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U.S. consumers now spend 1 hour 43 minutes on social media each day, according to a 2016 study conducted by We Are Social, and nearly 60% of the entire United States population (192 million people) are now considered active social media users. In the wake of this explosive growth, digital celebrities like YouTubers, Instagrammers, Viners, bloggers, and other top social influencers provide the best way for brands to reach massive social media audiences and engage with millions of attentive, socially-savvy consumers.
A social influencer is any social media user who has amassed a large, loyal, and engaged following primarily by creating content for social media platforms (like YouTube or Instagram) or the internet (as is the case with blog influencers). Although the line that separates traditional celebrities from social influencers is becoming harder to define, most marketers/agencies distinguish between digital stars, traditional celebrities, and brand ambassadors when considering how effective a brand’s campaign will be.
Today, ad-blocking technology and unwanted/distracting digital ads can thwart marketers’ attempts to reach advertisement-weary social media audiences. Collaborating with social influencers to create engaging brand sponsored campaigns can help provide brands with:
Many of today’s top social influencers have audiences that number in the millions. By collaborating with a digital influencer to create a valuable, entertaining, inspiring, or informative piece of content, brands can gain access to an influencer’s followers, stimulate social conversations, and expand brand awareness exponentially.
Unlike banner ads, pre-roll YouTube advertisements, and Adwords campaigns, working with social influencers gives companies the opportunity to authentically engage with consumers, receive valuable feedback in real-time, and facilitate conversations about a brand’s products or services to targeted consumers.
According to a recent Google study, 70% of teenagers say they relate to top YouTubers more than traditional celebrities, and 60% of YouTube subscribers say they would follow the advice and/or recommendation of a YouTube star. For brands, the ability to leverage the trust social influencers have cultivated with followers is one of the most compelling reasons to develop an influencer marketing strategy.
Ad-blocking technology (which lets social media users bypass advertisements, blocks pop-up ads, and makes digital advertisements invisible to consumers) is on the rise. According to a 2016 eMarketer study, 70 million Americans now use ad-blockers (a 34% increase from 2016), and nearly 90 million internet users are expected to use an ad-blocker in 2017. Because influencer marketing campaigns organically integrate a brand’s messaging, products, and/or services into social influencers’ content, ad-blocking is a non-issue for companies who partner with today’s top digital stars.
Most social influencers have spent years listening to their followers/subscribers and know exactly what type of content will appeal to their social media audiences. By creating a brand sponsored campaign with a seasoned digital star, brands can forgo the focus groups and have confidence that their Snapchat Takeovers, YouTube videos, Instagram photos, or blog posts will resonate with consumers.