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Influencer Marketing Strategy Checklist & Template

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Influencer Marketing Strategy Checklist & Template

If you’re a marketer looking to reach new audiences, partnering with influencers can be a great way to do that.

Influencer marketing is an incredibly effective strategy. Nearly 3.96 million of the world’s population is using social media, and researchers say that number might reach 4.41 million by 2025.

As a result, influencer marketing has naturally become one of the most popular marketing methods. As target markets become younger and more digitally connected, influencers can help organizations connect with consumers where they are – online.

By building influencer relationships, brands can leverage an influencer’s reach to achieve their marketing goals.

But if you’re considering hiring an influencer for your brand, where do you even begin? It can be tricky to narrow down your goals, what type of influencer you want, and what goals you hope to meet with an influencer strategy.

To help you narrow your search and ensure your influencer marketing strategy is as effective as possible, we’ve created a template and guidelines to help get you started.

The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing

Follow Along With Our Free Influencer Guide + Templates

Influencer Collaboration

Influencer collaboration is a marketing strategy that involves paying individuals with a large social media following to advertise your brand to their followers. The influencer can demand compensation in monetary value or complimentary products and services in exchange for their recommendation.Influencer Marketing Collaboration

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 90% of marketers will allocate a budget to influencer marketing, with 62% increasing their existing budget. The same study also cites that most brands that have worked with influencers are pleased with their results based on conversion rates and sales they received as part of the collaboration.

The good news is even companies that hired micro-influencers (that is, influencers with 15K followers and fewer) still got impressive results.

According to Convince and Convert, the top 13% of marketers are getting great returns from influencer collaboration regarding quantifiable results.

In fact, for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, they’re getting $20 or more. This explains why marketers are increasing their influencer marketing budgets.

Here are six steps to help you create and implement an influencer marketing strategy:

1. Define your goals.

By clearly defining the end goal of your strategy, you can work your way backward to determine the steps needed to get there. Using your goals as guiding lights will also define your strategy’s metrics for success. These will help keep your campaign on track.

Are you trying to increase brand awareness or drive engagement? Do you want to spruce up your lead generation method, or do you want to build on the loyalty and goodwill of your existing audience?

Dunkin Donuts is an excellent example of how defining your goals can influence your results. They hired Charli D’amelio to advertise their products to increase their app downloads.

After her video went viral, they launched a drink named after her, “The Charli,” and her 143 million Tiktok followers were more than willing to join in the trend. As a result, the app’s download increased by 57% when Dunkin Donuts released the drink.

2. Identify and define your audience.

Properly segmenting and identifying your audience can determine the effectiveness and success of your influencer campaign. It’ll be easier to identify which audiences would best help your marketing goals once you define them.

Depending on your organization’s target personas or ideal buyer, you should group consumers by demographics, psychographics, buyer lifecycle stage, or preferred channel.

Tinder is an excellent example of how your target audience can influence your campaign. Most of their app users are 18-25 years old, so they hired influencers in this age bracket to promote their app.

Tayler Holder was one of the influencers who participated in the campaign, and one of his posts has over 500k likes. It’s just a photo of him wearing a Tinder-branded shirt and a short caption, “Swipe right and come find us on @tinder.”

3. Define your budget.

Defining your budget is essential s because it guides your content creation and distribution options.For example, if you’re on a limited budget, you may opt to use an independent influencer instead of an agency.

This is also a good time to decide how you compensate your influencers. Some influencers are okay with being paid using free products and services.

Every influencer marketing campaign is different depending on the means of payment and the resources required for the campaign. Here is an example of how you can break down your marketing campaign budget:

a pie chart break down of how to budget for your influencer marketing campaign

Source

4. Choose a type of campaign.

The way you promote your brand through an influencer depends on your goals and the target audience’s preferences.

Guest posting, sponsored content, re-targeting, co-creation, competitions, mentions on social, discount codes, and more are terrific examples of influencer marketing campaigns.

For example, Audible partnered with best-selling author Tim Ferriss on his podcast, where his listeners could use his custom link to get a discount on Audible content. This partnership delivered a relevant offer to the target audience, benefitting Audible, Tim Ferriss, and his podcast listeners.

