In the span of a few years influencer marketing has grown from a largely uncharted advertising strategy into a cornerstone of the online marketing landscape. On Instagram alone, influencer marketing is now a one billion dollar industry.
As influencer marketing continues to rise in popularity, certain misconceptions about the industry run rampant or are misinterpreted. Here we’ll dispel the nine most common influencer marketing myths.
The rise of the influencer marketing industry has led to the formation of two primary methods used to select influencers: (1) influencer marketing agencies and (2) influencer marketing platforms. Though some marketers see platforms as a fully automated substitute for agencies, influencer marketing campaigns are extremely nuanced and certain processes or campaign demands/intricacies cannot be fully automated.
In a recent study, Mediakix created two entirely fake influencer accounts that both secured brand partnership offers through influencer platform automation, despite having 100% fake followers and engagement. In this instance, the platforms nor the brands using the platform for influencer marketing were able to rely on automated processes.
Agencies offer seasoned, first-hand experience when it comes to executing high-performing influencer marketing campaigns from start to finish. In addition to proper influencer vetting and selection, experienced agencies come with other significant advantages absent from platforms, including personal relationships with some of the world’s largest influencers and the ability to orchestrate successful custom campaigns integrated into a brand’s larger marketing initiatives.
In 2017, search interest in influencer marketing doubled.
Additionally, brands are increasingly dedicating more of their advertising budget to the strategy. 48% of marketers plan on increasing influencer marketing budgets in 2018.
Not only is general interest in influencer marketing flourishing, consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on social media, making social media marketing more relevant than ever. Influencer marketing is helping businesses of many types reach consumers on social. As ad dollars funnel into the industry and search interest increases, it’s clear that influencer marketing is still a rapidly growing industry that shows no signs of “bursting” anytime soon.
As the influencer marketing industry grows, the Federal Trade Commission is becoming increasingly stringent in regards to proper advertising disclosure. In April 2017, the FTC delivered 90 warning letters reminding celebrities, brands, and influencers that brand partnerships must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed to social media users.
2017 marked the first year the FTC has singled out individual influencers in violation of FTC, an escalation from the FTC’s decision to file complaints against brands in the past. Evidently, proper compliance is more important than ever.
Some brands assume they don’t need agencies because they may be able to work directly with influencers. In reality, coordination of a successful influencer campaign is extremely time intensive and requires a wide breadth of expertise spanning from up-to-date knowledge of FTC regulations to influencer agreements and sponsored content ownership/licensing, and what delivers results when it comes to marketing on emerging social media channels and networks.
Developing and managing relationships with the right influencers is a time and resource intensive venture. Unless brands are prepared to navigate the influencer marketing space on this front, working with a qualified agency saves brands copious amounts of time (and avoids costly missteps) by handling all influencer relationships and communications.
In business, time is money, and although a select few brands may be capable of implementing influencer campaigns independently, agencies have implemented thousands of campaigns and are therefore equipped to do so with unparalleled efficiency and accuracy.
A common misconception within the influencer industry is that influencer marketing ROI is immeasurable. However, digital tracking technology gives marketers the ability to measure the number of downloads, sign-ups, click-throughs, and website traffic produced by sponsored content. Undoubtedly, influencer marketing is a highly measurable form of advertising because of its digital nature.
Influencer agencies possess the knowledge needed to use quantitative metrics such as sign-ups and website traffic to accurately measure the success of a campaign. Agencies can also determine what ROI metrics a brand should be concerned with depending on their campaign goals and needs.
Many assume that influencers are only on social media for the money. However, in reality, influencers feel deeply connected to fans and in multiple interviews have stressed the importance of collaborating with brands that will appeal to their audience.
Tammy Hembrow, a fitness influencer with over 7 million Instagram followers, recently told Mediakix, “I find it’s so important to be transparent with my online community. I feel an obligation to them because they trust me and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that.”
For successful campaigns, brands should seek deep partnerships with influencers who are genuinely interested in their products and be wary of “influencers” who are only seeking to take advantage of ad dollars quickly pouring into the space.
Related Post: Should Brands Pay For Influencers? [Infographic]
The topic of micro and macro influencer performance has been a source of great debate within the influencer marketing industry. Many assume that micro-influencers receive higher engagement that macro-influencers on average, making them better suited for partnerships.
Recently, Mediakix assessed 16 brands that collaborate with both macro and micro-influencers and found that macro social media stars receive comparable engagement rates to micro-influencers. Additionally, macro-influencers perform markedly better than micro-influencers when it comes to likes, comments, and reach. Macro-influencer content also tends to be more shareable than micro-influencer content.
Logic would suggest that the more followers an influencer has the better. However, the assumption that follower count is the most important metric to consider when selecting an influencer ignores factors such as audience relevance and engagement rate.
Though celebrities maintain enormous online followings, they often draw in varied and impersonal audiences. Social media influencers, on the other hand, amass highly targeted audiences that they connect with regularly through comments and messages. Audiences, in turn, feel empowered to contact influencers directly, because it’s likely that they will receive a response. The reciprocal nature of relationships between influencers and viewers often makes audiences perceive them as more accessible and relatable than celebrities.
Though influencers may reach smaller audiences than celebrities, they reach specific niches and develop relationships with their followers. Fans are more likely to take their product recommendations seriously, which can result in more powerful engagement and conversions.
The development of an ongoing relationship between a brand and an influencer is beneficial to both parties. An influencer’s dedication to one brand communicates a genuine partnership to viewers. Furthermore, influencers can provide value beyond social media, such as product feedback and recommendations.
Lululemon is one brand well known for maintaining long-term partnerships with influencers. The brand often works with professional athletes, who are not only well positioned to advertise to its athletic consumer base but to also provide feedback on product design and performance over the course of months and years.