Ecommerce Tips

Influencer Marketing on Marketplaces: The Hidden High ROI Opportunity

June 4, 2024

In his widely acclaimed sales strategy book, Endless Referrals, Bob Burg encapsulates a fundamental truth of commerce: “People buy from people that they know, like, and trust.”

Over the past decade, the list of people we "know, like, and trust" has grown to include our highly personalized collections of accounts across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, X, and TikTok.

Now we are selling in a world where influencer marketing has expanded beyond its direct-to-consumer roots to become a vital component of marketing on marketplace channels.

We have seen:

Influencer marketing has become a necessary tool for marketplace sellers. Growth minded brands should establish a strategy now while “early adopter” opportunities still exist.

In this article, we’ll discuss how marketplace sellers can leverage ecommerce influencer marketing on channels like Amazon, Walmart, and Target to achieve overperforming ROAS. We will also present real-world examples of successful influencer marketing strategies and their impact on sales.

Influencer Marketing’s Marketplace Takeover

The modern consumer journey is far from linear. From discovery, to consideration, to purchase, chances are one of those brand touches happened on a social platform.

From a media buying standpoint, there are two ways a brand can show up in your feed:

  • Traditional sponsored content: A blog, video, or photo that a brand pays for to reach its key target audience online i.e., in-feed ads, video pre-rolls, and promoted posts.
  • Paid partnerships with influencer: A form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement within content created by influencers (people who have an expert level of knowledge or social influence).

As it turns out, there is a large preference for the second option. Research shows that 69% of American shoppers seek out advice and opinions on goods and services before purchasing. Why? Because buyers are constantly bombarded with ads. While the exact number can differ depending on a variety of circumstances, newer research suggests the average consumer is served roughly 362 ads every day. In contrast, influencer marketing done right is a more natural, receptive way to communicate with customers.

At its core, influencer marketing is an updated version of ‘word-of-mouth' which has traditionally been the strongest form of marketing, and the public is catching on.

  • 75% of consumers use social media for purchasing advice
  • 69% of consumers trust influencer recommendations
  • 74% of consumers have purchased a product because an influencer recommended it
  • 71% of consumers said they were most likely to make a purchase on Amazon after seeing a product promoted by an influencer, compared with 9.4% who said, 9.3% who said a brand's website
The Adoption of Influencer Marketing on Ecommerce Marketplaces

Would it surprise you to know that Amazon has utilized influencer marketing for over 30 years? Their extremely popular affiliate program started back in 1996. Jump almost 30 years into the future and every micro celebrity has an Amazon Storefront to promote products that resonate with their fans and personal brand.

Amazon has continued to leverage social influencers through the acquisition of Twitch which allows influencers to integrate product promotions into livestreams.


Target is making significant investments in the influencer marketing world with their own influencer media company, Roundel, which serves as a central hub where influencers and brands can collaborate. This platform enables seamless partnerships for spreading promotions across various social media platforms so brands can link with the Target website.

Tik Tok

Leading the way in modern influencer marketing, TikTok has made it exceptionally easy for brands to connect with impactful influencers, display their products, and provide exceptional service to customers. In the past, social media did not always play nice with the ecommerce world, forcing the consumer to navigate off site to complete the checkout process for a product. This is no longer the case as social platforms now enable the shopping and buying experience to be completed without leaving an app. And with simpler means of purchasing comes an increase in conversions.

“TikTok campaigns used to link to Amazon listings to convert, adding those clicks will always lose people in the funnel. Now with TikTok Shop, customers can convert in the app, reducing friction and improving conversion. From a less technical perspective, influencer marketing used to be more about brand awareness without much ability to connect views to sales and now it's about connecting all the dots and directly driving sales through influencers.” - Margeaux Oswald, Spreetail’s Director of Marketplace Channels


Instagram is often considered the original source of influencer marketing. Through photo posts, reels, and stories, this is one of the main platforms that launched influencers into the forefront. Until recently, however, there hadn’t been many updates to the program. Now, Instagram offers a whole new affiliate program where creators can earn money, track performance, and easily collaborate with brands. It’s still in the testing phases, but it offers great representation into how this level of marketing continues to expand and evolve.


The biggest content platform on the internet has had monetization programs for well over a decade. The road to becoming a ‘YouTube Partner’ was purely based on subscriber count and views. This continued to evolve as gamers, travel vlogs, and fashion influencers alike took to brand sponsored videos as an additional source of monetizing their content. Now, YouTube is expanding into the influencer market with their shopping affiliate program – a way to connect viewers with products while they continue to watch and be a part of a special network that allows brands to find influencers that match their buying customers.

What Makes Influencer Marketing a High ROI Investment?

We are all seeing examples of influencers making large impacts on the trajectory of businesses, and more brands want in, regardless of the products they sell. And why not? Data shows that in many cases, influencer marketing is less expensive and more effective than traditional marketing.

For example, the typical spend on a traditional marketing campaign ranges from $2,500-$12,000 even on digital platforms. In contrast, influencer marketing can be as low as $10, with an average of $5,000, depending on the size of influencer you partner with. As for a return on spend, Influencer Marketing Hub found that businesses are making $5.20 on average for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing, regardless of the platform.

