Influencer marketing is holding steady as an important element of any serious marketing strategy. Now, 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. Consumers can relate more to these influencers and value their opinions more than that of celebrity influencers.
It's one of the best ways to cut through the noise of content saturation in digital marketing, and companies have found that using the voices of trusted leaders is a powerful way to spread a brand's message. As it continues to evolve, let's take a look at some of the emerging trends and challenges that are shaping it.
Expect to see a considerable portion of marketing budgets allocated to influencers this year as it becomes an always-on strategy. In fact, 59% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in the next year.
Companies are going to be focused on building beneficial long-term relationships with influencers and, in the process, will be giving influencers more power in leading the creative side of the partnership.
Investing More in Micro-Influencers
Micro-influencers are active social media users who have fewer than 10,000 followers and are able to influence and engage their audience. They usually have an interest and expertise in a very specific niche, such as design, travel, leadership, etc. and have established themselves as authorities. Businesses are super stoked on micro-influencers because they have been proven to deliver 60-percent higher campaign engagement rates.
A Facebook algorithm change that favors content from friends and family over posts from publishers will be a powerful boost for influencers. It prioritizes user-generated content so that brands can double down on influences that cultivate authentic relationships with their audiences.
Because influencers have an authentic relationship with their audience, they have to be careful about forming paid partnerships with brands. It's easy to alienate an audience when an influencer starts posting a lot of obvious product placements and ads. So a big challenge is to make sure that influencers don't do anything to detract from the authenticity they have developed.
According to a survey last year, 38% of marketers say they are unable to tell whether influencer activity actually drives sales, while 86% are unsure how influencers calculate their fees. Figuring out the ROI of influencer marketing programs remains a top challenge this year. One of the keys to boosting ROI from influencer marketing is to reuse influencer content to improve other channels. This type of content tends to perform better than brand-created content.
Running multiple influencer marketing programs can place a huge demand on any marketing team’s resources. This year, marketers are looking to decrease the amount of time it takes to manage these influencer marketing programs. Finding a technology partner that can help discover, connect, engage, recruit influencers, and measure social influencer marketing relationships will be a key to success for any brand.
Fake followers and bots have increased considerably since the rise of influencer marketing. It's important for marketers to look not only at a person's number of followers but at real results like conversions, downloads and product sales in order to rule out bots. (Rule #1: Bots never make a purchase.) Examining the quality of their engagements (is it English, meaningful dialogue, etc.) instead of just basing it on numbers.
Influencer marketing is here to stay, and marketers are driving real business results with influencer content. Be aware of these trends and challenges as you're building out your marketing strategy for the year. If you’re ready to get started, contact Pixlee today for a demo of our Influencer Marketing Solution.