Influencer marketing today doesn’t look like it did a few years ago. It’s an industry that moves and changes quickly, which has stirred up discussions of a possible “influencer marketing bubble” and an accompanying burst.
However, talking about the influencer marketing industry as a bubble ready to burst is misleading. On Instagram alone, influencer marketing is a $1 billion industry. A study in 2015 showed that 84% of marketers use influencer marketing tactics. Influencer marketing is a massive industry that sees participation from a wide variety of brands and creators, and it isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.
Without a doubt, the influencer marketing industry will evolve and will be refined as it grows. The industry may not look the same five to ten years from now, but it isn’t going anywhere.
In the early stages of influencer marketing, marketers turned to the biggest creators on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat to promote their brands. Influencers and marketers learned by experimenting, finding innovative ways to communicate with audiences. Through hundreds of campaigns, a new industry emerged and altered the structure of marketing plans.
Now, the world’s biggest brands are embracing influencer marketing and structuring brand initiatives around influencer partnerships.
American Express uses #AmexAmbassadors to promote the brand, cards, and perks on Instagram. Marriott hasn’t just partnered with influencers; it also launched its own brand content studio to self-promote with outside influencer talent. Target, Microsoft, and more have found effective ways to reach consumers through the authenticity and personality of influencers, too.
When Google acquired Famebit in 2016, it became clear that influencer marketing would be here to stay. In betting on the influencer marketing industry, Google sent a message to the world: Influencer marketing is growing and it’s going to occupy a greater share of the marketing and advertising industries in the future.
Influencer marketing started as an unproven experiment, but as it’s grown, it’s become a critical part of the marketing industry. With 94% of marketers who use influencer marketing finding it effective, it’s is no longer an experiment. Influencer marketing has become a legitimate, proven, and vital marketing force, and it’s not going anywhere.
The industry continues to evolve as platforms change and grow. Brands no longer partner with only the largest influencers on platforms. They’re partnering smarter by customizing campaigns and working with influencers who provide insight into their audiences.
Reach is important, but brands are finding that the biggest influencers aren’t the only ones of value. Mid-level influencers can have a major impact on their audiences, giving brands the opportunity to target consumers and drive engagement more precisely. With influencers reaching so many different audiences, there’s more opportunity than ever. Brands can find closer alignment between influencers, campaign goals, and brand values to maximize results.
Google’s acquisition of Famebit was a sign of things to come. Influencer marketing is becoming more refined and more nuanced, making room for more brands, creators, and content. The future of influencer marketing isn’t just the biggest brands working with the biggest influencers, but brands partnering with influencers who engage and inspire action.
Influencer marketing’s growth has led to more variables that affect success in campaigns. That’s why it’s crucial for brands to work with creators and agencies that understand the market.
FTC regulations, contracts and influencer agreements, and pricing are key pieces of the influencer marketing puzzle that present challenges to marketers. Working with agencies experienced in influencer marketing can also protect brands from FTC violations, improperly executed contracts and overpaying influencers.
Related Post: What Is An Influencer Marketing Agency?
It’s never been more important for brands to include influencers in their marketing plans. Just as brands who were late to the social media boom are still struggling to catch up, brands that are late to influencer marketing will be similarly left behind. The future of influencer marketing is unfolding, and brands that value the authentic human connection that influencer marketing offers will be a key part of that future.