Chances are that the tradition of watching TV commercials during Super Bowl Sunday will never go away. The ads will always be big news as long as there’s still a big game. The annual parade of these pricey and famous ads is an integral part of Super Bowl Sunday. From the game to half time to every commercial, the appeal of this daylong event spans multiple generations. But that’s not always the case for all forms of traditional advertising. 

Fortunately, when it comes to spending marketing and ad dollars, marketers now have more choices than ever. Today’s marketers aren’t just buying ad space in print or on TV. They’re investing in strategies that encompass traditional ads, digital ads, and influencer content.

When is a classic advertising campaign the best route to take? And when is an influencer and content marketing campaign more effective? This guide offers a broad brushstroke of insights to help you understand the differences between influencer content marketing and traditional advertising. 

First, we’ll take a quick look at what defines traditional and non-traditional forms of marketing. Second, we’ll put a magnifying glass up to the roots of influencer content and how it changed the landscape of marketing. Then, we’ll take a look at several areas of importance that differentiate influencer and content marketing and traditional marketing. Those areas are costs, targeting, engagement, reach and finally tracking, analytics, and ROI (return-on-investment).

Defining Traditional Forms of Advertising

When you think of traditional advertising, what comes to mind? Before digital advertising and all its iterations, marketers turned to the following print and media outlets:

  • TV 
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Direct mail and print newsletters
  • Flyers
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers

Online advertising and marketing has clearly mushroomed, especially since Facebook ads debuted in 2007. In the past few years, cost-effective influencer and content marketing strategies have eclipsed traditional ads for many reasons that go beyond budgets.

But even today, marketers don’t always dismiss traditional forms of advertising from their budgets. Depending on the product or brand, combining classic and contemporary forms of advertising and marketing can be a wise move. It might not come as a surprise that TV and print mediums are still very much a part of daily life for all generations. 

Defining Influencer and Content Marketing

Digital marketing is any form of marketing you see online, from search engine optimization (SEO) to the evolving world of influencer and content marketing. Influencer and content marketing is now one of the most popular strategies within the range of digital marketing options. 

Most specifically, influencer and content marketing is one aspect within social media marketing. Influencer and content marketing serves the same function as any other type of traditional or digital marketing campaign. It drives brand awareness, creates lead generation, and increases sales. In short, influencer content is designed to create buzz around a product or brand. An increase in sales for a brand ends up being a happy byproduct of influencer content marketing.

But why has content marketing become such a powerful form of advertising? It could be that the sheer quantity of traditional and digital ads has caused consumers to tune out most of these intrusive campaigns. Consumers often endure a barrage of loud TV commercials and busy digital pop-ups and banner ads. In contrast, content marketing is a softer, quieter way for a brand to attract attention in a chaotic world.

History of Influencer and Content Marketing

Influencer marketing is not new. Influencers existed long before the digital age. Any celebrity, athlete or prominent public figure who could influence a buyer’s decision was, and still is, considered an influencer. They frequently appear in traditional ads. One memorable example is supermodel Cindy Crawford, who starred in a Pepsi commercial in the 1990s to sell the soda to a young male demographic.

Before the rise of the Kardashian family’s Instagram influencer fame, there were pioneering influencer campaigns taking shape. In the infancy of digital influencer marketing, IZEA founder Ted Murphy worked with bloggers to launch campaigns for brands such as Red Lobster and Burger King.

Then, in the early 2000s, the Kardashian family launched their reality TV show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” The Kardashian family’s rise in fame, Instagram’s launch in 2010 and the app’s lightning-fast evolution came together to create today’s dominating influencer and content marketing sphere. In her first Instagram post, Kim Kardashian wore a Victoria’s Secret robe. Some now consider that post to be her earliest piece of influencer marketing content.

On the Heels of Instagram

Launched first as a photography app, Instagram quickly evolved into one of the Internet’s main visual communications — and influencer — tools. Today’s influencer content encompasses posts and videos that live within major platforms, including Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and, to some extent, Snapchat. 

Instagram leads as the platform influencers prefer, according to Socialmediatoday.com and research from Business Insider Intelligence. In fact, 79 percent of brands predominantly use Instagram for influencer campaigns. 

On Instagram’s heels, however, are two more platforms. The popular Chinese-owned TikTok, a short-form video app, has been winning over influencers and viewers since it was reintroduced by that name in 2017. It’s a controversial app with major privacy concerns, and it has a complicated history. Brands may be hesitant to use it, but viewers are flocking in droves to the platform. 