5. Decide on the social media platform you want to use.

One good thing that happened during the pandemic is that the usage of all social media platforms went on the rise. Marketers’ most used social media platform as of last year is Facebook, and the least used is Snapchat.

That being said, the best platform is based on your target market and the kind of content you’re promoting.

For example, if you’re promoting something for teens, Snapchat would still be your best platform. This chart from WordStream will give you more clarity.

6. Create content for your campaign.

Once you’ve decided on the medium and campaign type, it’s time to create compelling content. Even if you have the most exciting campaign or best product-market fit, consumers will lose interest if your messaging or content doesn’t captivate them.

Make it as easy as possible for your influencer to share your message. The better your messaging fits with their audience, the easier it is for your influencer to push your brand out to their audience.

For example, Fitplan targets people working out from home who might need professional training to reach their body goals. To increase their app sign-up, they work with influencers already sharing fitness content with their audience, like Michele Win.

In return, when their followers sign up for the app, the influencers get to train them and earn money from the app. This strategy works because the content aligns with the users’ needs, and they can see what to expect. It’s also easy for the influencers to push this message because they simply share the same message with their followers.

7. Find your brand influencers.

The right influencer should understand and connect with your audience, your brand, and the content you’re promoting. For example, if you’re promoting supplements, you have a better chance with influencers who are into health and fitness than influencers who are mainly interested in new fashion trends.

You can get influencers in your niche by using hashtags on social media platforms. For example, by simply searching #fitness on IG, you get over 1 million posts from different fitness influencers.

Sometimes, you don’t have to work with an influencer in your niche but rather someone who is trending. Your marketing team can help identify the best influencers for your brand by staying on top of their social media game.

8. Promote your campaign.

Once you’ve successfully identified your target market, found your ideal influencer, and created compelling content, all that’s left is promoting your new partnership!

Go to your favorite social channels or draft a blog post to generate some buzz.

For example, Fitplan shares short workout advice videos by their influencers on their IG page. This is a good way to encourage viewers to sign up by giving them a glimpse of what happens in their program. Sharing the content on their page also helps reach the people who might not be following their influencers.

9. Track your success.

It’s critical to track the performance of your partnership to ensure all expectations are met and determine the success of the campaign.

Track website traffic, engagement, conversions, or other metrics you decided on when you determined your marketing goals. You can agree to check the data weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the nature of your campaign. Check in with your original goals to analyze your success and how to repeat them.

There’s a lot of potential for high return on investment (ROI) from influencer partnerships. Therefore, tracking if and how your influencer content performs better than your non-influencer content is essential.

Influencer marketing Strategy Checklist

The Influencer Contract Checklist

An influencer contract is a document that contains the details of the agreement between the influencer and a business. For example, the contract includes the terms of content creation, legal protection for both parties, and compensation received, among other details.

It’s important to have a contract to keep the influencers you’re working with accountable, and it’s always a brilliant idea to have a legal document where money is involved.

1. The Basics

This includes the date your contract begins and both parties’ official names. It’s important to ensure the names that appear in the contract are official and acceptable in a court of law.

Use simple language to describe everything in this section to avoid any kind of misinterpretation in the future.

2. The Expiry Date

How long will you be working with the influencer for this particular campaign? However short or long it may be, stating the dates is essential.

This section should state whether it’s a one-time campaign and, if not, the terms of renewing the contract. For example, you can set your influencer’s contract to one year, with the option of renewing it based on the parties’ agreement.

3. The Mode of Compensation

What will you be offering the influencer in exchange for their services? It could be monetary or a free product or service.

Regardless of what you’ll offer, ensure you state it clearly. How much will you be offering if it’s money and after how long?

For example, your terms could state that you’ll pay the contractor 30 days after sending their invoice.

The payment structure will vary from one agreement to another. For example, if it’s a one-time campaign, you could agree on paying half the money before the campaign and the rest after the influencer hits their key performance indicator (KPI).

4. Your Inclusion in the Campaign

Content distribution is just one of the main parts of an influencer marketing campaign. There are other vital parts, like creating content and deciding on the best tone for the campaign.

An influencer better understands the kind of content that resonates with their audience and creative ways to present it.

