10 myths of influencer marketing

Written by Delphine Benedic

November 12, 2020

Influencer marketing has greatly evolved over the past years, and we have heard a lot of things about that trendy field. Dozen of articles are written every week. So, what are the 10 most frequent myths of influencer marketing? What do brands need to understand before investing time or money?


1. Influencer marketing is about generating content online.

False! Influencers can also share their product experiences with their friends & relatives in real life. Offline channels are as powerful as digital ones. Audience sizes can be balanced by the number of influencers activated for organizing home events, product trials, spreading the word, distributing vouchers… Therefore, driving traffic to stores and boosting sales.

2. Online, social media is the place for influencers.

Social media is definitely important for influencers, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Twitch, Tiktok… depends on the brand objectives and its target group. However, the online world is broader. Influencers have a role to play on the forums, brand websites, and e-commerce platforms, by e.g. rating products and publishing reviews.

3. The bigger the better with macro & star influencers.

Not necessarily. Certain product categories require niche communities and strong expertise in a particular field (e.g. vegan food) like micro-influencers for better conversion. Even for lifestyle-driven brands, the quest for reach must be always counterbalanced with the pursuit of credibility and engagement. Brands should focus on relevant matches that deliver creative and consistent content – ensuring thus authenticity for their messages.

4. Influencers are all paid or driven by incentives.

Professional influencers can receive financial compensation, collaborative ones do not. What do we mean by collaborative influencers? Consumers who team up with brands to promote a product after a free experience. They are generally found in the nano (less than 1,000 followers) & micro (1,000 to 100k) influencer categories. Up to certain popularity, they are sufficiently committed to carrying out missions without asking for payment.

5. Only Millennials & GenZ are influencers or their followers.

Demographics depend on platforms. For instance, the median age of a Pinterest user is 40. 26% of Twitter users are 30-49 years old. In the U.S., 62% of online Seniors aged 65+ are on Facebook (Omnicore Statistics). Offline, anyone is able to recommend a product or service to their peers, as long as the brand fit makes sense: e.g. an anti-aging cream for senior women.

6. Influence for promoting a brand or product.

Influencers can guide their offline friends, their online communities… AND brands through direct dialogue, a survey, or a co-creation campaign. They can help marketers to make the right decisions in terms of product, packaging & communication before supporting their launch. Collecting their feedback and insights is also precious at any stage of a product lifecycle to continuously improve the marketing mix and its efficiency.

7. Measurement of a campaign ROI is not possible.

Offline influence enables brands to impact their store sales and measure it thanks to panelists (IRI, Nielsen, or GFK). At TERRITORY Influence, an analysis of 40+ campaigns resulted in a median ROI of 4€. 83% were profitable in a short period of time, which is 3 months. Online sales and ROI can also be tracked with affiliate links or personalized discount codes.

8. Anyone can manage an influencer campaign.

It is certainly easier to manage 2-3 macro-influencers than 5,000 nano influencers. Regardless of the typology, influencer marketing requires strong technology, specific know-how, and a lot of time. This is why we recommend that brands be supported by experts to ensure not only the success of their operations but also their efficiency.

9. Influencer marketing is super expensive.

Costs vary according to multiple factors, such as the number of participants, their audiences, the missions we ask them to accomplish, the campaign duration, etc. Solutions can be found for all budget envelopes, especially when you now know that not all influencers are paid.

10. Campaigns are great one-shots.

Often, brands activate that marketing lever for product innovation or big highlight. Whereas, influencers should be considered as long-term partners to humanize communications and add credibility to a 360° media plan with on-going leverage of content. Like any other type of channel (TV, digital, OOH…), it should be integrated into strategic annual plans. Kantar has confirmed its effectiveness for long-term brand building.