Working With Influencers: 7 Frequently Asked Questions from Advertisers

Not so long ago, influencer marketing wasn’t so popular as a way to reach a potential customer. Today, due to the epidemic situation in the world, not only users, but also brands globally switched and began to spend much more time online. And it became clear that it’s not so easy to fight for the attention of the audience without the professional opinion “ambassadors”. This allowed advertisers to take a closer look at such a tool as influencer marketing and give a thought about its effectiveness. However, as in any kind of business relationship, there are some nuances that would be nice to know before starting a collaboration with opinion leaders. Here, Inessa Sys, Chief Lawyer of Digital Marketing Agency Zorka.Mobi, answers 7 most frequently asked questions from advertisers about collaboration with bloggers.

7 most frequently asked questions from advertisers:

What should an advertiser know first about launching an ad campaign with an influencer?

Very often, advertisers come to us with a clear idea that their advertisement with opinion leaders should have huge coverage. The more, the better: if a video has a lot of views, then there should be a lot of target actions (product purchases, mobile app installs, site registrations, etc.). Therefore, advertisers can insist on working with specific influencers. However, they lose sight of the fact that the audience of a blogger can be quite diverse, and the product or service may not reach its subscribers. Thus, the advertising campaign is initially doomed to failure.

That’s why you need to understand that it is not always possible to guarantee a certain number of video views, as well as achieving a specified number of targeted actions. It is important to assess the possible risks of a future ad campaign adequately.

And how does the advertiser understand whether it’s possible for an influencer to achieve the KPIs established? Is there any guarantee of their implementation

If initially a client insists on setting some specific KPIs (a certain number of video views, mobile app settings, registrations, etc.), then we always immediately evaluate the possibilities for an influencer to achieve these indicators. Our managers make calculations and predictions. The lawyer subsequently includes the necessary conditions for KPI in the contract with the influencer and fixes the liability commensurate with the responsibility of the agency to the advertiser. Most often it is a predetermined amount of fines: the return of a part or full amount of the fee, the specific amount of the penalty, etc.

Are there any restrictions on the number of edits made to the advertising material?

Well, you can’t make a large number of edits to the video or post. Especially if it meets all the requirements agreed upon before the start of the briefing campaign. Therefore, in the contract with an agency there are always conditions on the limit of amendments to the draft video/post. As a rule, this can be done no more than two times, since frequent video editing can incur additional costs for both the agency and the advertiser. The same goes for intellectual property issues.

Speaking of intellectual property... Can an advertiser take a video with an integration and use it somewhere on his website? He paid for it.

Most advertisers think so. They like to write in their contracts that intellectual property created is considered as “work made for hire”. But influencers have a completely different opinion on this point. Here, it is important to distinguish: the advertiser pays for the integration — advertisement of his product by the opinion leader, but not for the intellectual property itself — video, photo post, etc.

Intellectual property issues must be discussed before the advertiser receives a media plan with a list of bloggers. The agency already at the initial stage should understand which opinion leaders to include in the list. Indeed, not all influencers are ready to give rights to use the created intellectual property objects, and even more so to assign exclusive rights to them.

This approach further helps in the agreement of the contract. Since initial communication takes place between advertiser’s and agency’s managers, the first answer to the question of intellectual property usage is often negative. Therefore, the advertiser ultimately receives a media plan with an appropriate list of influencers.

All the fun begins when the contract comes from the advertiser's lawyers. The contract includes: the right to use the created intellectual property, post on various social networks, process the material, etc. And from that moment, the long process of negotiating the terms of the contract between the agency, the advertiser's lawyers and influencers begins. Lawyers on the part of the advertiser demand the right to use materials, influencers categorically don't want to do this. And in this case, the agency is almost at an impasse.

Initially, it is stipulated in our agreements that influencers are the sole copyright holders of the objects of intellectual activity that they create, do not alienate them to anyone, and do not give anyone the right to use (license) their material. Other situations should be discussed well in advance before the campaign starts.

Can an advertiser refuse or change the influencer after signing the contract and approving the list of influencers?

Yes, if such an opportunity is previously agreed upon by the parties and is specified in the contract.

Most influencers don’t begin to provide services without prepayment, the amount of which can vary from 25% to 100%. Therefore, we always indicate in the contract that if the client refuses or replaces one of the previously agreed opinion leaders, he must reimburse the agency for the expenses actually incurred.

From influencers there can also be some nuances. They are creative people, and sometimes may not get in touch on time or the created ad may be delayed for reasons beyond the agency's control. Since we work with influencers from different countries, the time difference also plays an important role. In this case, the agency should be able to replace the blogger with an agreed relevant one.

Let's imagine a situation: a blogger posted a video that doesn't meet the technical specifications/ not on time/ deleted the video after publication on the next day. What to do in such cases?

In fact, such violations are the most common. To prevent such situations, we always advise you to write down in detail all the essential aspects of the advertising campaign in the contract.

For example, you can specify that the influencer should say in the video, which music to use, the date of publication, the length of the integration and in which part of the video the ad should be placed (at the very beginning, in the middle or at the end), etc. Most often, we indicate all these conditions in a brief, which is agreed with the advertiser and subsequently included in the contract with the influencer. The more details are specified for the advertising campaign, the easier it is to prove later that the advertising material was placed with violation of the terms of the contract.  Agreeing the ad material with the advertiser before publishing it on the Internet helps to make sure that the video is made in accordance with the terms of the brief.

And if the responsibility for the violations is established, then the blogger should not have any doubts whether to follow the terms of the contract or not. As a liability, you can set a fine, a penalty for each day of delay in default, or indicate the free publication of another video in the next month after the end of the ad campaign.

If we talk about the timing, then for most advertisers it’s very important that the ad material comes out in a certain period of time. Videos can be timed to any event, depend on the use of the marketing budget or the advertiser's strict content plan. For us as an agency, it is very important to fulfill the conditions of the contract with the advertiser and clarify this responsibility to the blogger.

Sometimes influencers delete a video after its publication almost the next day. To prevent this, we include in the contracts with influencers the condition that the video should not be deleted within a certain period of time. Most often, this period is equal to 1 calendar year, as it suits both the advertiser and the influencers. For violation of this term, a specific fine is imposed, or you can tie the payment for cooperation to the period during which the video should not be removed from the channel.

What are the payment methods for opinion leaders?

It depends on the region and the payment systems there. For example, macro-influencers most often have registered legal entities, or they work with the influencer agencies. In such cases, payment is made to the bank account. We recommend using this scheme of work, as it’s the most transparent one and guarantees mutual fulfillment of obligations by the parties.

In any cooperation there are nuances and difficult moments. But this is not a reason to abandon an effective tool to attract your target audience. Competent and creative influencers are able to present your ad material in an interesting manner, under the sauce of their own experience, an entertaining game or competition. Such content will not repel subscribers fed up with advertisement at every step of their online life. And this is a great opportunity not only to promote your product or service, but also to conquer the loyalty of a potential user.


Inessa Sys

Inessa Sys is a Chief Lawyer at Zorka.Mobi, a digital marketing agency with world-known clients around the globe. Since 2014, Zorka.Mobi effectively drives ad campaigns to prominent results applying the whole digital mix: from influencer marketing and user acquisition tools to automated sales funnels, ASO, SMM & Community Management services.

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.