Influencer marketing, considered to be an experimental channel by many, has evolved as a core strategy for most businesses. A survey done by Influencermarketinghub.com suggests that it is the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method. The survey also suggests that 37 percent of the surveyed marketers prefer to have a separate budget for influencer marketing.
In 2019, the influencer marketing industry is expected to grow beyond bounds. However, with increasing competition, conventional strategies might fail to usher in success. To keep up with the changing requirements of the market, marketers need to identify the trends that will shape influencer-marketing practices in 2019.
If you haven’t noticed the trends already, here they are:
Instagram is the most happening place right now:
For the major part of 2018, Facebook was criticized for its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal. Twitter, on the other hand, was busy identifying and deleting fake accounts from its server. It was worse for Snapchat, which came uncomfortably close to a cash crunch. However, these issues couldn’t affect the growing numbers of influencer marketing campaigns.
Instagram shined the brightest amidst the turmoil. According to the COO of CreatorIQ Tim Sovay, Instagram was the common factor in 93% of all the influencer campaigns held in 2018. Even though Facebook owns the social media platform, people don’t find it to be invasive. Besides, its high-quality stills and brief videos are the perfect recipes for quick hits, easy engagements and fast follows.
Kylie Jenner is one of the highly paid influencers on Instagram right now. And if you scroll through her pages, you can find a lot of advertising. The partnership between her and various brands are quite obvious, getting more than 3 million likes. If you use Instagram regularly, you must have noticed tonnes of instances of influencer marketing.
Aligning influencer marketing with your brand message:
In an interview with TVRev.com, the CEO of WhoSay.com Steve Ellis shared that as brands and agencies become more comfortable with influencer marketing, they will use sophisticated means to integrate influencers into broader digital campaigns.
Ellis, who is Viacom’s EVP of Ad Strategy and business development said in the interview, “What you really need to look at is creative execution, leveraging the talent and their creative skills to match with your idea or your message as an advertiser.”
It is important to understand that influencer marketing alone cannot make up an entire strategy for a brand. It needs to boost other marketing content and carry the same message across all channels. Also, influencers cannot make a poor idea work.
Ellis also emphasized on the fact, “People don’t have to pay attention to your advertising, especially on social when they can scroll by so many interesting photos. You have to cut through, and you’re not going to cut through with a bad ad.”
In simple words, brands need to decide upon the idea they want to put through, and then find an influencer that matches the ideals. Moreover, it needs to be an integrated marketing strategy (not just influencer marketing) to execute the idea.
Time to go small:
Micro-influencers gained immense popularity in 2018 due to their effectiveness. They are most likely to stay relevant this year as well. Marketers predict that nano-influencers have a better chance at ruling the influencer marketing campaigns in 2019.
These nano-influencers have a few thousand followers in a well-defined segment. Brands are more interested in choosing nano-influencers over micro-influencers as they cost less. Also, brands can have more control over the postings of the nano-influencers.
While a lot of influencers (like Kylie Jenner) are still bagging large bucks, the average price of an influencer deal dropped by half to 500,000, reported by CreatorIQ. This incident marks the expansion of the universe of influencers.
The basic idea behind hiring more nano-influencers is to influence the smaller crowds in specific areas and engage with them on a personal level. Having millions of followers does not allow the big-name influencers to engage with individual audiences personally. On the other hand, a post from a nano-influencer with #assignmenthelp can get the attention of local students a lot faster.
Investing in long-term relationships:
Leading brands have already started to look at influencer marketing as a long-term investment. Many influencers are encouraging this, as it offers long-term financial security. The only concern is that their marketing efforts need to fit their personal brand and appeal to the audience they have built up over the years.
In a podcast published by Player.fm, a Los Angeles influencer-marketing consultant Michelle Merino said, “Lately, I’ve experienced an increase in brand requests for influencers to co-brand new product lines or introduce new brands altogether by being the face of the company”.
What Merino pointed out were long-term deals. While they look a lot like traditional celebrity endorsements, they actually provide more security and continuity for the influencers.
Merino also added, “In most cases, this type of deals are far more complex, with rigorous exclusivity terms, equity or revenue share compensation models, and rely heavily on influencer authenticity.” Follow Michelle Merino on Twitter @michellekmerino.
Moving past the concept of reach:
For a significant amount of time, some influencers were manipulating their follower counts to get higher fees from brands. In most cases, they used fake accounts to increase their follower count. Thanks to a series of investigations conducted by the New York Times, the following came to light:
- Buying tonnes of fake followers was easy and affordable.
- A lot of advertisers and agencies were still using outdated metrics like the follower counts to fix the fees.
And because of these two reasons, some influencers were buying followers, hoping to get paid more.
At present, the brands have become a lot smarter. Companies like CreatorIQ immediately flag the influencers have an unusual number of followers from unexpected countries. Also, the algorithms in the social media platforms are slowly killing off organic reach. To rope in perfect influencers, marketers need to wait and see how the audience engages with the posts and other metrics that offer better tracking of ROI.
You can definitely expect more changes in influencer marketing in 2019. And the way things are moving right now, influencer marketing is only going to get more sophisticated from here.