Influencer marketing has exploded on Instagram. As social media usage continues to rise, partnering with influencers allows brands to leverage their audiences and creativity.
In fact, influencer marketing was a $9.7 billion industry in 2020. And according to a recent survey by MarketingCharts, 80% of marketers find influencer content more effective than brand-created content. So brands that fail to leverage this strategy are missing out on major opportunities for growth.
To help enhance your own influencer marketing efforts, we‘ll analyze 8 of the most brilliant advertisement examples from brands crushing it on Instagram. These case studies showcase exactly how impactful this strategy can be.
1. Zara: User-Focused Campaign Drives $2.3 Billion in Profits
In 2015, clothing retailer Zara collaborated with employees and customers for an authentic influencer campaign called "I Am Denim." By making real people the focus, it helped profits soar to $2.3 billion that year.
This "real people focused" approach that combines influencer marketing with user-generated content is extremely powerful. 64% of consumers trust opinions posted online by other consumers more than claims from brands. So blending influencer posts with user content, like Zara did, helps boost perceived authenticity and trust.
Zara empowered 10 employees from stores worldwide to participate in a collaborative denim design project. Each brought their own cultural backgrounds and viewpoints, which let Zara tap into diverse markets.
The results speak for themselves:
- $2.3 billion profit in 2015
- Increased brand affinity and purchase intent by connecting directly with customers
- Expanded reach and resonated across multiple geographic locations through an inclusive, employee-driven process
This innovative concept focusing on real employees and designers provides an excellent template for brands aiming to try influencer marketing campaigns that feel organic and fresh.
2. Target Partners With Diverse Influencers To Sell Out Victoria Beckham Line
A 2018 collaboration between Target and celebrity fashion icon Victoria Beckham provides another fantastic advertisement example. Target teamed up with 10 diverse voices across Instagram, including:
- Fashion influencers
- Mom bloggers
- And more
Each shared Instagram posts featuring items from the exclusive Victoria Beckham x Target line. With a combined audience over 5 million followers, this campaign created significant buzz leading up to the launch.
The clothing line ended up selling out within just a few hours of release.
The key ingredients here included:
- Tapping into influencers across various niches to broaden the potential reach
- Aligning with a celebrity designer to bring media attention
- Inspiring advocates to proudly showcase sneak peeks across social media
This multichannel strategy helped drive real sales results by building pre-launch anticipation.
3. Adidas Campaign with Selena Gomez Sees 24.2% Sales Growth
Sportswear leader Adidas understands the marketing potential locked up in influencer partnerships. Focusing on creativity and user-generated content, they involved fans directly in campaign creation.
In 2015, Adidas worked with celebrity singer Selena Gomez on their #MyNeoShoot hashtag challenge. By encouraging followers to share their own styled Adidas looks, they built grassroots excitement.
The results spoke for themselves:
- 12,000+ user-generated posts
- 71,000+ hashtag mentions
- 41,000 new followers
Leveraging influencers as creative directors to inspire original content can help brands achieve authenticity and connections not possible through traditional ads.
Between January 2015 and 2016, Adidas also saw a 24.2% sales growth partially attributable to campaigns like this putting community first.
Empowering influencers and fans to co-create builds advocacy and helps concepts spread. For Adidas, it’s helped them keep growing as a brand year after year.
4. Dior Beauty Campaign Pairs Diverse Influencers With Foundations Shades for Fresh Campaign
When luxury brand Dior launched their makeup line "Forever" in 2020 with 67 foundation shades, they wanted the marketing to feel just as bold. By working with influencer platform Buttermilk, they created one of the best advertisement examples that year.
Goal: Build awareness of extensive new foundation shade ranges in authentic way.
Approach: Carefully match 67 influencers to the 67 shades for coordinated launch posts.
Influencers shared beautiful images trying on the foundations designed specifically for their skin tone. By seeing real people they identified with, audiences could directly appreciate the inclusive range of options.
The results helped Dior stand out in the crowded cosmetics space with an original campaign that put diversity first. Huge potential for skin care, cosmetics, and beauty brands here.
