Influencer Marketing

by Chelsea Riffe

            Influencer marketing is evolving as one of the leading trends of digital advertising.  The way I would describe it is having an influential person post on behalf of a brand to tell their own story of their experience with that specific brand. In an article written by Ted Murphy (2014), “seeding influencers with cash and products gets the ball rolling, allowing brands to engage their audience and leverage the conversational feedback” (para. 7). Before I go on, I wanted to provide you an example of a blog post that is considered influencer marketing, also known as sponsored content.


            You’ll notice that at the very top of the blog post, it says “This post is brought to you by World Market. All opinions are 100% mine.” This is a clear indication of content that is sponsored; World Market provided this blogger, or influencer, with cash or product compensation to create a blog post on behalf of their brand. Now that you have an idea of what influencer marketing is, it’s important to know that there are other phrases to describe influencer marketing. Some call it sponsored marketing, native advertising or content marketing. While display is still used today, (banner ads for those not familiar with the term), it’s a dwindling form of marketing. According to Murphy (2014), “30 percent of marketers said that online display advertising is ‘dead or dying’” (para. 5).  Many companies still use display ads to try and gauge their audience, but with influencer marketing emerging, it’s hard to keep an audience’s attention with standard IAB ad units. Think about it, when was the last time you clicked on a banner ad?

            The concept of influencer marketing was taboo a few years back. Writing posts on behalf of a brand and getting paid for it seemed like a scam to many people. Now, it’s become more accepted because of the unique content that is created; it’s not just a stock template or banner ad being slapped on a page. The influencers actually engage with the product and have an experience with it, creating imagery and posts all unique to each site. Social sharing on sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are seen now more than ever because marketers understand that tapping into different consumers’ minds means utilizing different platforms. The table below, courtesy of AdWeek, shows the correlation between time spent on social media and the need to tap into those sites to amplify marketing efforts.

Image             I know I personally spend a ton of time on social media every single day. Because of my job working in social media marketing and taking courses on this topic, I notice native advertising efforts much more now. You might be asking yourself, well what’s really the difference between a blogger creating content for a brand versus a brand just putting money behind a paid story on Facebook or Twitter? There’s a big difference. Let me explain.

            Think about when you are on Facebook and you see a random ad pop up as you are scrolling through your news feed. You didn’t opt in to following that ad, but it’s there just because you’re logged on and that brand paid money to place it there. With influencer marketing, you opted into following that blogger or influencer and their social sites, so when they share something for a brand, it’s less jarring and annoying, because you already followed that person.

            Companies and marketers are realizing this issue. Influencer marketing also amplifies digital and social conversations, because sometimes a post, pin, tweet or share goes much further than a broadcast. Just how media agencies buy placements on TV, radio, print, and out-of-home spots, digital space is a hot new buy. It will be interesting to see how many companies put more money behind digital efforts or just take the plunge into all digital marketing, like Mike’s Hard Lemonade did this past April. Stay tuned digital media students!


Ad unit guidelines. (n.d.). IAB –. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from

Federal Trade Commission. (n.d.). .com Disclosures. Retrieved June 8, 2014, from

Moses, L. (2018, December 13). As social sponsorship grows, influencers are looking to cash in. AdWeek. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from

Murphy, T. (2014, May 12). The evolution of native advertising – Digiday. Digiday. Retrieved June 8, 2014, from

Schultz, E. (2014, April 1). Mike’s hard has a new strategy, and it’s all digital | CMO strategy – Advertising Age.Advertising Age CMO Strategy RSS. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from

Whitmore, C. (1921, June 13). A nautical cape cod tablescape!. Pizzazzerie. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from

5 thoughts on “Influencer Marketing

  1. Influence marketing does become an effective advertising method. Many companies and online marketing agencies are reaching to any person who has numerous twitter and instagram followers. They send you free products and services, and pay you for posting positive feedbacks so that all your friends and followers can see the and potentially, buy their products. It creates a kind of trust when you see it from someone real in the social media. The feeling is totally different from you watching a commercial on TVs or the Internet. And when you like and share them on your social media, your friends could also see them, which provides free promoting for those products, which makes those companies save tons of money making and broadcasting commercials.


  2. I am so fascinated by this because I think that, with the right product-person pairing, this form of advertising is really effective. My friend has over 1,000 twitter followers, and I know a meal service provided her with a day’s worth of meals so that she would tweet about it. Since she is my friend, I trust what she has to say, even if there is a company giving her free food to say it. I think you are, for the most part, talking more about bigger celebrities with many thousands or a million followers, but for me, the more removed I am from the tweeter/blogger/poster–the less I trust him or her.


  3. Influencer marketing is a vitally source. If you think of it as an influencer spectrum its more likely to gain visibility by being more social and current and its a greater reach in numbers. Having an influential person post on behalf of a brand to tell their own story beings emotion and truth to a brand. It simple helps more people relate to the brand. Great, post!


  4. I think this is very relevant to our class as it relates to audience. Marketing has taken a complete form in the social media world. It’s so funny to me how I could visit awe site and click in an item and if I choose to ass, that item will consistently pop up on the side as I am on my social networks. It’s like we are being followed by these advertisers so they are definitely making an influence.


  5. I’ve definitely seen an uptick in the amount of “sponsored content” on high traffic news media website such as Gawker and VICE in recent years.

    What I find interesting is how this practice in music journalism and music blogging would be frowned upon by many. If a record label paid a blogger to write a review or a news piece on a specific artist or band, that might be considered a poor practice by professional music journalists as music blogging is quite subjective. This would almost harken back to the era of payola, which is defined on Wikipedia as, “the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on music radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast.” Source:

    For example, the other day I found this Craigslist ad for Music Bloggers: I put it out on twitter ( and the response was not positive from local music media and local record label reps as you can see here:


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s