The rapid onset of influencer marketing has made the term ‘celebrity’ much broader today. While earlier brand endorsements and promotional deals were restricted to A-list stars, social media has generated a large pool of digital influencers who wield their influence over engaged fans. Every brand has substantial resources invested in crafting the perfect influencer marketing strategies. Especially in a post-pandemic world, multiple purchase decisions have migrated to the online space, with more brands needing more influencers to connect with niche audiences.
The science of influencer marketing requires precision and expertise, with constant real-time tracking of several important metrics. Apart from social reach and engagement, one crucial metric for brands to keep in mind is audience overlap. While it might seem self-explanatory, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. In this blog, we dive straight into what this concept of audience overlap is and discuss its effects, both negative and positive, on brand campaigns.
What Is Audience Overlap?
As the name suggests, audience overlap refers to the followers on multiple profiles being the same. This is a crucial metric for brands when assessing the audience and reach of a campaign. The primary aim of collaborating with an influencer is to leverage their followers for your brand. A brand might recruit multiple influencers based on the different audience segments being targeted. If any two or more of these influencers have common audiences, it is considered an audience overlap which needs to be avoided as there is no merit to it. To break it down into simple terms, audience overlap is essential to monitor as no brand wants to pay twice to engage the same target. It is one of the several factors that can derail an influencer campaign.
Audience overlap is a common reason why some brands work with more than one influencer, but it doesn’t guarantee a higher reach. By addressing the overlap issue, you can ensure that every influencer is targeting a unique audience.
Breaking It Down Numerically
Let us consider three influencers and their followers:
Influencer 1: Follower A, Follower B, Follower C
Influencer 2: Follower A, Follower D
Influencer 3: Follower A, Follower C, Follower E
We can see from the above sample that all three influencers have only one unique follower, even though they have more overall followers. There is an overlap of Follower A across all three influencers, and Follower C is overlapping between influencers 1 and 3.
With such data on a large scale, brands can quickly assess the percentage of unique or overlapped followers.
Is Audience Overlap Beneficial?
Once the concept of audience overlap is understood, brands can use it as a powerful tool. In super competitive markets where brands are constantly struggling to cut corners with their marketing spends, paying double to target the exact audience member is a cardinal sin. It should be avoided as much as possible. Depending on goals of the campaign and the target audience, brands can decide which influencers to collaborate with based on the audiences they do or don’t share.
This helps determine whether you would like to target the audiences with similar communications multiple times to increase awareness or whether you would like to get one message out to as many unique people as possible. In this way, the campaign’s target determines how much of an overlap is beneficial, if at all. Different sizes of overlaps mean other things for the campaign.
Types Of Audience Overlap:
A considerable audience overlap is beneficial when a brand feels that the target group is niche and wants to reinforce a message to drive their communication home. Apart from helping you pick the right set of influencers to collaborate with, it will help the brand decide how many times the message is delivered to the audience to have the right impact. Large overlap is good to convert potential customers into loyal followers. Multiple iterations of messaging help increase credibility for the brand across different channels. In simpler terms, this is a retargeting effort wherein the same message is delivered to the audience by different voices on different channels.
Small overlap works slightly differently to large overlap. With a small audience overlap, you have the opportunity to spread your message far and wide. This is beneficial for brands looking to increase their reach and awareness. The smaller the audience overlap, the more unique users your campaign is reaching. This benefits brands that are not as niche, as the messaging reaches a more diverse audience across different channels. Therefore, it is prudent to say that overlap is inversely proportional to reach – the smaller the overlap in audiences, the higher the reach.
Selecting Your Ideal Overlap Size
The size of your overlap can have a crazy impact on your campaign! Users on social media often scroll their news feeds without a very high cognitive involvement, and an ad appearing on the feed just once might have little or no impact. While a high overlap duplicates the communication for the audience, it might be what the audience needs for the communication to register in their minds. The more exposed to the brand the audience is, the more likely you are to convert them.
Data suggests that audiences respond to a brand message when they see it shared by multiple influencers they like, as they take the message to be more authentic. Based on several such factors, audience overlap does play a key role while formulating a campaign. By striking the right balance in terms of overlap, brands can optimize who sees their campaign how many times.
Deduplication Of Influencers
Having the data of audience overlap helps brands differentiate between the metrics of different influencer profiles who share similar followers. This is data that isn’t easily available directly from social media platforms. This data helps brands quantify their cross-platform reach, communication frequency, and overall marketing campaign success.
Pros Of Audience Overlap:
Optimizing The Right Overlap
With the points presented so far, there is a genuine case that having some influencer overlap is better than having zero overlaps. It is all about striking the right balance for your brand. A higher overlap might not be as beneficial for an established brand as there is already a general brand awareness. There is no need to repeat the communication for followers.
Creating A Positive Impact On The Audience
If a brand is trying to get the attention of new audiences, there is little to no chance they will be able to in a single attempt. The fickle-mindedness of the modern user and the lure of the infinite scroll will ensure that less than a second is spent viewing the content. This ensures that the content hasn’t registered cognitively for the user. With a high overlap, you have several influencer profiles banging out your message across several social media platforms, making it virtually impossible for an overlapped audience not to be aware of the campaign.
Cons Of Audience Overlap
Less Unique Reach
As mentioned earlier, a high overlap in the audience means the brand is paying to engage the same audience members more than once, possibly multiple times. While this might be needed in some cases, it is theoretically a disadvantage. The overlap causes the same message to reach a less diverse audience and instead appear multiple times on the feed of the same audience. These are invaluable communications that could be better served reaching new people. Particularly for newer brands looking to cast a wider net and attract new audiences, audience overlap can be highly detrimental.
Poor Campaign Performance
Even after appearing in front of the same audience multiple times, a message may get no engagement from them. Engagement is the most crucial metric of all! This doesn’t bode well for the brand. In that case, it is much more practical to show the message once to a more diversified user base. Sometimes, having a high overlap indicates a lack of faith in the content, as it needs several views to impact the user.
It’s difficult to iterate just how important influencer audience overlap is as a metric while crafting a campaign. It is a necessary evil, and either a complete presence or lack of it is detrimental. Digital marketers spend invaluable time sifting through data to ensure the perfect balance. This metric also helps brands understand the behavior and purchase intentions of the audience better. The more you know about your audience, the likelier you are to succeed with your campaigns. Acing audience overlap can help you get the best out of your content and your social media analytics as a brand.
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