But it’s not just about ROAS. Understanding your total return on investment means considering your full list of goals. If you're looking for brand awareness, monitor your engagement metrics (more likes, shares, follows). If you're looking for sales, in addition to the usual traffic, conversion and GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume), you'll want to see more creators organically wanting to promote your products.

“Influencer marketing is the future. Newer generations are discovering their new favorite brands/products through social media in the same way they get their news and stay connected with friends. Everyone is online and being promoted products 24/7. If you’re not meeting your customers where they are, you’re missing out.” - Kelly Smith, Spreetail’s Marketing Program Coordinator
  • Influencer marketing blogs received 11x the ROI than traditional marketplace banner ads
  • 58% of shoppers in the U.S. acted after seeing a product on social media
  • 78% of users have purchased a product after seeing it featured in TikTok content from a creator on the platform
  • You don’t have to break the bank, a good chunk of brands (47.4%) spend less than $10,000 on influencer marketing
How Established Brands Can Start Influencer Marketing

Your brand needs to think outside of the box to keep up with the changes in buyer behavior, customer experience expectations, and shifts in macro-economic conditions. Smart brands that are looking to stretch their ad spend should strongly consider adopting a marketplace influencer strategy to get the most out of their resources.

Does your brand strategy include influencer marketing? Whether you’re still testing the waters or fully ready to take the plunge, we recommend a few tips to get started:

  • Consider Live Streaming. Top brands are investing in Livestream Studio on TikTok to boost traffic for rewards and coupons. Experts believe in 9-12 months this version of LIVE shopping will contribute to 60% or more of a brand’s GMV on TikTok.
  • Find the Right Authentic Fit. Don’t force influencers into a box, instead find the ones that easily align with your brand – regardless of audience size. When asked what the most important attribute was when learning about a company, product, or brand, 39% of buyers stated authenticity.
  • Content Reigns. It’s less about the number of influencers and more about creating organic, interesting, entertaining content. Studies have even shown that brands are posting 10% more than they were in just the last year. If you want your content and products seen, keep the content flowing.
  • Keep Testing. No matter the type of marketing, testing is always necessary to better understand what your audience likes and what will resonate with them. This is especially true in newer fields like influencer marketing. What works for one brand may not work for your products or customers.
“It’s imperative to create a competitive budget. If you're just starting out, we suggest a sample budget that equates to the cost of 50 units of the product, plus a flexible advertising budget to boost content and test virality. This typically adds up to $15k -$20k depending on the price of the product.” - Margeaux Oswald, Spreetail’s Director of Marketplace Channels

Launching Influencer Campaigns

An influencer marketing campaign comes with two key areas of focus – what products you’ll promote and who you want to promote them. Even across brands with multiple SKUs, not every product is going to be a good match for an influencer campaign.

When picking the best option to get the highest return, Spreetail experts put products through a rigorous vetting process where they are required to meet certain criteria before being considered for the spotlight.

  • Have at least a 60 days' supply to keep up with demand
  • Have high virality (wow factor - shark tank items or cheap functional items)
  • Around $100 AOV (Average Order Value)
  • Have clear seasonality that lines up with campaign timing

The same can be said for choosing which influencer you should work with. Keeping content and demographics in mind, our team checks the performance of every influencer we vet including how many views they get, overall number of followers, and total GMV each influencer can successfully generate.

    • > $200 GMV
    • views >2% of Followers count
    • $1000 GMV
    • views >2% of Followers count
    • >$1000 GMV
    • views >200% Followers count
Striking “Viral” Gold

Viral videos on platforms like TikTok help small investments reap huge rewards. By providing just 1 product sample to the right influencer, our products have seen over 4.1 million views all while costing $0 in advertising fees and small commissions totaling just over $7.4k. Considering the average advertising spend is close to 15-20% of a brand’s yearly revenue, this is a small price to pay.

We’ve seen the work of simple TikTok videos result in sales of over 1,000 units both on and off platform. Although many viewers buy straight from TikTok, others will take note or even ‘save’ the product to purchase later resulting in an increase in sales on your Amazon marketplace as well.

Studies have shown that there are more than 30,000 search results for “TikTok” on Amazon and 48% of Amazon Prime members use the app on a weekly basis. Which means buyers visiting the marketplace are also searching for influencer promoted products. Even if your campaign has lots of impressions but no sales, chances are those same eyes will search, find, and buy in the future.

Spreetail’s Influencer Marketing Process

There is no doubt that influencer marketing is quickly becoming a ‘must-have’ strategy for any modern paid media program, but creating a campaign, correctly distributing budget, and managing influencer partnerships are challenges that create hesitation for many brands. This is where partnering with ecommerce experts like Spreetail can make all the difference.

We are early adopters of TikTok Shops and have heavy influence within the Amazon Marketplace, making us the perfect partner for both brand listing optimization and influencer promotions. We run influencer campaigns on a product-by-product basis allowing our experts to meticulously find the right influencer partner and strategy to help your products perform their best. Talk with one of our buyers and get to know our marketplace marketing experts.

Stevie Howard

Digital Marketer

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