WHICH SOCIAL PLATFORM SHOULD YOU RUN INFLUENCER ON? [COMPARISON CHART]
Updated: Feb 15
There are great creators on many platforms.
And there are great brands working with many of them.
But as a brand, it can sometimes be hard to decide which platform is right for your influencer campaigns.
That’s why we decided to assemble this comparison chart of the features & benefits of the prominent social media platforms as well as a deep dive into the pros and cons of each.
By the end of this article, you should have a much better sense of what social platforms may be right for your brand & your goals.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ASSESSING YOUR NEEDS
Before deciding which platform to run influencer, we recommend doing a quick self-assessment. These are the things you should know about yourself and your brand before zeroing in on one or more platforms.
Who is your target customer?
How much do you know about your target customer? What is your target demographic? Are you targeting 18-24 males, 25-34 females, or something else? What topics are they interested in? Do you have multiple customer segments? Is your product frequently purchased as a gift? Any insights you have on the behaviors and characteristics of your customers will be invaluable as you work to select the right platform(s).
What are your objectives?
Are you looking to increase your visibility among your target audience and get more of that audience familiar with your product? Are you looking to reach a new audience? Are you looking to increase brand trust by being seen alongside a noteworthy influencer? Or are you just trying to drive as many purchases in a short window of time? Knowing exactly what you’re hoping to achieve will make the platform decision much clearer.
What type of product/service do you sell?
Do you sell a product or service where the value is self-evident or does it need some explanation? Does it need to be demonstrated or do you need to overcome skepticism in the market? All of these questions will help you zero in on the right platform. Both a new shampoo brand and a new hair growth technology brand may touch your head, but they often need slightly different approaches and platforms.
PLATFORM BENEFIT COMPARISON
In the chart below, we’ve visually compared the different features & benefits of each major platform, so you can more easily see which platforms work best for you.
Once you’ve narrowed things down based on your needs, dig into the below “in-depth” section for each respective platform to determine your winning strategy.
There are a few ways to run influencer on YouTube. Those are integrations, dedicated videos, and YouTube shorts. YouTube is a particularly great fit for a brand that has a story to tell. The engaging video format of YouTube allows for the explanation of potentially complex or nuanced products and services.
YouTube integrations are when a creator incorporates a 30-90 second fully customized brand message in a YouTube video that is posted on their channel. Integrated content is great because it's an engaged audience consuming content that they care about, and it happens to include a promotion for a product. Integrations typically perform best when the creators are given a high level of creative freedom to connect the message with their audience in an authentic way.
YouTube Integrations are a full-funnel marketing solution; however, they are used by many brands as a growth marketing channel to drive customer acquisition.
YouTube Dedicated Videos
YouTube dedicated videos are a great fit for brands with particularly complex or nuanced products and/or services. The longer video length allows for in-depth storytelling that often cannot be done in a standard 30-90 second integration. It’s important to note that creators are very protective of their content, and rightfully so because it’s what’s given them their audience. When engaging in dedicated videos with creators, it’s helpful to give them as much creative control as possible, so their audience doesn’t feel like they are watching a 10 minute ad. By asking a creator what aspect of your product/service they’d like to explore in their video, you are empowering them to deliver the best content to reach their audience.
The primary focus of dedicated videos is on branding with a secondary focus on direct response. It is particularly useful for brands looking to bring customers to the top of their sales funnel and can be a great addition to direct response ads.
A search-based partnership is used when a brand is aiming to increase the amount of brand-positive UGC that appears in search results and is willing to pay a premium price for it. These are multiple dedicated YouTube videos optimized or YouTube search.
There can be many reasons why brands are trying to increase the brand-positive content volume within search results; it could be a new brand looking to build an online presence, an existing brand looking to offset a negative UGC content emergence, or anyone just looking to increase perceived brand sentiment.
Similar to TikTok and Reels, YouTube Shorts are vertical videos that are 60 seconds or less - uploaded to YouTube (via the app or desktop) with #Shorts in the title. The benefit of YouTube shorts right now is that for now they are underpriced while still having the impressive reach of YouTube.
Shorts can be viewed on Desktop or Mobile App - with mobile giving users an experience like TikTok where the video will loop. Shorts uploaded via the app, also have access to music (like TikTok) that won’t flag their video for DMCA. Shorts will also begin rolling out to Android and iOS tablets.
YouTube Shorts will also be adding support for creators to splice in content from longer videos. Segments of videos ranging from one to five seconds, on eligible videos, will be able to be used in Shorts in both video and audio forms. When a clip is used, the original video will be linked.
There are a few ways to run influencer programs on Instagram. These include Instagram Posts (photos or videos), Instagram Stories, and Instagram Reels.
Instagram Posts are a great way to get in front of a creator’s chosen audience and drive awareness. Creators are sensitive to what they are willing to include in their Instagram feeds, so if they do include a sponsored post, their audience knows the creator was willing to disrupt their typical content for this brand.
