By 2022, brands will be spending up to $15 billion on influencer marketing. What started out as a cutting-edge marketing opportunity has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry helping brands of all sizes reach customers and grow revenue.
To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Washington State University’s Master of Business Administration program
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The Meteoric Rise of Brand Influencers
For every dollar spent on an influencer marketing campaign, brands earn $6.50. With such a high return on investment, it’s clear why more and more brands are turning to influencers.
The Value of Influencer Marketing
Studies indicate 70% of consumers trust influencers more than traditional celebrities, and 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations. Breaking this down by demographics reveals that 86% of women use social media to find purchasing advice and 60% of teens prefer the advice of influencers over celebrities. What’s more, 40% of consumers have made a purchase after seeing a product or service on Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram. When compared with videos made by traditional celebrities, influencer videos receive three times as many views, twice as many actions, and twelve times as many comments.
How Influencer Marketing Emerged and Evolved
The roots of influencer marketing trace back to Facebook. The platform gave advertisers greater insight into users, helping marketers create highly targeted marketing campaigns. Influencers also used Facebook’s analytics tools to learn about and grow their audience according to audience interest.
However, publishers pushed back against Facebook’s growing ad dominance and Internet users started installing ad-blocking software. This led to a drop in banner ad revenue, forcing advertisers to consider more effective advertising methods. Over time, companies like Amazon, Yelp, and Google identified the potential of peer-to-peer reviews online.
Additionally, brands noticed that a celebrity’s endorsement didn’t translate well when transitioned from televisions to social media. Instead, they discovered endorsements of non-celebrities delivered higher levels of engagement at a much lower cost. They also used big data to dig into the details of this burgeoning influencer market, specifically concentrating on influencers’ engagement scores. Big data also helped brands find the right influencers through different influencer marketing platforms.
The Basics of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing doesn’t follow traditional advertising principles. For example, bigger isn’t always better; a celebrity endorsement won’t guarantee astronomical engagement or a significant boost in sales. This is one reason why marketers need to learn what makes influencer marketing different and effective.
What Marketers Should Know About Influencer Marketing
The first rule of influencer marketing is that quality content is key to engagement. Brands should capitalize on consumers’ tendencies to research products and seek out recommendations by providing free guidance to potential customers. Another key point to understand is that buying followers will not contribute to an influencer’s ability to reach a target audience. Instead of honing on audience numbers, brands should instead focus on engagement rates, determining which influencers are authentic, highly engaged with their audience, and earned media-delivered sales results.
Additionally, brands need to know that marketers and influencers are using multiple social media platforms as well as their own “owned” platforms to amplify content and increase reach. Finally, it’s important to realize that influencer marketing content will have a second life via organic search results.
Rewarding Brand-Influencer Partnerships
One prominent brand-influencer partnership is the one enjoyed by Hydro Flask and Andrea Hannemann, a social media influencer in Hawaii whose popular sponsored videos and Instagram posts helped drive interest and traffic to the water bottle company’s social media platforms. Another high-profile partnership is the one between Capital One and Kiersten Rich, whose own travel photos and sponsored blog posts touted the benefits of the company’s Venture Card to her 1 million blog subscribers and 50,000 Instagram followers.
How to Create an Effective Influencer Marketing Campaign
Brands of all sizes can build and launch effective influencer marketing campaigns – without spending thousands or millions of dollars.
5 Steps to Building an Influencer Campaign
The first step in building a successful influencer campaign is to set clear goals and identify key performance indicators (KPIs). Common goals include increasing brand awareness, driving sales, and generating leads. Common KPIs include engagement rates, click-through rates, and number of sales.
The second step involves determining your budget. The more work influencers have to put into creating content, the higher the cost of their services. This cost can be mitigated by offering discounts, gift cards, free trials, product samples, and gaining early access to new products.
Thirdly, it’s important to find the right influencers for your brand. This includes selecting influencers based on their engagement rate, their authenticity, and whether their style aligns with the brand.
Next, it’s important to create engaging content. This stems from producing low-risk, brand-generated content, but it also stems from influencer-created content that’s reviewed by the brand to ensure value alignment.
Finally, it’s vital to measure the results of the campaign. This can be done through a host of influencing marketing platforms and tools to track content performance, like #paid, Upfluence, and AspireIQ.
The Future of Marketing is Now
Consumers are actively searching for influencers to introduce them to exciting brands and recommend great products and services. Brands of all sizes should seize the opportunity to develop relationships with influencers and partner with them to launch creative and effective influencer marketing campaigns.
Business Insider, Influencer Marketing: State of the Social Media Influencer Market in 2020
Convince & Convert, How Influencer Marketing Has Changed 8 Years Later
Digital Marketing Institute, 20 Influencer Marketing Statistics That Will Surprise You
HubSpot, What Will Influencer Marketing Look Like in 2020?
Smart Insights, How To Start a Micro-Influencer Marketing Campaign from Scratch