation. Little did they know that this would help instill and promote the use of [‘algospeak](https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/08/algospeak-tiktok-le-dollar-bean/?utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=wp_main&crl8_id=31b8775b-e87b-464b-b225-0bf97243f63b).’
Not exclusive to, but primarily utilized on TikTok, algospeak is a neo-Aesopian language composed of [code words and turns of phrase](https://www.thequint.com/tech-and-auto/tech-news/algospeak-the-simplest-way-to-bypass-algorithms-on-social-media) to avoid getting content removed or down-ranked. Some examples include “ouid” instead of “weed,” “panorama” instead of “pandemic,” “leg booty” instead of “LGBTQ,” and even the corn emoji instead of the word “porn.”
In a corporate attempt to counteract harmful content, these companies and their moderators end up hurting and trivializing creators of marginalized identities. Community manager for Twitch creators Lodane Erisian said, “You have to say ‘saltines’ when you’re literally talking about crackers now” because the platform [considers the word “cracker” a slur](https://www.vice.com/en/article/4awxjw/hasan-piker-allegedly-banned-from-twitch-for-saying-cracker).
In addition to removing certain emojis, and the fear of using words like “white” or “racist,” there’s not much argument needed to see that the balance between censorship and free speech is a bit more complicated than we thought.
### **Elon Musk acquires Twitter for $44 billion**
Becoming official just a couple of days ago, Twitter Inc. entered a definitive agreement stating that the [platform is to be acquired “by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk.”](https://www.complex.com/life/twitter-close-to-accepting-elon-musk-buyout-offer) Word started to spread earlier this month about Musk, Tesla CEO and Twitter’s largest sole stake owner, proposing a $44 billion buyout and privatization of the company to its board of directors. His rationale is best summed up through his own words: “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy. However, since making my investment, I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.” After numerous meetings and negotiations, co-founder Jack Dorsey and the rest of the company’s executives ultimately agreed to Musk’s offer.
However, the letter sent to the board’s chairman outlining the offer also included the note that should his best and final offer be declined, Elon would “reconsider” his shareholder position. In hindsight, it looks like Musk was trying to display his power and influence by twisting Twitter’s arm and forcing their hand. A few days ago, [Dorsey tweeted](https://twitter.com/jack/status/1518772756069773313?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1518772756069773313%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.complex.com%2Flife%2Ftwitter-close-to-accepting-elon-musk-buyout-offer), “In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving the problem of it being a company, however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.” All eyes fall on the next steps as Musk’s first moves as the owner will prove highly [consequential](https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/elon-musk-twitter-cernovich-far-right-abuse-1343566/).
If you want to see how Tagger's Creator Listening Engine _Signals_ works, we'd love to show you! [Learn more](https://www.taggermedia.com/product/signals/) or [request a demo](https://www.taggermedia.com/request-demo/).
Instagram's CEO announced that the app will now start prioritizing original content; here's how marketers should adjust their influencer strategies.
Instagram algorithm will now prioritize original content; here’s how that affects your influencer strategy
Keeping track of updates to social platform algorithms isn’t just a valuable practice for creators, it’s a way for marketers to understand how they can increase campaign ROI.
Earlier this week, **Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri** [**announced**](https://twitter.com/mosseri/status/1516811952235769860) **that the app will now start prioritizing original content from creators rather than re-posted, previously published content**. While the details of how Instagram will delineate original content from re-posted remain in flux, we know a few things for certain.
It’s an excellent idea to ask creators to publish the content they create for your brand via multiple channels, however, in order to avoid being penalized by this algorithm update, you have to **be sure the piece of content is created and edited in an outside app**, then posted to social via the creator's phone gallery. **Content that has a watermark from an app other than Instagram- like TikTok, for example- will definitely be de-prioritized by the algorithm**. Keep this in mind when you hire creators to post on multiple platforms!
Even before this algorithm update, the data has shown the benefits for brands publishing original content created by influencers. In studying average engagement rates for our series of vertical-specific social media reports, we found it to be true across the board that **branded content created _by influencers_ outperformed content produced _by the brand itself_ by an average of almost %1000+**. This means that brands should absolutely be focused on sharing and promoting original content created by influencers.
Want to stay up to date with the latest trends in influencer marketing? Make sure you’re signed up for our Tagger Tuesday [newsletter](https://www.taggermedia.com/request-demo/); a once-a-week email containing influencer marketing tips & everything you need to know about what’s happening in the industry.