Maximizing Influencer Ads with Influencer Audience Targeting

Maximizing Influencer Ads with Influencer Audience Targeting
Alyssa Chapman


Alyssa Chapman

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By now, you may have heard about an influencer marketing tactic called influencer whitelisting. If you haven’t, a quick synopsis is that it’s the easiest way to extend the shelf-life of influencer content by giving your team permission to create paid social media influencer ads.   

Incorporating whitelisting in your team’s influencer marketing strategy has many benefits including:  

  • The ability to transform an influencer’s organic social media post into a paid influencer ad that is fully compliant with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements
  • No extra hashtags needed (#ad, #sponsored, etc) as the influencer ad will display as sponsored content
  • Ability to A/B test influencer creative to see what format provides the best return on investment for your team
  • Run fresh new influencer ads against your team’s own prospecting and retargeting Facebook audiences

But wait, there’s more! Whitelisting influencers unlocks the ability to create new audiences based on your influencers’ social media audience data. These new influencer audiences are the cherry on top of a paid influencer marketing strategy.

Let’s dive deeper into what these influencer audiences are, how your team can incorporate them into paid influencer campaigns, and some best practices to drive success.

What are the types of influencer audiences? 

Influencer Engaged Audiences:

Influencer engaged audiences are built based on Instagram and Facebook user interactions with influencer content. Engaged audiences are created from the following sources:

  • Users who have visited an influencer’s social media account (Instagram profile or Facebook Page)
  • Users who have clicked, liked, commented, shared and feed post
  • Users who have replied to or swiped up on and Instagram story
  • Users who have watched any video on an Instagram Profile or Facebook Page

Influencer engaged audiences can be an effective target audience for your influencer ads because these users have already engaged with your influencer, demonstrating interest in the influencer content at the organic level.

There are hundreds of thousands of content creators that your team can work with but as a rule of thumb, we suggest researching the influencers you work with prior to collaborating. Options for sourcing the right influencers for your brand include using an influencer discovery platform, searching social media platforms such as GRIN that has a powerful influencer analysis tool, or good ole fashion Google. Ensuring that an influencer’s voice and subsequent audience align with your brand audience will increase the conversion and engagement rate of the influencer content as a paid ad. 

How can I Create Influencer Engaged Audiences?

Creating influencer engaged audiences is simple and done right in the "Audience" section of your team's Business Manager.

To create an engaged audience:

  • Navigate to the "Audience" section of the Business Manager
  • Click “Create Custom Audience”
  • Select the source of your audience. This is "Instagram Business Account", "Facebook Page" or "Video".
  • Select the influencer's identity you would like to create the audience from in the designated dropdown
  • Select “Everyone who engaged with your business/page” in the drop down and input the timeframe for engagement (90 days is a best practice here as those users will be more relevant)
  • Name your audience
  • Click “Create Audience” in the bottom right corner

You can now use this audience in any new or existing ad sets.

Influencer Lookalike Audiences:

Next up, influencer lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences are created from influencer engaged audiences, however, these users are not the same as the engaged audience members. Rather, Facebook finds people with similar demographics and interests as the engaged users. 

Because these users are similar to people who have already proven interest in your influencer content, when lookalikes are targeted with influencer ads the content is more likely to resonate with them a.k.a. they’re very likely to interact with the ad.

Lookalike audiences throw follower count out the window since they are created based on a percentage of the population of the location you are targeting, like New York, for example. The percentage of the audience size ranges from 1% to 10% of the population of the location. A 1% lookalike consists of the people most similar to your lookalike source (influencer engaged audience). If you were to create a 1% lookalike audience with a target location of the state of New York that audience pool would be roughly 194,500 people (1% of New York state population). Increasing the percentage creates a bigger audience but in-turn makes the audience broader and less similar to your lookalike source.

Since lookalike audiences decrease the importance of your social media influencers' follower count, consider partnering with micro-influencers. Micro-influencers (content creators with less than 50,000 followers) can be a great addition to your influencer marketing foundation as they are usually less expensive, swayed by free product, or agree to whitelist for your team for free. Don’t underestimate these content creators as their social media followers are loyal and tend to engage more than the followers of your macro-influencers. Sorry Kardashians!

