When you mention “influencer marketing” to the first thing that pops into my head are those ads for FabFitFun boxes on Instagram, typically shown by people who were on popular reality shows like the Bachelor/Bachelorette. So, when I think about whether or not I’ve allowed these types of people to influence my buying habits I initially jump to say “no”. However, this is not the truth.
As someone who has watched countless makeup tutorials on YouTube for years I’ve come to “trust” those people and their opinions. One in particular was Jaclyn Hill. She’s big in the makeup world and started by filming makeup tutorials on YouTube. I’ve followed her for years and while I don’t watch her on YouTube anymore I have developed a sort of trust for her which lead me down an interesting road recently.
It began simply enough. I watched some videos for makeup products I owned to see a new way to apply/use them and liked how they turned out. This is where I started to trust her product endorsements. She would say something like “oh this color is really pigmented and looks good when you apply it here” and I would see she was right. Then she’d remark, “oh I like to use these products” and when I was at the store looking at a million options I’d find myself picking out the products she mentioned because I believed those were good products simply because Jaclyn Hill liked them.
In May of this year Jaclyn announced that she would finally be launching her long-anticipated personal makeup line, Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics. She was launching 20 different nude lipsticks and in the first day products sold out. As someone who almost never wears lipstick I was surprised when I found myself hitting “checkout” and bought one of her $25 lipsticks. If you’re not familiar with how her lipstick launch ended I’ll let you read all about that here. After the launch she refunded all of her customers because there were issues with the lipsticks being contaminated.
The concept of using influencers to market to audiences isn’t new. After this experience I questioned if it worked on other people enough to be profitable. To my surprise, I learned influencer marketing is set to reach $10 billion in worth by 2020 (1). But how does this compare to the ROI from other types of marketing channels? In 2018 Influencer marketing agency, Mediakix, surveyed marketers to gauge their feelings on influencers and it turns out that 89% of ROI from influencer marketing is comparable or better than other marketing channels (2). It is also 11 times higher ROI. With this type of success it’s no surprise that marketers plan to increase their budgets.
Now, when I consider the fact that I let social media shape my buying habits I’m a little embarrassed. For starters, I don’t buy $25 lipsticks but apparently all caution was thrown to the wind in this scenario. Secondly, I can’t believe the amount of trust I was putting in this person that I’ve never met.