The gaming platform Twitch is also gaining traction with influencers. Alongside TikTok, Twitch is becoming an increasingly significant influencer platform for Generation Z.

Trending Away From Tradition 

People of all ages are generally not fans of noisy and disruptive ads. Viewers tend to leave the room to get a snack when commercials come on during a TV show. Readers quickly flip past colorful advertisements in a magazine. Even in the digital advertising world, ad-blocking software has risen in usage globally. Here are the statistics, according to a 2019 study by Digital Information World:

  • 31 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds use an ad blocker
  • 32 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds use an ad blocker
  • 20 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds use an ad blocker
  • 11 percent of 45- to 54-year-olds use an ad blocker
  • 6 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds use an ad blocker

Turning Down the Volume on TV

What’s happened to network TV? Viewership is declining, according to Nielsen and AdAge.com, in favor of streaming services. In fact, more than a quarter of viewers aged 18 to 49 years of age disappeared from network TV viewership between 2016 and 2018 alone. 

There’s another uncomfortable statistic about TV viewership. Broadband-only households are expected to grow from 23.3 million in 2018 to 40.8 million by 2023, says Kagan, a media and research group. One of the biggest reasons for this is that consumers prefer the ease of joining streaming services, rather than the contracts required for cable service.

TV Viewer Habits by Age

It’s probably no surprise that older generations watch more network and cable TV while younger generations prefer to stay online for entertainment and news. Younger generations also prefer newer forms of “televised” events, such as Instagram TV. They may begin to lean into Facebook Watch, as well. 

Traditional TV has taken a hit. From 2012 to 2016, viewership by 18- to 34-year-olds dropped an average of 37 percent, according to research by BI Intelligence. Compare that to a 2 percent increase in TV viewership in those aged 65 and older. Here’s the breakdown:

  • ages 18 to 24 viewership dropped 39 percent
  • ages 12 to 17: viewership dropped 38 percent
  • ages 25 to 34: viewership dropped 34 percent
  • ages 2 to 11: viewership dropped 26 percent
  • ages 35 to 49: viewership dropped 19 percent
  • ages 50 to 64: viewership dropped 9 percent

Cord Cutting Continues

Consumers continue to cut the cord when it comes to cable TV. Cable, satellite, and other companies that offer TV service could lose over 5 percent of subscribers in 2020, says a report by S&P Global Ratings.

Print Can’t Survive Alone

Though print advertising isn’t what it used to be, it’s still part of the marketing mix. Digital subscriptions rise, though print circulation may dwindle. Here are a few important statistics on traditional print media, including newspapers and magazines:

  • Daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) in 2018 was down 8 percent for weekday and 9 percent for Sundays, according to Journalism.org.
  • Ad revenue for the newspaper industry was down about 13 percent from 2017 to 2018.
  • Various magazines report audience growth. But advertising revenue is shrinking (for both print and digital) and continues to fall. From 2017 to 2018, print ad revenue fell 18 percent. The fall isn’t as severe as when the Great Recession hit, according to eMarketer’s research.  
  • By 2022, it’s projected that print and digital ad spending will be about equal, as print declines and digital grows, according to eMarketer.

The Nimble Nature of Print

The print media industry is evolving, but it isn’t dead. In fact, most consumers trust a print ad over a digital ad. In 2017, 82 percent of Americans trusted print ads, says MarketingSherpa. Only 25 percent trusted digital ads. It’s important to note three trends when it comes to print media:

Branded magazines: Since 2017, a number of brands launched print magazines, according to AdAge. Specialty magazines, it appears, have gained momentum with readers, though not all survive, as evidenced by the shuttering of mattress company Casper’s magazine, Woolly. 

Some specialty magazines, such as REI’s Uncommon Path, are available in branded stores only. Other specialty magazines, such as Callaway’s Pivot magazine, have a cover price of $10. 

However, a substantial difference exists between traditional print magazines and branded magazines. Branded magazines often function as audience builders rather than revenue drivers, according to an article in Foliomag.com.

Bundled print and digital rate packages for advertisers:  Bundling can be a smart strategy when it comes to any product or service. It offers the perception of value to the buyer. Print ads have a longer shelf life than digital ads. Readers keep print publications in their homes for a long time. This is also true in commercial settings, where a stream of readers can view a magazine for months on end. Progressive publishers are able to cover both bases for both advertisers and readers.

