In early 2015, most financial publications with their finger on the pulse predicted influencer marketing as the big ‘buzzword’ of the year. Since then influencers have become more than just buzz, but an entire industry
Many predicted increased budgets for marketers who were aiming towards influencers as the next marketing frontier. However, the results of this increase was not visible until the start of 2016. Now with the year coming to a close, many companies seem to have developed, or in the process of developing, some kind of influencer strategy.
Five years ago, most companies were spending 80% of their budget on creating marketing content, while only 20% on promotion. This is obviously changing with influencer marketing, where product creation is still in the hands of the marketers, but influencers have taken over promotion and moved it forward in new and innovative ways.
While much of the focus on influencer marketing is aimed at marketers and how they can drive, develop and exploit the industry, which is fair considering they control the assets, many forget about the influencers. They are the ones sitting on the revenue a.k.a. the audience. By being potential brand advocates, influencers can through their message and social following have great success sharing branded content.
There are plenty of good news to choose from for influencers contemplating their future in a market that can sometimes be perceived as unpredictable. Tomoson surveyed 125 marketers, asking the amount of revenue influencer marketing had generated for them. Over half of the marketers surveyed were pleased with the results. 59% were already planning to increase their budget the following year in addition to 22% viewing influencer marketing as the fastest growing method for online customer-acquistion. On average most businesses saw an ROI five times the amount spent, confirming what most people already suspected: influencer marketing has meant big business over the last two years.
Additionally, 84% of marketing professionals worldwide has during 2016 been laying out the groundwork for their influencer marketing plan. What we can take away from these kind of figures is that influencer marketing is definitely on the rise – meaning if people were impressed by the influencer marketing growth in 2016, 2017 will in comparison be a spectacular year for influencers in all shapes and sizes.
The cherry on top in all of this positive momentum is also found in the level of trust influencers have over their audience. Not only do you have the fact that 74% of consumers rely on social media for their purchasing decisions, but a whooping 92% of consumers trust recommendations rather than branded content. Statistics like these should be enough to convince most people of the potential influencer marketing is sitting on – both for marketers and influencers alike.
Even though everything seems to be on the rise in terms of influencer marketing, there are still complications to be found. What has been shown in the past is that influencer marketing is not held back by the influencers themselves, but marketers. The challenge several companies raise is in regards to competition and approaching influencers.
First, many marketers have expressed difficulties when trying to locate influencers. Much of this is rooted in the competition between companies within the same commercial enterprise. In the attempt of securing suitable influencers within certain brands tough competition for top influencers and lack of transparency has caused several companies to give up. This stems from focusing only on mega influencers and not having accurate enough tools to locate influencers – using vanity metrics, which in most cases only provide superficial information.
Second, having to identify suitable brand advocates, contacting them and figure out their performance in the form of ROI that is unpredictable, concerns many marketers. This also carries over to the notion that marketers feel that they are invading influencers privacy by approaching them with offers that are based on internal analytics of the influencer’s social profile and overall performance. However, most influencer who are polled on this issue are largely interested in offers from marketers based on data about themselves. 43% were ‘extremely comfortable‘ with receiving offers based on internal analytics from brands, while only 5% were ‘somewhat uncomfortable‘ with this approach.
These two problems showcases that the ball still lie in marketers court. If companies want to be serious contenders in influencer marketing, marketers need to step up by investing in finding influencers in addition to proper outreach.
What to watch for in 2017
Promising statistics and marketers problematic approach aside, how will the market look like for influencers in the coming year? There are 3 specific trends concurring and developing rapidly that seem very likely to flourish in 2017.
1. The exponential growth of micro- and macro influencers
Being a micro- or macro influencer with 1000-10.000 followers are becoming more and more lucrative for marketers. They are an easy group to get in touch with and they sit on sub-communities that engage with the content posted. The Discover Platform on Woomio has also made finding influencers easier than ever before, making it a scalable way of managing this critical mass that can potentially have great impact on expanding the influencer market.
2. Authenticity in a rapid growing industry
Having so many professional influencers hitting the scene, the demand for authentic influencers will matter for marketers when selecting their collaborators. As influencer marketing broadens, experts and individuals passionate about certain subject matters will be harder to engage without influencers having an authentic voice. This might be a key advantage going forward for certain influencers in 2017.
3. Technology driven approach to locate influencers
There will be an increase in information hubs that will assist marketers in locating influencers online. As already mentioned, marketers are missing the necessary tools to locate and measure influencers, Woomio is now the platform that can do both in a simple and efficient way. At Woomio we are growing every day with new businesses, influencers and features in order to provide the best genius tool possible for brands and agencies to locate influencers and manage campaigns. By having an up-to-date and improved apparatus to discover and measure influencers, this will matter a great deal for the market in 2017, which will only become more valuable as the Woomio database expands.
Attracting influencers or content creators is easier than most people think. However, there still appears to be problems with marketers not seeing the full marketing potential available to them. By letting you, the influencer, exercising your creativity on social media will be essential for influencer marketing to succeed in the future. So be open, and inviting towards marketers and hopefully the amazing statistics mentioned earlier can also become yours.