From the Influencers

Navigating the World of Influencer Marketing

June 13, 2016

It is simply amazing the role that the Internet can play in promoting the rise of new celebrities. Jenna Marbles, one of the originals from the wave of “Internet famous” people, got her rise solely by creating YouTube videos and blogging for Barstool Sports, and today has over four million followers on Twitter. The Internet is beginning to supplant other media like television for a path to fame.

As a result of their Internet fame, many of these new wave celebrities have a lot of influence over their follower base. Many brands have recently begun trying to leverage this influence by paying these people to promote their product to their followers.

This practice is a new one in marketing, and thus is not without its fair share of kinks. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission instantly saw a problem in differentiating whether or not these Internet personalities were showcasing a product because they legitimately enjoyed it or because they were being paid to. Now, these influencers must make it “clear and conspicuous” when they are recommending a product because they are endorsed by it.

Despite this fact, it is clear that market influencers can have a greater impact on consumers than any traditional advertising means. A 2013 Nielson study found that 80 percent of people trust a product endorsement from someone they know (with “know” being extended to include someone they have merely interacted with on the Internet), a much higher percentage than any other type of traditional advertising.

The world of influencer marketing has not yet fully matured into its final form. Market influencers are being able to value their influencer more highly, resulting in higher prices, and the rules surrounding this marketing technique are still being hammered out. However, market influencers have already shown their value in the high ROI they can bring to brands. Marketers should keep a close eye on this field as it develops, and leverage it whenever possible.  

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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