Influencer content usage rights: what brands need to know
According to a report by Altimeter, 57% of marketers said influencer content outperformed brand’s own content. That’s why so many brands are becoming interested in ‘content-only’ campaigns created outside of Instagram and other social networks – to use on their own channels.
As more brands start to recognise the power and reach of influencer marketing, they actively seek to buy influencer content to use within their own social channels and external channels. Consumers respond and react differently to authentic content from like-minded people they can relate to – which is part of the reason for the surge in popularity for influencer marketing in recent years.
With this additional layer of influencer marketing, what are the best practices for integrating influencer’s content into brand’s owned channels and how does the cost of influencer marketing reflect this additional content use?
What are usage rights?
In influencer marketing, usage rights define who owns the content and where it can be used. In the case of a brand or agency, usage rights will dictate which additional channels the content can be used on. Usage rights largely depend on two factors:
- Length of time
When establishing content usage rights, both parties should be in agreement with the proposed terms.
Content usage rights: the brand’s perspective
When brands purchase or negotiate rights to content, they’re able to predefine where it can be used and for how long. These terms are to be agreed by both talent and brand before the start of a campaign.
The terms and conditions should clearly outline how and where the content can be used and over what timeframe. Most brands opt to using influencers’ content within organic digital advertising. Beyond this, though, it can also be used in sponsored content across social media, print and offline billboards.
Usage rights often impact the fee the influencer charges a brand. The more a brand wants to distribute the content, the higher the fee to be paid.
Content usage rights best practices
At ZINE, when a brand starts a new influencer campaign, we allow them to choose how long they’d like access to the content to repurpose on their channels.
We recommend 0-3 months usage rights on social media for gifting campaigns. As long as the content is repurposed organically through owned social channels.
When it comes to using the content in additional paid campaigns, we recommend opting for 6 months full digital rights on organic social, paid social and digital (also referred to as full digital rights).
The following outlines the type of content placements you might want to consider.
- Social (organic reposting on brand social channels)
- Paid social (paid amplification of content across social)
- Digital (digital marketing including owned and operated websites, email marketing, programmatic and digital banner ads)
- Offline (in-store, point of sale, print).
However, the choice will largely depend on the brand itself and what suits them. If a brand is happy to pay more they can get more and longer rights.
What content usage rights should I ask for?
How long you want to use the content for and what platform you use it on will impact the content usage rights you should ask for. Keep in mind the following ideas:
- Don’t ask for usage rights you don’t need – you will pay higher fees for more comprehensive usage rights
- You can always ask for more – should you find yourself in urgent need to use the content later on, you can always extend the usage rights with the influencer for a small fee.
It’s in the best interest of both brand and influencer to keep an open line of communication in regards to using outside of the agreed terms. If you want to add additional platforms, or extend the time, have an open conversation with the influencer and reevaluate the fees.
The challenge with influencer marketing content usage rights
Usage rights vary from influencer to influencer, brand to brand and talent agency to talent agency. Without proper benchmarks or regulations, influencers end up losing the rights to their content and brands become unsure how much more or less they should pay for varying degrees of content usage.
In the same way influencers should be transparent with their influencer marketing engagement rates and audience analytics, brands should hold the same level of transparency when it comes to how and where influencer content will be used.
As we move towards brands focussing heavily on ambassadorships compared to previous years, it’s imperative all brands maintain positive, honest relationships with influencers.
Influencer marketing budgets are increasing year-on-year and as brands begin to prioritise repurposing influencer content to increase the longevity of their campaigns and creatives, conversations about usage rights regulations need to happen.
Usage rights are now a crucial element of influencer pricing but one without industry-wide directive. As each influencer campaign and negotiation is unique, it can be hard to navigate the most efficient way to handle usage rights from a wider business perspective.
The additional cost for usage rights is offset by the benefit for the brand. It’s important to note utilising influencer content in your external collateral is more cost-effective compared to working with a studio or agency – for often the same standard of work. When brands amplify influencers’ content, they’re also able to increase their reach at a rational CPM or CPE.
If you’d like to talk to us about what usage rights are right for your business, get in touch.