“We already know that influencer marketing can have a meaningful impact on sales for products and services of all types,” said Ted Murphy, founder and CEO of IZEA. “While it is relatively easy to track and attribute influencer marketing impact for online sales and awareness, it is much more difficult to measure the offline impact at a retailer’s physical location."
"We can now track how an influencer marketing campaign impacts sales lift for soda, lipstick, or other mass market packaged goods.”
Importance of influencer marketing in CPG
With more than 13 years of experience in the influencer space, IZEA has created an online marketplace to connect marketers with 'content creators' (also known as influencers) that allows brands to automate their influencer marketing and content development campaigns based on a set of proven KPIs. Brands that have worked with IZEA include ConAgra Brands, Dr. Pepper, Folgers, Kraft, Petco, Wendy's, and others.
"When we first started, [the concept of] 'influencer' was cool enough on its own to be the shiny new object for people to try and that was good enough for all the marketers out there," Larry Beaman, IZEA vice president, partnerships, told FoodNavigator-USA.
"Now that it’s getting hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars of budget per brand, it’s really put under a microscope now as far as proving its value."
In fact, IZEA found more than 50% of surveyed marketers’ companies from a November 2018 survey now allocate budgets for both influencer and content marketing, with the median budget level edging up by 2% year-over-year and greater increases in budgets of $700K to $4.99M range. In addition, 70% of companies surveyed engaged in influencer marketing.
"As far as food and CPG goes, they’ve actually been our largest customers the entire time we’ve been in business. Luckily for them, they usually have a cash cow brand," noted Beaman.
IZEA also found that one in three US millennials who are active in social media indicated that they made a food or beverage purchase after seeing a product promoted by an online influencer.
According to IZEA, influencer marketing has gained a general consumer perception of absorbing the overall image of its parent medium. In other words, influencer marketing comes across as less obtrusive and more visually appealing across various social media platforms.
Measuring influencers' direct impact on sales
"The top priority for CPG companies is they want to understand the impact of their influencer campaigns," Mariana Torres-Lastra, consultant, Media Center of Excellence, IRI, told FoodNavigator-USA.
IRI, which has been measuring influencer campaigns since 2000 and has benchmarked more than 250 campaigns, found that food and non-food products typically see a very positive return on advertising spend (ROAS) of approximately $2 to $4 (per $1 spent).
InfluenceImpact offers CPG companies an enhanced level of sales analysis -- leveraging IRI's point-of-sales data -- by providing measurement of sales uplift through in-store purchase data. Users of InfluenceImpact access the program through the IZEAx software (the online marketplace that connects brands with influencers). On the back end, IRI and IZEA utilize a test and control methodology to help marketers isolate the true effects of their campaigns.
Beaman added: "IRI can actually take it to the next level and say, 'This media plan of influencers actually cause a sales uplift in different retailers for your particular SKU or product'."