UPDATE January 28, 2019 — The average person spends up to two hours on social media each day with certain demographics spending nearly every waking moment on their phones. In light of this, it’s no wonder that influencer marketing, which leverages the popularity of social media stars to promote brands and their products, has emerged as one of the fastest-growing segments of advertising.
Today, businesses from almost every conceivable category leverage the power of influencer marketing. According to a recent survey, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2017, and of those, 92% found it to be effective. Further, 70% of marketers reportedly agreed that influencer marketing budgets would increase in 2018. Fast forward to 2019, 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective and nearly two-thirds plan to up their spend.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top benefits of influencer marketing that illustrate its effectiveness as a robust advertising strategy.
From large corporations to newly minted startups, all varieties of businesses are seeing positive returns from influencer marketing campaigns. Influencer marketing has been shown to produce up to $11.69 in earned media value (EMV) per $1 spent.
Its proven ability to generate enormous returns on investment has helped turn influencer marketing into a $1.7 billion industry on Instagram alone, and led nearly half of marketers surveyed to say they’d increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2018. Heading into 2019, a reported 65% of brands plan to up their investment in influencer marketing.
Numerous studies show that influencers have the power to impact the purchase decisions of consumers of all ages. In a joint survey conducted by Twitter and Annalect, 40% of respondents reported that they’ve purchased an item online after seeing a social media influencer use it. In an analysis of the effects of online video on purchase behavior, more than 50% of shoppers claim online video has helped them decide which brand or product to buy, with more than 90% saying they discover new brands or products on YouTube specifically.
Furthermore, 22% of marketers cite influencer marketing as the fastest growing customer acquisition channel, and more than 50% say they acquire higher quality customers through influencer marketing compared to other acquisition channels.
The results of these studies indicate that influencer marketing is a successful tool for attracting consumers with high purchase intent, and thus, is an effective method for driving sales.
85% of Gen Z uses social media to learn about new products, indicating that young consumers, in particular, are highly receptive to receiving specific product information through social platforms.
Furthermore, 40% of millennial YouTube subscribers believe their favorite influencer understands them better than their friends, illustrating the trust, credibility, and deep personal connections social media influencers forge with their young followers.
Influencers are often a go-to source of information about new products within their industry (beauty, fashion, tech, fitness, etc.). Influencers’ followers respect and sometimes even idolize their opinions within their categories of expertise.
As a result, a product often gains “cool factor” when an influencer recommends it. In this way, influencers are trendsetters that social media users trust to identify and comment on the hottest products and trends.
Often, influencers are given access to new products before they are even available to the general public. For example, Huawei Mobile gifted top tech influencer Judner Aura (UrAvgConsumer) the new Mate 10 Pro smartphone prior to its U.S. launch. Aura created a 13-minute YouTube video that provided viewers with an in-depth review of the phone, getting them excited about the new tech product in advance of its U.S. release.
Most large influencers are highly selective when choosing brand partnerships, adding a level of authenticity to sponsored influencer content. In an analysis of more than 50 responses from exclusive influencer interviews, we found that relevance, trust, and brand affinity are the most important factors when influencers decide which brands to partner with.
By selecting sponsorship opportunities that are a good fit for their image and audience, influencers are able to partner with brands they genuinely love and deliver relevant and organic sponsored messages.
Influencers are trusted by their followers, and their opinions have high value and reliability. On YouTube, 75% of viewers say it’s important that YouTube feature people who are genuine, authentic, and relatable. Fortunately, 70% of teenage subscribers say they relate more to the platform’s influencers than traditional celebrities.
Moreover, 60% of subscribers say they’re more apt to follow purchase advice from their favorite YouTube creator over traditional TV or movie stars. These statistics illustrate that many consumers perceive influencer endorsements to be substantially more credible than celebrity endorsements, likely due to the ability of influencers to relate with consumers.
Brands can work with influencers who specialize in a particular category of content, such as fashion, travel, or cooking. Additionally, when selecting influencers for a campaign, businesses can request access to information on their follower demographics. These factors can be instrumental in helping brands optimize their campaign to reach a specific target audience.
Proper strategy and planning of an influencer marketing campaign help brands achieve the largest reach and highest engagement rates. Qualified professionals like influencer marketing agencies can also monitor and manage influencer marketing efforts from beginning to end, helping to optimize the entire resource-intensive process.
After the data from a campaign has been analyzed properly, brands can relaunch or repurpose content with messaging tweaks—or have other influencers promote—to further optimize KPIs and ROI.
Influencer marketing allows brands to reach audiences on both web and mobile. Additionally, many influencers are active on multiple popular social platforms.
Depending on the influencer and campaign, sponsored content can be cross-promoted on a variety of platforms, including Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and blogs in order to maximize campaign reach.
In comparison to native advertisements, social media users are more likely to share influencer marketing content with their own followers, expanding the reach of a brand’s message to even wider audiences.
Because influencers are experts at creating content their followers love, influencer marketing campaigns often achieve a level of virality that many traditional advertisements lack.
Influencer marketing is a fully-customizable. Campaign elements such as budget, number and type of influencers used, creative messaging, post frequency and scheduling, key performance indicators (KPIs), and a host of other variables, can all be tailored to fit an individual brand’s campaign needs.
When pitted against the costs of content associated with a production company or traditional ad agency, influencer content presents marketers with immense value, and, if licensed, can be amplified on a brand’s social platforms or even used in traditional advertising formats such as print or television.
Embarking on an influencer marketing campaign isn’t just about metrics—it’s about building positive relationships. By establishing rapport with influencers, brands can create strong and lasting partnerships that drive long-term results.
Influencer marketing campaigns can yield invaluable data for brands. From engagement information such as views, likes, comments, and shares, to clickthrough rate (CTR), conversions, social sentiment, and other important KPIs, brands can derive customer insights to optimize future campaigns.
In contrast to celebrity endorsements, television commercials, and other forms of traditional advertising, influencer marketing is a highly accessible word-of-mouth method that can meet the needs of both large and small businesses. Due to its flexible pricing structure, campaigns can be designed to fit a wide range of goals and budgets. Not to mention, brands have access to different influencer tiers to determine which influencers fit within their budget.
Many social media influencers have audiences in the millions, with the 50 most followed Instagram influencer accounts totaling more than 2.5 billion followers. While influencer marketing certainly isn’t about blindly following alluring numbers, marketers can build highly effective campaigns that reach millions of consumers by properly vetting influencers based on both qualitative and quantitative factors.
Furthermore, influencer marketing helps brands bypass obstacles many other online marketing mediums face today. With the mainstream adoption of ad blockers, as well as users’ general disdain for overt advertising, influencer marketing offers brands a viable, unobtrusive way to interact with consumers.