influencer marketing

Influencer marketing shows no signs of slowing down in 2020, having evolved into a core marketing strategy that is practiced by over 93% of marketers. Predicted to be a $10 billion industry by the end of 2020, the role of influencers will clearly continue to help brands connect with their consumers in highly relevant ways.

Following are some trends that will likely dominate the industry this year.

The Rise of Micro and Nano-Influencers

It turns out that less may actually be more.

There has long been confusion and disagreement about which influencers make the most impact. To many, the word “influencer” conjures up images of Kylie Jenner charging $250,000 for an Instagram post.

But in 2020, celebrity, or macro-influencers, will become less relevant due to rising costs and declining engagement rates. Yes, celebrities have millions of followers, but an influencer must be able to actually influence the purchase decisions of a brand’s audience. And that only happens when an influencer is relevant to a brand or niche.

Being famous and having millions of followers can certainly build visibility, but it isn’t enough to successfully build brand engagement.

Micro-influencers occupy a particular sweet spot in the influencer space. While their follower numbers may not seem huge (10K-50K), they are more affordable than celebrities, have a much more engaged audience, and are able to create more meaningful relationships with their followers.

Combine that with a 41.7% higher engagement rate than macro-influencers (500K – 1M followers), and you can see why micro-influencers are considered to be the highest-value influencer partners with their ability to tap into very defined micro-communities.

Nano-influencers are the smallest influencer tier of all, but their advantages are many: they are affordable, generate high engagement, and work hard building their fan bases. A nano-influencer has the potential to engage a small but very loyal fan base, generating buzz without significant cost to a brand.

Longer-Term Influencer Partnerships

Until now, most marketers have selected influencers to work with on an as-needed basis – usually for a specific campaign. But as we move into 2020, brands are seeing the benefits of building longer-term relationships and moving away from paying for single posts.

As brands build more robust relationships with their influencers, they gain greater insights for what works best with their brand.

As brands build more robust relationships with their influencers, they gain greater insights for what works best with their brand. In turn, influencers are more willing to produce higher-quality content when invested in an ongoing partnership that provides them with greater financial security and the ability to become a stronger advocate for the brand. The result: greater ROI and a win-win for all.

Video and Audio Provide Priority Content

Video is the holy grail of content marketing. They achieve 135% more organic reach than images, status, and link posts, and consumers spend three times the amount of time watching live videos than other forms of content.

Consider the stats below:

  • 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool
  • 6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television
  • A Facebook executive predicts that the platform will be all video by 2021

A Burst Media study notes that advertisers realize an average earned media value of $6.85 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. Marrying the growth of video with the effectiveness of influencer marketing is a powerful combination.

Influencers will continue to create more video content in 2020 to meet their audience demand, whether it be on short-form video platforms (Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram) or long-form video platforms (IGTV, YouTube, Facebook Live)

Over 51% of the population say they have listened to one of the 700,000 active podcasts in the U.S.

Audio content also performs better than text posts. Currently, over 51% of the population say they have listened to one of the 700,000 active podcasts in the United States.

Consolidating Content, Influencer, and Social Media Marketing

Until now, content, influencer, and social media marketing have been seen as separate strategies, but they are actually different components of the same strategy.

Content is about creating content and sharing it with current and potential customers. Influencer and social media marketing concentrate on the distribution of that content. Influencers play an important role as not only creators of content, but as vehicles for the discovery of content as well.

Prioritizing Performance Metrics

Most marketers agree that influencer marketing offers the highest return on investment (ROI), even more than other marketing tools like SEO, email marketing, social ads, and SEM.

While the most common objective for influencer campaigns is building awareness with page views, reach and impressions, others look to influencer followers to “click” or “like” to measure ROI.

Some take an even more hard-line approach and expect their influencer marketing to generate immediate sales. In the end, it comes down to each brand’s business objectives to determine what is and isn’t working for them.

In 2020, brands should stop compensating influencers strictly on their follower count and focus more on how they can produce real, measurable results.

Influencer Marketing: What Marketers Say

Following are some stats on how they say influencers are affecting their business.

  • 93% of marketers use social media influencers1
  • Approximately 70% of marketers use influencers for content promotion and product launches1
  • 84% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is successful1
  • 36% of marketers use micro-influencers3
  • 30% of marketers use high-tier influencers and celebrities
  • Micro-influencers have seven times more engagement with followers than those with large followings1
  • 89% of marketers use engagement to measure the success of campaigns2
  • 68% of marketers say Instagram is the most important social media platform for their campaigns2
  • 57% of marketers say influencer content outperforms their own brand content2
  • 35% of marketers say influencer marketing has the best return on investment1

(1. SocialPubli 2019 Influencer Marketing Report, 2. Linqia’s The State of Influencer Marketing 2019 Survey, and 3. Rakuten’s 2019 Influencer Marketing Global Survey.)

Influencer Marketing: What Consumers Say

Consumers trust influencers as their go-to source for new info and product recommendations. Consider the following stats.

  • 65% of consumers discover a new brand or product through an influencer at least once a week
  • 87% were inspired by an influencer to make a purchase
  • 56% of women who follow influencers follow beauty, fashion and entertainment influencers 54% of men who follow influencers follow gaming influencers, tech and celebrity influencers
  • 70% of women prefer Instagram influencers
  • 53% of people find new influencers through social media recommendations
  • 31% of consumers recommend an influencer to friends and family at least once a week

(source: Rakuten’s 2019 Influencer Marketing Global Survey)

As one of the most effective marketing tools today, influencers aren’t going away any time soon. But how we partner with them will continue to evolve in 2020. Brands need to be willing to test and learn to find the strategies that work best for them.

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