6 Essential Influencer-Marketing Truths Every E-Commerce Brand Should Know

More than a few companies have been burned by the wrong approach. Make sure yours isn’t one of them. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy Image credit: supersizer | Getty Images January 24, 2020 5 min read Opinions…

More than a few companies have been burned by the wrong approach. Make sure yours isn’t one of them.

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Influencer marketing is becoming a fundamental part of many e-commerce brands. In fact, in a recent survey, 92 percent of marketing agencies confirmed its effectiveness. So if nearly everyone agrees it’s important, what do e-commerce brands need to know about this hot topic so they can best take advantage?

1. Influencer marketing reaches further.

Traditional marketing channels have brought success to many companies for decades, but as times change, those channels do not reach as far as they use to. Influencer marketing is able to connect to customers on a deeper level than traditional marketing was ever able to. Even better, it’s capable of accomplishing this on a limited budget.

Customers are unlikely to pay attention to advertising that they believe to be inauthentic. They are much more likely to trust a real person over a brand. This trust is important to build, because many customers will leave a brand they believe is disingenuous.

The price tag for an influencer partnership can vary, but there are options for any budget. In the past, a company could spend millions of dollars to create an advertising campaign that connects with customers. Unless your influencer is a high-profile celebrity, you will not need that kind of cash. If you’re trying to keep costs down, there are many low-profile influencers that can be hired for a fraction of the cost of an ad campaign while still effectively bringing in customers. The ROI for influencer marketing is significantly higher than traditional marketing.

Related: Influencer Marketing Really Is the Game-Changer for Business

2. Influencers must be relevant.

When finding an influencer to partner with, you must find one with relevance in your industry. It doesn’t matter if a potential influencer has a million followers if their audience is not connected your products. Find someone that resonates with people who will also resonate with your brand.

One individual who certainly understands the principle of finding relevant influencers is Josh Elizetxe, founder and CEO of Snow. Elizetxe is an entrepreneur and internet advertising veteran, and during a recent email conversation about influencer marketing, he told me, “Finding the right partnership lets small companies take on big companies. It allows tiny startups to become lucrative, long-term businesses. It’s all about using the internet to your advantage.”

3. Micro-influencers reach targeted audiences.

The best strategy for using micro-influencers is to segment your customers and choose which segment you want to target, increasing the efficiency of your marketing efforts. Dunkin’ Donuts used the micro-influencer partnership strategy this past year. They also used nano-influencers, which are people with even smaller followings but high influence among that following. Dunkin’ was able to generate $300 million in coffee sales alone with this strategy by  capturing the attention of younger audiences and appearing more relatable to highly targeted groups.

4. Authenticity is key.

In influencer marketing, authenticity is the number-one priority. It’s important to find influencers that truly believe in your product. Customers can see through an influencer who’s promoting a product for a paycheck. This kind of promotion won’t drive sales, and it may even give your brand a bad name.

In 2016, Bootea, a weight loss-shake brand, partnered with Scott Disick, a reality star with a large Instagram following. Unfortunately, Disick copied and pasted the instructions from the brand into his post, and his followers immediately knew the promotion was sponsored. It’s important to find an influencer who will not only appear authentic, but also be authentic.

5. Platform choice is strategic.

There are many platform options for influencer marketing, but it’s imperative to choose one that’s right for your industry and your product. You must understand what platforms your target audience is using and which people on that platform they trust.

Most brands think of Instagram when talking about influencer marketing, but any platform where you can build a large following can be a good choice. Many influencers have gained large followings through YouTube, blogging, Pinterest and, more recently, TikTok.

The most popular platforms are not your only option, though. In fact, sometimes you can reach customers more effectively through less-popular outlets with less competition. 

Related: Are Influencers Worth Your Money?

6. Quality matters.

Younger companies, especially new e-commerce brands with small budgets, are frequently tempted into partnering with the least-expensive influencer. Be cautious when doing this, however, because the quality of an influencer’s following matters. Newer influencers sometimes are not as influential as they seem.

Impostors are one of the biggest issues businesses have encountered when looking for low-cost influencers. It’s common for aspiring influencers to buy followers, which makes them appear to have a high level of influence when they don’t. To avoid this problem, read through potential influencers’s content. If engagement levels are lower than expected, some of the followers may be fake or simply unengaged. And in e-commerce, credibility and active engagement are, quite simply, everything.

