Performance Variation Based on Influencer Vertical

Key Article Takeaways: 

  • While audiences typically have several interests, influencers will generally create content within their expertise. 
  • There are certain levels of follower passion compared with strong search behavior and indicate which verticals excel at which KPIs. 
  • Depending on what your goals are, optimal strategies can include utilizing multiple verticals to hit relevant organic audiences, combined with others for content generation.

As discussed in the post, “Instagram, YouTube, TikTok: Which Platform Is Right for Your Campaign? Through a Math and KPI Lens!” TikTok prioritizes an ‘Interests’ graph vs. a social graph to serve content to viewers, which is a tweak that accelerates how the platform can become whatever users want it to be. With an endless sea of content, viewership will flow to - and the next wave of content will responsively follow - where those interests lead.

YouTube’s powerful search engine is also incredibly adept at this: any search for a type of content on the platform will lead you down a rabbit hole of niche content you previously didn’t even know existed.  

While viewers might flow seamlessly from vertical to vertical (or even platform to platform) based on ever-changing interests, the influencers producing much of the original content are generally staying put in their verticals (put another way, their areas of expertise). That vertical content can have very different characteristics which we will touch on here with the hope of giving you a head-start on a framework that you can use to identify influencers and spokespeople, even when there aren’t obvious influencers in the space you are interested in. 

The Nuances of Different Verticals  

In some verticals, the ‘answer’ is obvious. If you are a fashion brand and you are seeking fashion-forward customers, targeting fashion influencers on Instagram and TikTok who will have fashion enthusiasts as their followers is a self-evident strategy.  

The same is true in consumer electronics (CE). There is no shortage of amazing tech reviewers cranking out reviews, how-to's and industry insights across the tech spectrum catering both to subscribers and viewers who find the content through search when researching a new phone or laptop. 80% of’s CE programs leverage these vertical experts, with generally great performance. What about the other 20%? Those programs seek to reach different audiences who aren’t following tech channels but are the target buyers for a specific tech product. We’ll come back to the trade-offs with this broadening’’ approach. 

There are other verticals where it is remarkably hard to find “obvious” influencers. One example is pretty much anything medical. Even though there are now ‘breakout’ stars like Dr. Mike, paid endorsements by MDs on social media is so fraught with challenges and risks that the standard approach is to find people who can benefit from the product and have them discuss their experience. The downside of this approach of course is that their subscribers may not have that same condition and so while you might get great content, you might not be reaching your target audience.

To give you a sense of some of the key verticals and how they vary based on the ‘source’ of their audience between followers and search, I put together the following, completely unscientific, 2x2 graphic:  


How do you use this graphic? Beyond some of the obvious implications, I’d think about it this way: 

Focusing on the expertise of the influencers, which verticals do you want to tap to create content? 

Once you’ve made that determination, how well does their audience match your goals and KPIs both from a “WHO we want to reach” and “WHEN do we want to reach them.”  


A Few Examples: 

  • If you are promoting paper towels with a very broad target audience, using lifestyle influencers probably gets you both the content and the audience you want, organically. 
  • Alternatively, if you are promoting an athlete foot cream, you might want to use lifestyle influencers for content creation but supplement with paid media to better target people who need the product. 
  • In consumer electronics and beauty, typically you are going to get a lot of value from the organic content and so the question is simply, are their audience niches you can’t reach through those followers or search? If so, are you best generating content outside the vertical to reach those niches organically or best off targeting with paid?  
  • If you are launching a new grocery product, you might want to get recipe content but still supplement that with paid media to accelerate discovery.  

Hopefully this is a helpful framework as you plan your influencer strategies moving forward. If you are interested in going deeper and exploring more downfunnel metrics by vertical, please check out our 2021 Influencer Marketing and Social Commerce Report eBook, available on our resources page here.