One problem with the term influencer marketing is that it includes several types of marketing which means that it can be misleading and confusing to use. In fact, we’re often contacted by brands that are confused about the different types of influencer marketing so we decided to clear things up. Generally speaking, there are four systems used for influencer marketing and each of them offers their own advantages and disadvantages. If you want to start working in influencer marketing, it’s important that you know the difference between influencer platforms, influencer agencies, YouTube networks, and affiliate networks.
If this sounds complicated and complex to you, you’ve come to the right place. The truth is that it’s not very complicated and below we go into detail about what characterizes the different systems, their advantages and disadvantages as well as a few examples of leading services. For the sake of clarity, we have decided to focus this post on one of the most upcoming digital markets in the world, Sweden and neighboring Scandinavian countries.
An influencer platform is a platform used to connect brands with influencers with a process that requires minimal work from both parties. Don’t get us wrong, both brands and influencers will have to work to create a good campaign, it’s just the matching that has been automated. Today’s platforms are usually data-driven meaning that many of the procedures are automatic and based on measurable factors and previous results. The idea behind an influencer platform is to match brands with influencers that can engage the brand’s target group using great content.
Example of influencer platform: Beatly, Relatable
Pros of using an influencer platform:
- Data-driven networks make it easier for brands to engage their target group.
- It’s easy to scale and expand a strategy. As mentioned, Beatly is active in 15 markets.
- Reports are transparent and automatic which helps protect both the influencer and brands.
Influencer Marketing Agencies
An influencer agency shares some similarities with the influencer platform however they lack the automatic part of the process that matches brands with influencers. Instead, it’s up to the agency to match influencer and brands based on their experience and the needs of the brands. Also, since the process isn’t automated, brands are offered an opportunity to be more flexible with their campaigns. In some cases, influencer agencies are branch specific, for example, fashion, consciousness, fitness, etc. although most agencies are more comprehensive and work with influencers from a range of markets. The number of influencer agencies is constantly growing.
Example of influencer agencies: United Influencers, IMA
Pros of Using an Influencer Agency:
- Exclusive deals with influencers is an advantage for both influencers and brands.
- Agencies tend to be versatile with the option of running campaigns on a range of social media platforms and influencer blogs.
For brands looking to market themselves and their products on YouTube, the best solution is usually a YouTube network. There are several similarities between an influencer agency and a YouTube network, and many of the leading services are active in both categories. As a brand you can use a YouTube network to run influencer marketing campaigns using influencers like you would on other social media platforms or you can order traditional digital advertisement. Because of this, a YouTube network offers dynamic solutions and many possibilities.
Example of YouTube Networks: Splay Networks, United Screens
Pros of Using a YouTube Network:
- Exclusive influencer deals offer advantages for both parties and are beneficial to brands looking for brand ambassadors.
- YouTube Networks offer the possibility of running regular influencer marketing campaigns and creating digital advertisement and commercials for YouTube.
- Brands can work closely with influencers to develop a campaign that is guaranteed to engage your audience.
In many ways, affiliate marketing is different from other types of influencer marketing. For example, in most cases, you don’t work with specific campaigns but rather long-lasting collaborations where the content creators are in control of how products and services are marketed. This means that you as a brand don’t have to pay for campaigns and instead you pay the influencer a commission for sold products. Since influencers usually understand their followers very well, a brand that’s matched with the right influencer can expect quick results.
Generally speaking, there are two types of affiliate networks. You either get to pick which influencers you want to work with and which products you want to market, or the influencer gets to pick the brands they want to work with and which products to recommend. For example, an influencer could work with an online store and pick which products she wants to recommend on her own. A great example of this is Amazon which runs one of the biggest affiliate networks in the world with only one advertiser. The main benefit of using an affiliate network is that they are versatile and the brand can get a large reach with minimal work. You see, most influencer networks allow influencers to use your affiliate links as they see fit on their social media accounts, as links in their blog content or as traditional ads on a website. In turn, this gives brands the opportunity of benefitting from content creators' understanding of SEO and Google search traffic instead of only relying on social media.
Example of affiliate network: Adtraction, Awin, CJ Affiliate
Pros of Using an Affiliate Network:
- Trackable links make it easy to evaluate which influencers produce the best results.
- Benefit from SEO and Google search traffic and not only social media.