Interview with Sirine Barritaud, social media and influence manager at Gardeners
What are the key trends in influencer marketing right now?
There are more and more influencers coming on to the market with the view of it being a real job. That didn’t exist at the beginning.
The fees are increasing every year, it never stops. It’s a shame that there is no regulation of this. Everyone makes it up as they go, everyone estimates how much they are worth. Influencers we worked with last year, for the same amount of content this year the price has risen from €1,500 to €2,500. It’s complicated because not all brands will be able to stretch the budget.
[My view is] that just because [an influencer’s] followers have increased, that doesn’t mean the reach will also increase. If the fee is so high as to be unreasonable, then I prefer not to continue with the collaboration. I’m not going to pay too much for something and not have the results. Everyone is different, some will pay without thinking about it and others will be tougher than me.
There is more transparency. I contradict myself a bit, but there are more influencers who communicate clearly about what happens behind the scenes, about what their job is, what it implies, and that it is not necessarily a world made of rhinestones and glitter. There is more transparency from brands willing to collaborate on livestreams with influencers where they discuss these kinds of issues.
How is the market evolving in terms of laws and regulations?
There have been improvements, there are new laws and there is a framework but it is not yet sufficiently defined. We see influencers who hide collaborations. Not all mothers [who use their children in paid posts] have contracts for them, there is a lack of supervision. Next year for all parent influencers, we’ve decided to go through [an agency] to establish contracts for the children. It means added costs but at least we are acting within the law and we are protected.
Earlier this year, a prominent documentary shed light on some of the seedier aspects of influencer marketing. What is your view of the issues raised?
[The documentary] raised the curtain on a certain type of influencer marketing that is unique to reality TV but which is just a small part of the industry.
The vast majority of influencers are people who work hard to do the right thing. Many of them say reality TV influencers harm the industry because there are so many collaborations that are just billboards for questionable brands. That they really don’t care about their audience, they are just there to make money. It’s an image which does not reflect the real nature of influencer marketing.
You can also see it in the quality of work. A content creator has the creativity and artistic vision to produce content and write text. A reality TV influencer is unable to produce the same quality.
In one sense it’s good they made the documentary because for the people who don’t know the market — especially the young people who follow these people online and allow themselves to be influenced — it shows them that what they see online is not necessarily true.
How do you respond when a client wants to work with a reality TV star, but who you feel may not align with the brand values and objectives?
I had a client that absolutely wanted to be positioned in the reality TV sector, both on TV and also on social networks. I advised him against it. I explained that the type of audience that followed this personality was not a match for the brand and the target. That the quality of the content would not be anything special. The client insisted and was happy with the results — we got eight stories for the price of four — but honestly, the quality of the content was awful. The profile did the job but the text, the filming, the spontaneity, authenticity, professionalism, it was just not there.
I was unable to do a proper analysis of the campaign because even though the data was part of the deal, the agency refused to hand it over.
But they are not all the same. For some reality TV influencers, the data is phenomenal. On one collaboration, we had between 2 and 4 million impressions, which is massive. But we had to go through her agency which was very difficult to manage. I was going to exclude her this year because the agency was so horrible to deal with, but the data talks.
Is the content created on TikTok at the same level of professionalization as on Instagram yet?
It depends on the influencer you choose. If they are passionate about what they do, are creative, and want to work hard on the content, they can produce quality collaborations. But if you want to target teenagers who are not fully professionalized, the content may be poor quality and the performance may be lower than for their usual content.
With TikTok you have to really respect the platform’s codes, respect the content made by the creator and make sure that it’s the brand that integrates with what the influencer has already done, and not the other way around.
Which platforms and content formats will dominate in the year ahead?
Reels and TikTok are the formats that work best, so obviously brands and influencers are jumping on it.
YouTube is much more expensive than Instagram. [Cost] is also why clients usually ask us to focus on Instagram, because that’s where the audience and where the budget is more affordable. Whereas one video might cost €5,000, on Instagram you can get several stories and posts for €5,000 and you get more visibility.
Clearly, Reels is what will work best, but it also costs more. Some influencers have offered to do a Reel for the same amount [as a Story …] the advantage is it allows them to be more creative, and to generate reach because the Instagram algorithm favors Reels. For the brand, you can showcase the product much better in a Reel than on a photo or static post. You can see it in action on the video. I consistently recommend it to my clients and generally speaking, consumers watch more videos.
There are quite a few influencers launching podcasts. It works, there are more and more consumers listening to podcasts. Influencers who launched on TikTok, they’re now launching on Twitch and creating podcasts.
My feeling is that Instagram is still heavily favored for partnerships, then TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch.
Kolsquare, a data-driven Influencer Marketing platform, helps brands to optimize each step of their Influencer Marketing campaign with help of data and Machine Learning. The solution facilitates the identification of the right profiles for a campaign amongst a catalog of over 3 million KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), and enables the measurement and performance analysis of each campaign. Kolsquare is a team of thirty experts who accompany you throughout the year in the implementation of your influencer strategies, to help you build effective campaigns and increase your knowledge of the Influencer sector through studies, barometers and enriching insights.