It came to light a few weeks ago that the UK government spent £63,000 on influencer marketing to promote the test and trace scheme.
As with any influencer marketing campaign, it’s worthwhile to look at the results and the return on investment (ROI) from the campaign. Some of the things to look at include:
- Did we choose the right influencers?
- Did the influencers deliver the message well?
- Was the message received by followers and acted upon?
- Was this money well spent or what could we have done differently?
So let’s conduct some analysis on the government’s influencer test and trace campaign.
The influencers chosen
The government paid £63,000 to 42 influencers (which averages at around £1,500 each) to promote their test and trace campaign. Many of these influencers were Love Island and other reality TV stars.
It is true that reality TV stars have a lot of followers, and so the government knew it would be reaching millions of people by working with these influencers. However, high number of reach doesn’t mean reaching the right people.
How was the message delivered?
Let’s take a look at a few of the sponsored posts from the influencers promoting the test and trace app.
With a following of 1.2 million, you would think Josh Denzel (of Love Island fame) would be an excellent candidate for this campaign. Yes, the reach is definitely there, but how do we feel about all of his Instagram posts that follow this, showing him with various groups of people and it seems, constantly on holiday. At the time of writing this, Josh is currently in Barbados on holiday with his girlfriend while the rest of us sit in a national lockdown with no unessential travel.
Another Love Island celebrity, Shaughna Phillips has been making headlines as one of the stars involved in the government influencer campaign but has since removed her ad from her Instagram page – was that in the contract? Probably not.
And yet another Love Island star has removed their government sponsored post. Chris Hughes made his debut in 2017 but still makes regular appearances on TV and in the news. With his 2.1 million following, he would also make a great ‘influencer’ for the government to partner with. So why remove the ad?
Remaining 39 influencers, reveal yourselves.
How was the message received?
Let’s take a look at the comments and thoughts from followers and the general public about this influencer partnership.
The payment issue
As well as the public being angry about the influencers going on holiday and breaking restriction rules soon after posting about the test and trace app, many have called out the influencers for accepting to be paid to promote something that will help protect the health of the UK.
Was it a moral thing to do, to accept £1.5k to promote an app for the NHS? Should the influencers have promoted it for free?
The government and influencer marketing
Politicians and influencers aren’t usually two things that you would normally associate with one another. And I’ve spoken before about how politics and influencer marketing, probably shouldn’t mix.
However, was it the right thing for the government to include influencer marketing in their test and trace promotion plans? Absolutely.
Influencer marketing grows year on year and is now expected to be a $15 billion dollar industry by 2022. Many young people don’t watch the news or read newspapers and so refer to social media for updates and to find out anything they need to know.
The government were right to dip their toes into influencer marketing when it came to promoting this test and trace campaign, however I don’t think reality TV stars were the best people to work with.
Perhaps the government don’t have a dedicated influencer marketing team who could research the best influencers to work with – influencers with high engagement, high followers and a localized following. Instead, reality TV stars were chosen who then spent their lockdowns holidaying in Dubai – not the cohesive message the government wanted to send, I’m sure.
Does the test and trace app work in Dubai? Probably not.
Back when things were initially kicking off around the world in March, Finland dedicated influencers as key workers and as part of their mainstream media when it came to getting the message out there about wearing masks and social distancing.
What could they have done differently?
Did the government really have to pay to have influencers promote something from the NHS that is trying to protect us from a pandemic?
£63,000 that could have been spent on the NHS, spent creating a better campaign than the ever-changing face-space-trace or whatever the three words of choice are right now.
The government could have chosen better influencers for this campaign and influencers I’m sure that would have promoted the Test and Trace app for free.
For example, just look at Joe Wicks. A guy who started providing online PE classes on his YouTube channel for children who were now being schooled at home. Joe managed to raise £580,000 for the NHS and was given an MBE for his efforts. Isn’t that someone you would want to be promoting the Test and Trace app?
And if the government really wanted to go down the Love Island route, there was a DOCTOR on the show for crying out loud. Dr. Alex, with 1.6 million followers, who still works in the NHS and is a huge advocate for mental health following the death of his younger brother would have been the perfect choice to promote something like this.
Or even someone like Giovanna Fletcher, hose of the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast with 7 million listeners and recent Queen of the Jungle/Castle, who has a host of dedicated listeners and followers (2 million) and most likely won’t be off holidaying in Dubai or Barbados every other weekend as she is home-schooling her three kids like many others in the UK – aka, very relatable to an audience.