Therefore, it’s good to include the influencer in the creative briefing sessions. In this case, you’ll need to state how many meetings they’ll be expected to attend and for how long.

5. The Type of Content

What kind of content are you expecting from the influencer? Is it a guest post, a vlog, or a reel? State the expectations clearly.

If you’re expecting multiple content formats, mention exactly how they should be delivered. For example, you could state you need four reels and four social media posts twice a week.

7. The Approval Process

As we mentioned, a marketing influencer campaign works best when the influencer collaborates with the marketing team. This helps with quality control by ensuring the influencer adheres to company values.

In some instances, the marketing team may have some suggestions for or edits to the content before posting. Ensure you mention how many revision rounds the influencer should expect to make and if revisions guarantee extra pay.

8. The Promotion Requirements

How much do you want the influencer to be involved in the marketing process? For example, do you want them to share the content on their personal pages? If yes, what platforms and how often?

State these expectations, including how much they should engage with the audience to avoid any conflicts in the future.

9. The Content Copyright

If you want the right to edit or modify the influencer’s content, it’s important to include content copyright in the contract. Your copyright terms should also allow you to use their images or logo when posting related content.

On the other hand, the influencer might want access to the content they edit. If this is the case, be sure to mention how long they’re allowed to access the content. When can they access the content and do they retain the copyright forever?

10. The Publication Agreement

A publication agreement details when the influencer will publish the content. Do you publish once, twice a week, or several times a day?

Ensure you capture all these details on your contract and include any penalties the influencer will face if they don’t comply.

Include other additions the influencer must make to the content when uploading it. These may consist of promo codes, hashtags, or tracking links.

11. A Restrictive Covenant

A restrictive covenant is an agreement on the length of time an influencer isn’t allowed to work with a competitor after the campaign. So first, define your competitors and include them in the contract.

Additionally, ask the influencer to confirm that they have no written contracts with your competitors.

12. A Sunset Clause

A sunset clause dictates the length of time your sponsored content should appear on the influencer’s pages. Without a definite period, many influencers can delete the sponsored content once they’ve been paid or after a short period.

Be clear on how long the content should stay on the influencer’s page before they can delete it.

13. A Cancellation Clause

What happens if the influencer feels you’re no longer a good fit for their audience? Or they break the agreement, and you can no longer continue working with them?

Prepare for these scenarios by having a cancellation clause in place. It should cover any penalties or repayment.

14. Image Authenticity

Image manipulation isn’t a new concept– especially with the editing apps and filters available on the market. Ensure you have a clause that protects you from image manipulation.

While you want your products to appear appealing, you also want to ensure customers don’t feel cheated when they receive your product.

Image manipulation may also trigger publishers to flag your ad for false advertising. Publishers could then remove your content or your ad campaign from their platform.

15. A Morality Clause

You can’t control what an influencer does, but you can protect yourself with a morality clause. Remember, how they conduct themselves during the campaign can damage your brand’s reputation by association.

Therefore, some guidelines can protect you, like discontinuing the contract when they conduct themselves in any way that puts your brand at risk.

Once you have an influencer marketing strategy and a contract, you’ll need to create an influencer proposal to send to potential collaborators.

Here’s a short influencer proposal checklist:

1. State your goals.

What do you want to achieve with this influencer marketing campaign? It could be better brand awareness, increased subscription rates, high traffic, or high engagement.

Whatever your goal is, it should be stated clearly in your presentation.

2. Show visual examples.

Influencer marketing is mainly about visuals. So, before you meet with an influencer, research and take screenshots of the campaigns you like.

These resources will give your influencer an idea of what kind of content you’re looking for.

3. Simplify the numbers.

If you love data, chances are your proposal will be full of figures. This is boring, and most influencers will not pay attention to this presentation. Provide only the necessary data based on the influencer’s preference to avoid overcomplicating the proposal. The metrics you share will depend on the media platform you’re working on. For example, if you’re promoting IG content, your influencer will need to see the content interactions, profile activity, and the accounts your posts are reaching. This information is important when setting future goals and negotiating prices.

Also, try to replace the data and tables with graphics that appeal to them based on their interests and the nature of their career. Keep in mind that successful influencers are heavily booked and you also need to wow them to work with you.

