KOLs: What They Are & Why They're Key to Your Marketing Strategy


Over the past few years, influencer marketing has become an incredibly successful strategy for brands looking to reach a targeted audience on social media. And, with an average ROI of $6.50 for each dollar spent, it’s undoubtedly powerful.

If you’re a marketer, I’m willing to bet you’ve heard the term ‘influencer’ before. But what about key opinion leaders, or KOLs … have you heard of them?

Despite certain commonalities between KOLs and influencers, the two terms aren’t synonymous. And if your brand is looking to reach a specific, niche demographic, you might want to consider implementing a strategy that incorporates KOLs.

Here, we’re going to explore what KOLs are, and why they’re a critical component of your 2019 marketing strategy.

What are KOLs?

To consider what a KOL (key opinion leader) is, let’s start with a real-life example.

Jaclyn Hill is a makeup artist and YouTuber whose channel focuses primarily on beauty products. With 5.8 million YouTube subscribers (as well as 6.2 million followers on Instagram), Hill is considered a makeup and beauty expert by her online community.

In 2015, Becca Cosmetics partnered with Hill to create a limited-edition highlighter known as “Champagne Pop”. The product was