A Marketer’s Guide to the 5 Key Types of Influencer Marketing Programs

Influencer Marketing is complex. It involves balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders, understanding the different technologies at play, and applying a large dose of creativity. When done right, it can bring a sense of intimacy to your brand communications and build a community of people eager to follow along with your journey. 

To support marketers in creating compelling influencer campaigns, we’ve created a taxonomy of the five main types of influencer marketing programs. We’ve created this taxonomy by analyzing more than 200 influencer campaigns produced from 2016 to 2019 and consulting with some of the top influencer marketing agencies in Canada.

We’ve also applied the learnings taken from producing Canada’s leading Influencer and Social Marketing Conference for the past three years.

Below is a list of the five main types of influencer marketing programs with examples to illustrate the benefits of each:

  1. Gifting & Sampling 
  2. Brand Ambassador Programs 
  3. Branded Content 
  4. Experiential Activations
  5. Integrated Campaigns  


1. Gifting & Sampling 

What’s great about gifting or sampling is that you get your product in the hands of potential consumers, who will share their excitement across their own social networks.

The key to any good gifting or sampling program is generating excitement and enough of a ‘hook’ for creators to successfully build rich content for their audiences. 

King: Let’s Ragnarok  

To match the Fire and Ice theme of their game Legend of Solgard, King created a frozen unboxing program along with a custom-made hot sauce for gamers to try during their reviews. 

2. Brand Ambassador Programs 

Brand ambassador programs are great for raising profile, reaching larger audiences, and building a community around a product or service. They also offer an opportunity to develop ongoing relationships with ambassadors and reward your most loyal customers. Ultimately, brand ambassador programs generate attention, content, reviews, and product suggestions.

Celebrity Ambassadors

Celebrity Ambassadors can help raise your brand’s profile and reach. 

Flow Water: Celebrity Ambassadors

Shawn Mendes and Gwyneth Paltrow are both Celebrity Ambassadors for Flow Water, to help the brand grow in the US.

Skip the Dishes: Jon Hamm 

John Hamm is a Celebrity Ambassador for Skip the Dishes, also to help the brand grow in the US.

Community Ambassadors

Community Ambassadors tend to be more accessible and generally have a more organic relationship with their audience. We’ve seen Community Ambassador programs that have leveraged superfans, employees or creators who share common values and aesthetic. 

Lulu Lemon: Ambassador Program

Lulu Lemon’s ambassador program involves more than 1,600 ambassadors globally.

Warby Parker: Wearing Warby

Warby Parker works with creatives who love the brand and have showed their support in the past.

Canadian Tire: Test for Life 

Canadian Tire’s Test for Life campaign works with 15,000 Canadians to test products and provide reviews.

3. Branded Content 

Branded Content involves collaborating with a creator, to co-create content which is then shared on social media. We have separated branded content into two parent categories: Image Content and Video Content. 

Image Content

Away Luggage: #TravelAway

Away Luggage works with creators to produce approachable image content for their social channels. 


Snapchat: #RealFriends

Snapchat’s #RealFriends campaign worked with motivational “quote influencers.” These creators were asked to share words of optimism and friendship, and then associate those concepts with the social media platform. 

Video Content


Old Spice: Dream Runner

Old Spice’s Dream Runner Campaign was an Instagram challenge, where users could win prizes by posting photos of their exercise routes in the shape of prizes they wanted to win. The challenges were promoted by some of the top creators in the world. 


Tik Tok’s Food Challenge #SAVORTHEFLAVOR offered an all-expenses-paid “foodcation” to New York City’s Restaurant Week for uploading a winning food video. 

Gym Shark: #66daychallenge

With Gym Shark’s #66daychallenge, fans were asked to choose a personal goal and upload an initial photo. Sixty-six days later, the user uploaded the initial image with an updated photo, which gave them a chance to win a year’s supply of Gymshark goods.

Product Reviews


BarbaQ x FGTEEV put together an entertaining sponsored video with popular YouTube gaming channel The Family Gaming Team (FGTeeV).


Liquid-Plumr®: Will It Clog

The Will It Clog Campaign was a one-off idea that morphed into a series because of the overwhelmingly positive online reaction it received.

Submit Your Campaign to the influenceTHIS

4. Experiential Activations

People don’t want to connect with brands exclusively online, they want opportunities to connect through live experiences. That’s what makes experiential activations a fun and creative campaign strategy for brands. With the ability to capture video, gather user-generated content, and share the experience across digital platforms, experiential activations are a great way for brands and creators to form close partnerships and connect with their audience. 

Here are a few different types of experiential activations:

Stand Alone Pop-Ups

Beauty Bay: The Beauty Bay Carnival

The Beauty Bay Carnival was an immersive pop-up event in the UK that allowed creators to discover the extraordinary online beauty retailer.

Factory Tours

Chanel: No. 5 l’Eau

Chanel invited Instagrammers to their production facilities and flower fields to get an inside look at how they make their perfumes. 

Create Your Own Festival

Boots: Glamour Beauty Festival 2019

Boots worked with Glamour Magazine to host Glamour Beauty Festival 2019, a three day festival that took place at London’s Saatchi Gallery. 

Be Part of a Festival

Mini: Mini Living

Mini joined Milan’s Furniture Fair to demonstrate its minimal footprint creative use of space. 

Travel Junkets

Revolve: Song of Style

To celebrate the launch of Song of Style, Revolve whisked a group of creators to Lisbon, Portugal, where they documented their time exploring the city, all while dressed in pieces from the collection. 

5. Integrated Campaigns 

Integrated influencer marketing programs combine a number of the different types of programs above. They might also combine traditional media channels like television, out of home and print.

Diesel: Ha(u)te Couture

Diesel’s Ha(u)te Couture Integrated program combined celebrity ambassadors with live events, branded content, and product innovation. 

Amex: Cobalt Card

Amex Canada’s Cobalt Card launch combined live events with community and celebrity ambassadors, and traditional PR, all tying to new card activations. 

Leave a Reply

Apply to attend one of our events today