Consumers of all ages still read print: It’s a misconception that only older generations read print over digital. According to an article in Relevance.com, print media holds value to all generations:

  • About 90 percent of 18- to 23-year-olds find it easier to read print ads over digital ads. 
  • Baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials read, on average, nine magazines a month.
  • Gen Zers (born between 1995 and 2012), read a magazine for about an hour a week. 
  • Roughly 60 percent of Gen Zers understand the value of unplugging from technology so they can consume content without interruption.

Where Does Digital Advertising Stand?

Digital ads, like the many types found on Facebook, are not quite traditional advertising, but they aren’t influencer content, either. These include display and banner ads, pop-ups and many other types of ads that have infiltrated the Internet over the years. 

A surprising bit of research points to the relevance of TV ads over digital ads. A TV commercial seems to have more impact on consumers than streaming ad videos or Internet banners, according to an Adobe Digital Insights 2019 survey. This and other research suggests there’s still an important place for traditional advertising, alongside influencer content marketing.

Costs: Cheap vs Steep

Cost is only one element that has fueled the rise of influencer content marketing over more costly traditional advertising. Influencer content marketing is perceived as lower in cost than traditional advertising. But influencer prices have risen over the past few years, especially as more marketers pledge to allocate more of their marketing budgets to influencer content. 

  • Over the past five years, the average cost per sponsored post on all platforms has risen dramatically.
  • The average cost for a sponsored Instagram photo has risen 44 percent from 2018 to 2019 alone.
  • The average cost of a sponsored blog post has risen from $7.39 in 2006 to $1,442.27 in 2019, an increase of 195 times.
  • In 2019, YouTube videos commanded a premium of four times more than that of the next highest-priced form of sponsored content.

Influencer Content Marketing Costs

The affordability of nano- and micro-influencers is attractive to smaller or newer brands with minimal marketing budgets. But there’s no solid standard for what influencers charge per post or for an entire campaign, regardless of their metrics. In fact, the race and gender of an influencer might determine the cost of a post, according to the newest influencer equality research from IZEA.

But established brands with larger budgets want to experiment with influencer marketing, as well. Marketers of all size budgets are on target to continue increasing their influencer spending. In fact, 57 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer content marketing budgets in 2020, according to the American Marketing Association. 

  • Nano-influencers, with small, but fiercely loyal audiences of about 1K followers, are the most cost-effective influencers. These individuals are likely just starting out and don’t command a lot of money for a post or even a full campaign…just yet.
  • To gain a better perspective, an influencer with 100K followers on Instagram may charge $1,000 a post. An influencer with 1M followers on Instagram can charge $10K a post, according to WebFX, an internet marketing company.
  • Twitter influencers tend to charge the least amount of money per post. A Twitter influencer with 10K followers can charge $20 a post. A Twitter influencer with 1M followers may charge $2,000 a post. 

Traditional Advertising Costs

Traditional advertising requires a considerable investment to create and place the ads. Consider the costs of newspaper and magazine ads. Newspaper ads, for example, are ideal for brands that are targeting a local, regional or national group of 35- to 45-year-olds. The costs are steep depending on the newspaper and its circulation. 

  • In 2019, a full page newspaper ad in the Washington Post (circulation 55K) had a price tag of $163.422, according to fitsmallbusiness.com.
  • In 2019, a full page ad in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, a smaller newspaper with 14K circulation, was $2,772
  • Glossy magazines have high costs, too. On top of the costs for a professionally designed ad, you’d pay an average of $250,000 to run a full-page ad in a national magazine. A local or regional magazine may charge substantially less for its smaller circulation and targeted audience. The price would be $5,000 to $6,000 for a single-page ad, depending on location and frequency of your campaign. 

The key difference: You’ll get more bang for your marketing budget buck when using a cost-effective influencer marketing strategy rather than relying too heavily on traditional advertising.

Targeting: Precise Versus Too General

It’s rare that a brand will have mass appeal across the board for all ages and genders. Of course, there are products most of us use on a daily basis, regardless of age and gender, such as toilet paper or soap. But each brand has a specific audience that is the decision-maker when it comes to purchasing that item. 

It’s a marketer’s job to get the brand or product under the nose of that decision-maker. Which type of campaign can best hone in on a dense group of decision-makers? Is it the influencer or the traditional ad on TV or in the newspaper? It depends on your targeted demographic. 

Influencer Content Marketing Targeting

Influencer marketing makes it easier to locate and reach a brand’s specific demographic. You’ll need to choose an influencer who has a connection with the same audience you’re trying to reach. With advanced analytics, digital marketing can be highly targeted before you spend a dollar of your marketing budget.