There are also a variety of formats where a creator can showcase multiple photos [a carousel] or a video [up to 10 minutes].
If a brand wants to drive awareness with quality content [Instagram Post content is often created using high-quality cameras and editing], this is a great avenue. We also have the ability to activate Influencer Paid Social if we bundle in usage rights for the content.
Instagram Stories are a great way to get in front of a creator’s loyal audience, drive awareness, and track success via clickable link data. Instagram Stories quickly became the primary influencer marketing medium on the platform given the ability to include a clickable link via the “sticker” (previously “swipe up”) function.
There are a variety of types of Instagram Stories from static images and 15-second video clips to polls & quizzes. This is key in driving engagement with your brand as the most successful stories integrate naturally into a creator's typical daily stories. It’s best when a creator already uses stories frequently.
Instagram Stories are a great medium for brands that want a presence on Instagram but also need to track performance via a custom link.
Instagram Reels are great for awareness, but similar to posts, it is not currently possible to include a clickable link at this time. While initially seen as a TikTok rip off they’ve quickly gained traction and many creators simply upload their vertical content to both TikTok and Instagram Reels (creating the potential for bundle deals).
While reels are only 60 seconds in length, they offer a variety of fun features and edits in-platform. Reels can also be recorded externally, edited, and uploaded.
If a brand wants to drive awareness with quality content and has expressed interest in viral vertical content then reels should be a part of the conversation.
TikTok Organic & Paid
TikTok is known for its short-form content with typically lower CPMs than other platforms. It is most efficient when it comes to brand awareness as it is largely based on an algorithm -- because of this, even smaller creators can create videos that become popular.
TikTok is not just a Gen Z platform. Many age groups can be reached through this platform. A 2021 survey found that 36% of TikTok users were between the ages of 35-54 yrs.
TikTok is also a great way to dip into using organic content for paid assets. If focusing on consideration or conversion, the best practice would be to pair the organic content with usage for paid. TikTok does not include a clickable link unless using the asset in paid media so that your brand can add clickable links.
Since TikTok is a shorter form and based on an algorithm, it is essential to let creators have creative freedom. Content will not perform if brands are not able to allow creators to use their authentic voices.
The algorithm can at times help with geo-targeted campaigns. For example, you will be served TikToks which features the location in which you live.
Another TikTok strategy of note is their Brand Takeover Ads. With this feature, an ad will appear full screen as soon as the user opens the app. These ads can be targeted and can contain a direct link. TikTok will only show a user one Brand Takeover Ad per day maximum, so you can expect to pay $50,000- $100,000 per day for such ads. Takeover Ads deliver mass awareness quickly and drive high CTRs.
Using influencer talent for a TikTok Takeover is a strategic way to make the ad feel authentic and natural to the platform, helping maintain audience attention and drive engagement.
A Twitch integration is a live broadcast stream in which the streamer/influencer is able to integrate a product through numerous different means.
A Twitch integration is typically adjacent to the content of the stream. They will mostly be talking about the product between playing games, with exceptions including advertising a game on its own. The creator is provided with a talking points document that gives them some direction on the product features and benefits, but it really is up to the creator to make the integration as natural and authentic as possible.
Twitch creators will discuss the product and their experience with it during the integration. Their community will typically ask questions they have about the product making it necessary to provide all the information the creator needs in the talking points doc.
Also possibly included in the integration will be the product in the stream’s title, a chatbot in the Twitch chat that includes a quick summary of the integration and a link to the product/creator referral link, and an underlay below the stream that will also include a link to the company website.
Podcast ads are either dynamically inserted or baked-in but both can be host read. We typically recommend brands run baked-in host read ads as it most closely mirrors the magic of YT integrations and their evergreen nature.
Baked in means the ad lives in the podcast indefinitely while dynamic ads are often removed after the agreed-upon CPM is hit.
Dynamically inserted podcast ads are highly effective at targeting specific audiences. Because they are set based on audience demographics, you know that 100% of the budget will be spent on those users.
Baked-in ads are effective because they build more trust with the listener. Baked-in ads are often read by the host and hearing the host support a brand has a profound effect on the performance of the read.
These methods are most effective as branding tools because they tend to have longer lag times to conversion. Hitting one user many times with the same ad will push the user to recall the brand well after the ads have stopped running.
We recommend both dynamically inserted and baked-in host read ads for branding campaigns. Because of the previously mentioned lag period, brands will often not see the benefit of podcasts and cut them before they have time to become impactful.
For conversion-based campaigns, this form of influencer marketing should be used after YouTube, Instagram, and other social network returns have stagnated.
For branding campaigns, this should be recommended early because the reach is significant and CPMs are quite low.
We hope this has been a useful resource to help you uncover which platforms will make the most sense for your brand. If you have any further questions, please feel free to book a strategy call and we can help answer them in real-time.