Brands Increasingly Turn to Influencer Marketing
A year ago, the notion that some guy playing pranks on YouTube could be a more popular advertising destination than whatever was showing Saturday nights on the SyFy Channel was almost too ludicrous for words. However, that's changed in recent months, and influencer marketing—the notion of running marketing with one person or small group with a large, highly-active social following—has gained a lot of ground, and likely won't slow down soon.
Influencer marketing was already fairly popular in 2016, as reports noted that 86 percent of companies had used the practice at some point that year. Yet almost half of companies were sufficiently pleased with results to plan to increase budgets on this front over 2017.
Thanks to a combination of points—including better means to measure return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing as well as an ongoing distaste for and distrust of standard advertising measures—it's clear that this field is looking to gain real ground as a marketing tool going forward.
What's more, consumers are actively working against standard advertising in some cases; ad blocking software is used by almost one in four American consumers, and for the 18-24 year old market segment, that number jumps to 44 percent. Ads simply won't be able to do the job because so many will be actively refusing these.
Since influencer marketing content won't be stopped by ad blockers, and will in fact be actively sought by the potential marketing targets, that only augments its worth. The targets in question, meanwhile, also consider the content to be authentic, with the creators getting paid to maintain the content as opposed to promoting a product.
Better for marketers, however, is that just one campaign can reach many different audiences. While even television is often subject to the whims of geography, an influencer marketing campaign can reach a worldwide audience much more cost effectively, and can even be further targeted to specific areas.
Marketing has always been just as much art as science, and for a long time, it was a lot more art. The science has definitely picked up over the last few years, and now, we're seeing that there are serious changes afoot in the way advertising is perceived and presented. People are increasingly turning to single targets rather than monolithic media arms, and that means marketers must change as well.
Influencer marketing has a great potential to address many problems seen in marketing, and deliver a whole new value as well. Given that products still need to be promoted, that means influencer marketing will likely be able to make sales for some time to come, even when regular advertising fails.
Edited by Alicia Young