The Cheat Sheet: Who Wins In The Battle Of The Influencer Marketing Heavyweights?

Obviously it’s Instagram (in line for Queen of content)…

It’s hard to argue with Instagram’s credentials to be the Queen of Influencer Marketing when it comes to content. Just take a look at a few of their numbers too – they’re creeping closer to 1 billion active monthly users – and you could be forgiven for thinking the debate ends there.

And, by some distance, Instagram boasts social media’s strongest interaction rate – 3.21% compared to average of 1.5% across other channels.

But what really pushes Instagram to the front? Its commitment in providing tools and features for brands and influencers to collaborate on content. Content which in result is inspiring, creative and, most importantly, effective.

Instagram’s embracing of shoppable posting makes it instantly more appealing as a marketing space.  Plus, the ‘swipe up’ link to websites on Instagram Stories have made the connection between influencer, brand and customer direct. Finally, there is no more ‘link in the bio’ clunkiness for Instagram.

And, with a steady stream of innovations (not least Instagram Stories which has flown past Snapchat – who it was designed to rival – growing from 100 million users to 300 million in a single year) brands and content creators can now harness everything from traditional image and video posts, to stories and live streaming.

Most reassuring though is that content creators themselves see Instagram as the most valuable space for what they do – with 74% of those surveyed by Econsultancy saying it is the channel they are most influential on.

AND (this is the last one, we promise) Instagram is becoming seen as a space to seek out influencers amongst audience – with 48.4% of users saying they visit Instagram primarily to engage with influencer content.

 

… Or could it be YouTube?

After all that, you’d be right to wonder what anyone can do to snatch Instagram’s crown. However, YouTube has some compelling credentials. And the truth? Contenders actually prepared to challenge their supremacy rarely exist…

Firstly is the fact that nearly 30% of online activity is spent watching videos –  leading 48% of marketers to include YouTube in their marketing strategies for the year ahead.

YouTube is positioned for what many industry experts are predicting as a significant shift in content consumption for 2018. With the ‘Netflix generation’ demanding immediate and individual viewing experiences bringing advantages for YouTube. The platform will be key to an audience who engage in a content schedule they’ve customised.

YouTube also offers versatility, unlike Instagram’s reputation for fashion and beauty content. Viewed as an eclectic, if not encyclopaedic, hub of topics and interests. Also, YouTube is incredibly successful at influencing men, with the purchasing habits of 22.8% of men being influenced by YouTube content, versus just 13.9% of women. 

 

And the winner is…

Actually, there’s no need for one of these influencer marketing behemoths to knock the other out of your marketing plans.

Influencers manage to successfully create content across different platforms. Using each one platform for its individual strengths, there’s no reason why brands should not do the same.

Also, despite the dominance of Instagram and YouTube, the other big social media channels shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed.

Admittedly, Twitter’s global user base is stagnating, but it’s actually enjoying some incredible growth in Japan (with 45 million users and an annual growth of an impressive 12.5%).

Facebook meanwhile, is testing a new tool designed to help brands choose influencers to work with based on analysing their Facebook audience data and habits.

And Snapchat, still a little bruised from its encounter with Instagram Stories, is at least trying to make itself more accessible to marketers with (limited) access to new discoverability and (finally) analytics features.

So, with Instagram and Youtube forcing their way to the top, what does it mean for brands and influencers? Well, we can simply sit back and expect more amazing features to make their campaigns even better.