The Importance of Influence in Ecommerce Revenue Generation

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@ashely-johnAshely John

Entrepreneur

Today, influence isn’t restricted to movie stars, sports stars, and other conventional celebrities alone. Forget about celebrity endorsements, because influencer marketing has found its new home with internet grandees who are dedicating their time for their followers on the web.
Influence in eCommerce
Any person with significant followership, if uses his or her prestige to provoke certain consumer behaviors is an influencer. For starters, traditional influencer marketing and today’s eCommerce influencer marketing are not the same. In traditional influencer marketing, brands collaborated with celebrities through Ads and endorsements. In a way, a celeb’s professional image helped him or her to have an influence over the audience, which he or she used to promote a brand through Ads or personal recommendations. Celebs use their influence to encourage sales for a brand.
Although celebrity endorsements are still a thing, brands these days are finding a much better way to influence their prospects through ‘internet-based influence marketing’. Especially, eCommerce businesses have come out as one of the biggest beneficiaries of this non-celeb influence. Independent internet figures are dedicating their time, money, and efforts to help or entertain their audiences, which in turn, makes their opinions persuasive among their followers.
The Rising Costs of Influencers and the Birth of Micro-Influencers
The speed at which influencer marketing took the market also became the reason for one of the biggest challenges for the brands. We are talking about the rising cost of influencers. At first, when social media took over the internet, the mainstream influencers made first into the list of brands. Mainstream movie stars, pop stars, sports stars, and other figures became the first choice of the brands because of their massive popularity.
However, this also made the pricing of the celebrities touch the skies over time. For instance, Kylie Jenner charges over $1 million for one sponsored post. The rising cost of influencers made the brands explore other alternatives, which gave birth to the micro-influencers, whom we call today as social media influencers. In 2019, when brands say influence marketing, know that they are talking about these micro-influencers too.
Who Are the Influencers Today?
A modern-day influencer is not necessarily a celebrity but a person from the common populace, who has gained some popularity from the internet, and can do the same tasks as celebs would do for the brands. An influencer could be from any place, platform, and field. They could be popular on social media, running their websites and blogs, or creating entertaining and informative content for the common people.
In short, an influencer today could be a Blogger, Vlogger, YouTuber, Gamer, and any content creator on social media and other platforms. These people have a stronghold on their audience, and their opinions matter in their followers’ base. We call them social media influencers or simply, Influencers of Generation 2.0.
Take a video game streamer on Twitch for instance. We can consider him or her as an influencer by the virtue of followers and the number of people who watch the streams. However, brands don’t just jump into conclusions looking at the number of followers. Instead, they evaluate influencers based on their hold and engagement with their target community. There could be N numbers of ways to evaluate an influencer:
  • Number of followers
  • Average views on the streams
  • Likes to Dislikes ratio on streams
  • Number of premium subscribers
  • Number of live chats and comments
  • Number of shares and views for streams
If brands find a streamer with good stats on the above aspects, they believe the particular streamer has a good hold on the followers and his or her personal opinions would have a significant influence. Video game lovers who follow the streamer look up to him or her for recommendations.
In such a case, the streamer would give the recommendations of the video game products he or she finds useful for the audience. The gaming brands can place their products in these recommendations through indirect sponsorships or paid partnerships with the streamer. Here, the streamer comes out as a representative or ambassador of the brand among the common people.
Influencer Marketing - Marketing Channel of Millennium
A decade ago, you would ask your family, friends, and other acquaintances for a suggestion regarding a purchase. Today, you either read a blog or watch a YouTube video to reassure what others think about the product that intrigues you.
Celebrity endorsements work like Advertisements. Brands broadcast them to a mass audience, it doesn’t matter if the audience had asked for it. Whereas influencer marketing comes as a recommendation, mostly to a highly targeted audience, where there is a fair chance that the audience had asked for the suggestions or has come to the influencer with a prepossessed interest.
Take the situation when you want to purchase a particular smartphone for instance. You would read multiple reviews on review sites, watch MKBHD and other tech creators’ videos, and then only you conclude if it is a good smartphone to purchase. Here, the blogs and reviews you read and the videos you watched influenced your decision in a certain model, and believe it or not, but every content you went through had an impact on you.
Brands, E-Commerce, and Influencers
Every brand, every eCommerce platform, and every business practice influence in their own particular way. The kind of influencer and the platform these businesses target depends entirely on micro-targeting tactics. Instead of targeting an audience base directly, businesses target influencers relevant to their niche, as these influencers already have an audience base businesses want to target.
The role of an influencer here is to make your business and brand name known among their base. Through their regular activity and content, they inspire people directly and indirectly. For example, a smartphone brand may collaborate with-
  • Mobile gamers who would stream their gameplays on the phone to show it’s a powerful phone for game lovers
  • Instagram Photographers who would click and post some photos from the phone to show its camera capabilities
  • YouTube Tech Reviewers who would test and publish their views about the device among their subscribers
  • Travel Bloggers who would record and post clips from the phone to show its video camera quality
The point is, influence marketing does not interfere with the regular content and activities of the creators but tries to merge down the promotion among the target audience in the regular flow itself. In this way, the influencer need not go out of the way to promote a brand. By placing a relevant brand in the content, the creator can employ his or her expertise and authority for making the recommendations.
  • Over 89% of marketers admit that influencer-marketing gives better ROI than any other form of marketing.
  • With over 1 billion users, Instagram is one of the biggest platforms for brands to target influencers who can boost their sales. YouTube and Facebook follow it.
Why An Ecommerce Business Needs Influencers?
No doubt, your business need eCommerce influencer marketing to get everything explained until now. However, as a brand, you have to be clear about your goals and objectives. Especially, when you are selling products on the internet, sometimes, you need not only direct sales but also responses converting into sales, signup, leads, downloads, and other relevant actions that can come handy.
  • Brand awareness: Making your brand popular and trustworthy among the influencers’ audiences.
  • Reach out a new audience: Taking your brand to a new set of audiences by targeting different influencers in the niche.
  • Word-of-mouth popularity: With authoritative recommendations, an influencer can devise a positive outlook for your brand, which eventually turns into people talking about you in their circles.
  • Lead generation: Apart from direct sales, the responses may generate new leads for your business through coupon code collections, sign-ups, contest entries, etc.
The fact is, influencer marketing has always been around, but it has changed its form from time to time. From celebrity endorsements to celebs making sponsored social media posts, and then to micro-influencers who come right from the public, we have seen a continually changing face of the influence marketing.
If you are looking to increase your revenue via influencer marketing, consider collaborating with different micro-creators instead of spending your entire budget on a single macro-influencer. Based on your niche and the type of business you do, you can choose from N number of experts from the internet who would love to collaborate. You just need to identify the ones with the bigger potentials.

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