2016 was an amazing year for influencer marketing, as evidenced from the flurry of companies that arose touting their wares.
Not even the changes in algorithms on various social platforms, Federal Trade Commission compliance crackdowns or questions over return on investment stopped companies from jumping into the realm of working with influencers.
But what excitement will 2017 hold?
Influencers could save Twitter
Who will buy Twitter and save it from the death everyone has been talking about for years? So far, there have been no takers, but Twitter has been making moves to attract influencers to the platform (for example, announcing a generous 70/30 revenue split in August). Even Twitter isn’t immune to the excitement of influencers.
The demise of Vine and Twitter’s pending acquisition, which is so far a nonevent, might completely wipe the platform out from the influencer marketing platform race, but Twitter Moments feeds the curated news appetite of many audiences and remains a favorite platform of celebrities, politicians and anyone with a passionate cause.
We’ll see a Snapchat vs. Instagram showdown
Which platform will “win” for influencer marketing in 2017, especially as influencers are flocking to other platforms as a result of Vine?
Snapchat’s growth has been tremendous this year, but Instagram is a much easier platform to learn and navigate than Snapchat, and its influencers are more established.
Facebook, which bought Instagram, recently bought FacioMetrics in what seems to be a move to go after Snapchat’s fan favorite filters.
Facebook, a seasoned behemoth, knows a thing or two about audience growth/engagement and monetization, and it is lending Instagram its years of experience, which should ensure its success.
TrackMaven recently analyzed more than 51 million Instagram posts, and Instagram is leading the way for engagement over all social platforms at a rate of 70 interactions per thousand followers. Our testing of influencers on both platforms shows that Instagram in the lead, as well, and it is aggressively attacking the social commerce of the platform, which is ideal for driving purchase. Our vote is Instagram in the long run.
B2B influencers will make a bigger play in 2017
Influencer marketing has traditionally been used by consumer brands, but business-to-business companies will start to take advantage of it in 2017.
The FTC will need to catch up to the B2B industry influencers and make them disclose their payments for conference speaking, free flights and hotel stays—in the same way it does for business-to-consumer, which will be another tough thing for it to monitor. These influencers can often demand a pretty penny for you to associate your brand with theirs, and ultimately, you end up promoting/benefiting their brand instead of yours.
That said, B2B influencers are great for networking and ideation. Leveraging their name and commentary can be a boon for sending traffic to your website, where you’ll have to see if the leads are valuable and convertible to sales.
Livestreaming influencers will become mainstream
Influencers are already flocking to livestreaming. It’s much easier for an influencer to broadcast himself or herself on Facebook Live than to learn to shoot video and edit.
But livestreams make tracking compliance even more complicated for the FTC. Disclosing sponsorships on livestreaming should be no different than any other platform, but we can expect some bumps in the road in 2017. Influencers and brands are bound to run into trouble if they don’t stay true to the guidelines.
We still won’t reach a standard method of payment
The industry may never reach a standard method of payment for influencer campaigns, but will anything change in 2017? Doubtful. So, how do you put a price on someone’s influence, audience size, engagement or the quality of his or her content? Is Kim Kardashian worth the reported $300,000 per post she receives?