The Journey Ends: The Social Media Influencer Campaign (Part 3)

There’s no place like home or the end of a journey. After dousing the witch, Dorothy secured the broom that leads her back to Kansas, the Tin Man had a heart all along, the Lion humbly acknowledged his courage, and the Scarecrow became an academic. And like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I learned some valuable lessons. I tapped my ruby slippers three times and repeated: Influencers have the power.

At the beginning of the summer, I asked: Influencer Marketing: Friend or Foe?

Mid-summer, I hit the yellow brick road by launching a side-by-side comparison test: Banner ads on an armed forces site vs. a YouTube Celebrity generated video for a menswear line.

And as the summer drew to an end, I exhaled and repeated to myself, there’s no place like home. What is ‘home’ in the affiliate channel arena? For me personally, ‘home’ is seeking out like-minded publishers who are passionate about the brands I represent, who successfully leverage the trust they’ve earned with their subscribers, and who are vulnerable enough with their postings and reviews in order to connect with the demographic that I’m seeking. When I can uncover THAT publisher and partner them up with one of my clients … Well, grab your ruby slippers and Toto cause Kansas, here we come.

The YouTube Celebrity that had agreed to collaborate with our menswear line exceeded our wildest expectations. How? He understood that if he read off a script and crammed information down the throats of his subscribers, the result would be an infomercial = Death in the Vlogger world. What he did instead was stay true to his YouTube Channel style and personality. He provided value in educating his viewers by instructing them on how to order an online custom suit. And he did all this by wearing a sample of a great fitting, custom-tailored suit uniquely created by my client. By the end of the six-minute video and four months later, this YouTube “Wizard” secured within the Network the top generating affiliate status in a program top heavy with coupon and loyalty sites. The Influencer had generated 140% ROI for our client!

Now back in Kansas, the armed forces publisher was still attempting to showcase the banners and display ads in order to drive sales. Unfortunately, as the summer wore on the reality of the situation was hitting the Fitness Account team and myself – banner and display ads no longer had the draw they once had. One account manager, in his frustration, stated, “Banners are so 2006!” Due to the infrequency and the difficulty of clicking on to the banners, this campaign failed to produce even a 1% return on our client’s investment. When situations like this arise for me, I don’t deem them unsuccessful. I dive deep into what need to I learn. In this case I realized, in the social media realm consumers are drawn to the connection and the value a video and a celebrity can give them far more so than any banner advertisement. This lackluster campaign was a hard pill for me to swallow but it proved an invaluable lesson.

So I set out to discover in this instance if a YouTube Influencer with an exceptional reach on all social media platforms could generate more traffic and significant revenue than a publisher promoting banners and display ads. Both publishers were equally vetted out in order to secure that they were marketing to the targeted audience. Both publishers were seeking similar fees for their services. Both publishers promised exceptional ROI’s. Both publishers had worked with nationally recognized brands….repeatedly. So as far as my Publisher Development Specialist ‘eye’ could see both campaigns were a ‘sure hit.’ Yet, it was YouTube and a spin jumping Influencer who brought Dorothy ‘home’, safe and sound in the end.

The final result for this PubDev Specialist, I’m eagerly leading my team of Munchkins back to the Emerald City for more videos with the Wizard of Social Media Influencers. Let’s follow the Yellow Brick Road!

If you would like to read the JEB Commerce Case Study, click HERE.

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