  • It’s easy to learn about an influencer’s audience demographics by using data-driven tools. These tools give you granular audience information, including ages, genders, locations, lifestyles, income, and education levels, to make sure you’re targeting the right demographic.
  • Even if an influencer has the perfect audience for your brand, review the influencer’s content to ensure it’s high quality and aligns with your values. 
  • Highly targeted fashion audiences flock to Instagram. In fact, 25 percent of all sponsored posts on Instagram are fashion-related, according to Influencerdb.com, an influencer marketing blog.

Traditional Advertising Targeting

Though media buyers purchase traditional ads based on viewership and readership, a marketer never knows who’s really seeing their costly ad. You can’t control who sees a TV ad, reads a magazine, or passes a billboard.

In addition, just because someone subscribes to a magazine or newspaper doesn’t mean they read it. Circulation is always confused with actual readership, and this has always been problematic when it comes to quantifying traditional media placement.

When it comes to TV ads, historically, brands targeted TV audiences using age and gender as the only criteria. To compete with digital forms of advertising, some TV networks are working to expand metrics to help media buyers make better ad placement choices, according to AdAge.

The key difference: Marketers are able to find, with granular precision, what target demographic audience tunes into which influencer. And database marketing can easily pair a brand and influencer together. It’s tough to precisely target and hit a demographic when using traditional advertising methods.

Customer Engagement: Connected vs One-Sided

Maybe the most overused term to describe the appeal of influencer content marketing is “engagement.” It may be overused, but it can’t be overstated. Customer engagement offers an enormous amount of information to a marketer. 

Engagement is the interaction that a customer has with a brand and vice versa. But there’s only one type of engagement that’s critical to a brand’s success: the interaction that a customer chooses to have with a brand. 

Influencers connect with their audiences by varying degrees. During a campaign, a marketer hopes that an influencer’s audience will engage with the sponsored brand. But what about traditional advertising? Is there such a thing as engagement, or does a traditional ad simply disseminate information to consumers?  

Influencer Content Marketing Engagement

One of the most appealing parts of influencer content marketing is real-time engagement. Authentic communication between an influencer and a brand with an intended audience is priceless on many levels. 

Through direct and fast feedback, an influencer and marketer can tell if the campaign needs to be tweaked or changed. Engagement lets a marketer know almost immediately if the campaign is offering value to viewers. This is relatively easy to accomplish digitally, especially when a relevant influencer is involved and welcomes followers’ feedback. 

  • Engagement through influencer content builds emotional connections to a brand. A follower already has an emotional connection to the influencer, whether it’s through a shared value or an educational experience. A solid influencer can retain that emotional connection through quality and authentic brand content.  
  • Transactional brands that simply rely on sales don’t engage consumers. Only brands that can build community through influencers can grow and remain relevant.
  • The rise of the micro-influencer is critical when it comes to engagement. The larger the influencer’s audience, the lower the rate of engagement, according to bigcommerce.com, an eCommerce research company. Influencers with 1K followers have more engagement on posts than those with 10M followers.

Traditional Advertising Engagement

Understanding whether a campaign or brand is providing value and resonating with viewers or readers is not easy to accomplish with traditional ads alone. Customers can’t respond directly to the company while watching a TV commercial like they can on Instagram. 

Traditional advertising broadcasts out to a mass audience and uses catchy or memorable slogans to persuade the viewer or reader. However, consumers are often desensitized to this one-sided approach to transactional advertising. 

When a traditional ad, brand, or product isn’t gaining traction, a marketing team may be left in the dark. It can take time and effort to find out pertinent information about a print or televised ad that can help to redirect a campaign. 

However, traditional advertising is still a viable way to first introduce a brand to an audience. It can be the pre-step before a campaign that promotes engagement. Here are three instances in which traditional advertising influenced massive audience engagement:

  • JaJa Tequila combined a traditional billboard ad and social media to introduce its brand to its intended Gen Z audience. The billboard’s messages were short, funny, and drove viewers to the brand’s social media sites.
  • One of the most successful campaigns that mixed traditional and digital was Unilever’s Dove “Real Beauty” campaign. It combined traditional advertising (billboard, print, and TV) with social media and YouTube. Relying on multiple channels led to massive awareness, engagement, and an increase in sales to the brand.
  • Red Bull, the energy drink, has mastered not only traditional advertising, but social media and influencer content marketing. In 2019, it earned a dramatic rise in ad awareness with a series of TV spots about its Red Bull Slush drink at Sonic restaurants. The TV ads led to YouTuber influencers reviewing the drink.

