I’m kind of obsessed with influencer marketing.
As a marketeer, I think it’s the coolest trend that’s emerged since the beginning of my career. It represents an entirely new way for brands to connect with their audience
And as a consumer, I find influencer campaigns to be one million times more engaging than flicking through boring static glossy ad filled pages in magazines. I watch at least two hours of YouTube videos every day and I’m absolutely ashamed of the amount of products I have purchased due to ‘influencer’ recommendations. It’s obscene.
Professionally, I’ve found influencer marketing to be extremely effective in terms of engagement and ROI. And it looks like the rest of the world is one my side. Read any ‘digital trends’ article online and influencer marketing will be listed without a shadow of a doubt. In a webinar from Socialmediatoday.com, it was noted that 59% of marketers increased their influencer marketing in 2016.
So with influencer marketing on a steep rise for 2017, I thought I’d share some insights. In this article I’ll first explain WTF influencer marketing is and then I’ll give you a few reasons why it’s the most important marketing trend for brands to jump on in 2017.
WTF is an influencer?
Influencer marketing is a fairly new concept so there’s no exact dictionary definition right now. But simply put, an influencer is a blogger or personality with a highly engaged following on social media. They usually have specialist knowledge on certain topics and their content usually focused on specific themes.
For example, my boyfriend watches a lot of gaming influencers on YouTube who create content about/play video games online.
I, however, am all over fashion and beauty bloggers and watch videos from YouTubers like Lizzie Hadfield, Megan Ellaby and Kate La Vie who recommend beauty products or clothing items.
WTF is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing which involves using influencers to promote your brand, your product or service to their large and engaged follower base.
For example, if you own a beauty brand, you may pay a beauty blogger with a good quality audience to talk about your new collection in a YouTube video or to post a beautiful image of your products on Instagram. This will help you reach a larger and more targeted audience.
In a future post, I’ll go into more depth and give you some tips on getting the best out of an influencer marketing campaign but today, I thought I’d whet your appetite with some facts on why it’s super important right now.
It’s Word of Mouth Marketing 2.0
Traditionally, before the days of social media and Google ads, word of mouth was always the most effective form of marketing. It goes without saying that people are much more likely to trust the recommendations of an actual human compared to a billboard or a quarter page ad in a newspaper.
As social media becomes a dominating force in our lives, for better or for worse, influencer marketing is word of mouth 2.0. In recent years, people have become incredibly attached to influencers. In 2015, Variety reported that teens are 7x more emotionally attached to YouTubers than they are to traditional celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence or Seth Rogan.
Since that report, the demographic of those engaging with influencers has changed dramatically. It’s not just 13 year old girls watching Zoella in their bedroom – more 18-30 year olds are watching, following and trusting bloggers and influencers, meaning that your target audience is the right blogger away.
As the majority of bloggers and influencers are self-made (ie normal people), we’re more open to their views. In fact, a study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.”
People are done with traditional advertising
I don’t know about you but I am DONE with advertising. I’m so sick of seeing the same old remarketing ads for ASOS following me around the internet – if you want me to buy your shit, be more creative!
It’s estimated that we see 5,000 advertisements in any given day. And like with most things in life, when have too much of something, you quickly lose interest (except with cake. That doesn’t happen with cake.)
As a result, we’re suffering from ‘banner blindness’, where ads have just stopped permeating our conciousness. According to a study from Adotas.com only 14 percent of their respondents say they can recall the last ad they saw.
What’s more, 96% of people believe that the advertising industry does not act with integrity, according to IPSOS, 2015. People are over being sold to in the same old way so, if nothing else, influencer marketing is something new that we’re not yet blind to.
It won’t be cool forever
At the moment, the keyword ‘influencer marketing’ is what Google calls a ‘breakout’ which means that it is currently experiencing growth in searches and results greater than 5,000 per cent. Right now, people are interested in it but like all good things, it won’t last forever. Sigh.
In business terms, it’s an arbitrage opportunity; meaning the cost is temporarily lower than the ROI you get and it’s going to get exponentially more expensive as influencers realise their value to a brand.
Put it this way, a few years ago, you could have spend £100 on a sponsored blog post. Today, the same quality of campaign with the same results would probably set you back £1,000 and next year, that could be £5,000.
So, if you’re considering influencer marketing, strike while the iron is hot.
4. It’s great for your SEO
Getting a little bit more technical, influencer marketing is great for your SEO. If you work with a high profile blogger who has a high Domain Authority (basically an SEO quality score given to all websites), they might give you a link to your website which will help boost your visibility in search engines.
For most brands, jumping up even just one position in search engines can dramatically enhance your organic traffic which may lead to a significant increase in leads or sales.
Simply put, influencer marketing can have extremely positive longterm benefits past the direct sales of the campaign you’re running.
And finally. Influencer marketing works. It just works. It’s not just a new gimmicky trend that people are talking about right now – it actually get results.
Like me, 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube, according to Twitter and Annalect, 2016.
A TapInfluencer study with Nielsen Catalina Solutions in 2016 found that influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.
And if you want to see an incredible example of this in action, you should read this previous blog post I wrote about an Irish skincare influencer who sold out her product in one night through leveraging her Snapchat following. It’s an incredible every day story that every brand or business person can learn from.
So thems my two cents on why influencer marketing is definitely worth considering as part of your 2017 marketing strategy.
Stay tuned for my next blog post on how to make it work.