How brands can get the best out of influencers this holiday season

How can brands best engage with influencers this winter holiday season? New surveys show marketers the way to go.

Influencer marketing and the holiday season -- it should be a marriage made in marketing heaven.

Brands working with influencers is a hot tactic for companies at the moment, yet it is still a relatively new concept, and the ability to directly link influencers to actual sales takes some skill to connect the dots.

Brands pour big dollars into significant holiday spend dates such as Black Friday sponsorships with big name influencers.

Also: Is celebrity influencer marketing dead?

However, they do not see any ROI because they did not spend time building a relationship with these influencers before Black Friday.

Poor returns for brands

San Francisco, Calif.-based influencer marketing platform Traackr found that marketers looking to reach shoppers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday through influencer partnerships are probably wasting their time and budgets.

It pulled data from a panel of nearly 34,000 top influencers to see the effectiveness of influencer marketing across holiday campaigns in 2017.

The data showed that while the number of posts with ad-related content on Black Friday did not see a particular increase, they had the highest potential impressions on that day.

This shows that that marketers are targeting fewer influencers but are targeting those with the largest followings.

However, these posts did not deliver in terms of increased engagement. Black Friday ads generated 1.98 million likes, comments, and shares compared to a day such as Dec.3. This date had 5.98 million engagements -- about three times more activity.

This indicates that the quality of influencers matters when it comes to holiday shopping campaigns, and it is not just about the amount of followers an influencer has.

Improved business for influencers

Influencers saw more engagement on their ad posts in December than in the lead up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday holidays in 2017. This means that last-minute shoppers may be more receptive to influencer marketing than other types of shoppers.

According to Boston, Mass.-based influencer marketing platform Mavrck's recent survey, Influencer marketing around the holidays continues to grow.

Nearly 60 percent of influencers surveyed reported that a higher number of brands, agencies, or influencer platforms had reached out to them to collaborate on winter holiday activations as compared with the same time last year.

More than 40 percent of influencers surveyed reported that the conversations started earlier in the year this year as compared with last year.

Also: How to safeguard your company from influencer fraud

Whilst four out of five influencers surveyed reported that Instagram is their primary network, over two out of five reported that the types of content and the platforms on which they are asked to post content for winter holiday collaborations have changed.

More than one in five (22 percent) influencers surveyed noted that brands are asking for Instagram Stories, and almost 20 percent of influencers surveyed received a higher volume of Pinterest-related winter holiday collaboration requests this year versus last year.

Marketers who wish to save their marketing dollars should carefully choose when they want to run their campaigns as timing is crucial. And if they do use influencers, make sure they choose the best quality influencer for their specific campaign

Previous and related coverage:

Why the influencer marketing bubble will burst soon

If your brand is sceptical about using influencers for your campaigns then you need to read this new study before you spend your cash.

Collective Bias launches technology for selecting better influencers

How do companies select the top-performing influencers for their influencer program?