Opinion: This shift toward the consumption of content created by and pointed to by influencers has shaped a new and growing source of traffic


Content. Content marketing. Influencers. Influencer marketing. In today’s advertising world, it’s all about content and influencers. What began more than one decade ago in the form of high-profile bloggers and then gave way to high-profile social media stars has yielded an increasingly complex yet increasingly sophisticated channel through which merchants can positively affect sales.

Perhaps a bit behind the eight ball but quickly catching up within this ever-growing content-fueled influencer marketing space are the social networks themselves. Increasingly, they have rolled out more sophisticated methods for influencers and marketers to use the platforms and, at the same time, increase the ability of what those influencers and marketers do on those platforms to be properly measured.

Snapchat’s Snap to Store

Most recently, Snapchat rolled out Snap to Store, a tool that will help marketers measure the impact their campaigns have in terms of driving users to merchant locations.

Snap to Store—which requires users to have allowed the application to track their location when they first downloaded it—enables the user to apply a sponsored geofilter overlay (basically an ad) to a picture taken at a specific store location.

The Snap, once posted to the user’s story, is tracked and can determine whether or not the Snapper’s friends who see the story visit the same location at some point over the course of the next week. It will even track which of the snapper’s friends who didn’t see the story end up visiting the location.

This will allow merchants to track whether or not their campaign on Snapchat had an effect on driving traffic to a specific location.

Amazon Influencer Program

Earlier this year, Amazon launched its Amazon Influencer Program, which, akin to its existing Amazon Affiliate Program, offers social media influencers—such as those with popular YouTube or large Instagram followings—a commission on any product they sell.

The new Influencer Program is a little different than the original Affiliate Program.

Those who are part of the Influencer Program—which is invite-only at this stage—and those who Amazon has targeted for invitation are defined as influencers with “large followings” and high follower engagement. They must also produce quality content that is relevant to Amazon products.

Influencers accepted into the program are then provided a vanity URL that is linked to a customized Amazon page on which products relevant to the influencer’s content are available for purchase. These pages are curated by the influencer and Amazon does not have any say over which products are selected for promotion. Any product sale made from these pages is directly attributable to the influencer.

Snapchat’s Snap to Store and the Amazon Influencer Program are just a couple of examples of how social platforms are increasing the measurable effectiveness of social media advertising and, in turn influencer marketing.

The Importance of the Influencer to Merchants

The social media space has given rise to the formation of deep relationships between popular influencers and their followers. These deep relationships have forged a bond between influencer and follower, and the result is a powerful trust between the two, which is currently being leveraged by smart marketers.

This shift toward the consumption of content created by and pointed to by influencers has shaped a new and growing source of traffic, which is helping to increase the effectiveness of coupons and loyalty programs.

This increased traffic from influencers in the social media channel has yielded an increase in sales for merchants, which has been vetted by an increasing collection of sophisticated attribution models placing a high value on the worth of the influencer when it comes to affecting performance-marketing-generated revenue. These influencers are now integral to important traffic streams, which results in sales for merchants.

In the eyes of merchants looking to maintain or increase the effectiveness of their performance marketing channels, these influencers—and the powerful effect they have on driving traffic—should now be front and center in any strategic marketing effort.

Greg Shepard is chief technology officer at performance marketing firm Pepperjam.

Image courtesy of martin-dm/iStock.