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Is Influencer Content More Engaging Than Stock Photos? We Put It to the Test

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If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve run an influencer marketing campaign.

After all, data shows that 69% of marketers rank influencer marketing as a top strategic priority for 2019, and 61% have increased the amount of money they invest in influencer marketing this year.

Why? The industry is projected to be worth $15B by 2022.

We get it — influencer marketing is here to stay.

But to truly succeed at influencer marketing, you need to go beyond running campaigns. You need to embed influencer content into all aspects of your marketing, so each marketing discipline — from social media to demand gen — is integrated.

One way to accomplish this is repurposing influencer-generated content, or IGC. And it’s a practice we’ve been preaching for years.

Here’s why.

  • IGC has an 88 percent greater impact on increasing brand affinity than even user reviews, according to InPowered
  • Influencer content on social media earns more than 8x the engagement rate of brand-directed content, according to Forrester
  • Social campaigns that incorporate influencer-generated content see a 50 percent lift in engagement, per research by Salesforce

To equip brands with comprehensive strategies that help them make the most of IGC, we’ve written tons of content about this over the years. Content like:

And we’re happy to hear that repurposing influencer-generated content is catching on. According to eMarketer, one-half of all brands repurpose influencer content on their websites and 7 in 10 brands repurpose influencer content on social media.

But we firmly believe that every company should eat their own dog food — for lack of a more appetizing phrase. So we implemented the best practice that we’ve reiterated over and over and over again.

We repurposed influencer-generated content across our own channels. Specifically, we threw ad dollars behind testing how well this theory works.

Here’s what happened.

The Campaign

First, let’s set the scene.

We ran a series of digital ads targeting a specific vertical. The ads featured a call-to-action asking brands in that vertical to book a demo with AspireIQ.

We A/B tested two sets of ads.

The first set of ads used a stock photo — a clean, simple image that we thought would appeal to brands in that vertical.

The second set of ads leveraged influencer-generated content.

Specifically, this ad came from creator @ashbegash, who worked with a brand on our platform. The brand was already able to reuse the creator’s content across its channels, but we reached out to the creator to double-check she was comfortable with us repurposing the asset, too.

Let’s be honest. Both sets of ads are great — we’re blessed with a fabulous designer. But would repurposing IGC really boost our engagement?

We tell brands to do this all the time, but we were eager to see what happens when we actually implement this practice.

The Results

We waited a few weeks after we launched the campaign before we determined statistical significance and declared a winner.

But which ad won?

Drum roll please...

Unsurprisingly (to us), the influencer photo won by a landslide.

The stock photo of the yellow sofa received a 0.58% click-through rate, or CTR. Comparatively, the influencer asset received a 0.77% CTR.

That means the influencer asset saw 32.76% higher engagement — no small amount!

It’s easy to see why. This image is human. Because it features a real person, it therefore appeals to our more emotional side, rather than our design side. That’s something everyone can relate to.

Look at the comments on the original post for more insights into this.

User comments range from, “Aww how cute! Love this sweet shot” to “Seriously need these!” If IGC works on an influencer’s main page, it makes sense that the same asset would also generate attention on a brand’s page.

We loved this test so much, we plan on running a few more ads in the future testing the same set of criteria, stock photos versus influencers.

What This Means for Brands

If you haven’t already started repurposing influencer-generated content, we’re here to help you get started. And if you’re already repurposing IGC, we’re thrilled to offer some tips that can help you improve your strategy even more.

Check out this great infographic that offers some tips any brand can use. Then, when you’re ready, schedule your demo to learn how we can help you tell a more consistent brand story — across all your channels.

Looking for pointers on repurposing influencer-generated content? Schedule your demo here.

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