Celebrity Endorsements Are Becoming A Thing Of The Past – And This Is What's Replacing Them

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Where do big tech brands find the quirky bloggers they use in their advertising? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Archie D’Cruz, works in advertising, on Quora:

Where do big tech brands find the quirky bloggers they use in their advertising?

It’s not just tech brands that are using them, and to call them “quirky bloggers” is to vastly undersell what they do.

They are Influencers—with a capital I—and for savvy companies in beauty, fashion, tech, travel and food, they are a key element of the advertising mix. Most of them are represented by agencies, and in that sense they are no different from a sportsperson or an actor.

Two of the clients I work for (one an international cosmetics chain, the other a major publisher) regularly use influencers for new campaigns; and judging from the feedback, it clearly is a mutually rewarding experience.

For those who aren’t aware, influencers are the current Big Thing in marketing. They have taken over from celebrity endorsers, and deliver stellar bang for the buck in terms of both cost and believability. I mean, seriously, in what universe would Microsoft overpaying Oprah for a tweet like this be justified?

If anything, Apple should be delighted with that unexpected—and free—plug.

Bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers, on the other hand, are seen as more likely to have actually used a product before endorsing it—and there is supporting evidence in the form of video, photos, and written descriptions. Many of those that manage to attract large followings are happy to peddle that influence to advertisers—for a fee, of course.

How much that fee is depends on who the influencer is and what is expected of them. Someone like a Chiara Ferragni of Blonde Salad (popular enough to launch her own shoe line and be featured in Vogue) or Jenna Marbles (18 million YouTube subscribers) can command six-figure sums. My cosmetics client typically pays each blogger $8,000-$15,000 per campaign. At the other end, with my publishing client, an advance review copy is often all that is needed.

The blogger in the question link is Courtney Quinn, a New Yorker who used to develop handbags for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Spade and Coach. She quit her job after her blog Color Me Courtney took off, and prior to the Microsoft Surface commercials, had done work for Disney, Nike and Maybelline, among others.

Microsoft will likely have signed her up through one of at least two agencies they use—Toronto and New York-based Viral Nation (which also represents brands like Apple, McDonalds and Major League Baseball) or Hire Influence (whose clients also include Adidas, Warner Bros and Southwest Airlines).

These are only two of hundreds of such specialized agencies that are in existence today. As for how these agencies find talent, it really isn’t that difficult… in most cases, it’s the would-be influencers who approach the agencies. (Most top-flight agencies offer online signups).

The agencies then vet the blogger, not just to review audience engagement and to see if they have that ‘It’ factor, but also for potentially problematic views expressed in the past.

If an advertiser is looking for an influencer is a very specific niche or location, the agencies are easily able to narrow a list down for the client to choose from.

Of course if you’re an advertiser and wish to approach bloggers yourself, there are numerous online tools that you can use—but the time and resources needed means they simply aren’t worth it.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

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