A Guide to Influencer Marketing 2018 – 2019

Introduction

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer Marketing is a derived concept. For ages, brands have been marketing and advertising their products through influential people mainly celebrities in different industries like tech, fashion, beauty, food, travel, etc.

How Influencer Marketing differs is that the mode of communication is through social media. Gone are the days when consumers were influenced heavily by movie stars and sports stars. Influencers nowadays are everyday commoners whom you wouldn’t recognize if you are not following them on their social media pages. They are usually experts in a particular industry and have evolved through blogging.

So, we asked a bunch of people what they think of the term influencer. How would a consumer define influencers?

A consumer’s definition of an influencer

While the general consumers seem to almost agree that influencers are,

  • Peers who are Industry experts
  • Someone whose opinions and reviews are taken seriously by followers

Very few seem to correlate the term with

  • Celebrities or with industry stars

Why has Influencer Marketing become such an essential tactic for brands?

Social media influencers are as effective in driving sales, if not more because the consumers consider the influencers more as their friends and peers. A simple example would be a pizza shop X being advertised on TV by a celebrity vs. a friend telling you that shop X has the best pizza in town. Whose opinion do the consumers trust in more?

The Influencer Marketing has already become a billion dollar industry and is rapidly pacing toward the $2 billion mark. We asked the brands if they worked with influencers in 2018. ​A whopping 62% told that they have.

We were also extremely curious to know why some of them didn’t implement one. Here are some of the reasons that were listed.

  • Lack of required budget
  • Lack of knowledge about the method
  • Lack of resources

The ​budgets are going to increase exponentially​ for Influencer Marketing in 2019. Some brands have been at least running two campaigns per year. Some of them are planning to release 2 – 5 influencer marketing campaigns this year.

42% of the marketers have plans of increasing their budget for influencer marketing in 2019. 32% of the brands are looking at no change in their plans and going with their existing marketing plan.

Only 20% of the marketers are planning to decrease the number of campaigns compared to the previous year of 2018.

The brands that increased the number of Influencer Marketing campaigns went from 2.8 as an average in 2018 to 4.3 campaigns in 2019. The brands that are planning to decrease the number of campaigns went from 2.1 as an average in 2018 to 1.8 campaigns in 2019.

We also asked the brands which social media platforms do they consider crucial to their campaign. 94% of the brands want Instagram to be their key player with Facebook, Youtube and individual blogs in the top 5 chosen. Twitter and Snapchat were given the least focus by the marketers.

Each of them had their reason for choosing a platform. The main reason stated was that the chosen platform gives them the highest rate of success.

What are some of the metrics used to measure a campaign’s rate of success?

  • Engagement rate (likes, clicks, shares, and comments)
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Sales-driven after campaign
  • Tracking affiliate links, customized coupon codes, and UTM parameters
  • Comparing influencers’ followers vs traffic
  • Brand mentions outside the Influencer’s page

 

Challenges faced by brands in 2018 – Influencer Marketing

  • Time-consuming
  • Reaching out to Influencers
  • Designing customized campaigns for influencers
  • Trust in hiring an influencer

About 72% of the brands have agreed that hiring an agency has reduced their challenges especially in terms of time management and trusting the quality of influencer’s followers.

Trends to watch out for in 2019

  • 2018 saw an increase in micro-influencers being approached by brands. The next year will slowly inch towards nano influencers who have followers anywhere between 1500 – 5000. Brands have realized the potential of reaching out to a niche audience.
  • Brands will focus on creating long-term relationships with the influencers they work with. This not only saves time in finding resources but also established a trustworthy partnership between the influencer and the brand
  • No doubt, Instagram will soar in terms of popularity in 2019. IGTV as a newly launched feature could gain more attention
  • But will Facebook see a decline in usage? The usage of Facebook for advertising has gone down drastically when compared to 2017.
  • Influencers are increasingly preferring to collaborate with agencies to connect with brands. So do the brands. Brands find trustworthy influencers through agencies and also have a higher success rate of getting a response.

Additional Takeaways

  • About 74% of the consumers said that they still trust sponsored posts as long as the influencer explicitly mentions it in the post.
  • Social media influencers seem to have as much influence as a consumer’s friend or peer. When asked, consumers agreed that they are more likely to buy a product suggested by an influencer when they see a demonstration of the product. This eagerness was especially high in consumers who buy fashion, tech and beauty products often.
  • 58% of the consumers said that the authenticity of an influencer’s content makes them follow the account than the popularity.
  • The top 3% of Instagram drives an engagement rate of 50% in a day. ConclusionThe concept of influencer marketing has been so successful because this is one of the very few methods through which an actual human connection with the target audience is established. Influencers focus on trust and genuinely pleasing their followers. This makes the brands not push more money into products or services that don’t work and instead concentrate on the ones that do. In short, influencer marketing is going to see upward growth in 2019.

Conclusion

The concept of influencer marketing has been so successful because this is one of the very few methods through which an actual human connection with the target audience is established. Influencers focus on trust and genuinely pleasing their followers. This makes the brands not push more money into products or services that don’t work and instead concentrate on the ones that do. In short, influencer marketing is going to see an upward growth in 2019.

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