While it’s hard to know precisely how many people are using ad blocker technology, potentially as many as 22% of British adults using the internet are actively blocking digital advertising.
But the rise of ad blocking isn’t the only factor pushing more brands into influencer marketing.
The very existence of ad blockers reflects the growing customer skepticism and disinterest in being ‘advertised to’ – especially in a space they visit purely for connections, inspiration, entertainment and interactions.
What these customers do allow – and are in fact happy to engage with – is content created by brands that brings value to their social media experience. That doesn’t mean social media influence can’t be a powerful sales tool (a study by Twitter shows that 40% of people admit to having made a purchase based on an influencer’s tweet). It just means that brands must be more creative, relevant and personal in how they promote their products – three things influencer marketing is particularly good at.
There are plenty of blogs, marketing news sites and industry experts who will tell you what sort of impact influencer marketing is making for real brands, in the real world (including us).
We could drown you in numbers to proof its efficacy, starting with the fact that influencer marketing is the fastest growing category in the industry and is predicted to become a $2 billion business by 2019.
And, the deeper you dig into the impressive ROI figures, the more persuasive influencer marketing’s appeal becomes.
Smart licensing agreements, for example, allow brands to produce and use incredible content that would cost far more to deliver through the traditional agency model. Or simply the unique scalability of influencer marketing that makes it accessible and relevant for everyone from the biggest global brand to the smallest start-up enterprises.
The crudest executions, in the earliest days of influencer marketing were simply a matter of famous faces with a huge audience. Now, as it becomes far more refined, the appeal of reach is gradually being replaced by the richer benefits of engaging the right audience.
And even with the advanced targeting abilities of digital and social advertising, many brands are still spending money on broadcasting to a large audience in the hope of relatively tiny engagement.
Influencer marketing not only gives brands direct access to even the most niche online communities, it provides them with an expert insider to guide their strategy in this unfamiliar space.
Good content creators have earned their influence because they have developed an expert understanding of what excites, motivates (and annoys) their audience.
By harnessing that unique personal insight, brands can have relevant and persuasive conversations with audiences that were previously impossible to reach – helping you share your brand and product stories in the right way to the people who will potentially care the most.
Which common sense tells us is the kind of audience who, if successfully converted into customers, are likely to be your most valuable and most loyal.
Combined with the right tools and support, influencer marketing is essentially set-up to allow brands to get better and better at engaging an audience.
Using a platform like Collabary to find the perfect content creator, working with them to create a more focused brief and analyzing all the valuable campaign data helps brands to test and refine their approach with relatively little cost or risk.
And, as well as providing the opportunity to incrementally increase engagement and performance with each new campaign, influencer marketing can benefit everything from the SEO ranking of your website (through algorithm-friendly use of backlinks) to helping you shape the direction of your business strategy or product development built on insights from the audience that matters most to you.