The Real Cost of Gifting Influencers

by Influencers, Social Media Marketing

70% of Millennials prefer product endorsements by non-celebrities (Source: Collective Bias). In today’s ecommerce landscape, you can’t afford to neglect influencer marketing as a potentially profitable marketing channel. Gifting influencers products is the fastest way to start getting mentions or reviews from influencers and growing traffic to your site through their recommendations.

However, marketers are sometimes deterred by the cost of influencer gifting. Will they get a good ROI for influencer gifting? Will reach and brand awareness measure up? We’re examining the real cost of influencer gifting and how to get the most out of your program for gifting influencers. 

Breaking Down the Cost of Gifting Influencers

Gifting influencers doesn’t have to break the bank. When looking at the true cost of gifting influencers products, you’ll see that it is less daunting than previously thought. 

Carro, an influencer marketing app, has tracked more than $1 million worth of influencer gifting through its platform. The average approved influencer gift is $119 (retail value). When looking at this number, we can make some assumptions based on the influencer marketing industry as a whole. 

$119 retail value breaks down to about $60 in cost associated with the goods shipped to the influencer (if you’re working with a standard 50% profit margin for ecommerce). 

If shipped to an influencer with 34,000 followers (hypothetically), and if we assume that their reach is 3% of their audience, you’ll reach 1,020 new potential customers through this single campaign! At a conversion rate of 1%, this would be up to 10 sales, but this campaign also functions in assisting conversions, which could produce sales for a long time to come. 

As a disclaimer, influencer marketing rarely has consistent results. You can improve your influencer marketing results by choosing who you work with, what you send to them, and how they execute the partnership. All these factors will help you generate good results from each campaign. If you’re disappointed with the results of a campaign, take the time to see how the different variables may have impacted performance. 

Who Should I Send Products To? 

The key to a good influencer marketing campaign is finding the right influencers to partner with. This can help you get better results from each campaign. So, who is right for your brand? 

The ideal influencer: 

  • Has followers that overlap with your target customers. Same age, same interests, and same buying habits can all help improve the campaign. 
  • Shares content within the same industry or niche as your brand.
  • Has an active and engaged audience. Are their followers commenting on their content? Tagging them in posts? Liking their photos? These can all be indicators that their audience is following the influencer closely and interested in their content.  
  • Has an interest in your brand. Carro can help you find influencers who already subscribe to, purchase from, or follow your brand. 

A micro-influencer is someone with less than 10,000 followers and they may also be a good candidate for your campaigns. They typically have higher rates of engagement and can get broader reach with their posts because of this. These micro-influencers are especially valuable if you are just starting out or if you are looking for broad reach with your campaigns, as they are less likely to have additional fees required for their participation in your campaigns. 

Engagement and their fit with your brand should be the top considerations when selecting influencers to partner with. A high number of followers doesn’t automatically yield results, so be on the lookout for influencers that are a great fit for your brand, regardless of followers.

Communication

Communication is another way to improve the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaigns. Once you have found influencers that meet your criteria, you can start a conversation to set up all the parameters of the campaign. 

With each influencer relationship, you’ll want to communicate: 

  • The deliverables expected
  • The timeline for the campaign
  • Any hashtags and handles that you’d like them to use. 
  • How to be FTC compliant through the use of #Ad

Be clear and be thorough in your communication with each influencer. This will keep any potential hiccups to a minimum. Setting guidelines will also allow you to create a template that you can reference with each influencer partnership. 

Fulfillment

Once you have set the parameters of your partnership, you’ll need to send the products out the influencers. Allowing the influencers to request certain products will ensure that they are excited about the products that they receive and that they can share that excitement with their audience. 

With their requests, you should try to give the influencers a VIP experience, if possible. Depending on the way you fulfill your orders, you may want to drop in a personalized thank you note, or maybe an extra discount code on a postcard, so that your influencer gets a special treat when they open their package. It may also be handy to include a “cheat sheet” of what you already agreed upon with the influencer for the campaign. A reminder can be helpful to reference while the influencer is working on the collaboration materials. 

If you’re not able to slip in a note or provide that personal detail, then emailing them to let them know that it shipped and to include their tracking information can also aid an influencer in keeping tabs on the collaboration. 

Evaluating Success

Influencer campaigns work best when you have a steady stream of mentions, reviews, and content pointing potential customers to your brand. 

Zine.co cites the following benefits and KPIs for influencer marketing: 

Sample Influencer Campaign Objectives: Sample Influencer Campaign KPIs
  • Launch a product
  • Increase sales
  • Brand awareness
  • Generate content
  • Uplift in sales
  • Increase in web traffic
  • Content generated
  • Increase in followers

Evaluating success involves seeing if the objective was met, as well as tracking the KPIs identified for the campaign. Having a system in place, like Google Analytics or a similar reporting software, will help you see the direct impact that an influencer has on your sales, web traffic, or lead captures. 

Each time you partner with an influencer, take the time to evaluate the success of the campaign and compare it to other collaborations. When you find an influencer that is able to produce better results than the rest, you can set up repeated campaigns to generate even better results with that influencer’s audience. 


When you partner with influencers and send out your products, the cost is well worth the results. Influencers will be able to share about your brand with their audience and pretty soon, their audience will be your customers! A single product sent to an influencer could have long-term benefits to your brand’s overall growth! 

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