Influencers, micro-influencers and brands: What is the best strategy?

Last year, Benefit Cosmetics announced the launch of their ‘Desert Island Beauty’, where the 5 top influencers in the cosmetics industry picked their most essential Benefit product to promote. But did Benefit use the right methods to promote their products and reach the correct target audience? We used our pioneering Observatory platform to test the relevance of these influencers.

Benefit Cosmetics suggested some high-profile influencers for their ‘Desert Island Beauty’ initiative. The influencers selected were were: Manny MUA (@MannyMUA); Nicole Guerriero (@nguerriero19); Jeffree Star (@JeffreeStar); iluvsarahii (@iluvsarahii); and Laura Lee (@Laura88Lee).

1. Were Influencers the correct type of marketing needed for Benefit Cosmetics?

Of the top 500 most important accounts to Benefit, 28.2% of these were influencers. In comparison, 49.6% of the 500 were brands, causing them to dominate the most influential accounts to Benefit Cosmetics. The remaining 22% consisted of Media, Websites, Destinations and Events. Often Brands shared more followers with Benefit than influencers, for example @UrbanDecay, who ranked no.2 and shared 395,284 followers with benefit. However, influencers are proven to be more beneficial when promoting a product as they connect with the consumer better than brands do, creating more trust and authenticity between product and consumer.

2. Were the Correct Influencers Used?

Manny MUA had the highest importance out of those selected, and was the 3rd most important influencer overall, with 151,456 followers being shared with Benefit, making him potentially the best choice. Nicole was the 5thmost important influencer in the top 500 and shared 102,496 followers with Benefit Cosmetics. They were both good fits for the brand as had different passions and styles of makeup, increasing the variety of viewers to the product. Jeffree star was also a good choice, despite having the lowest importance of all the choices, and a smaller proportion of followers in common with benefit (117,338 out of 1.91M), he is well known for his honesty when reviewing products and willingness to call brands out on poor quality. This helps to create more trust in the quality of the products, whilst still getting a very influential personality to promote the brand. Benefits twitter activity increased by 552.29% in the past 6 months, and @MannyMUA’s growth increased by 27106.88%, proving the usefulness both to brand and influencer.

3. Were there any alternatives?

In the top 500, there were other influencers further down the list, for example members of the Kardashian/Jenner family, who have a higher number of followers than others who are ranked more importantly, and they have more followers in common with Benefit Cosmetics. Despite this, they might not be the correct face for the brand, as more viewers doesn’t mean more people who care about the product. Other suitable influencers could have been, @Jaclynhill, @NikkieTutorials or @Xoshaaan. All these influencers have as high importance as those chosen, ranking in the mid-30s overall for most important, and have similar passions. However, the importance of micro-influencers was not considered, in this project.

4)     The benefits of Micro-influencers

Micro-Influencers are proven to be more cost effective, as they are significantly less expensive than larger influencers and have more interactive followers, making them 6.7% more efficient per engagement. They also interact 22.2 times more weekly with their followers, due to their personal investment in their passion. This led to the Benefit Brow search campaign, targeted at micro-influencers which, in 2018 gained benefit 32,000 photo posts, 45,000 Instagram stories and 74 million pictures of collective content, which continued to be posted throughout the year. This is potentially better than ‘Desert Island Picks’, as it reaches a wider variety of potential customers, who become more interactive with the brand and its products.

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