2017 was a pivotal year for the influencer marketing community. From the FTC’s crackdown on dozens of influencers and brands to the continuing debate around micro vs. macro-influencers to the rise of fake activity on Instagram, much has changed within the influencer marketing space in the past 12 months.
As consumers of all types devote more and more time to social media, influencer marketing as an advertising strategy has become impossible to ignore. Below, we list our ten most important influencer marketing stories and posts of the year. Read on to see a short summary of each.
Earlier this year, Mediakix research estimated that influencer marketing is a $1 billion industry on Instagram alone. This figure is projected to increase to $2.38 billion by 2019.
As Instagram quickly approaches one billion users and continues to add engaging features, marketers around the world are recognizing its value as a vehicle for influencer marketing campaigns. The massive amount of ad dollars poured into Instagram influencers in 2017 is a testament to the influencer marketing industry’s enormous growth as a whole.
As marketers invest heavily in Instagram influencers, fraudulent activity is becoming a major concern within the industry. Some influencers have taken advantage of the market demand by purchasing fake followers and engagement to artificially boost their clout online.
To highlight the prevalence of this issue, Mediakix created two entirely fake Instagram accounts, complete with an army of bot followers, and applied for paid sponsorship opportunities on several popular influencer marketing platforms. Both “influencers” were offered brand deals with monetary compensation, indicating that influencers with fake followers and engagement are fully capable of deceiving brands.
FTC compliance has been a controversial issue in the influencer marketing space for years, with brands and influencers alike learning the hard way that the FTC is serious about monitoring influencer campaign transparency. In 2017, the FTC issued 90 warning letters to brands and influencers who violated its guidelines for sponsored content.
This October, the FTC updated its endorsement guidelines in order to clear up confusion within the industry. We published a comprehensive infographic to break down everything marketers should know about the complex FTC guidelines at a glance.
Despite the FTC’s efforts to enforce their endorsement guidelines, violations continue to run rampant. An original Mediakix study found that 93% of top celebrity influencers fail to comply with the FTC’s guidelines for sponsored content.
The average celebrity publishes an average of 60 sponsored posts per year. Of these, as little as three are FTC compliant. As the influencer marketing industry continues to grow, FTC guidelines are as contentious an issue as ever.
The efficacy of macro vs. micro-influencers is an ongoing debate within the influencer marketing industry. Many assume that micro-influencers, social media users with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, are most powerful for influencer marketing due to their small, targeted audiences.
This year, Mediakix put that theory to the test by analyzing over 700 sponsored Instagram posts from 16 top brands that work with both micro and macro-influencers concurrently. In the study, the macro-influencers examined received comparable engagement to the micro-influencers, while reaching 22x as many people.
2017 was a year of decline for Snapchat, as many influencers abandoned the platform in favor of Instagram Stories. In August 2017, Mediakix put numbers to this widely-accepted trend by tracking the number of Stories 12 top influencers posted on Instagram and Snapchat for 30 days. These 12 influencers were known in the space for posting consistent Stories content and brand sponsorships on Snapchat.
On average, each of the 12 influencers posted 7.6 Instagram Stories per day, compared to only 3.5 Snapchat Stories. The gap was even wider than six months prior when the same 12 influencers averaged 6.6 Instagram Stories and 5.3 Snapchat Stories per day.
As the world’s top influencers expand their audiences, many are demonstrating cross-platform dominance. Earlier this year, Mediakix ranked the top social media influencers based on their follower counts on four major social platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Impressively, among these power-influencers, Markiplier holds the top spot with more than 30 million followers cumulatively. Creators who have successfully moved across platforms are arguably reaching a level of popularity comparable to traditional celebrities.
From American Express to Nordstrom to Google, major brands of all types are partnering with Instagram influencers to drive results. Whether through mainstream celebrities, micro-influencers, or brand ambassadors, marketers are reaching broad audiences through a wide variety of Instagrammers.
To see just how they do it, Mediakix analyzed the Instagram campaigns of more than 30 brands and compiled them into one quick list.
Over the course of a few short years, influencer marketing has become a cornerstone of the online marketing landscape. As the industry grows, influencer marketing misconceptions are increasingly common.
Many incorrectly assume that influencer marketing ROI is impossible to measure or that influencer marketing can be fully automated. Mediakix took the opportunity to dispel the 9 most common influencer marketing myths.
2017 was clearly a year of growth and change for the influencer marketing industry, with search interest in the term “influencer marketing” more than doubling and an increasing number of marketers leveraging influencers.
Looking forward, several trends have emerged on the horizon of 2018. To cap off our 2017 round-up, check out the 13 biggest influencer marketing trends we expect to see in 2018.