Was the #SGBudget2018 Campaign Effective? ? Let the Data Speak.

The Ministry of Finance in Singapore has collaborated with a good number of influencers to promote Budget 2018, encouraging young Singaporeans to take part in the budgeting process. According to The Straits Times, an MOF spokesperson said that as many young Singaporeans get their information from the internet, it has decided to use a “mix of communications channels and platforms” in order to increase awareness about the budget process and how Singaporeans can take part.

In a separate article, The Straits Times discussed the effectiveness of using influencers to raise awareness about issues like the budget process. On the one hand, Terence Ngu, chief community officer of StarNgage, the agency engaged by the Ministry of Finance, said that the “campaign has exceeded the target”. On the other hand, The Straits Times also quoted experts who mentioned that “for such campaigns to work, the messages have to be seen as genuine”, suggesting that using influencers who have no background in policy-making or business might not have been the best choice.

While policy makers may have their own metrics to judge the success of a campaign, influencer marketing is the domain of advertising. So let’s take a look at how the campaign has done so far in influencer marketing terms, as a part of advertising.

Today, we will be looking specifically at two metrics–engagement and audience demographic–to help us understand how the campaign has fared in raising awareness about Budget 2018 among Singaporeans.

I. Engagement

The holy grail of influencer marketing. Composed of the number of likes and comments received for a post, engagement measures the level of interest an influencer’s audience shows towards their post. To see how the campaign has performed so far, Popular Chips has gathered all 37 posts (made by 29 influencers) that have appeared on Instagram with the hashtags #SGBudget, #SGBudget2018 and #MOFxStarNgage for analysis. We also checked the posts to ensure that they were hashtagged #sp, #ad or #sponsored.

Like average for the campaign so far

According to the data (shown on the left), the campaign on the whole has received fewer likes as compared to the average total number of likes these influencers typically receive. Of the 37 posts that were identified, 10 of them received more likes than the average of the influencer who posted it. In influencer marketing terms, this means that the audience could have been more engaged by the content produced.

Comparison chart of likes received for influencers on average (general), on average (sponsored posts) and in this campaign

As a matter of fact, the posts for this campaign also received fewer likes than the average of sponsored posts by these influencers. While sponsored posts, given their advertorial nature, tend to receive fewer likes, the graph above indicates that these influencers have received fewer likes for their posts for this campaign than their typical sponsored posts.

That said, this data applies to the posts made by all influencers in general. Some influencers’ posts performed extremely well and received more than 25% their average number of likes.

Compilation of influencers whose posts received >25% their average number of likes.

These posts were able to gain significantly more attention from their audience than they usually did, who then showed appreciation for the content. If the Ministry of Finance were to engage in influencers once more for a separate campaign, these are the influencers that they should certainly consider collaborating with again.

On the other end of the spectrum, the post that received the least number of likes as compared to the influencer’s average (shown below) received 55% fewer likes than was typical.

Post that was lowest in terms of likes KPI

A quick look at the influencer’s most-liked posts makes the problem evident. While almost all of their most-liked posts include them in the photograph, this one, which looks hastily put together, did not. For a successful influencer marketing campaign, it is important to analyze an influencer’s most-liked posts and to provide the influencer with a brief on some of the elements that the photograph would do better to contain.

II. Audience Demographic

Since #SGBudget2018 is only relevant to Singaporeans, it is safe to say that the Ministry of Finance was carrying out a local campaign. In local campaigns, one should aim to work with influencers who have a high percentage of their followers from the locality they are aiming for so as to ensure that the budget they are putting aside for the influencer is put to the best use. In small countries like Singapore, this is sometimes difficult to achieve. Many Singaporean influencers who have over 300 000 followers, such as @xiaxue, @bongqiuqiu and @dreachong, have less than half of their followers from Singapore.

So how do the influencers for this campaign fare? Of the 29 influencers identified that have made posts about the campaign so far, these are the top 4 influencers who have at least 65% of their followers from Singapore. When engaging in local campaigns, businesses should aim to work with influencers who have followers with this type of demographic in the target locality.

Influencers who have at least 65% of their audience from Singapore

On the other hand, there were also influencers that MOF might have wanted to avoid in their campaign.

Profile of influencer X with the lowest percentage of Singaporean followers

The influencer who had the smallest percentage of followers from Singapore had only 8.32% of their followers from the country. This means that even if all of their followers had seen their post, almost all of them are not MOF’s target audience. So unless MOF is paying influencers based on the number of Singaporean followers they have, this means that 92% of the budget spent on this influencer could have been better used elsewhere.

Follower country demographic of influencer X

In addition, although this same influencer is Singaporean and posts solely in English, it appears that a large percentage of their audience is from Brazil. While it is also possible that they have somehow amassed a following in the Latin American nation, combined with inactive follower data and audience growth history, it is more likely that a significant portion of their followers were obtained inorganically.

Fraud is a certainly a problem in influencer marketing and it is crucial that businesses, if they are aware of such fraud, choose not to work with influencers who perpetuate the problem. Fraudulent influencers cannot help businesses raise awareness of their product or service and also corrupt the rest of the influencer marketing industry in the process.

The Ministry of Finance’s decision to use influencer marketing to promote the budgetary process suggests that the industry has developed to a large enough extent that even government bodies are choosing to make use of it. Yet, it is clear that the influencer marketing space is far from transparent. As a company in the influencer marketing and analytics industry, Popular Chips hopes to provide the data that allows businesses to make the right sorts of influencer marketing decisions.

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