Influencer Marketing is NOT digital PR

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Influencer Marketing is NOT digital PR

Influencer Marketing is NOT digital PR 496 720 Muhammad Zohaib

Marketers often confuse two strategies building brands and engaging target audiences: influencer marketing and public relations (PR). It’s an easy brush-off to say “we want to do digital PR” and both are used interchangeably. It is crucial for marketers to understand the fundamental differences between these two approaches.

Influencer Marketing: is a media buy focused on results and ROI. Marketers and media planners buy influencer collaborations with individuals who possess a significant online following, enabling brands to tap into their established credibility and influence. By partnering with influencers, brands can access these engaged audiences, leverage their authenticity, and get reach, impressions, engagements and conversions as a result. In 2022, the Creator Economy is worth US $104 billion comprising 50+ million creators around the world.

Public relations: on the other hand, focuses on managing the public image and reputation of a brand. PR professionals build relationships with journalists, media outlets and other key stakeholders to generate positive coverage, manage crises, and shape public perception. This strategic communication function aims to create favourable narratives about the brand and establish credibility in the eyes of the public.

Key differences:

  1. How you pay: Influencer Marketing is often paid for by specific activities (such as posts, stories, reels, videos, etc) similar to media whereas PR is paid for by the PR team’s time costs.
  2. What you achieve: PR sets out to achieve an overall brand or company narrative and sentiment whereas Influencer Marketing is focused on results and ROI such as reach, impressions, engagement and conversions.
  3. Audiences: PR targets broad audience sets and is focused on generic positive sentiment whereas Influencer Marketing tends to zoom in on specific audience niches with a set brand level objective such as awareness, consideration or conversion.
  4. Measurement: Due to the lack of measurement solutions for either in Pakistan, marketers are often confused between them. However, with Walee’s measurement solutions, the Creator Economy and influencer measurement is unveiled with granular audience and campaign data.

Let’s take an example: a cola brand creates a campaign to promote their stronger, more flavorful cola drink. It reaches around 2.05 million people and generated 3.2 million impressions. The campaign managed to engage 116,279 users impacting its brand awareness and consideration. Whereas for their PR, they put up kiosks in malls, did press releases and digital news items at launch. These are very different tactics even in the way they were executed.

But zoom out a bit and you will see that the brand team likely approved one budget: a digital PR campaign. And the results they got for these were all jumbled up and lacked measurement. Were they able to attribute a specific ROI to this campaign? What was the impact on their brand health? Were they able to quantify how Influencer were paid – what cost efficiency metrics were they able to achieve? What kind of benchmarks did they set out to achieve? The simple answer as of today is NO.

Influencer marketing has a long way to go in Pakistan. Marketers are spending over PKR 5 billion in this space. And just like digital media first arrived, we are still chasing ghost metrics in pursuit of Real ROI and brand growth. Walee aims to change this by providing real-time reporting, strong focus on ROI and a proprietary technology that enables results-focused activation with Influencers.

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