At Coachella, 250,000 music lovers descended upon the California desert, bringing $704 million in economic activity throughout the week.
Brands and influencers abounded, with over 4 million hashtags emanating from the world’s most Instagrammed festival. But many brands took a different approach to influencers this year.
By now, 78 percent of Millennials dislike or are indifferent to celebrity influencer endorsements. As such, brands are spending 40 percent of their influencer budgets on micro-influencers, compared to only 28 percent on celebrity influencers. Here’s why.
Going Micro Is More Efficient, Especially At Festivals
Mediahub ran a study of social media engagement lifts fueled by brand activations. They found that micro-influencers with 1,000 followers were 85 percent more effective at generating engagement lifts than influencers with 100,000 followers.
“Micro-influencers are ideal in festival-type environments because they come across as more authentic,” says Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, a company using AI and social data to connect brands with influencers.
Detert notes that micro-influencers tend to have lower numbers of bot followers compared to celebrities, another reason they’re a better value for brands. They’re likely to be experts in their niche, unlike celebrities, and can infiltrate festivals more organically.
Multiple Micro-Influencers Do More Than One Celebrity Can
Because of this greater efficiency, brands are moving away from single partnerships with big name influencers toward multiple partnerships with micro-influencers. The number of micro-influencers enlisted by a single brand could be, Detert says, “anywhere from a handful to hundreds,” based on brand budget and size. This opens up potential for content creation, as well.
“By choosing to go with many micro-influencers you can hedge your investment while also creating more content for more perspectives,” says Ben Hordell, founding partner of digital ad agency DXagency. “These perspectives give consumers additional opportunities to connect with your brand.”
Activating Influencers On (And Off) The Festival Grounds
Some brands are fortifying their influencer strategies with technology. With better digital targeting available, brands are using geofencing to surround key areas with targeted media engagements.
“By using geofencing technology, brands can reach the festival goers on their mobile phone and offer personalized value in the form of offers, access and even exclusive content,” Hordell says. Moreover, when brands understand where audiences are most engaged, they can send influencers to the most impactful locations.
But activations don’t necessarily need to be on the festival grounds. BMW partnered with Khalid for installations and pop-up experiences at their Palm Springs dealership. They started the hashtag #RoadToCoachella to engage fans who are road tripping from around the nation.
Nearby in Cathedral City, YSL’s pop-up also reaches road trippers by giving them a reason to pull over for an Insta story. They’ve partnered with Kaia Gerber to create a beauty station, patterned after the classic American gas station, where you can test drive some new and best selling beauty products.
Think Beyond The Festival For Creative Activations
The younger Millennial and Gen Z demographics dominating festivals like Coachella are hyper-aware of creative marketing techniques. They know the marketing power of hashtags, selfies and influencers, so it’s increasingly necessary to reach them in unexpected ways.
Last year, Heineken put together an activation in the form of a surprise performance by P Diddy. An unannounced visit by a high profile superstar was the right incentive for people to get out their phones and snap that hashtagged selfie. This year, Heineken expanded on the success of that activation by partnering with De La Soul and The Roots.
A festival like Coachella is a demographically rich environment to get your brand ‘grammed and make memorable impressions where they count. Creative approaches to influencer partnerships, as well as activations in or around the festival, are limited only by marketers’ imaginations.
This article was originally published on Forbes.