THE STATURE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING!
Before the power of social media came into existence, influence was typically restricted to individuals with movie, television, or radio access. Hence, the number of people wielding influence was limited. Today we hear about how consumers trust friends and family members recommendations when deciding what products to purchase. That truth has become even more apparent as ad blocking apps and consumer disinterest with ads, in general, have exploded. Any person with a social media account holds some sort of influence as every account holder has an audience. Whether that audience is small or large, the beauty of a social media audience is that members are engaged.
Welcome to “The Stature of Influencer Marketing”
CPG marketers are taking notice. In 2016, influencer marketing surpassed print marketing as the #1 tactic to generate brand awareness and today nearly half of all consumers (49%) rely on influencer recommendations when making a purchase.[i]
So, who is an influencer? As noted by Chris Gould, Senior Vice President, Harbinger, www.harbingerideas.com
“An influencer is a person who has the power to influence many people about your brand or service through social and traditional media channels”. “It could be a celebrity, a blogger, a journalist or even a friend”.
Though the term influencer has been the buzzword for marketers during the last few years, the idea of influencers is not new. In the 1920s, there were only a few brands on the market shaping the product-centered marketing. Brands of this market created personas to trigger the purchase decisions of consumers emotionally. Fast forward to today and we find influencers being viewed as “An All-Round Solution”. Consumers listen to the recommendation of someone they trust – someone they think of as being a competent and a reliable expert. They have become content creators, opinion leaders and (more or less) experts in their field who sell their reach and content on social media platforms to brands. In 2017, the term “influencer marketing” increased by 325% in Google searches, making this the fastest-growing online acquisition method of the year.[ii] It is estimated the influencer marketing industry will be a $5-$10 billion-dollar market by 2020. [iii]
In 2018, 92% of marketers were expected to launch at least one influencer campaign. The popularity of influencer marketing to drive brand awareness and reputation can be judged by the insight that:
- 89% of marketers have found the medium to be effective.
- 62% are planning to increase their budgetary allocation towards engaging social influencers. [iv]
- Influencer marketing platform MuseFind reveals 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement.[v]
Brands are starting to recognize the value of influencer marketing in terms of 1. Leveraging the exposure of the company’s product, 2. Generating brand awareness, 3. Increasing sales revenue and 4. Customer acquisition. According to influencer marketplace Tomoson, business is generating $6.5 in revenue for each $1.00 spent.[vi] They also rate influencer marketing as the most cost-effective online customer acquisition method as outlined in Chart 1.
Most Cost-Effective Online Customer Acquisition Method[vii]
According to Forbes, influencer marketing is growing faster than digital advertisements and should be an active tactic in a brands social media campaign, especially for new entrants seeking to generate awareness. Outlined are five benefits to utilizing influencer marketing:
- Quickly build trust.
- Improve brand awareness.
- Enriches brands content strategy.
- Effectively reaches a brands target audience.
- Builds winning partnerships.
As in 2018, influencer marketing will continue to rapidly evolve in 2019. A couple of statistics that reveal its value:[viii]
- 70% of Millennials say they trust influencers more than traditional celebrities.
- More than 50% of women purchase a product due to an influencer post on Instagram or Facebook.
- 49% of online shoppers depend on recommendations made by influencers.
Three top trends predicted to gain greater momentum in 2019:[ix]
- Authenticity, transparency, and relevancy of a brand’s influencer campaign are critical.
Authenticity important in building relationships with audiences. In particular:
a. 90% of Millennials (those under 35) b. 85% of Generation X (those between 35-54) c. 80% of Baby Boomers (those 55+)
reveal authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands to support
2. Influencer marketing will become a permanent part of a brands social media campaign.
3. Brands will focus more on the ROI metrics of the individual influencer. Measuring ROI will be extremely important in 2019 because it’ll show whether a particular influencer helps achieve a pre-defined marketing goal.
In closing as noted by Mr. S. Godin:
People Do Not Buy Goods and Services, They Buy Relations, Stories, and Magic
[vi] Influencer Marketing Study, www.blog.tomoson.com.