How can I create influencer lookalike audiences?

Creating lookalike audiences is also done in your team's "Audiences" section of the Business Manager.

To create a look alike audience:

  • Navigate to the "Audience" section of the Business Manager
  • Click “Create Lookalike Audience”
  • Select "Create New Source" and then "Custom Audience" to select the source of your lookalike audience. These options range from "Instagram Business Account", "Facebook Page" or "Video".
  • Select the influencer's identity you would like to create the audience from in the designated dropdown
  • Select “Everyone who engaged with your business/page” in the drop down and input the timeframe for engagement (90 days is a best practice here as those users will be more relevant)
  • Name your audience
  • Click "Create Audience" and then "Create Custom Audience"
  • Select your audience location (New York, California, United States, etc.)
  • Select the Audience Size by percentage of your location(s) population
  • Click “Create Audience” and viola your influencer engaged lookalike audience is created

You can now target this audience in any new or existing ad sets.

What are Best Practices when Using Influencer Audiences?

Now that you know the what, why and how behind influencer engagement audiences, it is time to discuss best practices surrounding how to use these new audiences. 

Targeting Influencer Engaged Audiences: 

We have seen the most successful campaigns using influencer audiences when running at least 4-5 influencer ads against coinciding influencer engaged audiences.

Stacking influencer audiences and ads helps build your audience pool because now you have multiple influencer ads running against multiple influencer engaged audiences. If you were to only target an engaged audience with that influencer's ad they have already seen organically, that audience would become quickly saturated make the influencer ad less effective.

When the stacked influencer engaged audiences see 4-5 influencer ad testimonials for the same brand/product, it builds social proof, credibility for your team, and increases the return on investment for the influencer ads as a whole.

Targeting Influencer Lookalike Audiences

Similarly to leveraging the influencer engaged audiences, it is important to run multiple influencer ads against multiple lookalike audiences. E.g. at least 4-5 pieces or content targeted to 4-5 lookalike audiences.

Stacking these lookalike audiences against the influencer ads helps create a “super lookalike” that is a very powerful audience pool filled with like-minded users that can be targeted with the influencer ads. 

Even if you cannot tap into an influencer's lookalike audience because of the type of Instagram account they have or if their Facebook Page does not have enough followers you can still use the ad in the "super lookalike audiences". This is effective because the influencers that your team sources will have an audience similar to your team's target audience and same with their lookalike audiences.  

Lumanu is our favourite find this year! We have used Lumanu to amplify our Influencer marketing efforts by leveraging their Engaged audiences and Lookalikes on Facebook and Instagram. Our CPA has halved and ROI has more than doubled!
- Senior Digital Marketing Manager at female first tech company

Targeting Influencer Audiences with Brand ads

So far we have discussed creating influencer audiences for targeting of influencer ads but I bet you’re wondering if you can target brand ads to influencer audiences? The answer is yes! 

Using brand ads against influencer audiences is a great retargeting strategy. In this case, you would run the influencer ads against the influencer audiences (engaged or lookalikes of engaged). Then you would create an ad set in your campaign that only uses creative running from the brand handle.

This is an effective strategy to test after running the influencer ads against the influencer audiences because it creates a halo effect of brand awareness. Users within the influencer audiences are seeing influencer ad testimonials about your brand and then see brand ads, which solidifies your brand in the consumers mind.

When implementing this type of retargeting strategy, we have seen success when brands use a timed deal or discount code in the headline of the brand ad. This can help increase the return on investment of the retargeted brand ad and help drive more conversions.

Retargeting with influencer audiences can also be reversed. Meaning at first the influencer audiences are targeted with brand ads as a “warm-up” and then retargeted by the influencer ads coming from an influencer handle that they have previously engaged with.

To conclude, tapping into influencer audiences is a fantastic way to maximize the ROI of your influencer ads. Coupled with a few of our best practices for running dark posts, you and your team are destined to see results that meet or exceed your influencer campaign goals.

Alyssa Chapman

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