Using Affiliate Marketing to Attract High-Value Micro-Influencers

Content Challenges Facing AP Clients

Over the past few years, many of our clients have increased their focus on bringing high-value content affiliates into their affiliate program in an effort to drive brand awareness, engagement and conversions. While content affiliates offer significant value to a program, recruiting, activating, and optimizing them can be challenging and time-consuming. Brands sometimes find that they have a smaller audience reach than anticipated or that their content may only focus on promotions and not meet certain brand criteria.

Micro-influencers are another group of content creators that can be challenging for brands to find and connect with. And when they do, many discover that it’s exceedingly difficult to efficiently communicate with them, track their performance, cost-effectively pay them and report on the results of their content creation.

What’s proven even more arduous for companies is bridging the gaps between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. Micro-influencers are often unfamiliar with what an affiliate program is or they make more money working as an influencer.

To help our existing and future clients resolve some of these issues, we came up with a partner-focused solution: AP Influence.


AP Influence: Performance-Based Partnerships

Through AP Influence, the Acceleration Partners team manages an entire influencer campaign for clients (one-time, multiple and/or ongoing campaigns). In the process, we help them expand the reach of their affiliate program, leverage high-value content and track the performance of influencer partners.

By partnering with one of the world’s largest influencer networks, we’ve made it possible for brands to work with influencers on a “performance plus” basis, meaning influencers are either: paid a flat fee plus commissions; given a free product plus a commission; given a free product, plus a flat fee, plus a commission.


Compelling Content, Campaigns, and Conversions

Clients in our initial AP Influence pilot program included: Reebok, adidas, BookSpan/Book of the Month, Blurb, CreativeLive, Dollar Tree and Pier 1. While the goals of each individual pilot campaign differed, most participants wanted brand or product awareness, engagement, and/or high-quality content. Overall, the initial participating AP Influence clients were able to:

  • Increase authentic organic conversations for their brand.
  • Receive reporting that included performance metrics from affiliate networks (clicks, orders, sales) along with potential reach and engagements.
  • Own the high-value content that these micro-influencers produced and reuse it on their blog and social channels (with proper credit to the influencer), thus saving them time/ money in content creation.
  • Pay their content partners on a “performance plus basis.”
  • Partner with great influencers. After AP Influence campaigns ended, some clients even transitioned participating influencers to their in-house “ambassador” / influencer program or affiliate program, demonstrating that AP Influence is an effective way for brands to discover, source and test out new influencers.


Average results across all AP Influence pilot program campaigns:

  • AP Influence campaigns saw an average of 511 influencer applicants, with an average of 4.77 posts created per micro-influencer across blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
  • Campaigns saw an average engagement rate of 1.87%, well within the target engagement rate range of 1-3%, with the average CPE (cost per engagement) at $0.48.
  • While blog posts saw a higher average engagement rate (3.14%), clients saw Instagram drive the highest average number of engagements and largest reach, with a campaign average of over 10k engagements and a campaign average reach of 479k.
  • Each campaign averaged over 1.3M potential impressions and over 20k engagements.
  • An average of 605 clicks per campaign were recorded during the 2-4 week tracking window (links are not clickable in Instagram posts unless influencers include a link in their profile, which will link to campaign content for a shorter period of time).
  • On average, campaigns saw 2 of 20 selected influencers drop out for various reasons.

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