The Rise of Paid Influencers in Integrated Marketing Programs


Author: Brandon Billings, VP, Social Media and Content Strategy

Social Commerce: The Rise of Paid Influencers in Integrated Marketing Campaigns

Influencer marketing has taken dramatic steps forward over the past few years as it matures into a qualified fixture of integrated paid media programs. This year alone, nearly 75% of U.S. marketers are expected to be working with influencers – which is a 5% increase over the previous year. These branded content programs will result in a total paid influencer spend of nearly $5 billion across the U.S.

At MMGY Global, we have continued to adapt based on the ever-evolving social media landscape. Our social media teams specialize nearly exclusively now in the paid influencer space. They partner alongside our media team to ensure paid influencers are being wrapped in with a larger campaign focus – delivering more quantifiable results across such metrics as driving engagements and conversions.

The evolution of adopting paid influencer marketing into larger integrated campaigns also allows for a brand to own the majority of content developed through these contracted partnerships. This includes following best practices to activate influencer-developed social content across a brand’s own social channels including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. 

At the onset of the pandemic brands around the world accelerated the use of paid influencers to help develop branded assets as they proved to be a strong solution at a time when there were limited funds to focus on ad content creation. Marketers have continued to rely on this tactic as a cost-effective and visually appealing solution to develop content as an alternative to a brands’ own creative assets.

Along with leveling up teams to support the demand in paid influencer marketing, MMGY Global social media teams have also added better paid influencer analytics through tools such as Forrester-rated NetBase Quid Social Listening and direct influencer management platform Sideqik. As budgets increase to support influencer initiatives, it is important to have these enterprise-level tracking tools in place to ensure we are effectively driving ROI to a property.

While there remains some overlap at times with public relations tied to smaller influencer activations, there is a dramatic shift happening across the industry where paid influencer programs are clearly becoming a mainstay in integrated marketing structures.

Source: eMarketer

Get Started with MMGY Global: Introducing Our Globetrotter Influencer Network

MMGY Global maintains its own proprietary influencer database known as our Globetrotter Network. This is a key differentiator for us as many others rely on an outside influencer partner network to identify and manage the influencer experience. Our network is made up of more than 2,500 influencers located throughout the U.S. and around the world who have been fully vetted by our influencer experts. These influencers specialize in a number of areas including entertainment, gaming, culinary, wine and spirits, fashion, lifestyle, luxury and travel, and they are experienced in partnering with brands to ensure results. . MMGY Global manages all aspects of our influencer programs from identification and brief development to on-site planning, payment management and reporting.

Recent Case Studies

Our social teams have worked with some of  the world’s top travel brands to executing award-winning influencer programs. Successful influencer programs have been launched for clients including Visit California, Travel Texas, Colorado Tourism, Argentina Tourism, Costa Rica Tourism, Princess Cruises, Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods, Karisma Hotels and Resorts, and Los Cabos Tourism.

Visit California

  • Campaign: “Calling All Californians”
  • Timing: October 2020–March 2021
    • Campaign Description:

      • Promoting safe travel throughout the Golden State while abiding by the Responsible Travel Code, a guide to inform travelers about safety measures they should take as they begin to explore the state, was a goal of Visit California’s from fall 2020 to spring 2021. To encourage local travelers to embark on easy in-state road trips, we leaned into influencer partnerships to show residents how they can safely explore the state via car.
    • Influencer Partnership:

      • Nine California-based influencers were selected for this campaign, with each road tripping throughout the state and sharing content on their social channels and blogs to highlight safe travel. Content included itinerary and road trip inspiration highlighting different areas of California. This content was shared across blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
    • Results:

      • 688 pieces of social content
      • 10 blog posts
      • 114,647 engagements
      • 6,364,268 impressions
  • Campaign: “Dreaming On”
  • Timing: May 4–24, 2021
    • Campaign Description:

      • Visit California launched a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for travelers to make up missed milestones and moments from the last year during a weeklong celebration with experiences across the state. In recognition of the state’s projected June 15, 2021 reopening, Visit California encouraged locals and visitors alike to keep Dreaming On in California by sharing their stories of postponed dreams, skipped plans and canceled celebrations from 2020 for the chance to make them come true this year – California style. Set against California’s awe-inspiring backdrops, the week of experiences – taking place June 21–25 – created unforgettable memories of life’s most important celebrations. The dream-worthy experiences offered to selected recipients included a sunset dinner hosted by a celebrity chef, enjoying a Padres game and finally saying “I do” with a vineyard as the backdrop.
    • Influencer Partnership:

      • We partnered with nine influencers to find a way for people to celebrate a few of those missed celebrations. Each influencer encouraged their audience to submit what they missed out on in 2020 (an anniversary, wedding, big birthday celebration, etc.) for the chance to get their experience back.
    • Results:

      • 46 pieces of social content
      • 22,452 engagements
      • 1,299,136 impressions

Colorado Tourism

  • Campaign: “Do Colorado Right”
  • Timing: December 2020–May 2021
    • Campaign Description:

      • Colorado has always inspired travelers to leave feeling better and more refreshed than when they arrive, so during a season of safety concerns – both in terms of winter safety and the spread of COVID-19 – we developed a campaign targeted to travelers who wanted to travel despite the pandemic while also encouraging safe travel practices and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and the destination they’re visiting. Using statewide research and key media data, we identified the demographics of audiences who were willing to travel and may have booked a trip to Colorado that winter. This research was used to develop a full-funnel, ultra-targeted campaign across multiple marketing channels, including an influencer component.
    • Influencer Partnership:

      • We partnered with three non-traditional influencers, including local content creator Mike the Compass, professional soccer player Lindsay Horan and TikTok star Jason Rodelo. Each influencer created a custom piece of content on their primary social channel supporting Do Colorado Right messaging. Between the three influencers, we secured social coverage across Instagram (including in-feed, Reels and Stories content) and TikTok.
    • Results:

      • 223,953 engagements
      • 377,089 video views
      • 3,576,425 impressions

Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods

  • Campaign: “#BeachReadySpiritWeek”
  • Timing: Aug–Sept 2020

    • Campaign Description

      • To inspire our audience during a time when travel plans were paused, we encouraged our followers and select influencers to share the beauty of our destination through creative at-home executions. Through our “Beach Ready Spirit Week” concept, we asked our audience to participate from home while building excitement for their next trip using #BeachReadySpiritWeek. Weekly themes were developed around beach fashion, beachside snacks, creating a beach oasis and beach-inspired home furnishings.
    • Influencer Partnership

      • We partnered with eight influencers who each had a different niche to promote the weekly theme. Each influencer was tasked with a specific theme and shared deliverables crafted around their vision for the week’s challenge. Blog, YouTube and Instagram in-feed content was developed, and each influencer encouraged their audience to share their creations using #BeachReadySpiritWeek.
    • Results:

      • 62,483 social engagements
      • 690,230 social impressions