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Influencer Marketing Success in the CPG Space

Posted: 07/02/2021 | Author: Jim Lochner for Creatives On Call | Tags: Thought Leadership

Influencer Marketing Success in the CPG Space

Models and products and posts, oh my! The word influencer has been around since the 1600s, but it finally reached full culture saturation in 2019 when The Merriam-Webster Dictionary added it. In the last 5 years, influencer marketing—the practice of brands collaborating with prominent online individuals to help market products and services to their audience—has grown 718%. In 2019 alone, more than 380 agencies and platforms popped up worldwide targeting influencer marketing. 44% of US shoppers say creators/social media influencers affect their purchase decisions, while 55% are more likely to buy a product based on a social media post. 

Does your company need a fresh look at your marketing? We can help you strategize.

Why this phenomenal growth?

Consumers are spending more time on social media. As such, brands are having to increase their content output. With younger consumers especially, brands now have to rely on a digital spokesperson to get their attention and gain credibility. Eight of the top 10 “most respected” advertising talents among teenagers were from YouTube rather than from the traditional world of celebrities or athletes.

Traditional advertising isn’t as effective anymore. Consumers are muting or skipping TV ads and ignoring annoying and distracting online banners. One-third of US internet users have installed ad blockers, and the average click-thru rate for banner ads is 0.06%. (How’s that for a lousy ROI?!) Even worse, 60% of those clicks are reportedly accidental, and 90% are made by bots.

Influencer campaigns have a higher ROI. 90% of consumers trust recommendation-driven ads, resulting in influencer campaigns generating an ROI that’s 11 times higher than other forms of digital media, with an average return of $5.20. For consumer packaged goods (CPG) food products, it’s even higher with $14.29 earned for every dollar spent, compared to $12.54 for tourist destinations and travel; $12.21 for bath, body, skin, and beauty; and $11.76 for alcohol. 

The Influencers

Social media influencers tend to fall into one of 5 categories:

Mega-influencers. These are social superstars, often celebrities, with over 1 million followers. While it may be tempting to splurge on a movie star or athlete (if you have the budget), prices can range from $20,000 on YouTube to over $1 million on Instagram. 

Macro-influencers. These influencers have 500,000 to 1 million followers. Most are well-known internet stars who built their following by creating enticing content on different social channels. 

Mid-tier influencers. With 50,000–500,000 followers, these influencers have good engagement with their followers and tend to be lower in price—for instance, $535 per sponsored photo, $960 per sponsored video, and $222 per sponsored story on Instagram. 

Micro-influencers. These are ordinary people who have built up a solid social media following of 10,000–50,000 followers. Micro-influencers account for more than 90% of all successful influencer marketing. 

Nano-influencers. These specialized influencers have 1,000–10,000 followers and immense influence within their niche.

The Social Channels

Which social channels you use depends on your company and your industry. The overwhelming brand favorites are Instagram (67%) and TikTok (45%), followed by Facebook (43%), YouTube (36%), LinkedIn (16%), and Twitter (15%). Twitch (8%) has also started to make waves.

When it comes to engagement, the number of followers plays a significant role—the more followers an influencer has, the lower the engagement. For instance, 68% of Instagram users say they watch the platform specifically to interact with the creators. So the lower follower numbers of micro-influencers (50K–500K) on the platform results in an average engagement rate of 3.86%, compared to 1.21% for mega-influencers. YouTube engagement rates tend to be low, though micro-influencers get an average engagement rate of 1.64% compared to 0.37% for mega-influencers. On TikTok, micro-influencers get engagement rates of nearly 18%, with under 5% for mega-influencers.

Ultimately, it will be your consumers who dictate which channels you should use. 60% of Instagram users say they would follow a brand after seeing it promoted by a creator who shares their values and interests. Nearly 40% of Twitter users say an influencer Tweet influenced their decision to make a purchase. And 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers follow purchasing advice from their favorite creator over their favorite TV or movie celebrity.

Influencer Marketing for CPG

CPG products have seen great success with influencer marketing, particularly in younger demographics. Because CPG products are generally less expensive, it’s easier for influencers to sway consumer purchase decisions than for high-value products like cars, appliances, or tech. In addition, CPG brands can leverage mega- to nano-influencers and everyone in between for budgets of all sizes.  

Influencers also help CPG marketers expand their target customer base. Less than 50% of Gen X and Millennial shoppers visit the websites for CPG brands. Most consumers head to Amazon or other e-commerce websites to make CPG purchases. On the flip side, 81% of US consumers say they would like to see more food-related content in their Facebook and Instagram feeds. In a 2020 Facebook report: 

41% of makeup consumers say the primary reason they follow influencers is to discover new products.

45% of food consumers purchased after seeing a creator or celebrity consume or prepare a food product on social media.

31% of carbonated beverage consumers say content from creators and celebrities helps discover new products.

54% of brands say performance is the #1 factor to consider when determining which influencers to work with, followed by the influencers’ content/style/specialty (43%). Because of the frequency and ease of purchasing fake followers, an influencer’s reach has become less important. 

57% of CPG marketers have tried pay-per-post, the most common pricing model for influencer marketing, where influencers get paid a flat rate to create and publish content like tweets, photos, videos, or blog posts. But, as mentioned earlier, prices can vary widely, and there’s no guarantee audiences will engage with, or even see, the content. 36% of brands pay their influencers with free product samples or discounts on more expensive products rather than cash.

When negotiating with an influencer, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want your campaign to achieve—raising brand awareness, driving conversions, or boosting your social following. Also, understand how that particular creator can help you achieve your goals. While a big social following may sound great, it needs to be the right followers for your needs. Look for influencers who offer solid engagement with their followers and are willing to promote your brand on the most effective channels. 

Successful influencer marketing is about relationships. By ditching the one-offs and working with your preferred content creators over time, you’ll be able to grow your brand in meaningful ways.

* * *

With 84% of companies planning on working with an influencer this year, influencer marketing is predicted to be worth $13.8 billion in 2021. That’s good news for CPG marketers. Influencer campaigns produce better results than the same marketing efforts used in other industries and help brands reach new audiences. 

Looking to beef up your influencer marketing campaigns? We can help! Creatives On Call has experienced creatives standing by to help with strategizing, researching the right influencers for your company, content creation, analytics, and more. Give us a call!


This is a time for marketers to step up to the challenge and get creative in meeting current demands and behavior changes. Creatives On Call supports your business through this. Contact us here.  We have Marketing professionals ready to start in areas including:

• Strategy & Advisory

• Design and Production

• Content Creation & Management

• Customer Engagement & Experience

• Learning & Knowledge Management

• Digital Technology & Transformation

Learn more here.

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