Influencer marketing has expanded exponentially over the past two years. We’ve seen the industry go from a rising marketing tactic to an essential part of most marketing budgets.
Brands and marketers have recently grasped how Influencer marketing is helping their bottom line and continuing to implement additional campaigns. In fact, Activate by Bloglovin’s research has found that 67 percent of marketers think influencer marketing campaigns helped them reach a more targeted audience, thus leading to more impactful results.
Cross-channel social campaigns have also become more common, and brands have begun to expand outside of their own industries for influencers to work with. Whether it’s a fashion influencer working with restaurants or a mommy blogger working with a fashion brand, the results are clear that working with influencers outside of one’s core industry can reach new audiences and raise further awareness for a brand.
As influencer marketing has cemented its place as a major part of marketing campaigns, the Federal Trade Commission also issued more regulations, with warnings to both influencers and major brands throughout the last year around partnership disclosure.
The market—estimated to be worth $2 billion in 2017 and set to reach $10 billion by 2020—will continue to see more growth in the industry and become an efficient marketplace.
Let’s take a look at four changes 2018 will hold for the Influencer marketing industry:
The move from test budgets to a permanent marketing staple
Although many marketers have implemented Influencer marketing into their strategies, 41 percent are still spending less than 5 percent of their budgets on Influencer marketing.
The more traditional advertising and marketing spends such as TV, print and desktop ads are becoming less impactful and, therefore, less effective ways to use ad and marketing dollars. This is particularly true as ad-blockers and paywalls grow in popularity, so marketers must turn additional efforts to social media platforms and influencer campaigns.
As influencer marketing budgets become more permanent, marketers will need to evolve their strategies in a variety of ways. The changes will come in the form of measures of success, evolving analytics to effectively scale campaigns and changing relationships between brands and influencers.
Scaling campaigns will become one of the most essential ways to keep up in the quickly changing industry, and those that don’t have access to both the technology and human intervention needed to scale campaigns will likely fall behind the pack.
Improving from one-off tactics to ‘always-on’ relationships
One of the major ways we’ll see evolution in Influencer marketing campaigns in the next year is through brands’ relationships with influencers. The idea of leveraging influencers for one event, product or post is the way of the past, and we’ve seen increased value from the “always-on” relationships between brands and influencers.
To find success through this model, brands and marketers must take the time and effort to build these holistic relationships. Not only does this make for a better working relationship, but it also provides a two-way dialog benefitting both parties. Influencers and their audiences can inform brands on growing trends and provide feedback on their products, while brands can source new ideas from their followers, and more.
We’ve already seen the beginning of this evolvement stemming from the introduction of Instagram polls for influencer marketing, and we will only see this trend continue to grow.
Social platforms will increase their involvement in influencer marketing campaigns
Although Influencer marketing began with blogs, and they are still an important part of any influencers’ repertoire, social platforms are what brought the industry to a larger mainstream audience. For the first time this year, we’ve seen Facebook and Instagram offering brands and influencers the tools to identify and measure sponsored posts, while also providing opportunity for amplification.
This opening in the industry will end up resulting in more opportunities for influencers, as well as more, and better, tools being developed for brands. In the future, we’ll likely see this trend grow, resulting in monetizing content distribution and amplification, as well as advancing technologies for workflow management, leading Influencer marketing into the broader ad spend budget.
The evolution to an efficient marketplace
Despite the growth of the industry, this year, as in years past, we’ve seen the majority of collaborations go to the top 1 percent of influencers. The smaller but equally impactful micro-influencers have continued to be overlooked by many major brands. However, micro-influencers’ engagement on social is actually higher than that of celebrity influencers, as their smaller followings bring a more personal touch.
The introduction of more tech and tools in the industry is creating a shift toward Influencer marketing becoming a true effective marketplace. The demand (which, in this scenario, is the brands, agencies, marketers, etc.) will begin to meet the supply (the hundreds of thousands of influencers creating content every day).
This marketplace effect will take Influencer marketing down the path needed to increase the budgets for marketers and brands, leading to more campaigns and a healthy ecosystem for the industry in the upcoming years.