Influencer Marketing has held its ground in 2016 with brands discovering the incredible results of their marketing strategy – starting right from explosive ROIs to exclusive audience engagements. Influencer recommendations have steadily risen as being an authentic source of product information as well as a driving force for purchase decisions. This has largely been due to two reasons:
- The fact that influencers are consumers, too, of the brands they often promote, leading to honest user opinions, and
- The rise in widespread ‘banner blindness’ and use of ad blocking software (47% online users used ad blocks in 2016).
Brands, too, have identified the impact of these factors among consumers and significantly increased their adoption of influencer marketing, which primarily takes place on social media channels. And why not! Sprout Social claims in a report dated November 2016 that 74% of consumers are adopting influencer recommendations to make purchases.
As we get into the New Year, we look at the top five influencer marketing trends that will drive the success of this marketing technique in 2017.
The Rise of the Power Middle
One of the biggest highlights of 2016 was recognising the impact of micro and macro influencers, often referred to as the Power Middle, on their niche categories of audience with higher rates of engagements and conversions.
Even though these influencers have a relatively smaller base of audience, in the range of 10,000 to 100,000, the audience is perpetually on the lookout for bona fide product recommendations, especially from people they can identify with even if they do not know them, making the Power Middle more effective than celebrities. This audience of these influencers have a niche interest in various categories and are thus easier to target and engage.
The Changing Face of Influencer Marketing Metrics
Influencers are no longer chosen only on the basis of their reach or followers. Without significant audience engagement, influencer marketing can fail to help your brand achieve the targeted result. The rise of the Power Middle, as mentioned previously, also points to this significant change in influencer-driven campaigns – the emergence of engagement as a primary factor for scaling the success. Audience engagement is one the primary ways to validate consumers’ consideration of brands for purchases.
Cross-channel metrics will also be on the rise with influencers being engaged across a range of social media channels to leverage the full potential of their influence. Measurement of influence will be a diversified concept including a wide range of performance metrics basis the various channels and genres of content leveraged. The need of the hour is to devise proprietary formulas for measuring influencer score, weighting and weighted influence on each channel; this will not only help brands measure the full impact of campaigns but also design ones with clear cut goals.
The Transitions in Content Marketing
Influencer marketing is largely based on content marketing, and this year will see live content gaining preference. Live videos are conventionally more real and present legit experiences with products and services from influencers, consequently resulting in the popularity of content like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Snapchat, Instagram Stories and so on. This type of content is highly preferred among social media users, even allowing brands to comprehend their audience’s reaction.
The credibility of the content generated by influencers is also set to increase with brands allowing them more creative freedom. Additionally, the generation of educational content is also on the rise – helping brands to cut through the noisy world of paid marketing and influence the purchase decisions of consumers. Content will be personalised basis audience-related data generated from educational tools and will help drive better influence.
Optimisation of Marketing Technology
Influencer marketing technology will boom in 2017, with marketers and brands aggressively devising their own proprietary influencer marketing tools. These tools are aiming to measure everything from advocacy platforms to influencer discovery, audience engagement preferences, cross-channel influence, and much more with intricate details to drive focused campaigns. From identifying the right influencers and channels to generating the apt content to engage your consumers, these tools are all set to change the face of influencer marketing – data-driven, transparent and with improved outcomes.
The Continuing Emergence of Influencer Marketing Agencies
The adoption of influencer marketing is growing at a consistent pace which is leading to the continuous emergence of numerous influencer marketing agencies. Capable of relieving the brand of campaign logistics and operational requirements, agencies have turned out to be the ideal choice for brands to reach out to in the context of influencer marketing campaigns. Agencies have also enhanced their expertise in the field, developing their proprietary methodologies to strategize the perfect campaign for any brand – right from identifying influencers, to strategizing campaign theme, executing deliverables and measuring the final results. 2017 will continue to see the emergence of these agencies, big and small, as the popularity of influencer marketing keeps expanding.
Influencer marketing has already proven its mettle over the last few years and marketers have hailed its overwhelming impact in 2016, calling out engagement around the brand or product as its top benefit. It will, of course, continue to be the buzzword in 2017 as well, with the rise in adoption among brands and marketers alike.
Hi Deepak, thanks for your article! Just a heads up, that Sprout Social citation is from five years ago (2011), not 2016.
You got him right there, Chris. Agencies loot brands in the name of influencer marketing with the help of inflated & junk data.
The author is trying to sell influencer marketing too hard. I am not surprised considering he is working in a influencer marketing agency himself.