2020 marks the start of a new decade, and influencer marketing is already making a name for itself in the Roaring Twenties. Our Instagram feeds are full of beautiful images promoting everything from lemonade to household cleaners.
But with all the hype, where’s the truth? How do you know influencer marketing ROI is realistic in such a crowded online space?
The thing is, 89% of marketers say their influencer marketing ROI is equal to or even better than their other channels.
Influencer campaigns are like marketing on steroids: not only go they put your brand in front of new audiences and boost your reputation, but they have a hard, measurable impact on your sales.
In other words: yes, influencer marketing is still effective. But if you want to drive your customers’ purchase decisions, you’ve got to do more than hire Kim Kardashian to sell diet pills. Influencer marketing is a tool, and like any other tool, you’ve got to wield it to get results.
Influencer marketing versus paid ads
But how does influencer marketing vary from other cool marketing tools, like Facebook Ads?
We love paid ads, but when ROI is on the line, influencer marketing is the way to go. The stats don’t lie:
Influencer marketing is more influential than paid ads. 92% of consumers trust influencers more than ads, generating 11X the return on investment.
Honestly, shoppers hate ads. 49% of your shoppers find paid ads annoying or irrelevant.
Influencer marketing has a greater reach. 47% of your shoppers use ad blockers, but there’s no overlooking an influencer’s post on their social feed.
If you have the budget to do both influencer marketing and ads, we say go for it. But if it comes down to influencer marketing versus Facebook Ads, you’ll see more ROI with experienced influencers.
Still not sold? See how these 8 brands used influencer marketing to overcome sales hurdles, boosting their online presence and staking their claim in the world of eCommerce.
8 influencer campaign case studies that crushed it
Whether you’ve never tried influencer marketing before or if you’re stuck on how to create your next great campaign, don’t sweat it. Learn from the big brands that have come before you, taking the best pieces of their campaigns to refashion your own.
And if you need a little help persuading your boss to embrace influencer marketing, we’ve got just the remedy. Check out these 8 influencer marketing case studies to see how influencers affect the bottom line.
1 – Kettle + Fire
Kettle + Fire sells traditional, high-quality, grass-fed bone broths to health-conscious foodies. Voted one of the best Paleo brands by healthline.com, Kettle + Fire needed to deepen its brand reputation on social media.
But they were too busy handling the business side. Somebody had to cook all that bone broth, after all.
Kettle + Fire knew it needed help with social media marketing, but wasn’t sure how to make it happen. Doesn’t social media require a lot of work? A lot of content? Extra hands that they didn’t have? And how did influencer marketing fit in?
Kettle + Fire wanted to communicate the specific benefits of eating their product. They liked the idea of influencer marketing but wanted to keep the content curation on-brand.
That’s why they partnered with Trend. We made a list of targeted influencers who might be a good fit for Kettle + Fire’s bone broth products. After narrowing down the list, we selected influencers who could deliver the most powerful imagery.
A team of influencers followed Kettle + Fire’s brand requirements, creating dozens of beautiful, high-resolution Instagram posts for the brand.
Plus, Kettle + Fire used these curated images on their Facebook Ads to get more traction. In a two-birds-one-stone solution, Kettle + Fire got the beautiful imagery they always wanted, on top of a more effective Facebook Ads campaign.
The results were incredible. We tested their old creative against the new creative and found that Kettle + Fire earned $4 in revenue for every $1 spent in Facebook Ads.
If it comes down to influencer marketing versus Facebook Ads at your own business, Kettle + Fire shows it’s possible to succeed at both.
2 – Iceland Foods
Iceland Groceries may sound like a Nordic company, but it’s actually based in the UK. And this frozen food brand had a problem: its customer approval ratings had plunged to an abysmal 10%.
In the past, Iceland used big-name celebrities to promote its products, but these campaigns weren’t going well. They needed real influencer marketing ROI, stat.
Iceland realized the reason celebrity campaigns weren’t working is that they didn’t show real people. Iceland pivoted its campaigns to target everyday people, like mommy influencers.
Since customers are more likely to trust a micro-influencer over a celebrity, this proved to be a sneakily clever choice on Iceland’s part.
Iceland brainstormed a yearlong strategy where it partnered with regular-Joe food influencers to get some oh so good user-generated content.
On top of that, they implemented social listening and paid ads to really get the message out there. The goal of the campaign was to deepen customers’ bonds with Iceland products, with the ultimate goal to sell more frozen food.
