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Top Five Ways Marketers Can Benefit from Publisher Influencer Marketing Programs

With more publishers than ever offering influencer marketing programs as part of their branded content/native advertising offerings, members of the 500-member IAB Social Media/Native/Content Committee formed a working group to shed light onto this growing marketing tactic. The result is a new guide titled “Inside Influence: Why Publishers are Increasingly Turning to Influencer Marketing – and What That Means for Marketers.”

The working group* co-chairs shared some behind the scenes insights about the guide and its importance for marketers who are presented with publisher influencer marketing options and also for other publishers who are considering using or offering influencer marketing programs.

Why did IAB focus on publisher use of influencer marketing?

Top Five Ways Marketers Can Benefit from Publisher Influencer Marketing Programs 1

While much has been written about influencer marketing as an increasingly used communication tactic, little has been written specifically about publisher use of influencer marketing. Publishers are increasingly using influencer marking in a number of different ways as outlined in the IAB Guide. This is the first guide of its kind developed to help the industry understand what publishers are doing in this space – and why.

– Ann Marinovich, SVP Content Partnerships & Strategy, Forbes

How are publishers using influencer marketing?

One of the first things the group identified were the key reasons why publishers are turning to influencer marketing. The guide provides details on how influencer marketing can move the dial in four key ways:

  • Content creation/curation
  • Content credibility
  • Content amplification
  • Content as an extension of a publisher’s thought leadership

We then identified the top five ways that publishers are using influencer marketing from bolstering branded content programs or stand alone offerings, to consumer research and more.

– Kristen Berke, Cross Platform Partnerships, LA Times

What are the key questions marketers should ask when presented with a publisher influencer marketing option?

The working group spent a great deal of time on this section to make it as comprehensive as possible. It’s important for marketers to understand the questions to ask publishers up-front to ensure maximum impact of your efforts relative to your goals. The IAB guide provides helpful questions that a marketer should ask publishers related to influencer identification, cost and execution, measurement and data, and disclosure.

We know that the #1 question about influencer marketing relates to return on investment (ROI). The guide takes a deep dive into the primary key metrics which are reach, engagement, and conversion with an eye toward publisher use and what marketers should be considering relative to their key performance indicators (KPIs).

The group also made sure to include detailed information and guidance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on endorser disclosure practices.  It is critically important that anyone associated with influencer marketing be aware of the FTC guidance in this area.

– Martin Jones, Sr. Marketing Manager, Social Media & Content Marketing, Cox Business

So what exactly are the five ways that marketers benefit from publisher influencer marketing programs?

The below infographic encapsulates the five main ways that marketers benefit from publisher influencer marketing programs which focus on: objectivity, creative strategy, editorial credibility, personalization, and distribution.

To help bring this to life, there are a number of recent case study examples from leading publishers representing some great brands as part of a branded content program. Many of the case studies include concrete results while others are more directional in nature, perhaps because permissions could not be obtained.  We hope you will be as excited and inspired to see these case study examples as we were.

 Finola Austin, Sr. Brand Strategist, Refinery29

Top Five Ways Marketers Can Benefit from Publisher Influencer Marketing Programs

The case studies included in the Influencer Marketing Guide are from:

  • Condé Nast/GQ
  • Disney Digital Network
  • Hearst / Cosmopolitan
  • Refinery29
  • Storyful
  • The New York Times (Hello Society)
  • The New York Post (Page Six)
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Time Inc. / The Foundry
  • Tronc / LA Times

When a publisher includes influencer marketing as part of a request for proposal (RFP) response on a sponsored content, branded content or native advertising proposal, even if you didn’t ask for it, don’t be surprised!

It is IAB’s hope that this guide provides helpful information to help evaluate your options in a comprehensive and smart way to maximize the impact of your communication plan and get the maximum benefit from your publisher partnerships.

Download the IAB Influencer Marketing for Publishers Guide

View Case Studies

*IAB acknowledges the working group members listed in the Influencer Marketing Guide from the following companies for their contributions:  Clarion Research, Cox Automotive, Cox Business, Dianomi, Forbes Media, Foursquare, Influential, IPONWEB Inc., LA Times, New York Post, MONSTER, Nexstar Media, Nielsen, Pandora, Powerlinks Media, Rakuten Marketing, Refinery29, RewardStyle, Sales Athlete Media Network, Storyful, Time Inc., Trivver, Inc., Tronc, Univision, Vertebrae, VEVO, Westwood One, and Zergnet.

IAB publisher members are invited to contribute additional case studies in the format seen in the guide.  Please submit your case study to [email protected] with the subject line “Influencer Case Study Submission.”  You can submit up to three examples, preferably those where you can share as many detailed results as possible. Thanks.



Susan Borst
Head of Social and Content Marketing Solutions
at IAB