The term “influencer marketing” has likely been mentioned around your strategy meetings. Who in your primary industry has a large and active following to whom they could positively promote your brand to help sell your product or service? No longer a social media fad, influencer marketing is rapidly being integrated into businesses’ digital marketing strategies. This is because influencer marketing is currently considered the best method for ROI, and the most cost effective and fastest-growing online acquisition channel.
Influencer marketing is expected to be a $5-10 billion market by 2020.
As more traditional forms of advertising like radio and TV declined, brands turned to the web and social media to get their content out. This subsequently became an overcrowded space, and although native ads were and still are effective, if not used correctly, they can lose their organic feel. With over 30% (some 615 million devices worldwide) using an ad blocker, there were open opportunities for more digital marketing strategies. Ready to take first place was influencer marketing; brands working with people who can “influence” and impact their target audience through social media channels. Followers have confidence and trust in influencers’ opinions, which is a great way for brands to make themselves known, drive their message, and ultimately increase sales.
With the constant rapid changes of social media and technology, the world of influencer marketing will continuously evolve and adapt to the market to meet demands. New digital marketing channels mean brands can better connect with their target audience, as they have greater content control. As more businesses are preparing to incorporate influencer marketing strategies, consider the related trends of 2018 and what is expected to come.
Five Influencer Marketing Trends of 2018
Some of the many benefits of influencer marketing include brands being able to create authentic content, drive engagement around the product/brand, reach younger generations who do not trust traditional advertising, and lead traffic to a website or landing page. Influencer marketing is not only effective for industries like lifestyle, travel, fashion, and tech, but also for B2B companies and startups.
Some examples of ways to implement influencer marketing strategies include:
- Discount codes and affiliate marketing;
- Sponsored blog posts;
- Giveaways and competitions;
- Social media mentions;
- Influencer takeovers; and
- Influencer guest posting on brand platforms.
A recent study from One Productions states that 94% of marketers who have used influencer marketing strategies found it to be a successful and effective practice.
2018 is positioning to be a valuable year for influencer marketing. Some of the common trends include:
Increasing Budgets for Campaigns
The growth and rise of influencer marketing means more and more companies will jump on the bandwagon and use this digital marketing strategy. This will result in a rising cost of working with influencers as the demand for influencers increases. More of the experimental small budget campaigns have proven worthwhile, so major brands are more comfortable and open to spending large portions of their marketing budgets on influencers. Influencers are already receiving a lot of collaboration offers, so brands will need to have unique positioning and offerings as the selection process becomes more competitive.
Micro Influencers Overpower Macro Influencers for Trust and Engagement
Results have shown that those with fewer followers receive more engagements. These micro influencers are deemed to be more trustworthy and credible. One Production’s influencer marketing study shows that 60% of people are consulting social media posts before purchasing products, and 30% of people are more likely to purchase a product based on a recommendation from a non-celebrity. Micro influencers can offer more tightknit communication with a loyal and niche following.
The goal of working with an influencer is for brands to connect and engage with their audiences and build a reputation of being credible and reliable. Unfortunately, the high demand for influencers increases the chance of people posing as influencers: those who are buying fake followers. Brands must be extra cautious when selecting an influencer to work with, as partnering with the wrong person could be disastrous for their brand’s image. As mentioned, micro influencers tend to have higher engagement levels with their followers, providing a more natural, authentic online presence.
Long-Term Brand-Influencer Partnerships
Brands who have had successful short-term partnerships are now beginning to establish long-term partnerships with influencers, ranging from six months to over a year. In some cases, influencers become spokespeople, aligning with a brand to maintain consistency and the ability to market across multiple platforms. This shows audiences that an influencer genuinely loves the product and is willing to stand by the brand. New leads generated by these long-term campaigns have a higher chance of remaining loyal to the brand and influencer.
Tracking Influencer Marketing ROI
While influencer marketing is proving to deliver success for brands, partnerships should be discontinued if there aren’t measurable results. Ways to track progress include influencer marketing tools, promo codes, and UTM parameters to track the actions of a visitor to your site. Unique and campaign-specific hashtags are a great way to see how much traffic your influencer is driving to your brand and compare results against your KPIs.
Examples of Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Pepsi Emoji Product Line at Walgreens: Pepsi was looking to increase their sales at Walgreens and turned to social media promotion to reach their target millennials audience. The company created limited edition packaging and the hashtag #SayItWithPepsi for the campaign to show that incorporating specially selected Pepsi emoji bottles into summer activities was more fun. Pepsi chose influential creators to develop content about the product and share it with their followers. The content was shared in blogs, vlogs, photography etc. and drove millennials to Walgreens to purchase the emoji bottles.
During the next phase of the campaign, Pepsi chose the best performing content and used additional influencers to share it. This resulted in over 26,000 additional clicks on the shared content, and the #SayItWithPepsi campaign received over 46 million impressions and more than 50,000 engagements with campaign content.
Launch of Motorola’s Moto Z Family and Moto Mods: When Motorola launched their new Moto Z family and Moto Mods smartphones, they wanted to share what made this phone different, which was being able to swap “mods” in and out of the phone. Some of these were an extra 40-hour battery charger, stereo speaker, and a projector. Motorola wanted to spark the interest and market to the young demographic. As this generation spends a lot of time on YouTube, the company secured 13 different YouTube influencers across multiple platforms to demonstrate the possible uses of the Moto Z Force. Each influencer made a “partnership announcement” post, one “hero” YouTube video to showcase the unique ways to use Moto Mods, and additional social posts.
The unique videos received over 11.6 million views, 38.1 social media impressions, and 122,000 clicks to the motomods.com website in which 80,000 were first-time visitors.
What’s Next for Influencer Marketing?
Over the past couple of years, influencer marketing has transformed. The future of this digital marketing strategy will include more advanced technology, demand for influencer marketing tools to simplify the interaction between brand and influencer, and the need to abide to strict FTC laws. It might be difficult for brands to give up some control of their audience to an influencer, but with the right fit, the right influencer, and the right brand, your audience will gain your trust. Influencer marketing is a mutual win as influencers make a name for themselves and brands gain continued market awareness.
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