The Future of Influencer Marketing

It’s no secret that Influencer Marketing is becoming more and more mainstream. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, and according to Schlesinger Associates, 84% of marketing professionals worldwide have plans to start Influencer Marketing in 2016 and those who are already doing it are planning on increasing their activity. By how much? Well, a survey from Tomson last year found that a whopping 59% of marketers plan to increase their Influencer Marketing budgets in 2016.

One of the reasons why Influencer Marketing is so effective is because it produces high Earned Media Values (EMV).  In fact, research has shown it to be 1.4 times higher than overall marketing channels in 2014 according to data from RhythmOne.

But what about content? Isn’t everything about content these days? Well not necessarily. Consumers are more likely to trust influencers over branded content.

Just take a look at Google search behaviour and you’ll see that the term ‘Influencer Marketing’ has increased by 76% since April 2013.

So we know that Influencer Marketing has leapt over the bell curve and earned a solid place in the marketing plan, but where is it going?

The Rise of the Tier-2 Influencer (power-middle)

We see the power shifting from a small number of highly influential individuals to a larger mass of mid-level influencers. Known as ‘tier 2’ influencers or ‘the power middle’, these lower ranked influencers command a great deal of power in numbers. Plus, because there are more of them, they are in less demand, which makes it easier to engage them on behalf of brands. The most exciting prospect about the tier-2 influencers is that they are very, very scalable and, as a result, can form a critical mass to significantly impact the marketplace. Instead of hiring one or two celebrity brand ambassadors, we’re talking about recruiting an army of brand advocates to disseminate recommendations on a mass scale.

Authentic Content

In a world of shiny, happy Instagram photos, authenticity is becoming more and more desirable. There is a shift away from ‘perfect lives’ being captured and glossed over with an Instagram filter, to a raw, honest style of sharing. People want real, not fake. Again, the use of tier-2 influencers provides a channel for ‘real conversations’ and sharing in ‘real networks’ instead of the traditional untouchable, Kardashian influencer model.

Maturing of Influencer Measurement Tools

As Influencer Marketing matures, it’s only natural that we will see measurement systems and tools maturing also. Currently, there is no one standardized way of measuring Influencer Marketing campaigns. However, there does seem to be an increase in an understanding of typical KPIS such as # conversations, reach and impressions. Over time, I would expect to see a more standardized measurement system emerge as the industry further diffuses.

 

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