Iceland had to make frozen food sexy and appealing, which was no small feat.
But during its partnership with 50 micro-influencers, Iceland hit the jackpot. By showcasing a diverse range of everyday people using their products, Iceland saw:
A 55% retention rate on Facebook videos (and a 59% rate on YouTube).
And if this doesn’t drive home Iceland’s influencer marketing case study, we don’t know what will:
This campaign was so effective that Iceland piggybacked on this success, targeting a new batch of micro-influencers with a second influencer marketing campaign, The Power Of Frozen.
3 – Warby Parker
Nobody wants to wear thick, granny glasses. Bespectacled people want reliable, fashionable, and affordable eyeglasses. Warby Parker entered the eyewear industry in 2010 to deliver just that.
Today Warby Parker delivers direct-to-consumer glasses with plenty of spunk. The brand is known not only for its superhero-level customer service, but its creative branding decisions.
Warby Parker is by no means a new name on the block, but they still wanted to push more product awareness and engagement on Instagram. They wanted influencer marketing ROI and took a micro-influencer approach to get it.
Warby Parker selected 7 micro-influencers with decently-sized followings on both Instagram and YouTube.
Their “Wearing Warby” influencer campaign partnered with influencers who already had an affinity to Warby.
In fact, all of Warby’s influencers had already posted about Warby organically before this campaign.
This ensured Warby partnered with influencers who were in it for the love of Warby (the cash was just a nice perk).
“Wearing Warby” showcased Warby glasses in everyday life. One influencer might be baking while wearing her Warby’s while another painted his latest masterpiece. By targeting influencers in creative industries, Warby not only expanded its audience, but pushed itself as a lifestyle brand.
Warby’s influencers showed off their specs by doing the crazy, fun, creative stuff they liked to do already. And Warby got crazy influencer marketing ROI from this campaign:
Warby Parker’s hot designer shades can’t protect your eyes from this blinding truth: influencer marketing is a must for product brands.
4 – Health-Ade
Los Angeles-based company Health-Ade makes small-batch, cold-pressed kombucha. Known for its funky flavors, emphasis on health, and a brazenly unique voice, Health-Ade still needed help penetrating the market.
Facebook Ads were way too expensive and risky for the growing brand, which wasn’t sure how to get in front of new shoppers.
The thing was, Health-Ade needed to focus on their kombucha mothers, not wooing real mothers to try their products. How do you crank out the high-quality, branded content followers expect when you don’t have the resources to make it happen?
Health-Ade reached out to Trend for help. Our team leveraged our database of vetted influencers to find people who could promote the Health-Ade name to their followers.
Health-Ade ended up partnering with several influencers, who created 214 Instagram posts for the brand. Best of all, each post was chock-full of repurpose-worthy content that Health-Ade could reuse on its site, social media, ads, and a lot more.
Thanks to their influencer campaign, Health-Ade now has brand-specific creative they can use everywhere.
But we know that alone won’t convince your boss that influencer marketing ROI is real.
Since it costs $7 to get 1,000 impressions on Instagram, we generated $11,200-worth of impressions for an eensy-weensy fraction of the cost.
If Health-Ade had hired a full-time employee to do this (at a cost of $42,000 a year, give or take), that would have been over $30,000 more expensive.
Case in point: influencer marketing gets you the content you need, the impressions you want, and the savings that make your boss salivate.
5 – Dyson
The other influencer marketing case studies on this list showcase human influencers—but as any Instagram user knows, influencers also come in different shapes, sizes, and species. Pet influencers have a lot of pull on social media.
For brands like Dyson, pet parents are a perfect target audience. Since expanding its product line to specifically address pet cleanup, Dyson has been working overtime to increase its reach in the pet space.
Dyson created an influencer marketing campaign on Instagram with the goal of pushing product awareness.
Few pet owners realized Dyson was a reliable solution, and the brand wanted to change that. It also wanted to boost its Instagram engagement.
Dyson partnered with 5 pet influencers on Instagram, largely targeting dog owners. The brand gave influencers a very loose creative brief, giving pet owners creative control over the posts themselves. The posts simply had to be humorous and show how pet owners cleaned up after their fuzzy companions.
What worked with this campaign was Dyson’s willingness to give creative control to influencers.
It also targeted influencers based not on their following size, but on their audience. One Dyson influencer had a following of just 2,500 people—but it had the highest engagement rate out of any other influencer in the campaign.
