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Pros and Cons of Influencer Marketing – Best Practice Tips for Beginners

Social media offers an almost endless outreach; many new users are reached everyday via channels such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter.

Individuals with many followers enjoy a good reputation, particularly among users. The extensive online outreach, as well as the influence they have on their followers, has also drawn great interest in marketing. That's why influencer marketing is such an important part of marketing today.

However, you must be cautious when selecting potential influencers for your company. The following questions can help you choose the ideal influencer:

  • Is the influencer appropriate for my product or brand?

  • Is their audience an interesting target group for my marketing strategy?

  • Will I reach the right target group through the influencer’s main channel?

For instance, Instagram is mostly used for fashion & lifestyle products, YouTube for broader interests, and Snapchat is mostly suited for persons aged between 16 – 24.

1. Influencers on YouTube

YouTube presents an exciting potential for influencer marketing. The video streaming service has over 1 billion viewers in its community, more than a third of all internet users. The number of partner sales has also increased by 40% over the last two years, while the number of channels with six-digit sales increased by 50% - and the trend continues to increase.

How exactly does one envision these marketing giants?

Companies are turning to successful collaborations with YouTubers through mentions in videos (classic product placement) and links in descriptions. This way, they deliver their advertisements to the optimal target group in a natural environment. With the right usage, the extensive reach of YouTubers offers a wide range of opportunities.

As with all influencer platforms, selecting the appropriate people is crucial on YouTube. You don't need to necessarily go for the YouTubers with the most views, but rather those who can market your product in the most authentic way, and who have an active community behind them – i.e. fans who share and comment on their videos.

One clear advantage of the video platform is that products can be presented visually and users can clearly see how they are used. However, this has a clear disadvantage, since going into cooperation with a YouTuber is often very time-consuming and cost-intensive. Contact establishment is often done through agencies and managements, who also want to have a share of the larger influencer cake.

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Figure 1: Ankita Srivastava advertises dark mattes make up in her YouTube video

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Figure 2: The links below the video redirect to the manufacturers of the camera used

With the right influencer, your efforts can pay off very quickly: fast-growing outreach of your marketing campaigns, target-oriented approach, direct inclusion of affiliate links, or SEO optimization of your website through YouTube backlinks.

Casey Neistat can quite conscientiously be termed an "ancestor" of YouTube influencer marketing. His videos about Mercedes, Nike, McDonalds, Emirates, the Tropical Island Resort in Brandenburg, among others, reach several millions of users every week. This does not always entail direct, paid cooperation, since Neistat’s current status also allows him to vlog about things that interest him.

sonnenbrille Influencer Marketing

Figure 3: Casey Neistat is a famous vlogger on YouTube.

Casey’s channel clearly shows how influencers and a brand can have mutual benefits. It is not just the brand that is strengthened by the outreach of the influencers, but the fan base of the influencer can also grow very quickly due to the popularity of the brand, which in turn means a tremendous profit for both parties.

2. Influencers on Instagram

The micro-blogging platform for videos and photos, Instagram, has about 500,000,000 users. In Germany, there are about 9 million Instagram users, making up about 2% of total users. These numbers are relatively balanced between men and women. About a third of these users are 18 or younger.

Since the platform mainly thrives on photos, it is particularly popular among lifestyle influencers displaying products in posts or travel reports. They also place appropriate tags in the image descriptions and add links to possible advertiser accounts. Directly clickable links are not possible on an Instagram posts, and affiliate links are only possible via a detour to the influencer’s profile or a different platform.

However, affiliate cooperations with Instagramers can still be very successful. For instance, Leonie aka OhhCouture, a German blogger, generated an average of 50,000 affiliate clicks with about 300,000 subscribers (currently approx. 567,000) and a conversion rate of 1% every month, using her influencer network called "Reward Style".

instgram Influencer Marketing

Figure 4: Leonie reaches numerous users with her posts.

However, other ways of using the platform on a performance basis or for affiliate cooperation are very limited, and the influencers have long since recognized their value – fixed prices per cost or WKZ payments per 1,000 subscribers, of between 5-10 €, are a common standard and much better scalable.

3. Influencers on Snapchat

So far, Snapchat has barely been used for influencer marketing, but this is changing. Currently, the service enjoys approx. 150,000,000 users per day, with an average of 9,000 snaps per second. About 32% of the users are from the European region. The average Snapchatter is between 16 and 24 years old. The messenger app is therefore a very good way to reach a young audience.

The greatest challenge in using Snapchat as a marketing tool is the short lifetime of the content. Images, text, and short videos – known as Snaps – are automatically deleted from the user device after just ten seconds and two repetitions. Snapchat stories are only available for 24 hours after publication.

However, there are already some first examples of how Snapchat can be used for marketing: in addition to accounts and actively run Snapchat stories of a company’s brand, influencers can also be used to promote vouchers, promotions, and products, but without the possibility of placing appropriate affiliate links.

In addition, hardly any other medium offers as good an access to the young target group as Snapchat. Even if this is not yet part of your marketing strategy, the situation might have changed in a few years. For brands to understand what growing generations want, it is important to maintain access to the young generation – and Snapchat is ideal for this.


Influencer marketing in the social web offers many opportunities, but also certain risks. Before allocating resources to work with influencers, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully.

Incorrectly or badly placed content will have no effect. You should therefore choose influencers carefully, and make sure to also consider other essential KPIs.

Influencers can be the secret weapon for successful online marketing campaigns. They can reach the target group in a very unobtrusive way. Influencer marketing lives by the credibility of the cooperation partner. In successful examples, the user is approached in a charming way, experiences something with the influencer, and at the same time comes into contact with a brand or product. Or to put in the words of Tom Fishburne, a marketing expert: "the best marketing does not feel like marketing".

Advantages of Influencer Marketing:

  • Influencers can bring in new momentum in advertising campaigns

  • Influencers reach a target group in an unobtrusive way

  • Influencer marketing begins where normal marketing ends

Disadvantages of Influencer Marketing:

  • Incorrect content with the wrong influencer will not be effective

  • Different KPIs must be considered when choosing an influencer

  • Cooperation is often very time-consuming and cost-intensive

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Published on Jan 12, 2017 by Amir Shahzeidi