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Is the hype around influencer marketing matched by the results?

There is so much buzz around video and influencers being the future of content marketing, but is the industry ready to produce these kinds of content, and have them valued according to the same metrics as tried-and-tested content staples?

For instance, by far the most popular form of content is infographics, which are proven to be extremely cost effective for the returns they give in terms of SEO. They earn on average 1,230 social shares, they have a good standard in URL rating (12.2), and their reliability score for referring domains is equal to the highest-performing type of content, interactive tools. Combine all this with their low level of financial and resource requirements, infographics are still highly relevant in the market.

But things start going fairly south when you start applying the same metrics to influencer posts. The influencer marketing industry is expected to hit $2.38 billion by next year, but how long can this growth last when the results just aren’t measuring up?

Not so social-media

Even on social shares, where influencers are generally hoped to excel, the reliability of success was 8 points lower. And among successful pieces the number of shares was likely to be much lower – averaging only 151.8 as opposed to a 1,150.7 average across all content formats.

In comparison, by far the most successful content form was interactives, such as this tool by TotallyMoney that allows the user to compare different commuter towns around London on factors like house prices and life satisfaction. Interactives were far higher for social shares than influencer posts, with 4,136 on average compared to influencers only achieving 151.8. They also have the highest number of referring domains (17.5 on average) – more than double any other kind of content.

The easiest form of content that we all forgot

Do you remember when a simple, well-written article was enough? When the title ‘Content Creator’ didn’t exist, and if it did, it was not a 3-in-1 writer, videographer and VR superhero?

Times have changed, and they have to – resistance is futile. But don’t forget about article content, because SEO hasn’t. The primary selling point of articles is that they have the lowest cost on resource – after all, they don’t need any design or development time! Articles were found to be the second best type of content for the number of referring domains, proving that their backlink potential should not be overlooked. Whilst their URL rating is slightly lower than interactives, they are still a highly valid form of content, and relatively quick to output.

Of course, what this study doesn’t take in to account is the (conveniently) hard-to-measure factor of brand awareness. Influencer posts and videos are arguably predominantly used for this, making brands seem trustworthy with news and reviews coming from already liked and likeable bloggers. However, when producing and outreaching content for the purpose of organically shifting your brand higher up the rankings on Google, our advice would be to stay away from influencer posts, and invest your budget in interactives or infographics.


Marketing agency Kaizen conducted some independent research into 2,000 pieces of content across the travel industry, ranging from interactive tools, non-influencer articles, videos and influencer posts.

The pieces of content were compared on their URL ratings, number of social shares and number of referring domains, to discover the best format for SEO purposes, resulting in higher rankings of the brand on Google.

View the full whitepaper here

Written by Jess Lang, marketing executive at marketing agency Kaizen.

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