Influencer marketing continues to be a key aspect of marketing strategy for many brands, and 2023 has been a year of both soaring successes and significant setbacks where influencer–brand connections are concerned. This blog delves into the lessons learned from some of the most notable campaigns of the year, examining what sets apart the triumphs from the failures in the world of digital influence. From the creative strategies that won hearts and minds to the missteps that sparked controversy, we explore the key lessons that brands and influencers alike can take from these experiences.

Among the Best

Tiary #Mother's Day Campaign

The Tiary campaign was a particularly striking example of influencer marketing done right in 2023. Tiary, an online platform that allows customers to design their own jewelry, leveraged the power of micro-influencers to celebrate Mother's Day. Collaborating with influencers who were passionate about themes like gifting, mom life, and dad life, Tiary offered them an attractive shopping discount plus a promotional fee.

The campaign resulted in a significant boost in website traffic and Instagram followers for Tiary. A notable success was with the influencer @moveswithmaggie, who achieved a 6.2% engagement rate and received over 100 comments, indicating a high level of audience interaction and interest.

The key lessons from this campaign are the effectiveness of targeting niche audiences and the power of micro-influencers. By focusing on individuals who closely align with the brand's values and audience, Tiary was able to create a more personalized and relatable campaign. Plus leveraging a special occasion like Mother's Day with a holiday-specific promotion was successful in boosting engagement and driving sales​​.

Dunkin’ Donuts National Donut Day Campaign

The Dunkin’ Donuts campaign for National Donut Day 2023 was a masterful blend of influencer marketing and platform-specific strategy. In collaboration with Trilla media and a digital talent network, Dunkin’ Donuts crafted a campaign centered around Snapchat, a platform popular with their target demographic. They enlisted the help of eight influencers, who were selected to create and distribute engaging teaser content. These influencers, each with their own significant followings, took control of Dunkin’ Donuts' official Snapchat account, effectively extending the campaign's reach across three time zones and key cities in the United States.

The influencers' role was pivotal in amplifying the campaign. They used their influence to drive their followers from various social media platforms to Dunkin’ Donuts' Snapchat account and encouraged them to join the National Donut Day celebration by visiting stores for a special offer. This cross-platform promotion led to incredible outcomes: reaching 3 million people, achieving a tenfold increase in Snapchat followers, and generating 40,000 engagements within a month.

From this campaign, several key lessons emerged. First, the power of leveraging special days or events can significantly enhance a brand's promotional efforts. Second, choosing the right social media platform, one that resonates with the target audience, is crucial for the campaign's success. Finally, the strategic use of influencers to create a buzz and drive both online and in-store engagement highlights the many benefits of influencer marketing. The Dunkin’ Donuts' campaign not only succeeded in digital engagement but also effectively translated that online success into real-world foot traffic and sales​​.

Among the Worst


The Shein influencer marketing campaign of 2023, which involved flying American fashion influencers to tour its factory in China, faced significant criticism and was deemed a failure for several reasons:

Credibility Issues: The campaign was criticized for its lack of credibility. Despite Shein's popularity for its low prices and wide range of clothing options, the influencers faced backlash for praising the company amidst serious allegations of using forced labor and causing environmental damage​​​​.

Choice of Influencers: The selected influencers were not perceived as credible sources to address the serious accusations against Shein's labor practices. The influencers, known for fashion content, were not prepared to assess or respond to concerns regarding labor and environmental practices​​.

Perceived Inauthenticity: There was concern that the factory visits and interviews might have been staged, leading to a loss of credibility in the posts shared by the influencers. The campaign was labeled a "publicity stunt gone wrong," and there were suggestions that the influencers' content was influenced by compensation from Shein, further affecting the authenticity of their messages​​.

Lack of Transparency and Impartiality: The influencers were criticized for not being transparent about the purpose of their trip and not maintaining impartiality in their posts. 

Possible Alternative Strategies: It was suggested that Shein could have chosen influencers who are environmentalists and labor activists or even journalists from top global media companies for a more credible campaign. This approach would have allowed for a more authentic and transparent exploration of the company's practices​​.

Key lessons from this campaign include the importance of selecting appropriate influencers who can credibly address relevant issues, ensuring transparency and authenticity in influencer content, and being sensitive to public concerns, especially when addressing serious accusations.

Mikayla Nogueira x L’Oreal

The Mikayla Nogueira TikTok campaign in 2023, involving the promotion of L'Oréal Paris's Telescopic Lift mascara, faced significant backlash and is considered a failure for several reasons:

Accusations of Misleading Content: Mikayla Nogueira, a TikTok influencer with over 14 million followers, promoted the mascara by demonstrating its application and showing a dramatic transformation in her lashes. Soon after, she faced accusations of using false lashes, specifically Ardell Demi Wispies, to exaggerate the effect of the mascara. This led to criticism and distrust among her audience, as the "after" shot in her video was believed to feature these false lashes​​.

Violation of Trust: The controversy highlights the importance of authenticity in influencer marketing. Followers often trust influencers more than traditional ads, looking to them for honest recommendations. This incident was seen as a breach of that trust, raising concerns about the authenticity of influencer endorsements and the credibility of brand partnerships​​.

Community Response: The situation gained significant attention, with other influencers and followers voicing their opinions. Some expressed frustration with the lack of honesty in influencer marketing, while others defended Nogueira, questioning the difference between this and other forms of exaggerated advertising. However, the general consensus was that the campaign damaged the trust between influencers and their audience​​.

Key lessons from this campaign include the critical importance of authenticity and transparency in influencer marketing. Audiences value genuine recommendations, and any perceived dishonesty can lead to a loss of credibility and trust, not just for the influencer but also for the associated brand. This incident serves as a reminder of the need for influencers to maintain honesty in their reviews and for brands to ensure their products are represented accurately in marketing campaigns.


Reflecting on the influencer campaigns of 2023, we see diverse strategies and outcomes. Successful campaigns, like Tiary's Mother's Day initiative and Dunkin' Donuts' National Donut Day promotion, underscored the effectiveness of micro-influencers, platform-specific tactics, and leveraging special occasions. In contrast, campaigns like Shein's factory tour and Mikayla Nogueira's L’Oréal partnership highlight the pitfalls of influencer marketing, such as credibility issues, lack of transparency, and perceived inauthenticity. 

These cases emphasize the crucial need for authenticity, appropriate influencer selection, and honesty in marketing. As influencer marketing evolves, these lessons serve as valuable guides for future campaigns by illustrating the delicate balance between innovative engagement and maintaining trust with audiences.

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