Algorithms and Ad-Blocking: Why Influencer Marketing Is As Important As Ever

Jenny Force Jenny Force, VP of Marketing

The tides of social marketing are an ocean of constant change. Between constant buzzwords being thrown out such as artificial intelligence, content marketing, influencer marketing, customer service, there’s so much that keeps marketers on their toes.

In March, Instagram made headlines by telling the world that the uber-popular social network based on images was going to ‘go algorithmic’. Simply put, Instagram will soon show you pictures the app thinks you are more likely to be interested in, thus interact with. Based on your likes, comments and interactions with pictures, Instagram can present more interesting photos to you, first.

When the company turns this feature on, Instagram will join Facebook and Twitter in using algorithms based off your usage habits to filter what is in your feed.

To quote Instagram:

The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood that you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.

AdBlock goes mainstream

Another shift in marketing occurred in December, when Apple released iOS 9 for iPhones, iPads and other i-type devices. With iOS 9 came support for ad-blocking software such as AdBlock Plus. Ad blocking isn’t a new concept – plug-ins have been available for Google Chrome, Safari and other browsers for years. What is an ad blocker? It’s a piece of software that is meant to block banner ads on webpages but also ads on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

Typically, ad blockers were used by early adopters and more techie types. But with the introduction of iOS 9, and its support for ad blocking, the term went mainstream and caused publishers and marketers to re-evaluate monetization strategies.

Looking to influencers

So far we’ve discussed ad blocking and algorithms and how they’re changing the game in terms of how brands and marketers can get messages out to the general public. One solution is influencer marketing. This is because influencers constantly work hard to build quality content that is well-liked amongst their audiences.

By definition, influencers are well, influential, because they’re subject matter experts in their field. Therefore, when a brand teams up with an influencer to produce high-quality content, both the influencer and the brand win.

Yes, you, as a brand marketer, can beat the algorithms by teaming with influencers. When you find the right influencer, who’s content is already liked, commented on and shared by his/her audience, your brand can elevate that branded content amongst all the other content in that influencer’s followers’ feed.

Also, about that ad-blocking. Well, branded content produced alongside influencers isn’t held in banner ads or from traditional paid social advertising, like this one for example, that would be blocked by ad blocker:

Instead, team up with an influencer and produce something like this:

And avoid the blocking effect of ad blockers.

But, Do It the Right Way

Please, don’t read this article and start emailing influencers randomly to start working with your brand. If this article motivates you to check out influencer marketing as an marketing program powered by your agency or brand, build out an actual plan. For more advice on this, see my post from Friday.

Start by building a list of prospective influencers by using a tool such as Sysomos Influence and go from there. If you’d like more advice on influencer marketing, see my prior posts, ask me on Twitter or leave a comment below!

(Image credit: Flickr user cluczkow)