Influence Marketing & Influencer Marketing: The Difference

Today, INfleur highlights two sides of the same coin: Influence and influencer marketing. Bet you have not heard this one before. However, in a new article by Forbes, there is a small difference between the two. Let’s find out what they are.


Basically, Forbes differentiates the two by the role of the ‘advertiser’. The writer does this by describing a situation where influence marketing is evident.

“It’s love at first sight: with your friend’s new sofa, or maybe your boss’s handbag. You want to know where you can get one, but you never get a chance to ask. Or maybe it’s a dress worn by a celebrity on the red carpet catches your eye. You sift through one Google search result after another to find it. You even post a picture on your social media, hoping friends can help”.

A situation like this gives rise to influence marketing–marketing by peers to peers. If brands concentrate on having better ‘influence marketing campaigns’, they can make more sales. “Every time something like this happens, it represents not just a dissatisfied shopper, but also a lost sale. Monetizing the influence of these contexts, something I’ve been working toward within my own business, can be an enormous marketing opportunity”, the writer explained.

In other words, brands must find a way to use the power of content/context to push their products. Using proper brand awareness with enough purchasing data can help solve this.

“In a world hyper-saturated with advertisements, an influencer waving a new “must have” lip gloss on Instagram can become just another part of the whirl. In contrast, influence marketing doesn’t push products but rather presents them in the context of a narrative. The success of eco-friendly marketing, like Patagonia’s “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign, shows the power of an authentic, positive narrative”, the writer added.

influence marketing
Influence Marketing
But what really differentiates the two? The engagement rate!

Susan Akbarpour (the writer) made it all easy by dividing the influencing industry into three categories: The micro influencers, macro influencers and mega influencers.

According to Susan, micro influencers consisting of  regular people (with less than 10K followers) constitute influence marketing.
Macro influencers are the ones we all know. Instagram influencers who rose from the bottom, with tens of thousands of followers.
Then we have mega influencers, the actual superstars and celebrities.

influence marketing
Influence Marketing & Influencer Marketing: The Difference. Source: Forbes

Statistics imply that micro influencers have the highest engagement ratio; though unofficial. “They create content, or what I call ‘shoppable context’. They are a powerful force with a high engagement rate: 80% of Americans seek recommendations before making a purchase. Spotting a sofa in the comfort and sincerity of your cousin’s house, for instance, creates a context that sells”, Susan expanded.

Moreover, brands spend so much money on macro and mega influencers but do they make enough sales from that? Influencers make the big bucks in endorsements while brands may suffer from crippling sales–comparatively.

“As we move from micro influencers toward macro influencers, we see higher potential payout opportunities, but experience less authenticity. Consumers could be more likely to trust their friends than David Beckham, as world-renowned as he may be”

Using blockchain-backed influence marketing can make good use of both micro and mega influencers

“For micro influencers who are too small to get paid using traditional accounting and brand management, we use blockchain technology to automatically reward them with micropayments to realize peer-to-peer advertising”, Susan added.

Blockchain technology simply is “like an Uber for retail sales, where retailers directly reward the real influencers of their sales using cryptocurrency, entirely removing the need for paperwork, back-office burdens and colossal transaction and management fees”.

Susan concludes that micro, macro and mega influencers can all benefit from blockchain marketing. It is the future of digital marketing.
“I believe blockchain could become an industry standard to realize cross-pollination efforts between media, consumers and retailers to make the world around us shoppable and track influence to sales dollars”.

Amanda Lucy


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