Here’s another view about using TV as a one-way street when it comes to engagement with consumers: it’s risky. Though audience engagement is a powerful tool for brands, many advertisers don’t want to take every comment about a product or brand into consideration. Some brands don’t need, or want, feedback from a random viewer. In other words, influencer content marketing is far from controllable. 

The key difference: The instantaneous customer feedback from relevant influencer content allows brands to stay nimble if a campaign needs to adjust its message. On the other hand, it takes time to gauge the results of traditional ads. Creating new ads takes considerable time and resources. But by working together, traditional advertising and content marketing can create massive customer engagement strategies that result in great payoffs.  

Reach: Limitless vs Limited

Influencer content marketing and traditional advertising methods both have reach. The term “reach” simply means the number of people who see the content or ad. It does not always indicate engagement rates, however. 

Is more or less reach better? Should you aim for a larger unlimited reach or a smaller and limited reach, and why? It helps to understand how reach differs between influencer content and traditional advertising. It also helps to know the pros and cons of limitless and limited reach.

Influencer Content Marketing Reach

Depending on the influencer, their reach can be local and pinpointed or overreaching and global. A more trustworthy micro-influencer might have far less reach than a mega-influencer who has global reach but lags in audience engagement. In addition, influencers tend to have organic and viral reach, depending on the campaign. Your strategy all depends on your goals as a marketer. 

  • Mega-influencers, the most famous of influencers, have huge audiences of more than 1M followers. Those followers might have very diverse demographics and interests. A mega-influencer probably won’t be an expert on a subject, but their reach is huge, so they’re ideal for brands that have mass appeal. 
  • Macro-influencers, with between 100K to 1M followers, can also reach mass amounts of followers. A macro-influencer may be best if you want to appeal to a single, but broad demographic, like millennial females.
  • Micro- and nano-influencers are the two fastest-growing categories of influencers, precisely because their reach is limited in scope but comes with high levels of engagement. These types of influencers are more relatable and down-to-earth everyday types who have a very tight-knit, trusting audience. About 77 percent of marketers plan to work with micro-influencers in 2020, according to the American Marketing Association.

Traditional Advertising Reach

Traditional advertising campaigns can be limited in reach. A pricey traditional ad campaign can have local or national reach, but rarely global reach. Traditional advertising vehicles, such as billboards, have local reach. National newspapers, however, can have global reach when digitized.

If a brand needs local geographical targeting, a traditional form of advertising could be even more effective than an influencer with a broader geographical reach. Here are some other surprising facts about the reach of traditional advertising.

  • Traditional ads in magazines, newspapers and on TV are the best route to reaching affluent audiences. Millionaires, for example, prefer to read print ads, according to studies from the Shullman Research Center, a company providing insights into the luxury consumer market.
  • Billboards are often looked down upon in traditional advertising, but they have impressive reach when it comes to frequency. Research shows that a driver views a billboard for three to four seconds. The reach may be limited, but if the billboard is located precisely, its reach is to a captive audience of commuters or pedestrians.
  • AM/FM radio remains the most inexpensive way to reach potential customers. Radio reach is best if you’re promoting an event where listeners must take a specific action in a short period of time. According to Nielsen research, radio still has mass appeal. It’s the medium that reaches the most American media consumers. Around 90 percent of adults listen to the radio every week. 

TV has a greater reach than any other advertising medium. Look at these statistics from Forbes.com:

  • In 2018, the U.S. had 305.6M TV viewers, an increase of 0.9 percent from 2017.
  • In 2017, the U.S. had 301.7M TV viewers, an increase of 1.6 percent from 2016.

TV advertising still offers an effective way to reach older and wealthier demographics, according to Forbes.

The key difference: Different levels of influencers have varying levels of reach. If a product or brand demands fast-paced outreach to global customers, an influencer content campaign can fulfill that need, but it’ll cost to use a mega-influencer. Influencers with less reach may be a better bet for smaller brands. Traditional ads are usually limited in their reach, but for local brands, that may be best.

Tracking, Analytics, and ROI: Swift vs Slow 

An enormous amount of money is poured into influencer content marketing and traditional forms of advertising. But does any of it work and how well? ROI, or return-on-investment, is the gold standard that lets a brand know whether their influencer campaign or traditional ad plan worked or not. 

