Let’s be honest. As marketers, we’re always looking for solutions that help us cut costs where we can, while still bringing in impressive results.
That being said, we know that content creation can be one area that consistently swallows a major chunk of your brand’s budget each year. The good news is that, in addition to its ability to generate brand awareness and sales, influencer marketing can also drastically reduce your content creation costs.
Enter influencer-generated content (IGC).
Influencer-generated content refers to the images, videos, and other creative that social media influencers create, usually in partnership with a brand. In other words, it’s the by-product of influencer marketing — and it’s one factor that cannot be ignored when calculating influencer marketing ROI. Keep reading to learn why IGC is a game-changer in your full-funnel marketing strategy and how you can measure the impact it has on your business.
What are the benefits of influencer-generated content?
Influencer generated content is generally comparable to the quality of studio content — plus, IGC is typically more engaging and diverse. However, beyond these qualities, IGC offers many opportunities for your brand to save on content creation costs.
Here are just a few ways that influencer content can reduce your spend:
- Negotiating image rights to an influencer’s content is drastically more cost-effective — not to mention less time consuming — than a full-blown professional studio shoot. In fact, it costs a fraction of the price. MakeupEraser co-founder Elexsis McCarthy once told us that she used to spend $3,500 for one video to be created professionally. Now, for the same price, she can get 10 videos and 30 pictures by partnering with influencers.
- Instead of shooting in-house content, repurpose influencer content across all of your marketing channels — including emails, paid ads, website, out-of-home activations, or your branded social media channels. Over the last year, brands cut 52% from their content creation spend by repurposing influencer content on their marketing channels. This allows you to support every single stage of the funnel with eye-catching, high-quality content without spending any more of your budget.
- Influencer content is extremely high-performing. For the same amount of money you spend on a photoshoot, you can source a handful of influencer content that will attract more interest from your target audience. As a matter of fact, studies show that IGC garners double the engagement of brand-directed content and UGC-based ads (including content from influencers, customers, employees, and other members of a brand community) get 4x higher click-through rates.
How should brands work with influencers to generate branded content?
Now that you know the value of influencer generated content, let’s get started with creating. Here are 5 things you should keep in mind as you co-create content with influencers, and how AspireIQ can help.
1. Ensure you include image usage rights in your terms.
Without image rights, you won’t be able to repurpose the content onto any of your marketing channels. So, make it a priority to include it in your terms. On AspireIQ, you can automatically acquire licensing rights on every collaboration, so you have the ability to repurpose content however you’d like.
2. Provide clear guidelines for creators before they work on a campaign.
We advise giving influencers enough creative freedom to produce content that aligns with their personal brand. However, you should still set clear expectations upfront to get content that is on-brand, high-quality, and exactly what you are looking for. In your guidelines, include things like:
- A visual storyboard or mood board
- Simple instructions such as “Product should be clearly shown in the photo”
- Other specific elements they should include or not include
- Content examples
This will help influencers understand what kind of content you’re looking for, and eliminate much of the back-and-forth or reshoots. On AspireIQ, you can streamline the tedious process of sending out your content guidelines to each influencer with our collaboration guideline templates, which also include visual terms.
3. Set up a clear workflow to avoid any content mishaps
From the moment an influencer signs up to work with you, there are many stages to go through before you reap the benefits of influencer-generated content.
For bigger campaigns, make sure you include a content approval stage in your workflow to ensure that no content goes live without your authorization. Avoid any mishaps by setting aside a time to review and accept final images (or videos) before they’re posted. Or better yet, use AspireIQ to automate workflows, from signing the contract and sending over content guidelines, to approving and confirming when content goes live.
4. Keep all approved content in one folder and give access to other teams across your organization
As we’ve stated above, being able to repurpose influencer content is one of the biggest benefits of influencer marketing. So, make sure you’re collecting all of the content your influencers are creating, whether it be the images posted on their Instagram feed, or short-form videos like TikToks and Instagram Stories. You never know what might come in handy for paid ads, emails, and the like!
AspireIQ’s Content Library is the perfect way to store and keep track of every piece of IGC, even Instagram Stories beyond the 24 hour time limit. Not only is it searchable — making it extra easy to find the content you’re looking for — but it’s also integrated with Google Drive, allowing you to share the creative assets across all teams within your organization.
5. Create a custom campaign with the creators whose content you love
Authenticity is key to good marketing content, but hard to achieve by an in-house team alone. That’s why brands have been working with celebrities, influencers, customers, and other brand fans for decades.
That being said, the best way to ensure that you’re sourcing authentic content is by working with creators whose content you already love. On AspireIQ, you can create a custom campaign where you’re only working with those who already create content that aligns with your brand’s aesthetic, messaging, and the like. With our suite of creator discovery tools, you can find well-aligned influencers in no time.
