Till 2014 no one really cared about influencer marketing. Fast forward to 2018, the idea made it to every trend list you could find. A dramatic rise is seen in both the number of social media influencers and brands looking to leverage their reach. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 2/3rd consumers trust opinions posted on digital platforms. At the same time, there is a strong downfall in the influence held by television (7.4%), print (4.7%) and digital ad (4.5%). As a result, influencer marketing will continue to remain an important part of marketing campaigns in 2018.
5 Trends Shaping the Future of Influencer Marketing:
Influencer marketing is expected to evolve into a much more sophisticated strategy. Unlike 2017 where brands were performing mere experiments, in 2018 we can expect a streamlined approach to handling influencer marketing campaigns. If you are also in the queue then it is important to stay relevant with the latest trends. These major influencer marketing trends will help you gain a better understanding of market dynamics. You can improvise your marketing strategy according to these trends to gain a better ROI and standout from the competition.
1. Augmented reality:
We all know how PokemonGO brings out the gamer within us. Experiencing life-like visuals augmented through our mobiles excites us like no other content can. The innovative tech can help brands make memorable campaigns. Thus, making them worthy of both earned media and social media attention.
Consumers are also very excited to experience AR content from their mobile phones. According to ISACA survey, 62% of US consumers are inclined towards the shopping benefits possessed by augmented reality. What could be a better way to offer consumers the long-awaited AR content than from their beloved social media celebrities?
While still in its infancy, the technology has gained tremendous traction in a relatively less time. By now 543 start-ups are already listed in this category on Angelist. With more technical experts hoping into the field of content creation it will be easier and cost effective to initiate a campaign in this space. All these points towards the upcoming wave of AR content in influencer marketing.
2. Rise of Micro Influencers:
People with a good reputation in highly relevant and niche markets are called micro influencers. They usually have a followership of less than 10,000. Still, they carry significant influence over a small market. Since these are experts in their respective fields their voice matters to the audience they cater to. Companies can appeal directly to small segments and trigger purchase decisions with the help of micro-influencers.
These influencers charge significantly less and take far more initiatives as compared to celebrities. In early 2016, 90% of posts by influencers were from people with less than 1 million followers. By combining the strength of 20-30 micro influencers, companies can create successful influencer marketing campaign without spending too many dollars.
Consider the Swedish watchmaker Daniel Wellington who partnered with a large number of influencers with different styles – not just fashion. With this campaign, they reached a larger group of consumers in a range of demographics and promoted sales by giving influencers a special link to add to their posts.
3. Instagram to be a Hot Market:
Facebook at one point was the hottest market for all kinds of social interactions. It still carries a considerable influence but over time the millennials have lost interest in the platform. The far too limited potential of Facebook pages is yet another reason for brands to look for better alternatives.
Instagram, another of our dearest Zuckerberg’s platform proves to be an ideal alternative. At this point, influencer marketing on Instagram is worth approx. $1 billion. By 2019 it could even reach $2 billion. The Instagram’s algorithm is still evolving and there are rapid changes in the way in which our feed is displayed.
This dynamic approach has made Instagram a powerful platform. Brands are expected to scale up their efforts consistently as there is a lot to experiment and gain from this social media app. The medium proves especially beneficial for B2C companies as the audience on this platform largely consists of millennials.
4. More and Better Tools for Influencers:
Measuring the ROI from influencer marketing has been a challenge for many marketers. With no direct attribution models yet designed we are more or less at the courtesy of luck. The growing traction gained by the strategy will sure bring some sophisticated tools for us marketers. These tools can range from finding the right influencers to analytical solutions.
Influencers are equally likely to benefit from innovations. For instance, the new Amazon Spark and Shopify VIP will provide infrastructure for cross promotion and e-commerce marketing to influencers. Now, with these solutions, they can launch their own multi-channel stores and get dedicated mentorship alongside.
We can expect a rise in the growth hacking tools for Instagram since, it is expected to be the next big platform. Meanwhile, Twitter and LinkedIn might take a hit here because Twitter has very limited influence due to noise and LinkedIn has imposed too many restrictions on its API usage.
5. Get ready to measure engagement:
With so many bots and scrapers available today it is no big deal to gain a huge following. Just by spending a few dollars anyone can have thousands of followers within seconds. Since the possibility of scam is high especially in the case of micro-influencers, brands will focus more on engagement metrics rather than the number of followers.
This again connects to our previous point that there will more tools in the market to measure the ROI of influencer marketing campaigns. The focus will likely be on metrics like – clicks, impressions, reach, likes and comments.
This shift in focus will result in more opportunities for genuine influencers and give them a competitive edge over the ones with huge eggheads (fake) following. They are also likely to take more initiative in promoting the posts and optimizing their timing to boost the engagement to prove their worth.
Overall the next 2-3 years are likely to give a huge traction to influencer marketing. The agencies involved in the process are likely to move up as well. Instead of working as a sidearm of big media agencies these small firms can expect a seat at the table when it comes to formulating marketing strategies for big brands. As for influencers, they will get more projects and the competition among brands will yield them better returns.