4. State the responsibilities of the influencers.

State all of the influencer’s responsibilities. How should the influencers participate in the marketing campaign?

Responsibilities can include creating content, developing hashtags, editing images, or sharing content on their page.

5. Give examples of influencers you’d like to work with.

If you don’t have specific names in mind, you can create a buyer’s persona to represent the kind of people you want to collaborate with. You can boost this persona with success metrics like followers, engagement, and likes.

Coming up with this persona will help your potential influencers know your priorities in this campaign.

6. Don’t be too detailed.

Although you want to ensure your collaborators understand your expectations , you don’t want to micromanage them.

Instead, include a brief. This allows the influencer to share ideas on how to reach your goals.

Download the Influencer Strategy Template

Are you ready to try these influencer marketing strategies with your organization? Download our free influencer strategy template and achieve your marketing goals today.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

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By Emily Sullivan

Netflix, the streaming giant known for binge-watching and award-winning originals, sent shockwaves through the industry in 2022 by announcing an ad-supported tier. This move was likely fueled by a desire to reach new audiences, combat rising subscription costs, and potentially even fend off competition from other OTT platforms. These ads could lead to strong growth potential with advertisers eager to tap into Netflix’s massive user base. 

If you’re unfamiliar with how Netflix works, it’s important to know that Netflix is an OTT (Over-the-Top) platform, meaning it delivers streaming content directly over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite providers. It’s one of the most popular OTT platforms globally, but in the ad supported video on demand (AVOD) space, Netflix is a relative newcomer. Understanding this new facet of Netflix is crucial for marketers looking to capitalize on this advertising opportunity.

Interested in learning more about Netflix and its advertising offerings? You came to the right place. In this post, we’ll cover the foundational elements of Netflix ads including ad types, specs, advertising best practices, and more. 

Why Did Netflix Start Offering Ads?

In November 2022, Netflix introduced an ad-supported tier. This move marked a significant shift, as Netflix was previously known for its commitment to an ad-free experience. The decision likely stemmed from a desire to tap into new revenue streams. With consumers increasingly cost-conscious, an ad-supported tier provided a way to attract budget-minded viewers while still offering a premium ad-free option, similar to established AVOD providers like Hulu and Peacock.

Initially, the launch was off to a slower start, with few people signing up for the ad supported tier and Netflix failing to meet guarantees, but things are quickly turning around and savvy advertisers are taking notice. Netflix boasts a massive user base, with roughly 270 million paid subscribers – a household name with immense reach. In fact, 40% of new Netflix sign-ups are choosing the ad-supported tier, translating to a total of 40 million users. Netflix’s ad platform presents a unique opportunity for marketers looking to reach a large and engaged audience.

“Our goal isn’t just to offer the same products and tools the industry has come to expect — although we’ve made a lot of progress on that front over the last year. It’s to build something bigger and better than what exists today. We want to shape the future of advertising on Netflix and help marketers tap into the amazing fandom generated by our must-watch shows and movies.”

Amy ReinhardPresident, Advertising at Netflix

How to Start Advertising on Netflix

So, you’re interested in capitalizing on Netflix’s massive audience? Here’s a breakdown of the three main ways to buy ads on their platform:

1. Netflix Ads Manager

This platform, powered by Microsoft, allows you to directly purchase ad space on Netflix. However, be prepared to meet their minimum spending requirements, which can be substantial and offer little room for negotiation.

2. Partnering with an Agency

While the minimum spend might be high for direct buys, streaming agencies like Tinuiti can be a valuable asset. They can not only help you navigate the intricacies of Netflix advertising, but also:

  • Consolidate Streaming Data: The streaming landscape is fragmented, with viewers spread across multiple platforms. Agencies can collect data from these various platforms and turn it into a unified, actionable strategy for your advertising campaign.
  • Expertise and Negotiation: Agencies bring a wealth of experience to the table. They can leverage their knowledge of the advertising landscape and potentially negotiate more favorable terms on your behalf.

3. Ad Tech Partners

Companies like Microsoft offer ad tech solutions that provide technical capabilities to streamline your advertising efforts. These partners typically take a more hands-off approach compared to agencies, focusing on the technical aspects of ad delivery and optimization.

