Imagine a business with an annual marketing spend of $8.2bn. Now imagine if 30% of that – say $2.5bn – was being directed at digital channels. And that the area that was seeing the biggest focus in 2017 was influencers. That would represent a pretty radical shift for a sector that only 10 years ago didn’t really exist.

Big budgets being spent on influencer marketing

Well that is what has just been reported. According to Campaign magazine, L’Oreal, the third largest advertiser in the world, has increased the proportion of its overall budget to 30% of total spend and there is more to come, according to Lubomira Rochet, L’Oreal’s Chief Digital Officer.

According to the interview with Campaign, Rochet said that the strategy reflects the ways that consumers are influenced, including via celebrity endorsements and ‘micro influencers’. Indeed L’Oreal has committed to influencers to the degree that it now works with a specialist influencer platform to find the right people to work with for its beauty and cosmetics brands.

According to Rochet, the reason L’Oreal is spending so much money and effort on finding and working with influencers, is because they have recognised:

“a common trend where you want to have this conversation and advice with people who look like you.”

This latest announcement puts numbers behind some earlier announcements by L’Oreal. At the end of last year Hugh Pile, L’Oreal’s CMO for Western Europe, talked about how the brand structures its influencer marketing strategy. Pile explained that the company has put bloggers and social media stars at the heart of its campaigns. In September 2016, Pile announced L’Oreal was building a ‘beauty squad’ of influencers who are creating content on an ongoing basis. Why? Well it is clear now that the content influencers creates is much more effective than that which brands create themselves. For example;

  • Brands posting on their social media channel typically reach only a fraction of their fans and followers – 2% on Facebook for example. Not so with influencers, who are ‘real people’ as far as the social networks are concerned and therefore not penalised in the same way as businesses
  • In 2016 brands posted 78% moe content than in 2015. But at the same time engagement with that content plummeted by -60% (according to a Brand Maven report). However influencers are not seeing such a dramatic fall in the engagement their content achieves
  • And when brands distribute their content as digital advertising, the rise of ad-blocking software destroys the ads’ effectiveness

Should smaller brands follow L’Oreal’s lead?

So should you care about what a mega-brand like L’Oreal does with its money? We think so. What L’Oreal has done is identify a trend. Of course not every brand has almost $9bn to spend. But every brand can – and should – divert a large proportion of its budget to digital and, to quote L’Oreal’s Chief Marketing Officer for Western Europe again “put blogger and social media stars at the heart” of its marketing.

The big difference for most brands is that they do not have the means or the need to advertise to the mass market. For L’Oreal, television, national press, outdoors and so on are all effective channels, because they are trying to sell their products to almost everyone.

If your target market is rather more focused – say runners or cyclists or hikers – then a outdoor advert in Times Square or Piccadilly Circus or a full-page in the Times or the Wall Street Journal, is probably a waste of money.

Perhaps a better option is focusing on influencers who are talking to your target audience. Work with them and let the content they produce advocate for your brand.








About Freestak
Sounds familiar? Of course it does – Freestak is an influencer marketing platform focused on helping brands find the right influencers in the endurance, outdoors and adventure sports sectors. We have hundreds of high-quality influencers that we have individually vetted, so you can be sure that every one will bring value to your brand. Plus our management software allows you to track the influencers you work with and the content they produce so you have a clear understanding of what return you are getting for your investment.

To find out more, drop us a line or call Simon on +44 7590 115900.


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