Photo by: Marc Sendra Martorell
In our day-to-experience, we are lucky to be surrounded by a team of influencer marketing experts who wholeheartedly believe in our mission to facilitate lasting collaborations between brands and content creators to create the most unique, creative content. However, we are often quite surprised by how many false perceptions exist about the industry.
In order to tackle these inaccuracies, we’ve created a list of four myths about influencer marketing (IM) and provided an argument on why they are simply untrue. By doing this, we hope to inform the skeptics and naysayers about how much potential this industry has, and why the creativity behind it is worth being celebrated.
Since news of the effectiveness of influencer marketing reached the mainstream, there has been a small but vocal consensus that has argued that the growth at which the industry has grown spells eventual demise. In fact, a simple Google News search reveals to us that speculators have been predicting that the IM ‘trend’ was close to ending as early as 2016. And yet still, economists are nevertheless predicting that businesses will be spending $15 billion per year on influencer-driven campaigns by 2022, up from $8 billion in 2018.
And this isn’t just in Europe or in the United States. If our recent Gone Global series has shown anything, it’s that influencer marketing has repeatedly proven to bring more results and engage more millennial customers than traditional advertising methods could dream of doing all across the world. In fact, the appeal of influencer marketing is so prevalent amongst young consumers that a recent survey by research firm Morning Consult discovered that of all professions, 86% of millennial respondents in the United States would choose to be influencers if given the opportunity.
This speaks to the trust that younger users have in the industry, and with consumer faith being an essential component to the viability of a market, we struggle to believe how anyone could think that this form of advertising is going away any time soon. With 3.5 billion people now using social media worldwide, it’s never been more essential to appeal to an audience in authentic, intimate ways using these methods. Sure, the platforms that people use to connect with their audiences are subject to change with the times, but the demand for original content is always going to be high.
“Businesses will be spending $15 billion per year on influencer-driven campaigns by 2022.”
In the case of influencer marketing, there are a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that brands will consider when it comes to measuring campaign success. These objectives will always be outlined at the beginning of a campaign and will be measured accordingly using a number of tools. These objectives could be as follows.
1. Awareness: this could include the share of voice, which essentially outlines how much your brand is being spoken about in comparison to your competitors. How many impressions the post has made is also an important metric, as well as the sentiment behind the conversation generated from the content.
2. Engagement: this measures the number of reactions to the content, which includes both likes and comments. To measure this, the sum of likes and followers is divided by the followers of a content creator.
3. Performance: this is measured by things like the conversion rate, meaning how many followers took the desired action. This could include the number of orders made for the product or how many users clicked through to your website. Another important indicator is the return on influencer investment, which takes into account how much was spent on the post compared to how much the post generated.
While these may sound standard, there are also a number of more abstract KPIs that can be measured during a campaign, like the growth of a brand’s audience. We would argue that brands have never had so many useful metrics to guide their marketing strategies, and we are excited to be witnessing how this data is being used to refine the approach of both brands and content creators in tailoring audience-specific messages.
“44% still see influencers as a good opportunity to get to know new products.”
While we disagree with this statement, we would be lying if we didn’t admit that there have been a number of challenges that have faced the industry regarding authenticity. Over the last year, much focus has been given to the prevalence of fake followers, which dishonest users have been able to purchase in order to inflate their follower count and their perceived value. In fact, the issue is so costly that it is said to now cost brands up to $1.3 billion annually worldwide.
A recent survey by the German research unit MScience on behalf of Wavemaker sought to understand how these trust issues may be impacting social media users. They found that 55% of users who followed influencers now perceive them primarily as advertising figures, and saw that the perceived credibility of influencers had dropped by 13% in one year. However, the study found that the use of influencers’ advice among fans and followers remained fairly stable over the past year and that 44% still see influencers as a good opportunity to get to know new products. Luckily, social media platforms like Instagram have continued to act tirelessly to tackle the issue and are relentlessly refining tools to weed out the real from the fake, and alternatively, there are dedicated analytics websites that can help users and brands spot influencers who may be acquiring fake followers.
“Brands focusing more now on building lasting relationships with influencers to communicate credibility.”
Other studies, like those recently published by market research company Forrester, also point to evidence that influencer marketers are adjusting to these shortfalls, with brands focusing more now on building lasting relationships with influencers to communicate credibility. The same report points to a survey that indicates that 65% of brands online influencer budget would grow by 10% to 100% over the next 12 months, revealing that marketers have clearly not lost faith in the potential of the medium. On top of this, brands are becoming more selective with who they collaborate with to communicate to niche audiences, which leads us into…
“45% of global brands have now adapted a micro-influencer strategy.”
Now, this myth is important to burst especially for smaller brands looking to acquire the help of influencers but who have been turned off by the potential cost of recruiting huge Instagram or YouTube stars to do so. In reality, more and more brands are finding the value in collaborating with micro-influencers, which is defined as influencers who have a follower count of 20k to 50k. This is so much so that now a recent study has revealed that 45% of global brands have now adapted a micro-influencer strategy.
There are a number of reasons for this. The first is relatability: Because influencers with lower follower counts will generally have fewer unique users to respond to, it gives them the ability to build a relationship with not just the individuals that follow them but the community that grows around their content. A smaller following count makes personal interaction much more manageable and realistic, and therefore common.
“This is why 61% of social media users in the UK find micro-influencers more relatable.”
The second, which is closely related to the first, is the cost per engagement: For example, while an influencer with one million followers could theoretically charge €20,000 for a post, they may only inspire 1.5% of their audience to interact with it. This means that they have paid roughly $1.30 per interaction. Alternatively, a micro-influencer with 20k followers could charge $500 per post, yet inspire 20% of their audience to interact with their post. This means that brands would have paid roughly 13 cents per interaction.
While this isn’t to say that using macro or mega-influencers isn’t wildly beneficial for some brands, smaller companies do not need to be locked out of the market due to budget constraints – all they need is a good micro-influencer strategy and they could be opening themselves up to an entirely new customer base.
As we think we refuted the main myth about the influencer marketing bubble being about burst and 2019 is coming to an end, it’s probably the best time to start planing your upcoming year of influencer marketing. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you with more information of how to get all set and done. Looking forward to hearing from you!