Influencer Ads Best Practices for Direct-Response

By
Olivia Schmidt
In
Best Practices
June 18, 2020

When influencer ads come to mind, #sponsored, #ad, or "in partnership with" might pop into your head. Or maybe you just think about content creators that have millions of followers. We’re here to tell you it’s richer than that. 

Outside of their success in organic campaigns, influencers are also known to drive purchases through paid influencer ads and are a powerful way to bring success to your brand.

An influencer ad is user-generated content that is turned into a dark post and pushed through an influencer’s handle; opposed to a brand’s handle. Influencer ads can help promote your product or brand and if done successfully, can achieve your goals and objectives. Put simply, influencer ads combine the best of influencer marketing and paid social.

So how do you create successful influencer ads? 

Put in the pre-work

Just like any other marketing effort, an influencer ad strategy still requires you to do the planning beforehand. Influencer ad KPIs are far more than engagement and awareness, so it’s important to put in some thought before you launch your campaign. 

It is important that your team thinks about..

  • What are your goals with this campaign? 
  • Are you looking to drive purchases? App downloads? Website visits?
  • Are you working under a deadline? 
  • What is the budget? 
  • What has or hasn’t worked for your paid social campaigns in the past? 
  • For your brand ads, what’s your historical RoAs and conversion rates? How can you meet or exceed these? 
  • What is your messaging? 
  • What are your benchmarks for this campaign?
  • How will you report and summarize this campaign?

Mapping out and identifying your objectives will set your campaign up for success. It’s important to keep in mind when launching an influencer ad campaign, the strategy goes beyond just repurposing influencer content and amplifying it as is.

Optimize influencer creatives and ad copy

When selecting content for influencer ads, it is just as important as your brand ads to ensure creative and ad copy are optimized for your objective (purchases, website visits, add to carts, etc.) A few things to keep in mind when selecting assets:

  • The image is high-resolution and dimensions are formatted correctly depending on what placement you are selecting for the ad (story, in-feed post, etc.).
  • The text is clear and easy to read. 
  • The image clearly calls out your product or brand. Note: Having the product or brand be the focus in your ad is key as you don’t want the viewer to be confused or question what the actual ad is about. Positioning the product and having it visible as the star of your ad is a key factor in driving click-through rates and ultimately purchases. 
  • Be sure the brand is mentioned above the fold, or first two lines of text. This will lead to higher quality site visits as it is clear to the customer what they are opting into.

When it’s possible take a “test and learn” approach to creating and optimizing ads. Ensure usage rights are set up with your influencer(s) so you can test different copy for descriptions, headlines, etc.

Lights, camera.. call-to-action

Based on your product or service, be sure to choose a call-to-action button that directs people what you would like them to do. As a rule of thumb, make sure your copy supports and has a focus on driving that strong call-to-action and incentivizes customers to click-through to the landing page.

In our experience, using the call-to-action buttons “Learn More” and “Shop Now” tend to drive the best click-through rate.

One of, if not the most important factors in conversion is the “post click” experience. The content aligning with a conversion-optimized customer journey is crucial in making sure that when the customer leaves the post on Facebook or Instagram, they land on the brand website or product page that aligns with what they saw on their feed.



It takes two to tango: leveraging influencers and content 

When it’s possible take a “test and learn” approach to creating and optimizing ads. Ensure usage rights are set up with your influencer(s) so you can test different copy for descriptions, headlines, etc.

Make sure you start off with a variety of ads; we suggest having four to five influencer ads active per audience as it tends to drive optimal results. Content from multiple influencers builds “social proof” and avoids ad fatigue to deliver optimal results at higher spend levels. You don’t want to make the mistake of just trying one or two influencer handles or pieces of content since you will not be able to compare your content throughout your campaign.

The fun part comes after testing. You now will get to learn from your tests, see what worked well, what didn’t work as well, and what was the most successful. You’re then able to ultimately pause content that is underperforming and add new content that is similar to your top performers. A steady drip of new content while leveraging multiple influencer identifies and content types is key. 

The “test and learn” approach also applies to content types. Testing a variety of content, whether it’s single Instagram images, carousels, videos or stories will allow you to see what is working for your product and brand at the time and what’s not. Content transformations, such as turning carousels into slideshows or adding an end-card to carousels, can drastically improve CPAs.


The power of audience targeting 

Target your influencer content to your audiences that are receptive to content featuring real people by building custom and lookalike audiences off of influencer account engagements (available in your Facebook ad account once influencers grant whitelisting permissions). Be sure to include your brands custom, lookalike, and retargeting audiences as well.

The different audience types to create from Facebook:

  • Everyone who engaged with the influencer's Page (recommended)
  • People who engaged with any influencer post or ad (recommended for ad retargeting)
  • People who clicked any call-to-action button (recommended for ad retargeting)

The different audience types to create from Instagram: 

  • Everyone who engaged with the influencer's Business Account (recommended)
  • Anyone who visited the Business profile
  • People who engaged with any post or ad (recommended for ad retargeting)

For more information and tips on audience targeting, check out Maximizing Influencer Ads with Influencer Audience Targeting.

Be transparent with results

Your influencers are just as invested in their content as you are. It’s important for them to see how their content is performing and their metrics. Lumanu gives influencers the ability to see their amplified content on paid channels and the ability to track insights. 



Collaborating and working with your influencers is a win-win. As a brand you’re winning by gaining access to fresh influencer content, test different pieces, build different campaigns, and have full control over a paid influencer campaign. Influencers win because they have insight into how their content performed in a paid ad and can use this data to tweak or maintain their content as needed. As an influencer it’s a win since you now have the ability to see how your content is doing and ask or receive feedback from the brand if desired.

Without both parties seeing results and how the content is performing, it’s difficult to truly deepen a working relationship. With the unique insights an influencer gets using Lumanu, they are not only inspired, but are empowered to learn how their content is being used by the brand and can learn what is performing well and what is not. It’s beneficial to their growth and development as a creator. 

For example, when the influencer logs into their Lumanu account, they see insights and data like the screenshots above. They are able to see post (A) had 20,000 impressions and post (B) had 5,000 impressions. Instead of just maybe knowing that a brand was planning on using their content, they are now able to actually see their content was whitelisted, who used it, how it performed, and hard data to actually back up the performance. They then can talk about that data with the brand/team and see how they can improve their content and what’s working well for them overall.

Again, a win-win for both influencers and you as a brand. Transparency is key and building and growing that relationship between influencers and your brand is extremely important as well.  

All and all, influencer ads give your brand the opportunity to extend the lifespan of your influencer content and is proven to drive sales. The ads give your brand the power to test and learn what works best by testing copy variants, placements, call-to-actions, and even targeting new audiences. Implementing influencer ads into your influencer marketing strategy is a great way to build your brand credibility by amplifying authentic and trusted voices.

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