Influencer Content Marketing ROI

An influencer’s marketing insights can quickly track how a post affected the sales of a brand or product. Marketers don’t have to wait weeks or months to see how many people actually saw an ad, commercial, or public relations campaign. You don’t have to wonder if your flyers, newsletters and other direct mail pieces ended up in the trash. 

By 2020, companies will allocate $8B towards Instagram influencer marketing campaigns, according to the Contentmarketinginstitute.com. That’s an astounding amount. With all that money invested in influencer content marketing, how is a sponsored post’s ROI calculated? 

There really is no cookie-cutter ROI formula. Every brand has its own idea of how a campaign performs. Metrics could include goals such as engagement, clicks, impressions, conversions, reach and product sales, for example.

However, there’s a loose set of metrics that marketers tend to use to determine a campaign’s ROI, according to the ContentMarketingInstitute.com:

  • Engagement is the number one most important metric in an influencer marketing program. Engagement is important because it offers direct and immediate feedback about the brand (product or company) that is nearly impossible to obtain elsewhere.
  • Clicks, impressions, and conversions create the second tier of most important metrics, but the information is not as granular as engagement.
  • Reach (which is not as granular as engagement) and product sales make up the third tier of most important metrics. A brand might instruct an influencer to offer a unique code to audience members to sell a product. But that doesn’t mean a customer will use the code right away or at all.

Traditional Advertising ROI

The results of a traditional advertising campaign can be hit or miss. If sales go up after an ad runs, is it because of the ad or some other factor? What about if sales go up weeks after an ad runs — is it a lingering effect from the promotion? It can be tough to tell. 

Marketers have three solid ways they can measure ROI for traditional ads. However, these measures may not be instantaneous and the processes can be cumbersome to coordinate and implement. Here are a few examples of how Hearst Media helps their print advertising customers track results:

  • Traditional print ads can include a coupon or code that ties directly to that specific print ad. 
  • An advertiser can track the results of a print ad by setting up dedicated phone numbers customers can call for more information or to place orders. 
  • A common way that advertisers can track the results of print ads is by tying a dedicated landing page URL to a specific ad. The print ad will have a clear and assertive CTA (call to action) that drives traffic to the URL. But once there, the customer has to also offer information the advertiser can collect. 

The key difference: Influencer content marketing can quickly assess ROI, unlike traditional advertising that takes time to accumulate ROI data. However, speed of gaining ROI data doesn’t always mean the campaign (influencer or traditional) was a success. A hard-hitting traditional ad campaign can have an enormous ROI versus a lukewarm influencer campaign. 

Tracking and analyzing ROI is easier to achieve with influencer content marketing campaigns because the feedback is often in real-time. Tracking and analyzing ROI on traditional ads can be a time-consuming multi-step process.

Partnering: The Future of Influencer Marketing and Traditional Advertising

Influencer content marketing campaigns happen in the blink of an eye. Traditional ads are best at building long-term emotional connections with a brand. But can the two forms of marketing work hand-in-hand?

Let’s circle back to the ads of Super Bowl Sunday. You don’t need to pay over $5M for a 30-second spot to get results. But you can look and learn from those who did invest that top dollar.

On Super Bowl Sunday you can find examples of how influencer marketing and traditional marketing can work hand-in-hand to give consumers value and elevate brands. Two of the biggest brands tapped into the power of influencer marketing to lift the buzz around their 30-second televised spot.

  • Girl power: Oil of Olay’s celebrity-studded Super Bowl ads dovetailed into a Twitter promotion donating money to Girls Who Code every time someone tagged @OlaySkin on Twitter.
  • Playing on emotions: Planters killed off the iconic Mr. Peanut, mourning his loss on social media, only to resurrect him on a (darn cute) national TV commercial.

But beware, says an analytical article in The New York Times. Super Bowl ads take months of planning. Awareness of the ads peaks about two weeks after they air on game day, according to YouGov’s research. In fact, 30 minutes after a Super Bowl ad airs, it falls off the top trending Twitter topics.

Even so, traditional advertising, in its quest to add a layer of emotion that engages viewers, is taking a page from influencer content marketing. When influencer marketing works, it’s because the content is real, diverse, and honest. That’s why Super Bowl ads are so memorable. Enter the increased use of user-generated-content (UGC) in traditional ads. 

Authenticity is the key to modern marketing, whether it’s a TV commercial, print ad or influencer content marketing campaign. It’s a sign of solidarity when traditional advertising can take a page from the influencer content marketing playbook and create a successful campaign.

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