Dyson was pretty darn brave to give influencers so much control, but it paid off. Dyson saw influencer marketing ROI that included:
That’s ROI we can howl about.
6 – Kalumi Beauty
Kalumi needed to promote its line of BEAUTYfood bars, but didn’t like how its branded messaging looked staged, Photoshopped, and tone deaf to its shoppers.
Today, beauty shoppers want to see real images of products in use, which meant Kalumi’s internal team couldn’t crack the code on organic, engaging content its audience would love.
Kalumi partnered with Trend to create content mapped to the entire buyer’s experience, from unboxing to product use. The brand wanted to create a repository of trustworthy, unfiltered content to share with its audience.
Trend helped Kalumi locate real product users and influencers. This way, the beauty brand was able to tell more authentic stories that would resonate with shoppers.
Trend’s team of content creators shot every piece of content, not only sharing the rights with Kalumi Beauty, but publicizing that content with their followers for even more traction.
If Kalumi had used in-house influencers, they would have spent upwards of $50,000 a year to manage the entire affair. A content studio would have run them $72,000 a year, and an agency would have been over $100,000.
Thankfully, Kalumi didn’t have to sign away their kidneys to do influencer marketing right.
They spent just $6,715 on their Trend campaign, garnering results like:
Who says beauty marketing has to be cutthroat? With Trend, Kalumi was able to make influencer marketing work while building a library of effective user-generated content.
7 – Palms To Pines
Palms To Pines was hard at work helping KÖE launch with a key retailer. Problem was, there was little to no local recognition of the KÖE brand.
They had the genius idea of increasing local awareness with influencers, encouraging shoppers to go in-store to try KÖE’s kombucha. But to do that, Palms to Pines needed to source a lot of social media content from influencers—something that was a huge headache before Trend.
Pre-Trend, Palms To Pines had to spend weeks planning and executing just one campaign. And when they tried to get agencies involved? It was a nightmare, both for their wallet and email inbox.
Palms To Pines used Trend’s structured platform to connect with experienced content creators and influencers, using these steps:
Step 1: The firm built its campaign out in Trend’s builder, requesting certain content styles, hashtags, and specifications.
Step 2: Palm To Pine’s campaign went live and the applications started rolling in! They didn’t have to search for influencers at all—they got their pick of the litter with Trend.
Step 3: After selecting a group of vetted pre-vetted influencers, Palm To Pines sent KÖE’s kombucha to the content creators. Trend took care of the addresses and shipping, which was a big time-saver.
Step 4: Creators sent in their content, generating an immense library of licensed content for Palms To Pines.
Palms To Pines’ influencers had tremendous success with their first campaign. In one month, the brand was able to generate:
As a result, Palms To Pines significantly decreased hands-on time managing KÖE’s campaign, garnering not only a library of amazing content, but a trusted group of influencers to promote the brand with their followers.
8 – MOON Ultra
Taking your selfie game from weak to fleek requires awesome lighting. That’s why the folks at MOON Ultra created the Moon UltraLight, a mobile light accessory that connects to your smartphone.
They knew their product was a hit, but there was a problem: nobody knew about the product launch.
Plus, even if MOON Ultra managed to get the word out, there was no guarantee that shoppers would trust them enough to actually buy a Moon UltraLight.
That’s why MOON Ultra partnered with Trend. It needed social proof, stat, and our network of pre-vetted influencers was able to create some much-needed authentic content.
MOON Ultra partnered with Trend to make a splash on the market. We knew they needed a lot of horsepower, so our system matched the brand with trustworthy influencers who already had large followings.
(Oh, and the structure of our platform helped MOON Ultra keep costs low, too, by the way.)
With Trend, MOON Ultra completed its influencer campaign in a few short weeks, generating tons of high-quality content to use for its launch.
If MOON Ultra tried to source influencers itself, it would have spent over $100,000. But with Trend, the brand spent only $3,870 and got amazing results:
Instead of pumping money into something like Facebook Ads, MOON Ultra preserved its budget, generated a library chock-full of user-generated content, and put itself in front of thousands of potential customers.
Yes, influencer marketing has reached a fever-pitch in 2020. But just because something is popular doesn’t mean it won’t work for your brand. Au contraire, these 8 brands got influencer marketing ROI so insane we did a double-take at the numbers.
It’s time to try something different. Let’s make your next influencer marketing campaign a hands-free haven of ROI. Sign up for a free Trend account now to see how partnering with trusted trendsetters means more money in your pocket.