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Influencer Marketing does it work?

Potentially earning thousands per post, influencers are cashing in on their ability to captivate large audiences and thus heavily impact the purchasing behavior of their followers. It's clear why brands keep throwing products and money toward these social media stars -- influencer marketing works.

The top 50 Instagram influencers have more than 3.1 billion followers, as reported by Social Blade, and overall, 3.028 billion people, or 40 percent of the world’s population, actively use social media.

Here are a few more stats to consider:

  • Influencer marketing has 11 times the ROI of traditional digital marketing, as reported

  • Seventy percent of millennial consumers are persuaded by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions, as reported by Collective Bias.

  • Thirty-seven percent of customers place more value on the quality of a post then its sponsorship and 67 percent don’t have an adverse reaction to sponsored content, according to Collective Bias.

  • Almost 40 percent of Twitter users have purchased a product or service as a direct result of an influencer tweet, according to Twitter.

On June 3, Sephora will announce its third “Sephora Squad” class, a group of 73 influencers who will partner with the beauty retailer in a year-long contract that comes with perks like free product, exposure and mentoring.

The program launched in 2019 and has since become the cornerstone of Sephora’s robust influencer marketing strategy, driving higher impact and micro-influencer conversations than competitor programs. According to data from influencer marketing firm Traackr, since the beginning of 2021, there have been 1,653 Instagram posts mentioning the Sephora Squad from influencers alone, compared to 275 with the hashtag for Ulta Beauty’s influencer program, #UBCollective, which debuted in 2020.

Sephora and Ulta’s influencer marketing programs have similar mission statements and formats, engaging a diverse set of influencers and retail associates in a year-long partnership with multiple campaign deliverables rather than through one-off activations. Both also offer campaign and collaboration opportunities as well as early access to new products. But at least on social media, customers still seem to gravitate toward that of Sephora.

Nearly every major fashion and beauty brand employs influencers, but Sephora’s program, which engages audiences early and creates meaningful relationships with its ambassadors, is designed to outlast the terms of the individual partnerships.

Looking Beyond Typical Talent

When tapping influencers for social media activations, many brands work with third-party platforms that use algorithms to match a company and talent that has an aligned audience or can help the brand reach its goals, usually building brand awareness or driving sales. To build its Squad, Sephora took a different approach, looking for nascent talent that might not even be included in influencer databases. Creators are asked to apply to the program, framing the process as a contest that engages both the influencer and their existing audiences. Sephora worked with the influencer marketing platform Fohr to help sift through more than 30,000 applications it received in 2021.

Focus on gen Z.

Millennials still hold the reins with more than $200 billion in purchasing power. However, gen Z is on track to become the largest group of consumers by 2020, and according to Millennial Marketing, they already account for $29 billion to $143 billion in direct spending. Gen Z is a growing section of the influencer economy across all platforms, making it vital for brands to consider their future consumer base.


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