Influencer marketing is not new, the term "influencer" is just a new word to describe a brand partner or "affiliate" - at times also called a brand ambassador. Affiliate marketing has been around for well over 20 years, and those of us who built this industry have seen every style of relationship tracking and development take place, including many strategies surrounding relationship monetization schemas.
What is new as we move forward into the future of internet marketing is the channels within social media, email mobile, search, etc that offer applications such as Instagram where it might be a little more difficult to "track" the relationship between the influencer and the brand as far as sales. Developing a relationship with an Instagram influencer will look different then developing a relationship with an influencer with a 20 million unique visitor count to their blog every month. We approach these relationships very differently, by offering multiple strategies concerning monetization or incentive schema's.
Strategy in developing the Influencer vs affiliate or both relationship?
Influencers can become viable affiliate partners, they might need a bit of training concerning how the brand wants to engage the relationship to track sales. Unique views and new traffic is fantastic for big brands who can afford to go for the "brand stickiness" approach but for midsize and smaller brands we need to see the ROI as far as actual SALES in our KPI's!
The CPA Monetization Schema for Influencers, Affiliates, Brand Ambassadors
In this instance we refer to CPA as a cost (payment) based on an acquisition (SALE or LEAD) when the influencer or affiliate sends traffic to a merchant the influencer or affiliates gets a commission on the sale, only if the sale is valid.
Why is the CPA monetization schema so important? The merchant only pays on a valid-verifiable solid SALE, the relationship dynamic is crystal clear, the terms of agreements are strong and in place and a management team is set up and steering as well as communicating brand directives to the brand partners DIRECTLY!
There are many ways of developing and managing these relationships, that's why this channel is so much fun!