Influencer Marketing has had a dramatic year! From controversies involving rogue YouTube stars like Logan Paul to concerns about appropriate content and data safety, brands are rightfully a little hesitant about adopting the channel.

Some things we’ve heard at Grapevine from anonymous marketers include:

  • Leveraging influencers is a very saturated marketing tactic. It quickly becomes a black hole for budgets with no return.
  • It’s hard and time consuming to reach out to quality influencers who produce great, re-useable content.
  • Definitely growing but more not happy with the amount of fraud going on with influencer data. They have too much accessibility to buying likes, followers etc.

The problem isn’t the lack of performance of the channel, but it’s more about how there’s simply a fundamental lack of clarity the channel can provide to brands.

Here at Grapevine, we’ve teamed up with VideoInk to survey 450+ creators and 45+ marketers to:

  • Gather intelligence on the Influencer Marketing space
  • Provide clarity on tactics
  • Identify gaps between marketers and the creators they work with
  • Predict how the marketplace is shifting in 2018

Here’s a quick recap of some preliminary results (which you can watch on Videoink as well) to highlight:

Who are the stakeholders?

Influencer Marketing demographics

The first thing we did was analyze who the participants in the field were. Unsurprisingly, the majority of influencers we spoke to, 48%, are “micro-influencers.” Micro-influencers are creators with under 500k total following. So while most of the creators working today aren’t exactly super famous, they can actually inspire higher engagement rates than those of their more notorious peers.

In terms of industry, most influencers surveyed were in the beauty/fashion/lifestyle space. Of respondents that answered “other”, most of them were travel influencers.

Influencer marketing budgets

On the marketer side, the brands surveyed have pretty modest budgets, with 36% of brands reporting they have a marketing budget between $25k and $50k.

Another thing we asked is: how are creators getting deals?

Influencer marketing deals

While maybe a decade ago, marketers would have to develop relationships with agencies to access influencers, that is becoming less so the case. Sure, the bigger influencers with major followings are still working with big firms, but as creating becomes more democratized — influencers are more independent.

Because of how creators operate, this may put an extra burden on marketers looking to work with them:

influencer marketing search

Over 80% of marketer’s surveyed responded that they mostly rely on manual search to find creators. Brands may want to invest in curated influencer marketing platforms to improve efficiency.

Where are Influencers most effective?

It can be difficult for journeyman marketers to understand what social media channels are the best for influencer.

Influencer marketing effectiveness by platform

After surveying our own community, it’s definitely super interesting to see that — despite all the hype — they don’t think Snapchat is all too effective. Over 60% of creators reported that embattled platform is either “not at all effective” or “slightly effective.”

However, contrasting that with what brands thing is even more interesting:

Influencer marketing effectiveness by brand

There’s a gap between what metrics influencers depend upon for success and brands. When working with influencers, make sure to be transparent about what you need.

Determining the best platform, however, is only half the battle. Marketers and creators also need to be aligned on what they’re looking for:

How to work with influencers

Build a brand or offering that creators can get excited about. Marketers aspiring to drive down costs and deliver amazing content should make sure that the creators they’re working with are actually excited about the partnership.

So, where is this all heading in 2018?

Influencer marketing predictions

While influencer marketing won’t become a primary advertising channel, it will be a significant part of marketing plans.

Other predictions of note:

  • Instagram and YouTube will increase the chasm in terms of most successful platform..
    Look at new integrations such as Spotify and Instagram’s network will only broaden. In fact, Instagram is well on a path to overtake YouTube in this space.

Steps that marketers can take now:

  • Designate a few people on your team to work specifically with influencers
  • Build an “always-on” program.
  • Investigate Influencer Marketing platforms to make the discovery process more simple and efficient.
  • No need to go big: focus your search on “micro-influencers” that will yield increased engagement for your niche.
  • Shake off the mentality that influencers are merely “ambassadors,” treat them as part of your team.

Watch the full video of the recap here: