Influencers are all the rage, but are they worth the investment?

January 17, 2024 | 4 minute read
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Influencer marketing may be all the rage, but is it worth the media investment? That's the question the media team at Heineken UK set out to understand when they began incorporating influencers into their awareness-building campaigns for their new cider – Inch’s. With a few campaigns under their belt, they knew there was room for improvement, tagging Oracle in to help discover what exact advancements they could make to upgrade their performance.

A brand on a mission

In 2021, Heineken launched a new premium cider - Inch's Medium Apple Cider. Perfectly balanced between sweet and dry, Inch's is made with 100% British apples, grown and sourced within 40 miles of its Herefordshire mill. Created to reenergize the cider category amongst younger consumers, Inches believes in sustainability and inclusivity, with initiatives spanning from repurposing apple waste to help produce green energy to at least 50% of media talent sourced from those with diverse backgrounds.

"We are progressive cider makers on a mission to do things properly in pursuit of a great tasting British Cider that goes that little bit further to do the right thing," explains Rachel Holms, Heineken UK Cider Marketing Director. 

Building a brand and a learning agenda

With the Heineken team being tasked to build an entirely new cider brand, they placed emphasis on creating a robust learning agenda to ensure they were growing efficiently. First, the Inch’s team wanted to learn which channels worked for a cider geared toward younger consumers, followed shortly by figuring out which creative and targeting tactic they should be optimizing towards. Inch’s knew that investing in data would help them deliver the best possible results, which is why campaign attention measurement and brand lift studies have continued to earn a spot on their marketing budget. They enable the Inch’s team to purposefully reallocate impressions towards initiatives that work.

Always Be Optimizing

“One of the reasons we loved working with Heineken on this campaign is their ambition to optimize performance continually. It was not enough to say, "Influencers worked; let's do it again!" Their drive to improve these ad campaigns, take learnings from their last campaign, applying those learnings, and then asking new questions - inspired us, and we hope it inspires you as well.” – Tim Carr, Head of Marketing, Oracle Advertising

In their most recent campaign, Inch's leaned back into digital influencers and branded video ads to drive awareness and trial. As they were investing in video creation, Inch's media team wanted to find out if optimizing towards video views would produce better results than optimizing towards awareness within a social platform, utilizing Oracle Moat Analytics and a brand lift study to analyze campaign results. We had a post-campaign wrap-up with Jimmy Hughes, the Social Media Lead at Heineken, to understand how Oracle helped Heineken's Inch's Medium Apple Cider achieve its campaign objectives.

The results are in 

Addressing their initial inquiry, Oracle Moat data showed that influencer video view-optimized campaigns captured higher attention metrics than videos optimized for awareness. The social platform study also backed video view optimizations, seeing a higher brand Lift. Additionally, while optimizing influencer video views was more expensive, Moat helped identify that the viewable CPM was better than the Awareness campaign, proving its worth.

Interestingly, Inch's branded video ads did not see a significant difference in their ability to capture attention between the awareness tactic vs the more expensive video view optimizations, allowing Heineken to save money in future campaigns by sticking with awareness targeting for their branded content.

“Creator content is uniquely different to the usual digital content we run, so we had to think differently when it came to how we should be activating it. We needed to consider how we should optimize influencer produced longer form assets vs. our shorter business-as-usual creative to maximize effectiveness. To go beyond in-platform data, we utilized more granular Oracle Moat data to quantify the cost implications for optimizing towards attention, considering a viewable CPM, and further understand how this contributes to total campaign awareness. This exercise has given more context to our media metrics and informed our activation strategy across our portfolio of brands here at Heineken. In the future, we will be investing in a blended approach of awareness and attention to best maximize assets, with creator content working best for us when invested towards video views and attention.”  – Jimmy Hughes, Social Media Lead at Heineken

Outside of their campaign objective, Moat helped with future creative optimizations, providing clarity into which type of content and environment captured the most attention, as well as revealing some surprising insights about how quickly product shots and mentions need to be included in the creative to have a chance of being noticed by viewers.

"With Moat data, we could see when viewership was dropping off. A big learning was that some influencers were not bringing in the product until about 20 seconds in, after many viewers had already moved on from the videos. Therefore, in future we will be briefing creators to showcase product in at least the first 3” and will also be exploring editing a specific paid version of the asset so it works harder for us."

This insight into influencer-led creative gave the Heineken team ammunition to gain net new budget to edit and optimize video content.

"Next year, we will optimize our assets to bring in product earlier with paid influencers... Oracle Moat data proved to the business that additional budget is needed to edit these assets in the future, and as we always do here at Heineken, we’ll be running more tests to understand how these assets work for us." 

Want to learn more about how Oracle Moat can help buy better media and make more impactful creative? Please meet with our team to discuss your brand's path toward continued growth!


Samantha Dietz

Samantha manages sales and marketing materials for all products across
Oracle Advertising. Her background includes 9+ years of experience in the
digital advertising landscape, excelling in collaborating with cross-functional
teams and nurturing customer relationships, helping to deliver compelling
presentations and sales materials. Samantha’s dedication to content creation
stems from a genuine passion for captivating and inspiring customers at
every step of their purchase journey.

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