According to a Tomoson study,
Influencer marketing generates return on every dollar spent
It is considered the most cost-effective channel
More than half of companies state that it delivers higher quality consumers
of marketers plan on increasing their Influencer Marketing budget
It is the fastest growing acquisition channel
It offers a higher retention rate - McKinsey
Blogging becomes mainstream.
Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, talks about the “law of the few,” classifying them as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.
Personal Influence (Lazarsfeld and Katz) study on communication claims the majority of people are influenced by secondhand information and opinion leaders.
Social media is firmly entrenched: Twitter is founded, Facebook becomes open to everyone, LinkedIn hits 20 million members, and YouTube is purchased by Google for $1.65 billion. Consumers now have a voice and are more than happy to speak up. Blogging and social media now enabled everyday people to share their thoughts and opinions.
Duncan Watts publishes Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, rebutts Gladwell’s law of the few with his own findings, dubbed the “small world network,” where it’s not just a few that govern influence, but the fact that everyone plays a critical role.
Six Degrees of Separation study by sociologist Stanley Milgram.
The first widespread use of influencer marketing as cigarette and home goods companies were endorsed by a celebrity.
Influence isn’t an old concept, but its use in marketing is relatively new.
of this shift over the last decade and what it means for all parties involved.
Today, a LinkedIn search yields more than 721,000 posts on influencer marketing and nearly 53,000 profiles. The search for “Influencer Marketing in 2016” provides more than 13,000 results.
Let’s look at the impact
In 2012, Brian Solis wrote
The Rise of Digital Influence,
providing a deep analysis of the emerging space and the opportunities for brands and influencers. Over the past four years, influencer marketing has gained a foothold in the overall marketing mix. From content creation to distribution, influencer marketing is marketing.
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An invisible—yet powerful—force that can’t be denied. It impacts our choices every day, from where we go for lunch to what shoes we buy. Is it a matter of convenience? A personal preference? A desire to try something new? Whether we realize it or not, influence played a role in our final decision.
Emphasis on Data
Here are five major changes affecting marketers:
Traditional advertising tactics have lost their effectiveness and what was relied upon for decades no longer works.
Let’s look at what has shifted for influencers.
For the first time, consumers dictate how a marketing channel is to be used. Brands spend millions of dollars trying to understand social platforms and build audiences on them, but the evolution of social media is driven by Millennials, for whom these channels are second nature.
Early on, the most accessible metric was reach. Now, marketers need real-time access to more advanced metrics. Deciding whether an influencer is ideal for a brand requires an evaluation of micro-data like language, gender, location, topics of expertise, audience engagement, frequency of content, and alignment with the brand’s personas.
With traditional marketing, the paradigm was one of control and one-to-many. Whatever information consumers knew about a product or service typically came from that brand. Today, consumers are influenced by the opinions and experiences of other consumers. Realizing they need to collaborate with consumers is a difficult shift for marketersWith traditional marketing, the paradigm was one of control and one-to-many. Whatever information consumers knew about a product or service typically came from that brand. Today, consumers are influenced by the opinions and experiences of other consumers. Realizing they need to collaborate with consumers is a difficult shift for marketersAn invisible—yet powerful—force that can’t be denied. It impacts every one of us every day, from where we go for lunch to what shoes we buy. Is it a matter of convenience, a preference, a decision to try something new? Regardless, whether we realize it or not, influence played a role in our final decision.
What has shifted in the world of a marketer?
Historically, the lack of measurement in marketing meant it was viewed as a cost center. Today, data can measure nearly everything marketers do. Search and social media analytics help people understand who their prospects are and how they engage while predictive analytics enable marketers to optimize their efforts.
Traditional marketing created a paradigm of one-to-many control. Brands were typically the sole source of information about their own products or services. Today, consumers are influenced by the opinions and experiences of other consumers. Realizing they need to collaborate with consumers is a difficult shift for marketers.
In order to remain relevant, brands must go beyond pushing product-centric messaging to their limited followings. Marketers achieve better results by engaging influencers to create audience-focused content, thereby reaching more people through a more relatable voice.
