A look at the term “social influencer” on Google Trends will show you an exponential increase in the interest surrounding the topic since the middle of 2015. With the rise of Instagram as a new billion dollars social force and the anointing of Twitter as a bona fide mainstream marketing platform, companies all over the world finally gave into the fact that commerce had switched from its traditional places on radio and TV into social media.

New Instagram ads embedded into business accounts will account for over $3 billion of revenue by the year 2017, according to many online marketing experts. 50% of people in the United States under the age of 25 have an Instagram account today, with that number only expected to rise in the future. Combine this with the endless statistics from Google, Facebook and Twitter that show a losing trend in direct ad revenue and a rise in the amount of indirect advertising, and you will soon find yourself in the world of the social influencer – the content marketing specialist with a knack for selling products naturally in entertaining videos.

The Social Influencer vs. The Celebrity

It is no mistake that many brands such as Michael Kors, Coca-Cola and target are looking to social influencers to build brands in the future. Each social influencer comes with built-in analytics that are far more precise than the results that one might receive from a celebrity endorsement. YouTube, Facebook and Instagram provide demographic and psychographic information about the audience of a social influencer for free. This information used to cost companies tens of thousands of dollars to glean from focus groups. Those without the means or the inclination for such research could simply plunk down five or six digits for a known quantity in the Hollywood space with mixed results.

Not only are social influencers more precise marketing tools, but they also cost less than celebrities. You can think of giving money to a social influencer versus a celebrity in the same way that you think of buying a beach property in Gulf Shores, Alabama versus Santa Monica, California. Although both properties are on a beach, the Santa Monica property will cost exponentially more because of the reputation that California has for its beaches. Gulf Shores has perfectly fine properties and beaches, and the smart money is going into this market before too many people discover it and the premium on the neighborhood rises.

Finally, social influencers may actually have larger audiences than celebrities. These audiences are also much more easily determined. Social media profiles have follower numbers etched in stone on the front page of every social influencer, so a business looking into an investment in that person knows exactly how many people are in the audience. Each piece of content that the social influencer creates also has a view count as well as a built-in like/dislike mechanism. Companies can see exactly how popular a social influencer is instead of relying on the word of a Hollywood agent, who has a natural interest to sell the best aspects of his or her client.

With all of the above in mind, more businesses than ever are moving into the world of social influencers and away from traditional celebrity endorsements. The best part about this movement is that social influencers are within the budget of even the smallest startup, meaning that a new company has the same leverage that an international brand has to compete.

This market will not remain the same for long. As social influencers begin to graduate into television and radio programs with much bigger upfront checks, their premiums will likely go up in the near future. If you are looking to create a cost-effective marketing campaign with more potential and easily analyzed results, the time to get into the market for social influencers is right now.