Over two years ago, we shared with BuzzPlant Blog readers how companies were making $6.50 for every $1.00 spent on influencer marketing. Today, influencer marketing is hotter than ever, according to a new infographic from Influencer Marketing Hub, which reports a +325% increase in searches for “influencer marketing” over the last 12 months!

However, it’s not just search interest that’s growing. Actual use of the strategy is rapidly growing in popularity. Influencer Marketing Hub reports that businesses are seeing an average $7.65 earned media value per every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Let’s revisit this explanation from a post earlier this spring (The Women Who Run Instagram):

  1. A creator has an audience with whom he or she has established trust.
  2. You partner with that creator to share your brand.
  3. Your brand gets exposure to a targeted audience through a vetted medium, which can result in sales, a lift in awareness, goal-completion, etc.

Essentially, influencer marketing allows brands to bypass traditional advertising routes, which force a trust-building process; brands can go straight to a targeted audience through a trusted medium (the “influencer”). With influencer marketing, you don’t have to work quite as hard to convince an audience that you’re legitimate. By partnering with an influencer, who’s already worked hard for that audience’s trust, you have an “in” that you wouldn’t be able to achieve as quickly on your own with a cold lead.

How Dedicated Are Marketers?

Today, 37% of marketers surveyed say they have a dedicated budget for influencer marketing. (For comparison, 57% have stand-alone budgets for content marketing.)

Over the next 12 months…

  • 67% of marketers will increase their influencer marketing budget
  • 13% will maintain their budget
  • 16% are unsure
  • And only 4% say they will decrease their budget

It’s All About Instagram

As we reported a few weeks ago, 91.9% of influencers say Instagram is their #1 platform. Instagram’s influencer market size was estimated at $700M last year, is on track for $1.2B this year, and is projected to top out at $1.7B in 2018.

By researching hashtags commonly used by Instagram influencers (#ad, #sponsored and #spon), Influencer Marketing Hub has determined that we’ll see 12.9M brand-sponsored posts on Instagram this year – that’s more than three times 2015’s 3.6M posts and nearly double 2016’s 6.8M posts.

Why Instagram? A lot of it comes down to engagement. A study of 100,000+ influencer profiles across Instagram and Twitter found incredible differences in engagement rates. Accounts with fewer than 5,000 users, for example, saw an average 5.7% engagement rate on Instagram, while accounts of the same size on Twitter received a paltry 1.45% engagement rate.

So, where would you go?

Do You Use Instagram Marketing?

If so, how’s it working for you? If not, what’s keeping you from testing the waters? Tell us in the comments below!