Quality over Quantity
Here are five areas in which their world has evolved:
Influencers began as regular people who were excited to share their thoughts, insights, and passions. Along the way they built a following.
Let’s look at what has shifted for the consumers.
Originally, influencers monetized their blogs through digital advertising and affiliate programs. However, banner advertising is now commoditized and CPMs are so low that it’s not a reliable source of income. Now, revenue from sponsored content is on a steady incline. Influencers can make tens of thousands for high-reach audiences on Vine or Instagram.
Brands have learned that just asking a lot of influencers to write product reviews doesn’t capture the attention of consumers. But involving the right influencers early in a campaign and letting them participate in the creative process results in content that is more engaging, has a longer shelf-life, and feels more authentic to the reader.
Quality over Quantity
What has shifted for influencers?
Five years ago, blogs were the predominant platform for influencers. Today, content is shifting to more short-form and visual platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine. Content with images gets shared exponentially more than content without. Long-form content still has its place, but influencers who create visually command more money.
In years past, parenting bloggers dominated the market for sponsored content. Today, Millennials have overtaken moms as the primary target audience for brands. With that has come an entirely new generation of influencers that span from teens to baby-boomers.
Becoming an influencer is a labor of love, dedicating nights and weekends to a personal passion while still working for a regular paycheck. For many, these efforts eventually translated into real income, as brands began hiring successful influencers to run promotional influencer programs in-house.
of consumers say mobile devices are a central part of everyday lifeof respondents are sleeping with–or next to–their mobile phones - Bank of America
More than half of all searches are done on mobile devices - Google
More online time is spent on mobile devices than on desktop - KPCB
of consumers say mobile devices are a central part of everyday life - Salesforce
More than of consumers use their smartphones while shopping in retail stores - SessionM
More than half of the ads served are never seen - Google
Consumers are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad - Solve Media
Up to of digital ad engagement is non-human - Oxford Biochronmetrics SA
of online users outright ignore any ads they come across - Reuters
“People don’t trust company generated communications” - Jonah Berger
of Millennials don’t like and don’t trust advertising - The McCarthy Group
of people don’t trust brands - PwC
of online consumers trust a stranger over a brand - Forrester
of people wouldn’t care if brands disappeared tomorrow - Meaningful Brands Study
of brands struggle to measure content effectiveness - CMI
of brands struggle to produce engaging content - CMI
of brands struggle to produce content consistently - CMI
Peers over Brands
Here are five ways they curate and engage with content:
Consumers literally have more information at their fingertips than they could ever consume. They are in control and dictating which messaging they want to see and when.
It’s no longer a question of if, it’s a question of when. Influencer marketing is a proven channel that delivers results. Through Influencer Marketing Automation, it’s available to companies of all sizes. What began as consumers finding their voice has given way to the Influence Economy. Are you ready to harness the power of influence?
Check out our eBook: The Influencer Marketing Automation Guide to learn how you can begin connecting conversations to commerce.
Consumers no longer trust what brands say about themselves, but they do trust information coming from their peers, even if it’s sponsored. Marketing and advertising have the lowest integrity scores across all industries…even lower than Congress.
Smartphones have made always-on connectivity a daily expectation. Mobile has become the primary online interface and consumers expect a seamless experience across tablets, phones, laptops, and internet enabled devices. Being able to see and interact with content anywhere at any time is critical to maintaining engagement.
What has shifted for the consumer?
Consumers can choose to educate themselves using multiple sources of information. With easy access to blogs, forums, reviews, ratings, and social media, they can seek meaningful content about products and services. Brands sharing the same product-focused content will simply be ignored.
People once accepted advertising because they had no choice, until the internet gave them the power to block unwanted messaging. In turn, marketers adopted more disruptive tactics: auto-play video, pop-ups that obscure content, pre-roll ads, and tracking measures that work behind the scenes.
Consumers don’t mind if the content they access is sponsored as long as it’s authentic. For example, a gluten-free recipe on a blog retains its value even if sponsored by Udi’s and a check-list of what to look for in a bike is still valuable even if it was sponsored by Trek. As long as content is high-quality, genuine, and has educational or entertainment value, consumers will engage with it.