5. Glossier‘s Site Traffic Skyrockets 2.5x Through Micro Influencers
Beauty brand Glossier has become a digital marketing success story by leveraging micro influencers across Instagram. Their unique, community-first approach focuses on empowering and spotlighting real customers instead of celebrity sponsors.
In 2015, Glossier founder Emily Weiss decided to provide free products to nano-influencers with just a few thousand engaged followers. In exchange, they shared authentic routine photos and reviews.
By 2017, just two years after launch, Glossier hit $100 million in revenue. And their site traffic increased 2.5x between 2015-2017 partially attributable to micro influencer word-of-mouth. Pretty remarkable growth!
Micro influencers with audiences as small as 2k followers have helped fuel explosive brand growth for Glossier by helping spread authentic word-of-mouth.
The key aspects that have helped Glossier thrive by leveraging micro-influencers include:
- Feeling more accessible by spotlighting everyday users
- Increased credibility of recommendations
- Higher engagement rates based on niche audiences knowing the influencer personally
The masterclass in community building and reviews-focused marketing Glossier has provided contains invaluable lessons for new and emerging brands.
6. Fashion Nova‘s Diverse Array of Partners Helps Dominate Online Fashion
At this point, Fashion Nova is one of the most visible online fashion retailers. But back in 2015, they were still up and coming. Through a grassroots influencer approach focused on inclusivity, they‘ve since grown at breakneck speed.
By collaborating with women of all sizes, backgrounds, and ethnicities, Fashion Nova ensures their campaigns represents their full customer base. Instead of aspirational luxury, it feels accessible – a friend recommending their new favorite brand.
This helps followers picture themselves as Fashion Nova customers. Combined with fast production and social listening to react to trending styles, they‘ve been able to dominate online fashion.
Brands looking to cut through the noise should take note of Fashion Nova‘s playbook. Influencer marketing works best when it showcases authentic diversity – not just unattainable perfection.
7. Daniel Wellington Leverages Micro Influencer Army to $220 Million in Revenue
Swedish watch maker Daniel Wellington managed to transform from an upstart to a $220 million business practically overnight – with micro influencers fueling the rapid rise.
The founders focused hard on seeding product with relevant lifestyle influencers on Instagram early on. In exchange for free watches, influencers provided their audiences with discounts and affiliate codes. This helped instill an immense sense FOMO for a previously unknown brand.
With hundreds of micro influencers actively promoting special offers and discounts for Daniel Wellington watches on Instagram, it quickly became a must-have accessory.
In their first full year, Daniel Wellington‘s revenue soared to $220 million from just $15k in initial funding. Even today, there are over 900k Instagram posts tagged #danielwellington driving continual exposure.
The affiliate+micro influencer approach Daniel Wellington helped pioneer shows the immense potential of leveraging niche audiences and incentivized word-of-mouth.
8. H&M Partners With Multiple Celebrities Simultaneously For "Buzziest" Campaign
Finally, even traditional fashion powerhouses like H&M are now embracing influencer marketing. To generate excitement for the launch of their Fall Studio 2016 collection, H&M collaborated with multiple top-tier celebrity influencers simultaneously.
The brand worked with singers like Jana Kramer and actors such as Tyler Posey across complementary social media channels. Each shared teasers and Instagram posts featuring items from the new line.
With their combined star power, this multi-pronged announcement campaign created serious buzz. H&M gained 12+ million new Instagram followers almost immediately from all the exposure.
Getting multiple big name influencers to co-promote launches helps maximize reach and awareness
For significant product launches, this multi-influencer advertisement example provides a fantastic case study. The key is partnering with voices that each provide incremental exposure.
Hopefully these diverse examples have sparked ideas for your own brand‘s influencer approach. As you can see, creators have serious power to amplify messages and inspire audiences.
Here are three tips when developing your next ad campaigns featuring influencers:
Spotlight Diversity. Partner with a range of voices that represents real customers – not just aspirational perfection. When followers see people like themselves, it feels far more relatable and authentic.
Incentivize Engagement. Encourage user-generated content and affiliate promotions to help spread word-of-mouth. Discounts and contests seriously bolster motivation.
Multiply Reach through a Cross-Channel Strategy. Work with complementary influencers across social platforms tap into their combined power simultaneously.
Stop leaving this marketing opportunity on the table and start planning your next influencer collaboration today!