Interview with Fabienne Fourquet, founder of 2btube
How fast is influencer marketing growing in Spain, and how does it compare to other markets in Europe?
Influencer marketing is a strategy present in most companies, meaning we’re living in a golden age of the sector. After Covid19 restrictions in 2020, more people are used to consuming more content online, discovering more social networks and following more influencers. This has led to the rise of the role of influencers as an important medium, who have grown their reach by covering important content that has served as entertainment and inspiration in difficult times. Brands are aware of how valuable influencers are in connecting with their audience, and the sector has professionalized at record speed. More often we are seeing brands contacting us with a clear idea that they want to implement influencer marketing campaigns, when a couple of years ago, they only saw it as a possibility.
An InfoAdex Study of Advertising Investment in Spain 2022 (El estudio de la Inversión Publicitaria en España 2022) found Spanish companies invested €93,7m in influencer marketing last year, up 23,9% compared to the €75,6m invested in 2020. This is an important statistic, because influencer marketing was one of the few industries that grew that year, with a €14m increase over the €61.8m invested in 2019.
The United States and a few other European countries, like France or the UK, have always been ahead of the Spanish market, but in recent years, Spain has been catching up.
Which social networks are growing fastest in terms of usage and influencer marketing?
In Spain, the networks with the most users are Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. In the last two, influencer marketing has been present for many years but Instagram has been the general favorite for influencer campaigns. TikTok has also experienced spectacular growth in users in the past 24 months, and in brands who are keen to have a presence on the platform through influencer marketing.
Twitch, although it has a much younger audience, is also making waves as it is the main platform for live entertainment. Many brands are trying out influencer marketing on Twitch, since it is a platform with similar formats to television, meaning that advertisers better understand how to create campaigns. But because TikTok is a completely new format, many advertisers may not be completely sure of how to mount a campaign on the platform.
How are the brands approaching influencer marketing? To what extent are they focused on reach and engagement versus sales?
It depends on the type of brand: those whose purchase is associated with spontaneous consumption are generating leads and direct sales, others through discount codes or tracked links promoted by influencers. Nevertheless, while all brands seek direct sales, many do not have the online presence needed for online sales, or have not created a strong enough relationship with their social media users to lead to a purchase. Instead, they are stuck in the first two steps of the sales funnel: Awareness (reach) and generating positive interaction (engagement). Without these first two steps, it is hard to reach the last step: conversion (sales).
Influencers are the perfect ambassadors to introduce products and brands as well as generate positive interaction, making them a key marketing tool to reach these objectives. One of our biggest objectives this year is the creation of live shopping campaigns with our clients, generating online events to sell products live, through influencers and social media.
Have Spanish brands fully recognized the potential of influencer marketing?
A large proportion of brands have not yet recognized its potential, since not all of them count on online sales. There are also products whose purchase requires greater reflection (less impulsive buying patterns). However, with the latter, seeing an influencer use a product generates a memory and positive image of the brand in the audience that assures that, months later, when the need arises, they’re convinced to make a purchase. Video reviews on YouTube help a lot in the decision making process for products such as cars and cellphones. Since YouTube’s search is the second-most-used in the world, and its videos also are well positioned in Google, it is an easy way for people to learn more about a product before buying it. Those videos help to convince the audience to the third step of the sales funnel without having to pay for an additional conversion campaign.
How do you rate the power of Spain's nano and micro influencers versus macro and mega influencers?
Although there has been growth in nano and micro influencers — and their public is more loyal and trusting in their opinions — the reality is that you gain more reach and engagement with a macro or mega influencer, and with a smaller budget. To level up to the benefits of a macro influencer, you need hundreds of micro influencers, and the associated costs to manage so many smaller talents usually isn’t worth it.
We have done campaigns with both types of influencers and know from experience that the best results are generally achieved with talents who have more than 100k followers. That being said, it is important to not only look at the follower count, but to select the talent based on their concrete engagement in the relevant themes and target audience for each brand. For companies aiming to reach a niche public and which want highly personalized marketing then it is possible to have a successful micro influencer strategy.
What are the key challenges and opportunities for Spanish brands when it comes to influencer marketing?
The greatest challenges can be found in influencer selection, our data shows there are more than 9,100 professional influencers in Spain with 100,000+ followers. Picking an influencer is more than looking at their audience statistics: you have to know the talent’s background, tastes, if they have been involved in a controversy, the brands they have worked with and the values they’re associated with.
Another challenge for brands is knowing, in advance and with a high percentage of certainty, the results that a campaign will have. Since it depends on the algorithms of different social networks, oftentimes campaigns don’t have the desired reach and, if the storytelling associated with the campaign is not appropriate, it may not inspire the desired reaction from the audience.
The opportunities are endless. The digital medium has superseded reach, results and traditional measuring, and influencers are the key agents of this online ecosystem. All of the social networks highly value the role of influencers, and attracting creators to their platforms is one of their greatest objectives. The development of ways to directly sell through the Live format is planned on practically all social media platforms and influencers can be an important part of promoting this trend to promote sales.