The best option depends on your budget, experience level, and campaign goals. If you’re a large brand with a significant budget and an in-house marketing team, going directly through Netflix Ads Manager might be a good fit. However, for most businesses, partnering with an agency or ad tech provider can offer valuable support and expertise.

Ad Types & Specs for Netflix Ads

Now that you understand the different avenues for buying ads on Netflix, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of ad formats and specifications:

Netflix Ad Types

Example of a Netflix Ad Featuring Smartfood and Love is Blind

Currently, Netflix offers two main ad types, pre-roll ads and mid-roll ads. Netflix notes that users can expect to see a few short ads per hour and that they aim to place ads during natural plot breaks for a more seamless experience.   

Let’s take a look at each option… 

  • Pre-roll Ads: These commercials play before a program or movie begins, similar to traditional linear TV advertising.
  • Mid-roll Ads: These ads appear in the middle of a program, typically inserted during natural breaks in the content.

During paused playback, ad breaks are displayed on the progress bar. As an ad break begins, the upper-right corner reveals the number of ads included in that break.

While Netflix advertising is fairly new, the platform has made a few important announcements to look out for in 2024. Netflix plans to introduce a new binge ad format for global advertisers, offering viewers an ad-free fourth episode after watching three consecutive episodes. Additionally, QR code integration in U.S. advertising will launch early in the year. Sponsorship opportunities, including Title, Moment, and Live Sponsorships, are also now available in the U.S. and will expand globally in 2024.

Netflix also offers live opportunities including WWE Raw (launching January 2025), which will air live on Netflix 52 weeks of the year, and the NFL Christmas games which Netflix just secured the rights to. These live events provide advertisers the opportunity to reach ad and ad-free members of Netflix in a live environment with traditional ad formats.

Last but not least, Netflix recently announced they are adding Pause Ads to their suite of custom ad units. This is currently in beta and is expected to be rolled out to the general marketplace in H2 2024.

Netflix Ad Specs

When it comes to advertising specs, it’s important to follow Netflix’s guidelines which include the following… 

  • Supported Lengths: Netflix accepts ads in 10, 15, 20, 30, and 60-second durations.
  • File Format: Ads must be submitted in MP4 or MOV format.
  • Aspect Ratio & Resolution: Maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of either 1920×1080 HD or 1280×720 HD.
  • QR Codes on the Horizon: Netflix is preparing to support QR code integration within commercials, allowing viewers to seamlessly access additional information or promotions.

Hot Tip: Stay tuned for updates, as Netflix is constantly evolving its ad platform.

Why Advertise on Netflix?

Advertising on Netflix offers several unique advantages for advertisers including… 

  • Massive Reach – Netflix boasts a massive subscriber base worldwide (globally, there were around 270 million Netflix subscribers in Q1 2024), providing advertisers with access to a vast and diverse audience. These viewers are often highly engaged, spending significant time on the platform consuming content. In fact, Over 70% of Netflix’s ad-supported members watch for more than 10 hours a month – which is 15 percentage points higher than the nearest competitor according to Nielsen.
  • Targeting – Netflix collects extensive data on user preferences and behavior, enabling precise targeting of advertisements based on demographics, interests, viewing history, and more. This targeted approach increases the relevance and effectiveness of ads, maximizing ROI for advertisers (more on this below).
  • Global Reach and Localization – With a presence in numerous countries around the world, Netflix offers advertisers the opportunity to reach audiences on a global scale. Additionally, the platform’s localization capabilities enable tailored advertising campaigns to resonate with specific regional or cultural audiences.
  • Unskippable Ads – Unlike some streaming advertising platforms, Netflix ads are unskippable, guaranteeing your message reaches viewers.
  • Positive User Experience – Netflix prioritizes a positive user experience, so it’s unlikely viewers will see the same ad twice in a single episode. However, there’s a chance you might encounter the same ad later during your viewing session. It’s also important to note that children’s profiles maintain their ad-free experience.
  • Ad Delivery & Blocking – Since ads are delivered server-side, ad blockers are ineffective on Netflix. Additionally, playback automatically pauses if you minimize the window while an ad is playing, ensuring your message is seen.