These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn’t one of them.

el_cigarrito/ShutterstockInterbrand, a brand consultancy firm, ranked the world’s biggest companies.They based the ranking on brand strength now, how the brand wants to improve in the future, and what value does it add to the company. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft were some of the leading brands to consumers, while Facebook fell out of the top 10.…

5da82aec4af9096db54db8b3 1920 960 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.el_cigarrito/Shutterstock

  • Interbrand, a brand consultancy firm, ranked the world’s biggest companies.
  • They based the ranking on brand strength now, how the brand wants to improve in the future, and what value does it add to the company.
  • Amazon, Google, and Microsoft were some of the leading brands to consumers, while Facebook fell out of the top 10.
  • View Markets Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Brand image can be a huge factor for companies and their success, often influencing consumer decisions with it.

Interbrand, a brand consultancy firm, has ranked the world’s brand to see which were the most important in 2019.

They did this by looking at three main factors – brand strength currently – in other words, how positive is the perception of the brand across the world; what value does the brand itself add to the company; and, what plans does the brand have for the future.

The firm then calculated “overall financial return to an organization’s investors, or its economic profit,” as well as “the ability of the brand to create loyalty and, therefore, sustainable demand and profit into the future.”

Brands in tech stood out, such as Apple, Google and Amazon, while Spotify and Harley Davidson and were courting less favor with consumers.

Facebook fell out of the top 10 to 14th place and sportswear giant Nike came in at 16th place.

Below are the top 10 global brands in 2019.


10. Disney — brand value: $44.3 million

5da82c60cc4a0a13b756bb92 750 563 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Disney Cruise Line/Facebook

Disney’s market cap at the time of writing stands at $240.2 billion, and the brand only stands to get stronger with the advent of the new streaming service Disney+. Interbrand found that it’s brand strengths were differentiation, commitment, and presence. Its brand value has grown 11% in the last year, according to Interbrand, after a mammoth year in film with “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4” and “Avengers Endgame.”


9. McDonald’s — brand value: $44.53 million

5da82ca4cc4a0a13c2108f53 1536 1152 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Rachel Askinasi/Business Insider

McDonald’s, which has a $158.5 billion market cap, has consistently grown its brand value since 2003, and in the last year increased by 4%. Interbrand said its strengths were commitment, differentiation, and presence. With the rollout of a plant-based burger with Beyond Meat, it could yet still grow.


8. Mercedes-Benz — brand value: $50.8 million

5da82cc5cc4a0a13c2108f56 2560 1920 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Daimler

Mercedes-Benz, isn’t independent per se, rather it is owned by Daimler. It’s brand value increased by 5%, through its commitment, relevance and responsiveness.


7. Toyota — brand value: $56.2 million

5da82d024af9096e5527c782 1920 1440 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Reuters

The Japanese carmaker’s market cap is roughly $222 billion, and in the last year its brand has grown 5%. Interbrand based this on relevance, authenticity, and presence.


6. Samsung — brand value: $61 million

5da82d34cc4a0a13e104c996 2732 2049 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Reuters

Samsung, one of the leading tech giants in the world with a market cap of $284 billion grew by 2% in the last year. It showed responsiveness, relevance and authenticity.


5. Coca-Cola — brand value: $63.4 million

5b7c64ba8905f2fc1e8b4771 750 563 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Rebecca Blackwell / AP Images

Coca-Cola’s brand has actually declined in the last year 4% and has been doing so since 2014. Despite that, it sits at number 5, showing the strength of the brand – led by presence, authenticity and commitment.


4. Microsoft — brand value: $108.8 million

5da82dd6cc4a0a145d15b802 1536 1152 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Yana Paskova / Getty

Worth $1 trillion by market cap, Microsoft is one of the world’s leading brands, one of five tech companies in the top five. Its brand has improved markedly this year by 17%, due to clarity, relevance and responsiveness.


3. Amazon — brand value: $125 million

5da82df8cc4a0a146b4f2453 2732 2049 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.David Ryder/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos’ firm is among the world’s biggest brands. Amazon’s market cap stands at $885.3 billion, and its strengths were responsiveness, relevance, and presence, as the brand grew 24% in the last year.


2. Google — brand value: $167.7 million

5da82e114af9096eca2ffb33 2732 2049 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Reuters

Google, was beaten to the top spot but clearly showed its dominance in the world’s household names, as it had the second-highest brand strength. With a market cap of $869 billion, the brand grew 8%. Of course, presence and relevance featured but also responsiveness.


1. Apple — brand value: $234.2 million

5da82e47cc4a0a1494480362 1920 1440 - These are the top 10 brands in the world in 2019. Facebook isn't one of them.Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images

The world’s strongest brand was tech giant Apple. With a market cap of about $1 trillion, the tech giant nabbed the top spot, beating Google in terms of brand value by an entire Coca-Cola and more. It grew 9% in the last year, through differentiation, governance, and engagement.