Consumers have always been tricky to catch, but perhaps even more so in the last few years. Old marketing tactics clearly no longer work, as consumers have become more savvy, informed and connected thanks to Internet, so companies need to look beyond traditional marketing to get their attention and win their trust.
In the past 4-5 years, influencers have become a must-have in every serious company’s marketing strategy. The reason for that is quite simple – people don’t trust companies anymore. Instead, they are relying on influencers to guide them in their purchasing decisions. In fact, 49% of potential customers rely on influencers according to Leverage Marketing.
Of course, nothing stays the same all the time and influencer marketing changes with the times as well. Every year brings new trends and challenges and here are the biggest that will define influencer marketing in 2018.
Influencer Marketing to Receive Bigger Budgets
Companies won’t be able to deny the value influencer bring them any longer. As a result, influencers will become an integral part of their marketing strategies and businesses will have to bend backwards to build and maintain lasting relationships with their influencers. This will include allocating a bigger budget for influencer marketing and granting influencers themselves more creative power.
In fact, 39% of surveyed in this Statista report said that their budget for influencer marketing will increase in 2018, compared to just 5% that will say it will decrease and 21% that will probably keep it the same.
Micro Influencers with Macro Powers
Influencer marketing initially started with celebrities endorsing products in TV commercials and shows. Then we moved on to actors dressed as doctors saying “I recommend using product X every day”.
Internet and social media, in particular Instagram, changed the game and shifted the focus on an unlikely hero – micro influencers.
How is someone with considerably less followers (up to 10,000) able to be heard more clearly than a celebrity with millions of followers? Building authority. By focusing on a specific topic or niche (for example fashion or video games), these micro influencers are able to drive massive engagement and thus have macro powers.
Video marketing brings a dose of reality
The secret of influencer marketing is in the fact that people perceive it as more real than anything a company can tell them. Since 2012, the average time spent by US adults watching digital video content has nearly doubled, according to another Statista report, from 35 to 72 minutes per day.
Video is simply more engaging and provides more immersion, offering a plethora of possibilities to reach the audience and stay on top of their minds. People want to see a real person and not a Photoshoped model and as a result we can see Facebook Live dominating our feeds or YouTube creators becoming celebrities (case in point, PewDiePie, a guy playing video games).
Authenticity and social metrics
How does a consumer recognize a real influencer? On that note, how can a company do the same? What makes the right influencer for you?
According to Econsultancy, for 73% of surveyed in their report, the biggest challenge lies in identifying the right influencer.
No influencers mean no influencer marketing (and all the good things that come with it). But choosing the wrong influencer can have an even bigger negative impact on the company than not having one at all. This is why organizations need to be extra careful in who they call upon.
As such, authenticity and social metrics are vital when choosing an influencer. Ask yourself, is this influencer the right fit for your target audience? Do they bring real engagement and are they overly promotional?
Management and communication
Finding the right influencer is hard enough as it is, but without proper communication between the company and the influencer, it’s easy for the message to get twisted.
This is often the case with companies that put too many levels of communication between the brand and the influencer. When everyone from the social media manager, to marketing director to the CEO has a say and wants to pitch in, how can the influencer know what you really want?
Communication with influencers needs to be clear and concise. Their inboxes are flooded every day with proposals from companies vying for their attention. Why should they listen to your brand?
One of the most common things those still opposing influencer marketing tend to say is “what value do they really bring?”. The fact is, 78% marketers said measuring influencer marketing ROI was their top challenge in 2017.
Jeff Bullas says:
“The biggest challenge is measuring its effectiveness. That spectrum ranges from the old traditional metrics of impressions right through to the ROI of leads and sales. Brands need to make sure that they are able to measure the results with data for the outcome they are looking for.”
One of the keys to this is knowing what key performance indicators or KPIs to measure when it comes to influencer marketing. Not everything is about the number of shares or likes.
Influencers have the power to make or break a brand. This is why so many companies are looking toward them to help reach their customers. The question is, will they follow these trends and manage to avoid these challenges that await them in 2018?
What do you think? Are there any more trends or challenges we forgot to include? Let us know in the comments below.