Remember to give them the room to be creative and unique. This freedom will allow the creator to produce content that you’re sure to love, while still being authentic to themselves.
How can brands evaluate the impact of influencer-generated content on the business as a whole?
For a long time, brands have been measuring the effectiveness of IGC based on Total Media Value (TMV), which compares influencer content ROI to more traditional campaign ROI — like television advertising. In this case, TMV offers an idea of what an equivalent advertising campaign would cost for the same amount the brand spends on their campaign.
In the past, we’ve calculated media value based on the following metrics:
This is roughly based on how much it would cost to generate the impressions, likes, and comments with paid advertising.
To calculate on your own, use this formula:
Total Media Value (TMV) = Number of (clicks, comments, etc) * Value
For example, the TMV of 100 Instagram clicks would be $300
100 * $3.00 = $300
While Total Media Value is a good estimation of how much return influencer generated content is bringing your brand, there are other metrics you need to pay attention to in order to evaluate influencer content ROI, such as:
- Content performance across channels
- Costs saved by generating content through influencers
- Time saved by generating content through influencers
- Number of pieces of content collected
Your main objective is to figure out how much money you saved on content production overall.
Which brands are mastering their influencer content strategy?
If you’re still unsure of how much impact that influencer-generated content can have on your business, check out how some of our favorite brands on AspireIQ have leveraged IGC to fuel their channels with high-performing content, lower CPAs, and drive business growth.
Ruggable is a home brand that specializes in a unique, two-piece rug system that features a machine-washable cover that clings to a non-slip rug pad. Since the brand’s products appeal to a wide range of people, Ruggable worked with creators in 4 distinct categories to match their customer profile — including moms, pet owners, lifestyle influencers, and interior designers. And it’s been clear that these influencers have led the charge in Ruggable’s growing community.
For example, the brand previously partnered with @asher.ashby, an Instagram account dedicated to two corgis with about 30K IG followers at the time. The creator sent more than 100 pieces of content that were of such high quality that Ruggable repurposed the images on its homepage, paid ads, emails, social accounts, and more.
Overall, by repurposing IGC, Ruggable saw a 32% higher return on ad spend (ROA) and 25% lower cost-per-engagement (CPA). Plus, the brand’s influencer content earned a media value of $723K.
SUMR™ Brands, parent company to Summer™, born free™, and SwaddleMe®, is a global leader of products for children ages 0-3. Their products span a number of categories, including nursery video monitors, strollers, booster and potty seats, gates, and more. As a company that targets Millennial parents, the SUMR Brands team knew they needed to leverage influencer content to act as a trustworthy testimonial from real consumers and give parents the social proof they need when making purchasing decisions.
Since building a community of influencers, SUMR Brands has sourced over 1,440 pieces of content, which the brand keeps organized in AspireIQ’s Content Library. From there, the team uses our platform’s filters to locate and download the exact pieces of content they need to fuel all of their digital channels. Since leveraging IGC across its channels, SUMR Brands has significantly cut down on creating content in-house, while still managing to garner 7.4K clicks to its website. Not to mention, the brand’s influencer content achieved $287K in media value.
Prior to joining our platform, digital picture frame company Aura Frames worked with an agency to handle its influencer relationships — but found it to be expensive and time consuming with less than satisfying results. But since working with AspireIQ’s Managed Services team, the brand has been able to scale its network of influencers by 10x and create authentic influencer content that could fuel all of its online channels.
This was the winning strategy. The team worked with influencers with a wide variety of home decor styles to showcase the picture frame in many different people’s homes and engage a wide array of online consumers looking for home decor inspiration. Then, the brand repurposed the influencer content across paid ads on Instagram, YouTube, Instagram Stories, and their website.
By leveraging influencer content, Aura Frames saved about 50% every month on their overall content budget. Plus, the content the brand sourced from influencers consistently outperforms studio shot creative when compared in paid ads. In fact, after performing a post check out survey, the brand found that 20% of their sales were attributed to influencer marketing or paid ads featuring influencer content.
Learn more about how IGC contributed to the brand’s success directly from Christine Zalocha, VP of Marketing at Aura Frames.
Influencer content is king
Brands that aren’t integrating influencer content into their overall business strategy are leaving money on the table. Influencer content is not only more engaging, but it’s also more cost-effective to source than studio-shot content. Additionally, repurposing IGC across all of your channels can drastically reduce your overall costs, boost your return on ad spend, and even increase sales down the line.
Learn more about how IGC contributes to influencer marketing ROI at our resource center.