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Four reasons influencer marketing is similar to traditional marketing

Four reasons influencer marketing is similar to traditional marketing

It’s not hard to see why influencer marketing is a growing area for many marketers and brands. From recent research, we’ve identified these statistics that deliver a logical argument for influencer marketing:

  • Social networks account for about 50% of time online
  • 75% of consumers rely on social media to inform purchase decisions
  • 90% of users trust peer recommendations
  • 84% will take action based on the actions of others

That said, this is an emerging space and, like many individuals that are not yet fully developed, some things about this juvenile are quite awkward, a little socially dysfunctional. And some parts even smell a bit.

Social Circle, the influencer marketing business I work for, has been around for two years in its current form but has been delivering influencer marketing campaigns for seven years and I have been working in media marketing and advertising for 20 years in various forms.

I wanted to outline areas of similarity between influencer marketing and ‘traditional’ marketing:

1. Influencer marketing can be used to achieve many different marketing objectives

Of course, one can partner with an up and coming talent like Lletitia Online (see our Social Climbers run down opposite) or Callum Ryan to deliver social advocacy, but you don’t have to view influencer marketing through the prism of fluffy metrics.

We’ve used influencer campaigns and strategies to deliver direct response activity, to launch and build brands, as well as supporting other advertising activity.

Just like when you watch a TV ad during the daytime that has a direct response focus, or you will have heard from the Internet Advertising Bureau that digital can build brands as well as deliver direct response, influencer marketing can be used to deliver against multiple objectives – if it is done well.

Crucially, influencer marketing can trumpet all the vanity digital metrics anyone can dream of, but we should be moving towards outcomes of campaigns and not inputs. But isn’t that the same as all media?

2. Measurement needs to get better

Be honest, do you know anyone that has been asked by Barb (Broadcasters Audience Research Board) to have a box put on their TV to monitor what they are watching? Do you trust Rajar (Radio Joint Audience Research) to effectively measure radio listening habit when it relies on people remembering what they listened to?

Until influencer marketing has a widely established trading currency (something Social Circle is trying to establish) and some brands are working to a CPV (cost per view) and others are working to a CPE (cost per engagement), there will always be some discrepancy between what is measured.

3. Collaborative partners will fair best

Just like Channel 4 is praised for its innovative approach to ‘beyond-the-spot‘ partnerships (the Lego ad takeover a recent example), it will be the influencers offering something fresh who will be truly exciting to brands. Magazines and newspapers will often be asked for bolt-ons to a commercial campaign that lift a response to a brief high above the norm, past innovative ad formats and into the realm of physical events etc.

We have recently developed a renewed focus on ‘media-firsts’ at Social Circle and have recently conceptualized and implemented a brand partnership of a YouTubers tour. We were one of the first to crack a commercial use of an Instagram story, and now have a campaign about to go live on

4. The need and rise of the specialists

Most of the big media agencies have specialist content divisions – RadioWorks and Radio Experts have acted as awesome bolt-on businesses to smaller agencies. Influencer marketing is still growing and while there are examples of immaturity and unprofessionalism it is less ‘bandit country’ than it once was.

If you do decide to work with a partner on your influencer marketing campaign be sure to ask searching questions so they can guarantee experience, a legal framework and a series of scenarios for when things don’t go according to plan.

If you have any questions or disagree vehemently with anything, get in touch. Also, if your business would like an influencer marketing workshop tailored to your needs, get in touch.


Social Circle is tracking talent all the time. Not only the big ones, but the up and coming ones too. We’re all about finding the next gen of creators. Take a look at this list to see this months biggest Social Climbers.

1. Emily aka Mermaid Gossip

+ 288.07% engagement.

Emily feared a ‘wig haul’ which spiked her channel.

2. NitroLukeDX


3. SuperSaf TV

+ 170.4%

Spike in channel after the reviewed the new Samsung phone reviews and comparisons.

4. FatPaps


All about the Roblox trend

5. Mike Diamonds


Mike’s channel tracks his weight loss and his work outs. His most popular video on 'how to get rid of belly fat’ received over 2m views.

6. Seamus Gormon


Harry Potter review caused a spike on this channel around conspiracy theories.

7. Lydia Dinga


Lydia and her boyfriend staged a proposal on April Fools day which received her highest views ever.

8. Lletitia Online

+59.47% :

Beauty vlogger and makeup tutorials.

9. Alex - Roblox and more!


A progressive growth.

10. Ingham Family of FIVE!


A progressive growth: these are the family vloggers to watch!

James Erskine, Director, Social Circle.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7748 9237



Twitter: @JamesErskine


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