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28 March 2019

Will Instagram be the saviour of influencer marketing?

Written by: Blaine Doherty, Influencer Strategist at Edelman

Digital Trends, Technology

Checkout

By Blaine Doherty

Nearly a third of Instagram’s one billion users have purchased something they discovered on Instagram. This represents huge commercial power – and Facebook, Inc. just made shopping on Facebook even easier. They recently released a “Checkout” feature on Instagram that will allow users to upload payment information and purchase products featured in organic posts from a handful of brands.

With Checkout we will see a much slicker Instagram purchase process, side-stepping slow-to-load online carts and wild goose chase purchases often abandoned in frustration. 

But what if the feature should become available to Instagram content creators? What impact could Checkout have on influencer marketing?

ROI Through Checkout

An acronym that has been the source of much frustration in the influencer marketing world. Yes, we can show ROI on influencer marketing in a variety of ways, but Western social media platforms have been seriously lagging behind the likes of WeChatin Eastern markets when it comes to e-commerce. 

OK, Twitch have integrated affiliate marketing into their platformto drive e-commerce. These unique widgets featuring products influencers support have been around for a while. But we have not yet seen a seamless purchasing process on a social media platform like Instagram’s Checkout. With payment details already loaded and no re-direction to a product landing page, the seamlessness of Checkout will likely help drive purchases should it be available for influencers to use.

This will have a positive impact on marketers being able to track the ROI of their influencer efforts and can help them understand which influencers are driving most value for them, leading to them refining their influencer approach and potentially even engaging in longer term partnerships with those influencers. The mind honestly boggles at the possibilities, but we are still talking hypothetically.

ROI for every brand? Really?

No. Not ROI for every brand. Let’s be realistic here. Checkout will likely work best with FMCG brands, examples being ASOS, Adidas and Nike. For the most part, the time taken to consider purchasing a product from these brands is not that much, which makes it much more likely for a user to purchase their products using the Checkout feature. 

If you’re Jaguar and you’re looking to sell your new £40,000 car, chances are that you won’t drive many purchases by only using Checkout due to the research time and consideration usually given to purchasing a car. However, with the right integrated strategy and product type, you can certainly drive purchase consideration and potential conversions.

Enriching influencer partnerships

With Checkout, brands could potentially be able to understand which content creators have driven sales for brands they have previously partnered with and can then optimize their influencer partnerships to only partner with content creators that are driving actual value and ROI.

This doesn’t mean that brands should partner with influencers to post Checkout-enabled content every single day, but if an influencer’s audience are actively purchasing your product through the influencer’s posts, then advocacy among that audience is high. It’d make complete sense to then partner with that specific influencer over a longer period, maybe even making them an ambassador, in order to increase the advocacy and potential purchases among their audience.

I’ll reiterate the word “hypothetical” here. These are just the thoughts and hopes of an Influence Strategist who is keen to address the pitfalls of influencer marketing,with a view to educating internal and external stakeholders of its immense value as part an integrated marketing strategy. It seems to me as though Facebook are pushing towards the standardization of influencer marketing, and that they are trying to help marketers become more strategic in their thinking.

While Checkout is yet to prove itself, the fact that someone is taking a punt is fantastic to see. 3 cheers for Facebook!

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