Plain and simple, we use influencer marketing because people don’t trust ads, they trust other people. In fact, there isn’t a single type of advertising that consumers trust at a rate greater than 50%—many forms of advertising are trusted at rates in the 20-30% range. Influencer marketing is a must, especially when you take into account that 90% of consumers trust a recommendation from their own network.

A number of marketing professionals have named 2014 the year of the brand influencer, and with 74% of marketers planning to deploy influencer marketing over the next 12 months, the name seems befitting.

Here at ViralGains, influencer marketing plays a significant role in our business model. We serve video content to influencers who help us maximize targeted views, shares and conversations for our clients. Because people listen to and trust peers and community leaders, the videos they publish generate the most engagement for brands.

ViralGains’ COO Dan Levin commented on the influencer marketing process and elaborated on why we as a company value its offerings.

“The primary reason influencers work in pushing out video content so well is because consumers have a loyalty to influencers (other people) more than they do to any other publisher (e.g. a website),” said Levin. “That is why influencers are able to drive substantially larger percentages of earned media than any other channel—our research suggests that a video distributed by influencers is 70% more likely, than a video placed with any other type of publisher, to prompt a social behavior from a follower.”

These social behaviors increase brand exposure and drive earned media or valuable word-of-mouth advertising, which is the embodiment of viral marketing.

Nikon is one brand that successfully used influencer marketing and online video in 2013 to promote its product. During the 2013 SXSW Interactive, Film and Music Festival, attendees were given Nikon cameras to capture live performances sponsored by the Warner Music Group.

The videos were immediately shared via social media and the live-streams of the concerts were watched by more than 500,000 people for 11 minutes on average (five times greater than the industry average). The campaign also resulted in over 166 million social impressions. SXSW attendees tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to music and tech, so targeting this group of influencers proved beneficial for Nikon.

As people become more skeptical of blatant advertising efforts, influencer marketing will become an essential part of brands’ distribution strategies. Not only can influencers maximize your earned media potential, but they can also increase your brand’s presence amongst a community of trusting consumers.