Azahara Ramos (Digital Embassy): “The pandemic has made influencer marketing grow exponentially”

Brands are increasingly relying on influencer marketing to get their messages across to audiences. Unlike traditional media, these types of prescribers are increasing their success among the young segments, target highly valued by brands.

Advertising investment in influencers reached in 2019 50 million euros, according to data from Arce Media, although other sources place the figure much further. In any case, this type of marketing is already widespread among brands and going to more. The pandemic has also boosted this sector, in a context in which advertisers are transferring their budgets from the media offline to the online.

This growth in investment has brought with it the professionalization of the sector and the proliferation of firms specializing in influencer marketing.

One of the most recognized in the market is Digital Embassy, founded and directed by Azahara Ramos. This agency is specialized in management and generation of branded content in social networks. Among other services, they manage accounts of social media and also of personalities, they invest their clients’ budgets in Facebook and IG Ads, and especially, and for what it is best known, they connect brands with digital audiences (influencers, celebrities, digital media, blogs, etc.).

The fundamental difference between this firm and the many that dominate the market is that Digital Embassy are “Obsessed with metrics”Ramos acknowledges in an interview with this medium. “We focus on customer results.” “We speak digital language because we have been in this world for many years. KPIs can be focused on impressions (CPM), views (CPV), clicks (CPC), followers (CPF), or pure CPA sales ”, he explains.

In addition to it, Digital Embassy was the pioneer agency -in 2018- in creating one of the largest projects that have been done on “influencers house” (www.brandvillage.es). It is a house in which several influencers coexist (up to 30), in a specially cared environment so that brands coexist with them in a natural way, get to know them directly and can communicate their values ​​knowing the products first hand. “Brandvillage arose from the need to create the best branded content, massively and naturally. We realized that single post or story campaigns were very residual and unnatural. With this we would achieve not only a greater noise with the brands but a better brand-influencer connection ”.

Recently, Digital Embassy has signed an alliance with Newlink, one of the most powerful communication consultancies in Spain.

Advertising investment has plummeted in 2020.How has the pandemic affected the influencers and social networks sector?

The first months were tough. Everything came to a standstill in March. But the brands realized that people I was at home with mobile phones in hand, consuming content for hours on social networks and there was a need to buy online, it was a great opportunity! Y many of those purchases began to be made through social networks. We got down to work to generate specialized packs for brands and between April and May there was a boom to invest never-before-thought budgets in social media and influencer marketing.

On the one hand, we had influencers at home wanting to generate content for their audiences and entertain them in those hard times. Programs such as Cuarentena tv appeared, direct training sessions or, simply to accompany them at home, we prepared recipes that we had never made before, etc …

Social networks became the only entertainment for many people who first became fond of doing sports, cooking, doing tiktoks … Instagram especially was filled with tutorials and live shows to accompany people at home. Brands saw an opportunity to get in there, even some who were not yet in the social media and influencer environment had to advance their plans and enter the world.

The last semester of 2020 has been one of the best in terms of investment in influencer marketing. This pandemic has made the sector grow exponentially, it has forcefully anticipated what should have happened in the next 2 or 3 years.

What forecasts do you have for this 2021?

Very good We are facing one of the best quarters since we were born – February 14, 2017 – and the second quarter will be even better. For our part, we are investing a lot in new technologies to manage this type of campaign with influencers, avoid fraud and give the best customer service, etc …

“We are facing one of the best quarters since we were born on February 14, 2017 and the second quarter will be even better.”

Why should brands bet on influencers to communicate with their audiences? What advantages does it have compared to conventional advertising?

What a story 500,000 or 1 million people see it from an influencer. Don’t you think it is a means of communication in itself? Influencers are the new media. I think there are already many marketing departments that do not perceive a separate media planning from that of influencers. They must go together, because they are leaders of audiences, of opinion, as are some editorial groups, and on some occasions they even have more impact.

Autocontrol has published a code of conduct for influencers to clearly identify advertising messages. What do you think? How is it going to affect the market?

Very positive and necessary. Influencers are becoming more and more aware of this and many already do. The great challenge is to make people understand that the ads with brands by these profiles is necessary for the survival of the sector. There are many people behind working on this. Influencers spend many hours of work generating content and that time must be paid in some way. That they put branded content it shouldn’t look bad. It is like television programs, there are advertisements to survive, because this sector is the same. What is needed is more professionalism on the part of some profiles. Not everything goes and that is where we as a specialized agency come in.

How can the effectiveness of an influencer campaign be measured?

It depends on the KPI raised by the client. It is very important to consider specific KPIs because the type of profile we choose, the type of content we do, the strategy in general, if we will do a contest will depend on it, challenge, raffle, discount coupons….

There is an exhaustive study behind it by our team before launching an influencer campaign. KPIs strategy is the first step to success.

What kind of influencers are the most effective for brands? The great people with millions of followers or the most niche specifiers?

The same as the above, it depends on the KPI and, above all, the product. If you have a very specific product, for example nutrition, it is possible that a micro profile of 15,000-20,000 followers will work very well for you, because there are 15,000-20,000 people interested in nutrition. They don’t always work macro profiles for having millions of followers. Just as there are TV, press or radio programs specialized in a subject and we know that brands are going to be there for the public that sees it, listens. This is the same.

“Influencers are the new media.”

The CNMC advocates greater regulation of influencer marketing. Do you think it is necessary?

If required. For our part, we work together with the IAB and other players of the sector to generate a white paper and reference guide in the influencer marketing sector for brands and influencers.

What impact can the controversy generated around influencers and their taxation have?

It is a war that has been going on for years. Footballers and other celebrities already do it only that since the world of influencers is so fashionable, everything they do is something to talk about. However, I personally believe that this sector has a lot to regulate. We make all the profiles with whom we work sign a contract in which they sign that they must be up-to-date with their taxation in Spain, issue an invoice and pay income tax on economic activities, but later we find out that they invoice on behalf of from the company of a friend, of a relative. At some point the Treasury is going to get tough on this. Many are very young and do not have good advisers and are going to have serious problems.

At Digital Embassy we are committed to regulation of the sector and special advice for the profiles we work with. To register, in Spain there is no specific regime for this sector, but rather they are in an artists regime that is more than 30 years old. We are talking about a profession that did not exist 30 years ago.

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