Best Practices When Advertising on Netflix

When advertising on Netflix, it’s essential to understand the platform’s unique capabilities and audience targeting options to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns. Check out a few best practices you need to consider… 

Explore Audience Targeting Capabilities

Netflix offers several audience targeting capabilities for advertisers on their ad-supported tier. These capabilities focus on three main areas: demographics, viewing habits, and content context. Here’s a breakdown:

Demographics:

  • Age: Advertisers can target users by age groups, like 18-34, 35+, etc.
  • Gender: Ads can be shown to specific genders (male or female).
  • Location: Targeting can be set by country or even state (in the U.S.).

Viewing Habits:

  • Genre: This lets advertisers target users based on the genres they watch, like comedy, drama, action, etc.

Content Context:

  • Top 10: Ads can be placed before or after shows and movies on Netflix’s daily Top 10 list, ensuring high visibility.

Advertisers also have the option to choose where they don’t want their ads to appear. For example, they can avoid showing ads on programs with mature themes or content that may not align with their brand values.

By using a combination of these targeting options, advertisers can reach a more precise audience interested in their product or service. This increases the ad’s relevance to viewers and potentially improves the ad campaign’s effectiveness.

It’s also important to note that Netflix now has the ability to target advertiser first party data. The platform currently has two approved DMPs: Liveramp or Adobe. Advertisers who work with either of these DMPs can upload first party data for targeting or suppression.

It’s important to note that Netflix’s ad targeting is still evolving. While it doesn’t offer some of the more advanced options found on other platforms, they are working on expanding their capabilities.

Test Your Ad Creative

Just like any other marketing campaign, testing your ad creative on Netflix is vital for optimizing performance. Here are some key reasons to test your ads:

  • Discover What Works: Testing allows you to compare different ad variations and identify which elements resonate most with your target audience. This could involve testing variations in messaging, visuals, calls to action, or even ad length.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Testing provides valuable data and insights. You can track metrics like click-through rates, completion rates, and brand recall to see which ad versions generate the best results. Don’t rely on guesswork. Testing helps you move beyond assumptions and identify what truly connects with viewers.
  • Meet Audience Expectations: Netflix viewers anticipate premium content, including ads. Testing ad creative ensures that your commercials meet these expectations by delivering high-quality, engaging content that resonates with the audience.
  • Optimize Performance: Testing allows you to refine your ad creative to achieve optimal performance. By experimenting with different elements such as messaging, visuals, and calls to action, you can identify the most effective combinations that drive engagement and conversion.
  • Enhance Relevance: Testing helps ensure that your ad creative remains relevant to your target audience. By continuously testing and refining your approach, you can adapt to changing consumer preferences and market trends, ensuring that your ads stay impactful and resonant.
  • Maximize ROI: Effective testing enables you to make data-driven decisions that maximize ROI. By identifying and scaling the best-performing ad creative, you can allocate your advertising budget more efficiently and achieve greater results.

Measure and Analyze Your Results

Netflix doesn’t offer 1:1 conversion measurement for ad buyers (yet) – but they do have brand awareness and lift studies they offer advertisers so keep this in mind when measuring and analyzing your results. 

The platform did recently announce that this summer, Netflix will expand its buying capabilities to include The Trade Desk, Google’s Display & Video 360, and Magnite who will join Microsoft as the main programmatic partners for advertisers.

Starting in the second half of 2024, Netflix just announced that the following third party measurement partners (partnering to measure and verify the impact of advertiser campaigns) will also be added: Affinity Solutions, iSpotTV, NCSolutions, Videoamp, DCM and TVision.

They also announced Netflix will launch an in-house advertising technology platform, by the end of 2025. This will give advertisers new ways to buy, new insights to leverage, and new ways to measure impact. 

Is Netflix Advertising Right For Your Brand?

Overall, Netflix advertising offers the unparalleled reach of a massive, highly-engaged audience. This can be a strategic choice for brands seeking broad awareness and brand association with premium content.

If you’re interested in exploring advertising opportunities on Netflix for your brand, consider reaching out to the Tinuiti team. Our expertise can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of advertising on the platform, maximizing your campaign’s effectiveness and ROI. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your brand on one of the world’s largest streaming platforms—connect with Tinuiti today to get started.

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